Skip to content
Arnisson Andre Ortega

Arnisson Andre Ortega

Contact Information:

215B Lyman Hall

Arnisson Andre Ortega

Assistant Professor, Geography and the Environment Department

Faculty Affiliate, Community Geography


  • 2024 Spring
    • GEO 323/623 Quantitative Methods in Human Geography
    • GEO 364 Urban Social Justice
  • 2023 Fall
    • GEO 382 Counter-Mapping
    • GEO 105 World Urban Geography
  • 2022 Fall
    • GEO 300 Selected Topics - Counter-Mapping
    • GEO 105 World Urban Geography
  • 2022 Spring
    • GEO 400/600 Selected Topics - Quantitative Methods-Human Geo
    • GEO 300 Selected Topics - Urban Condition:Social Justice

Highest degree earned

Ph.D., University of Washington, Seattle, 2012


I am a human geographer and critical demographer who is passionate about social justice. My interests lie at the intersection of urban, population and community geographies. In particular, I examine the spatial politics of urbanization in the cities of the Global South, interlinking urban transformations with transnational mobilities of migrants, capital and ideas, and interrogating the multiple spatial configurations of accumulation by dispossession. Over the past few years, I have focused on urban transformations in the Philippines, contributing to theorizations of new urban forms in the Global South, transnational urbanisms and geographies of dispossessions.

I am an advocate for decolonial approaches in geography, particularly in underscoring commitment to place and in blurring the boundaries between the spaces of research and praxis. I am interested in developing creative ways of translating knowledge into practice by making use of mixed methods and participatory methodologies. My theoretical expositions draw from Global South terrains in order to further enrich an understanding of the ever-changing spatial configurations of capital, cultures, economies and politics; and to make sense of the enduring neo-colonial relations that undergird the production of multiple spaces.

My articles have appeared in the Annals of the Association of American Geographers, Urban Geography, Cities, and Geoforum, among others. My recent book entitled “Neoliberalizing Spaces in the Philippines: Suburbanization, Transnational Migration, and Dispossession,” examined the spatial contradictions of suburban development in Manila’s peri-urban fringe, wherein real estate growth and the transnational mobilities of overseas Filipinos have led to large-scale dispossessions of informal settlers, farmers and indigenous peoples caught in urban transitions. The book won the 2018 Institute of Philippine Culture Award for Best Global Research About the Philippines and the 2017 Philippine Social Science Council Virginia Miralao Award for Research.

More recently, I have collaborated with other scholars, artists and activists on counter-mapping projects that work with communities caught in development aggression in the Philippines. Several counter-mapping initiatives are also being planned to support indigenous communities in Asia and Latin America. I have also made initial inroads in conducting comparative transnational urbanisms by interlinking transnational mobilities of foreign retirees with urban change in the Philippines, from the role of East Asian retirees in spurring real estate development in metro Manila to the island urbanisms arising in part due to interracial marriages and partnerships. Future research will compare how transnational mobilities of overseas migrant workers and residents shape sustainability issues in peri-urban communities in the Philippines, Rwanda and Bangladesh. 

Areas of Expertise

Community geography, urban geography, population geography, Global South cities, migration, transnationalism, suburbanization, population, socio-spatial theory, decolonization, quantitative methods, mixed-methods, critical demography, counter-mapping

Research Grant Awards and Projects

"Geographies Of Refugee Resettlement And Post-Industrial Urban Renewal In Rust Belt Cities", Sponsored by Regional Studies Association.

"Community Geography in Utqiaġvik, Alaska: Exploring Geographies of Contemporary Iñupiat-Filipino Solidarity and Arctic Environmental Justice", Sponsored by Department of Geography and Environment, Syracuse Universit.

"Today's Geographies of Imperialism Workshop", Sponsored by PARCC.

"Geographies of refugee resettlement and post-industrial urban renewal in Rust belt cities", Sponsored by Regional Science Association.

Sponsored by Syracuse Office of Undergraduate Research & Creative Engagement (SOURCE) Research Assistant Grant.

Selected Publications

Presentations and Events

Indigenous Lands in the Philippines: A Workshop on Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (October 26, 2023)

Institute of Australian Geographers Conference, "Post urban-rural frontiers? Examining diverse island urbanisms in the Philippines" (July 7, 2023)

International Sociological Association World Congress of Sociology, "Post urban-rural frontiers? Examining diverse island urbanisms in the Philippines" (June 30, 2023)

Space for Engagement and Epistemic Diversity (SEED) and Cities and Environments Research Network (CERN), "Post Urban-Rural Frontiers? Examining Diverse Island Urbanisms in the Philippines" (June 24, 2023)

Canadian Association of Geographers, "Filipinx Geographies" (May 10, 2023)

Departmental Colloquium, University of Illinois Urbana Champagne, "From the gates to the islands: examining geographies of transnational urbanisms in the Philippines" (February 3, 2023)

Counter-mapping the City International Virtual Conference (March 15, 2022 - March 16, 2022)

Philippines Social Science Seminar Series, Sydney Southeast Asia Centre, University of the Philippines, Diliman, Humboldt University of Berlin, and SOAS University of London, "Island urbanisms in the Philippines: gender, urban development, and transnationalism" (October 21, 2021)

Ural Federal University Ural Humanitarian Institute, "Meet the Authors: a roundtable session on academic writing" (October 11, 2021)

Philippines webinar presentation, "Geo-narratives of Human Rights Defenders in Negros Island" (July 9, 2021)

Makasaysayang Pakikibaka sa Isla ng Negros, "Defend the Defenders: Talakayan sa Sosyo-Ekonomikong Krisis" (March 26, 2021)

Filipinos webinar series, "Urban Spaces: Isolation, Inequalities, and Expectations" (August 17, 2020)

Countermapping PH Webinar Series, "Rest in Space: Violent Geographies and Necropolitics in the times of Crisis" (April 24, 2020)

Humphrey Fellowship Syracuse Enhancement Workshop, Syracuse University, "Counter-mapping for Social Justice" (February 27, 2020)

Institute of Social Theory and Dynamics, Tokyo, "Expulsion to necroburbia: suburban relocation, necropolitics, and violent geographies in Manila" (October 27, 2019)

Ortega, A. C., Dizon, H., Feminist Explorations of the Urban Futures Conference, York University, "Women hold up half the sky: urban poor women in the struggle for urban social justice in Manila" (September 28, 2019)

University of the Philippines, Diliman, "Maptime Diliman X Geography Week 2019: Counter-mapping the Philippines" (March 21, 2019)

Ortega, A. C., Barrett, B., Counter-mapping workshops for HALO Trust teams in Myanmar, Halo Trust offices in Hpa’an and Lashio (March 16, 2019)

International Partner Meeting of the Center for Sustainable, Healthy, and Learning Cities and Neighborhoods (SHLC), University of Rwanda, "International Urban Policies – New Urban Agenda and SDG-11" (January 21, 2019)

Honors and Accolades

Award for Best Global Research About the Philippines, Institute of Philippine Culture (2018)

International Publication Award, University of the Philippines (2017)

The Virginia A. Miralao Excellence in Research Award, Philippine Social Science Council (2017)

World Social Science Fellowship, International Social Science Council (2016)

World Social Science Fellowship, International Social Science Council (2015)