Jonathan Cinnamon

Assistant Professor

Other Titles: Program Coordinator, GEOG
Office: ART 264
Phone: 250.807.8014

Research Summary

digital geographies; data studies; GIS and society; science and technology studies; urban studies; surveillance; digital and visual methods; alternative urbanism.


I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Community, Culture and Global Studies at UBC Okanagan. With an academic background in GIS and human geography, my research program is strategically positioned at the intersection of information science and social science. Working in collaboration with stakeholders and across disciplines, I develop novel spatial data production and visualization methods, and research the societal conditions that emerge as grassroots, corporate, and government actors invest in digital data and information technologies. Using a theoretically-informed, mixed-methods approach, recent funded projects in Canada, the United Kingdom, and South Africa have advanced conceptual and empirical knowledge of data injustice, digital surveillance, activism in the smart city, and geospatial web technologies for health and development. This research is underpinned by commitments to social justice and knowledge mobilization. Prior to joining UBC Okanagan, I was a faculty member at Toronto Metropolitan University (Toronto, ON)  and the University of Exeter (Exeter, UK), and held visiting positions at Wits University (Johannesburg, South Africa), and Ohio State University (Columbus, OH).


PhD, Simon Fraser University
MA, Simon Fraser University
BA, Ryerson University

Research Interests & Projects

I have two current SSHRC funded projects on digital urbanism in Canadian and international cities.

  1. I am PI on the Experimental Digital City project, which examines the connections between experimental modes of urban governance and digital technology innovation through a case study of a mid-sized Canadian smart city.
  2. I am a co-investigator on the Urban Platform Aesthetics project, which examines the role of digital platforms in shaping how cities around the world look, how these platform aesthetics connect to ‘world city’ ambitions, and the attendant impact on urban inequalities. This study uses an innovative visual methods approach and a comparative urbanisms framework to examine urban platform visualities in Canada, Poland, and South Africa.

Selected Publications & Presentations

Google Scholar

Selected Publications

Cinnamon, J. (In press). On data cultures and the prehistories of smart urbanism in “Africa’s Digital City”. Urban Geography, 1-21.

Cinnamon, J. & Gaffney, A. (2022). Do-it-yourself street views and the urban imaginary of Google Street View. Journal of Urban Technology 29(3), 95-116.

Cinnamon, J. (In press). Power in numbers/power and numbers: Gentle data activism as strategic collaboration. Area.

Ricker, B., Cinnamon, J., & Dierwechter, Y. (2020). When open data and data activism meet: An analysis of civic participation in Cape Town, South Africa. The Canadian Geographer 64(3), 359-373.

Cinnamon, J. (2020). Platform philanthropy, ‘public value’, and the COVID-19 pandemic moment. Dialogues in Human Geography 10(2), 242-245.

Cinnamon, J. (2020). Attack the data: Agency, power, and technopolitics in South African data activism. Annals of the American Association of Geographers 110(3), 623-639.

Cinnamon, J. (2020). Data inequalities and why they matter for development. Information Technology for Development 26(2), 214-233.

Cinnamon, J. (2019). Visual Data Justice? Datafication of Urban Informality in South Africa using 360° Imaging Technologies. Global Development Institute, University of Manchester.

Albugami, S., Palmer, S. Cinnamon, J., & Meersmans, J. (2019). Spatial and temporal variations in the incidence of dust storms in Saudi Arabia revealed from in situ observations. Geosciences 9(4), 1-20.

Bagelman, J., and Cinnamon, J. (2018). Border enforcement and the university: A conversation. Society & Space.

Cinnamon, J. (2017). Social injustice in surveillance capitalism. Surveillance & Society 15(5), 609-625.

Beduschi, A., Cinnamon, J., Langford, J., Luo, C. & Owen, D. (2017). Building Digital Identities: The Challenges, Risks and Opportunities of Collecting Behavioural Attributes For New Digital Identity Systems. University of Exeter.

Cinnamon, J., Jones, S.K. & Adger, W.N. (2016). Evidence and future potential of mobile phone data for disease disaster management. Geoforum 75, 253-264.

Cinnamon, J. (2015). Deconstructing the binaries of spatial data production: Towards hybridity. The Canadian Geographer 59(1), 35-51.

Selected Grants & Awards

2022-2024: Research Grant – The Experimental Digital City: Learning from the Kelowna Model of Smart Urban Innovation. Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).  Principal Investigator.

2022-2026: Research Grant – Urban Platforms: Aesthetics, Inequality, and World-Class City Making. Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). Co-Investigator.

2019: Commissioned Research Award – University of Manchester Sustainable Consumption Institute (UK)

2016-2018: Research Grant – Arts and Humanities Research Council (UK)

2016: Atlas Award for research with the potential for significant social impact, for the Geoforum article “Evidence and future potential of mobile phone data for disease disaster management”.

2017: Visiting Research Fellowship – National Research Foundation (South Africa)

2016: Research Grant – Economic and Social Research Council (UK)

2015: Research Grant – Economic and Social Research Council and Department for International Development (UK)

2013-15: Postdoctoral Fellowship – SSHRC

2009-2012: Canada Graduate Scholarship (PhD) – SSHRC

2009: Accelerate Award – MITACS

2009, 2011: Community Support Grant – CIHR

Professional Services/Affiliations/Committees

Associate Editor – Digital Geography and Society

Editorial Board Member: The Canadian Geographer / Le Géographe canadien

Editorial Board Member: Digital Geography and Society

Member: Peer Review College, Economic and Social Research Council (UK, 2015-2019)

Member: Canadian Association of Geographers

Member: American Association of Geographers

Fellow: Royal Geographical Society (with Institute of British Geographers)


Apologies, but no results were found.