University of Calgary

Preston Welker

  • Master's Student
  • Masters Thesis Students


I am a political geographer and critical urban environmentalist currently pursuing a MA in Geography at the University of Calgary. My research falls on the umbrella of political ecology and intersects critical perspectives on smart cities, open data, urban conservation, community resilience, and justice. I’m interested in the textured ways people talk about nature in cities and how this produces technologies which govern human and more-than-human life. Through a constructivist paradigm, I examine human-nature-technology discourse by employing intensive qualitative methods. Inspired by the works of Maria Kaika, Isabelle Anguelovski, Henrick Ernstson, and Sverker Sörlin, I aim to reveal the crucial politics of urban natures and infrastructures and amplify the voices of who are often silenced or overlooked through top-down policies and global ecological frameworks. As a scholar activist, I also work with communities to develop paths towards more just forms of resilience.

Currently, I serve as Vice President Internal for the Geography Graduate Student Association. Through the mentorship of Dr. Ryan Burns, I am also a research assistant for the Engaging Open Data Research project where I analyze the role of data in moderating urban dynamics in smart cities. I have volunteered extensively with the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team, the American Red Cross International Services and have previously worked as a GIS Tech for The Nature Conservancy and a Stream Mapper for The US National Park Service (here's an interactive story map I made for that project!). 

Abandoned spaces fascinate me as do the unruly natures which often reclaim them. I like shooting film but can’t claim to be a photographer. I create, collect, absorb and share soundscapes. Find me downtown in a noodle shop or interviewing fellow street performers. 

Photograph of Preston Welker

Curriculum Vitae


Current Studies

  • Master's Student
    Degree: Master of Arts
    Supervisor: Ryan Burns
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