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Jill Grant is a planning educator and scholar, and Professor Emeritus in the School of Planning at Dalhousie University.
She was born in 1951 in Newbury, England, and earned a BA Hon from the University of Western Ontario (1975) and an MA from McMaster University (1977), both in anthropology. Her shift in focus was triggered by living in Papua, New Guinea, where her partner was doing fieldwork, and she determined that planning and development was the key to helping people to cope with the challenges posed by their environment. On her return to Canada she entered the School of Planning at the University of Waterloo, from where she received an MA in 1980 and a PhD in 1991.
From 1995–2001 Jill Grant taught at Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, where she rose to the rank of full professor and served in various administrative capacities, including Department Head, Chair of the Design Division, and Vice-President (Academic Dean). Her move to Dalhousie in 2001 was the result of the merger of Environmental Planning at NSCAD with Dalhousie’s Urban and Rural Planning program. She was a key figure in shaping the School of Planning’s Community Design program—the first of its kind in Canada—in which she taught until her retirement in 2017.
Jill Grant’s research examines planning theory and practice to understand how cities work and how planning can improve living environments. Areas of particular study include trends in planning Canadian suburbs, neighbourhood change in Halifax, coordinating multiple plans, and the influence of the creative classes and creative cities ideas on planning practice. Her published work is extensive, including monographs, book chapters, journal articles and reports, as well as web publications and working papers. She has also held numerous editorial board appointments for scholarly and professional journals and book publishers.
In addition to her work as a scholar and educator, Jill Grant has been involved as a consultant for or participant in numerous projects. Her community engagements are diverse; she sits on the Advisory Committee of Housing Nova Scotia, was a member of the Joint Review Panel for the White’s Point Quarry and Marine Terminal Project, and served as President of the Dartmouth Japan Karate Association. Her achievements have received wide recognition, including the 2014 API Award for Planning Excellence in research publication, a 2012 Reviewer Award for the Journal of Planning Education and Research, and Awards for Planning Excellence from the Canadian Institute of Planners in both 2003 and 2010.