• Coming Out by Staying In: Men Who Have Sex with Men in the Niagara Region and How They Represent Themselves Online

      Epp, Richard; Department of Geography
      In regions without a gay enclave and limited traditional gay venues, the Internet has become an important space for men who have sex with men (MSM) to connect. Understanding that socio-spatial relations govern gendered and sexual subjectivities, this study examines how the personal advertisement site, Craigslist, and the dating website, PlentyOfFish (POF), regulate the representations of MSM on those sites in the Niagara Region. Relying on two hundred fifty personal advertisements collected on Craigslist and one hundred dating profiles collected on POF, I develop two case studies that explore how website design and policies, performativities and notions of privacy contribute to the production of MSM representations. Using a queer theoretical approach, I deconstruct processes in these sites which produce gendered and sexual subjects. This study finds that heteronormative discourses embedded in the complex geographies of the two sites of study govern the gendered and sexual representations of MSM. The MSM representations examined in these case studies typically present particular intersections of masculinities that attempt to resemble hegemonic understandings of masculinity. These heteronormative discourses limit the queer expressions. The limiting of queer expressions challenges the utopian understandings of the Internet as a space for MSM to explore their gender and sexuality.
    • Competing and Conflicting Land Uses at the Rural-Urban Interface: Understanding the Impacts of Residential Development on Agricultural Landscapes

      Epp, Sara; Department of Geography (Brock University, 2013-02-12)
      Rural communities are currently undergoing rapid restructuring as globalization impacts the future viability of many small towns. Agricultural regions throughout Canada, in particular, Niagara-on-the-Lake, are forced to adapt to changes within the industry. In addition to these challenges, sprawling residential developments from nearby urban centres are changing the dynamic of this town, resulting in conflicts between the residential and agricultural land uses. This thesis explores these conflicts from the perspective of the residents and the farmers. It was found that the initial sources of conflict related to noise-generating farm activities are no longer a concern, while the use of pesticide have become a source of contention among the residents. The farmers, alternately, were found to be proactive and strived to limit the potential for conflict with adjacent residents. Lastly, it was determined that planning legislation aggravates land use conflicts within Niagara-on-the-Lake and need to better address these land use conflicts.
    • Consuming Niagara's Agricultural Landscapes: A Regional Assessment of the Constraints and Opportunities for Developing a Sustainable Agritourism Destination

      Huellemann, Denyelle; Department of Geography
      Farmers in the Niagara Region have experienced worsening economic conditions in recent years due largely to globalization-induced competition and other exogenous forces. The subsequent agricultural restructuring process has prompted farmers to adopt agritourism as a means of sustaining their small family-owned operations because its activities generate additional income by inviting visitors to consume value-added products and/or services associated with the rural idyll. The number of agritourism operations continues to increase throughout this geographic area over time. Efforts to include agritourism in policy and planning documents are also visible in the Provincial Policy Statement, the Regional Municipality of Niagara’s Official Plan, and various municipal Official Plans. As such, this thesis draws on the perspectives of agritourism operators, government officials (i.e., planners and economic development operators), and representatives from not-for-profit organizations as a means to explore agritourism as a strategy of rural economic development in the Niagara Region. The analysis identifies stakeholders’ use of place-based development, entrepreneurs’ knowledge of product, high quality standards, and the presence of strategic partnerships as industry-related opportunities. Several constraints are also made known; however, they are found to affect agritourism operations that are not part of the wine and grape growing faction of industry on a larger scale. Proactive planning policies, more effective marketing strategies, workshop-based education, and better communication between stakeholders might enhance the future development of the agritourism industry. Overall, it is argued that agritourism is a viable rural economic development strategy for the Niagara Region to pursue, especially if operations are based in wine and grape growing.
    • Defining Freedom: An Ethnographic Study with American Vanlifers

      Murray, Stephanie; Department of Geography
      Moving alongside the “snowbirds” and grey nomads that have been discussed in the academic literature, there is a group of nomads that appears to have escaped scholarly attention. United under the “vanlife” and “buslife” hashtags, these individuals belong to a community of nomads who convert ordinary (and sometimes, extraordinary) vehicles into living spaces, and travel North America’s backroads in search of freedom and adventure. Using Cresswell’s definition of mobility as the combination of movement, representation, and practice, this thesis explores the meanings that American vanlifers assign to their mobility. Relying on participant observation and ethnographic interview data collected on the road during the summer of 2017, this thesis argues that when we deconstruct vehicle nomads’ use of the word “freedom,” it reveals important information about how they understand their mobility. By using a relational ontology and employing an epistemology of mobility rather than place, this thesis also attempts to expand the ways in which mobility can be understood by geographers. Through a detailed exploration of participants’ representations and practices, this study finds that when vanlifers used the word “freedom,” they were referring to their mobility in three specific senses: as freedom from social norms, freedom from routines and schedules, and freedom to pick up and go whenever they liked. As existing studies on RVers and British traditional nomads have already captured similar uses of the word “freedom” among their participants, this finding draws the existing research on vehicle nomadism into conversation in a productive way.
    • Detached from Our Bodies: Representing women's mental health and well-being with graphic memoirs

      Pierce, Katelyn; Department of Geography
      Geography has recently undergone a creative return whereby influences from the humanities inspire the production, analysis, and incorporation of creative works in geographical research (de Leeuw & Hawkins, 2017). With their ever-growing popularity in the humanities, graphic novels are one example of a creative work gaining epistemological momentum in geography. Graphic novels have proven attractive to geographers for their ability to represent knowledges that challenge dominant social structures and discourses. In this thesis, I conduct visual, textual, and discourse analyses of three graphic memoirs by women that challenge pathological mental health discourses: Lighter Than My Shadow by Katie Green, Inside Out: Portrait of an Eating Disorder by Nadia Shivack, and My Depression by Elizabeth Swados. Using an interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research approach, I build on the literatures from the geohumanities, feminist geographies, graphic medicine, and health geographies to argue that subjective and embodied representations of women in graphic novels subvert dominant mental health narratives promoting pathology, ableism, and invisibilization. I analyze the graphic novels to support three key claims: 1) graphic novels can contribute to, and contest dominant mental health discourses, 2) graphic novels can operate as a means to contest universalized pathographies by representing marginalized experiences, and 3) graphic novels can challenge the limits of Cartesian dualism in mental health practice that exclude women’s experiences. With these ideas at the fore, the implication of this research is to offer healthcare providers, patients, and the general public alternative ways of understanding mental health. This research also serves to advocate for the merits of using graphic novels to provide options for access to health care and health equity.
    • A Domestic Geography of Money: How Mortgage Debt, Home Prices, and Toronto’s Condominiums “Prop up” the Canadian Economy

      Fischer, Adam; Department of Geography
      The most recent financialized redefinition of the home in Canada has arisen in response to the global financial crisis of 2008. The global financial crisis negatively impacted nations around the world, yet, in Canada the effects were lightly felt. In response to this crisis, Canadian banks received significant financial support from the government through the Insured Mortgage Purchase Program and the Canada Mortgage Bond program totaling roughly $137.55 billion. These two programs incentivized Canadian lenders to relax mortgage qualifying standards, to generate increased mortgage debt which could then be packaged into mortgage backed securities. Through discourse analysis of primarily government reports, this thesis contextualizes the inflation of house prices and household debt since the global financial crisis and considers how an “adverse economic event” may cause a downward spiral of unemployment, mortgage default, and a steep decline in house prices. It examines the significance of Toronto and its condominium market in “propping up” the economy through the increased generation of mortgage debt. It is through this urban, geographical analysis that we see the human and physical realization of Canada’s current economic milieu.
    • Geographical Applications for Sound Walks

      Jenkinson, Warren; Department of Geography (Brock University, 2015-02-13)
      Geography has long been a predominantly visual discipline, but recent work in geography has sought to explore the multisensory, embodied, emotional and affective dimensions of people’s relations with places. One way to engage this type of exploration is through the use of sound walks: walks along a specified route accompanied by a soundtrack (on headphones or stationary speakers) that conveys information, enacts a story, produces an ambience or atmosphere, or illuminates certain aspects of the environment through which the listener is walking. This thesis aims to show how geographers can benefit from using sound walks as thinking tools, representational tools and teaching tools. Drawing on my own experiences producing sound walks, I first examine the ways that sound walk production processes help generate productive geographical thinking for those producing sound walks (Chapter Two). The various stages of producing a sound walk require different skill sets, pose different challenges, and require different sorts of environmental awareness, and therefore present novel opportunities for developing geographical insights about specific places or spatial relations. Second, I focus on four experientially-oriented aspects of sound walks – using multiple senses, walking, contingency, and moments of interaction – to argue that sound walks can be useful representational tools for geographers, whether those creating sound walks subscribe to a representational or non-representational theory of knowledge (Chapter Three). The value of sound walks as representational tools is in the experience of ‘doing’ them. That is, audiences discover for themselves through interaction what is being represented, rather than having it delivered to them. The experiential elements of ‘doing’ sound walks recommend them as potentially helpful representational tools for geographers. Third, by examining the work of a small sample of fourth year “Advanced Geography of Music” students, I develop the argument that sound walks can be effective tools for teaching students and for creating circumstances for students to learn independently (Chapter Four). Sound walks have potential to be effective pedagogical tools because they are commensurate with several key pedagogical schools of thought that emphasise the importance of requiring students to engage actively with their environment using a combination of senses. The thesis demonstrates that sound walks are a worthwhile resource for geographers to use theoretically, representationally and pedagogically in their work. The next step is for geographers to put them into practice and realize this potential.
    • Glasgow's Queer Battleground

      McCartan, Andrew; Department of Geography
      As LGBTQ rights have gained increasing acceptance in Western countries, Pride events have come to stand as examples of the complex reality of inclusion in public space as it is experienced by contemporary LGBTQ groups. This thesis takes the case study of Glasgow, Scotland, between 2015 and 2016, to examine a grassroots activist intervention into how Pride events queer public space. The group Free Pride critiqued the mainstream Pride event organized by the group Pride Glasgow, and created its own alternative event. This thesis analyses the debates in Glasgow to examine the extent to which the concepts of homonormativity and queer space can help us understand this contestation. Drawing on archival research, participant observation, and interviews with the key players in Free Pride, this thesis argues that debates surrounding homonormativity and Pride can be understood through three key discursive themes of radical politics, commodification, and exclusion. This thesis argues first that while Free Pride have legitimate grounds to critique Pride Glasgow, Pride Glasgow’s spaces are more complex than a homonormative critique allows. And second, that while Free Pride works to open up new possibilities for queerer spaces and identities in Glasgow, this process is complex and contradictory.
    • “Illegal Aliens” and the Inconspicuous Geographies of US Immigration and Border Policing within 100 Miles of the US-Canada Border

      Coskan, Mert; Department of Geography (Brock University, 2013-01-24)
      Legal provisions in the US have extended the idea of the border to the inside of US territory. Border Patrol Agents confront people in different spaces to inquire about their status. I examine border policing along the northern border of the United States through textual and discourse analysis. This thesis asks: How do border agents exercise power and control the movement of people within 100 miles of the border? In whose interest is the border, the “nation,” secured? The spaces in which these mobile borders are practiced become the sites where “citizens” and “aliens” are produced, reproduced and contested. These border policing practices create the illusion of a “nation” that is secured for “our” interests. However, the interests of these vulnerable groups are not reflected in the immigration policy and along the “border. Therefore the very existence of immigrants and their basic right to be in the US is undermined.
    • ‘Molida’, That’s Shimshali Food: Modernization, Mobility, Food Talk, and the Constitution of Identity in Shimshal, Pakistan

      Hamill, Julia; Department of Geography
      This thesis examines how “food talk” – or talking about food – is used by members of a rural community in mountainous northern Pakistan called Shimshal to articulate identities to both local and transcultural audiences. Food and food practices have been well-established as important resources for the constitution and performance of identity, including in contexts of mobility and modernization. However, the literature on food, identity, and mobility tends to focus on contexts that involve primarily linear, unidirectional, and permanent movement from one country to another. My thesis draws attention to contexts of multilocality, a common livelihood strategy in Shimshal and other rural communities in the Global South in which household members move between and maintain connections in multiple spatially-distanced locations at once. In particular, I examine instances of transcultural identity constitution, in which Shimshalis construct representations for themselves and for outsiders. These kinds of interactions exemplify the increasingly common representational contexts that are both produced by and characteristic of the circumstances of mobility, multilocality, and modernization in which I am interested. To examine how food talk was used as a conversational resource for transcultural articulations of identity, I conduct discourse analysis on two sets of pre-existing published texts: a collection of oral testimonies and an archive of narrativized photographs. I identify four main discourses of modern Shimshali identity in the texts – unity, agropastoralism and modernity, exceptionalism, and multilocality – and trace how food talk is used to help perform these identity tropes to local and transcultural audiences, with talk about food as an agropastoral mode of production, community, health, ‘modernity’, ritual, ‘tradition’, and wealth particularly salient as identity resources. I also show how the use of food talk as an identity resource is shaped by the context in which it is employed, including the perceived aims of different texts and the symbolic and material changes in food itself. Drawing on an autoethnographic sensibility, I suggest that we can gain more meaningful insights into the performance of identity and food talk by attending to the specific contexts of their production and reception. Finally, I show how food talk and identity have changed (and been maintained) in the two sets of texts I analyze, which take place across a period of rapid increases in mobility and multilocality. By doing so, this thesis brings together and contributes to preoccupations from mobility studies, modernization and development studies, migration and multilocality, food studies, identity studies, discourse analysis, and geographical research on rural northern Pakistan.
    • The neoliberalization of street vending policy in Lima, Peru: the politics of citizenship. property and public space in the production of a new urban marginality

      Wood, Ian; Department of Geography (Brock University, 2013-04-19)
      Neoliberalism is having a significant and global impact on political, social and economic life across spaces. This work illustrates how neoliberalism is attempting to change the ways in which the urban poor - particularly those that participate in street vending - use urban spaces in Lima, Peru. Using municipal policies, newspaper articles and local academic texts I argue that there is a changing marginality in Lima that is being experienced by street vendors, and currently in los canas of Lima. In particular, I discuss formalization, a neoliberal strategy in street vending policy, which is used with eradication and social assistance strategies in attempts to re-regulate street vendors.
    • Personal soundtracks on public transit : personal listening devices and socio-spatial negotiations of students' bus journeys

      Hemsworth, Katie; Department of Geography (Brock University, 2010-10-26)
      One way of exploring the power of sound in the experience and constitution of space is through the phenomenon of personal listening devices (PLDs) in public environments. In this thesis, I draw from in-depth interviews with eleven Brock University students in S1. Catharines, Ontario, to show how PLDs (such as MP3 players like the iPod) are used to create personalized soundscapes and mediate their public transit journeys. I discuss how my interview participants experience the space-time of public transit, and show how PLDs are used to mediate these experiences in acoustic and non-acoustic ways. PLD use demonstrates that acoustic and environmental experiences are co-constitutive, which highlights a kinaesthetic quality of the transit-space. My empirical findings show that PLDs transform space, particularly by overlapping public and private appropriations of the bus. I use these empirical findings to discuss the PLD phenomenon in the theoretical context of spatiality, and more specifically, acoustic space. J develop the ontological notion of acoustic space, stating that space shares many of the properties of sound, and argue that sound is a rich epistemological tool for understanding and explaining our everyday experiences.
    • Rethinking Fiscal Decentralization Policies in Developing Economies: A Case Study of Ghana

      Boateng, Micheal; Department of Geography (Brock University, 2014-05-22)
      This thesis invites geographers to pay more attention to public policy research by addressing the need to rethink fiscal decentralization policies in Ghana. By applying “Simandan’s wise stance in human geography” and “Grix’s building blocks of social research design”, I developed a conceptual framework that unites two incommensurable ontological and epistemological research positions in geography—the positive and normative positions. I used the framework to investigate two key research questions. First, does fiscal decentralization actually work in Ghana? Through quantitative analysis of empirical revenue and expenditure data (1994-2011) of local governments in Ghana, this study reveals significant issues of inefficiency, inequity, and unaccountability. Local governments generate less revenue, and therefore depend largely on central government transfers for developing their jurisdictions. Worse yet, these transfers are highly unpredictable in terms of amount and timing. Even though a multivariate regression analysis revealed that these transfers are apolitical, the actual disbursement formula tends to focus on equality instead of equity. Additionally, the unclear expenditure assignments in each locality make accountability difficult. In view of these problems, I addressed the question: why is fiscal decentralization held out as a good thing in Ghana? By drawing lessons from Foucault’s and Escobar’s critical discourse analysis, I traced a genealogy of Ghana’s fiscal decentralization. I found that the policy is held out as a good thing in Ghana because of the triangular operation of multiplicities of power, knowledge, and truth regimes at the local, national and international scale. I concluded that although nation-states remains a necessary causal link in fiscal decentralization policy process in Ghana, direct and indirect international involvement have profound effect on these policies. Therefore, rethinking fiscal decentralization involves acknowledging the complex intermingling effects that global, national, and local territories produce.
    • Rural Youths’ Perspectives on the Significance and Impacts of New Roads: The Case of Kaasa - Zogsa Road, Builsa North District, Ghana

      Adeetuk, Lina; Department of Geography
      This thesis investigates the uneven and differential implications of a newly constructed road for residents of Kaasa, a rural community in northern Ghana, with an emphasis on youth, a group whose experiences and practices in relation to road-based mobility have been largely overlooked. It also examines the labour-intensive model used to construct the road, and the relationship between this construction model and the completed road’s uneven implications for community members. Primary data was collected using in-depth qualitative phone interviews with a sample of 15 youth from Kaasa, the road-building project supervisor, and the local assemblyman. Analysis of this material, which employs a motility capital – or motility – framework, yielded three main typologies: (a) six implications of involving locals in the road-building process, (b) six themes that describe youths’ lived experiences of the new road, and (c) five additional themes that summarise youths’ perspectives on the implications of the new road for the community as a whole. Findings reveal that these three sets of implications overlap significantly, and that locals’ ability to experience the benefits of the newly constructed road depend mainly on their motility, including the assets and opportunities they possess as well as the ambition to act on available opportunities. By contributing to knowledge on the multifaceted material and social implications of rural road construction for differently positioned individuals in a small rural community, this thesis also adds to knowledge on rural development research and practice, and the new mobilities scholarship in the social sciences.
    • Scales, networks and uncertainty : an examination of environmental policy-making in Ontario

      Calvert, Kirby.; Department of Geography (Brock University, 2009-02-16)
      Through a case-study analysis of Ontario's ethanol policy, this thesis addresses a number of themes that are consequential to policy and policy-making: spatiality, democracy and uncertainty. First, I address the 'spatial debate' in Geography pertaining to the relevance and affordances of a 'scalar' versus a 'flat' ontoepistemology. I argue that policy is guided by prior arrangements, but is by no means inevitable or predetermined. As such, scale and network are pragmatic geographical concepts that can effectively address the issue of the spatiality of policy and policy-making. Second, I discuss the democratic nature of policy-making in Ontario through an examination of the spaces of engagement that facilitate deliberative democracy. I analyze to what extent these spaces fit into Ontario's environmental policy-making process, and to what extent they were used by various stakeholders. Last, I take seriously the fact that uncertainty and unavoidable injustice are central to policy, and examine the ways in which this uncertainty shaped the specifics of Ontario's ethanol policy. Ultimately, this thesis is an exercise in understanding sub-national environmental policy-making in Canada, with an emphasis on how policy-makers tackle the issues they are faced with in the context of environmental change, political-economic integration, local priorities, individual goals, and irreducible uncertainty.
    • Social Media Representations of Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan, and their relation to Metropolitan Domination: The Case of Attabad Lake

      Farrukh, Syed Khuraam; Department of Geography
      This thesis links the colonial and post-colonial representational history of Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan with new actors, emerging representational practices, and contemporary cellular, digital, and virtual modes of representation. The power-laden, partial, and exclusionary nature of colonial representations is well established; this thesis investigates the emerging role of new actors, virtual spaces, and altered representational practices in relation to colonial and post-colonial representations. In order to do this, the thesis examines the representational practices of a range of local and down-country Pakistani actors in virtual spaces, as they relate specifically to the Attabad Lake, a natural disaster turned tourist hotspot in Hunza, Gilgit-Baltistan. Situating Attabad’s touristification (itself a product of improved road links, cellular connectivity and the site’s visual attractiveness) against the backdrop of colonial and postcolonial representational practices pertaining to Gilgit-Baltistan, I analyze how virtual spaces act as institutional platforms for the production and reproduction of predominantly orientalist discourse. Using textual and pictorial evidence from four virtual data streams (two Facebook pages and two Instagram accounts), I develop the argument that contemporary online representations of Attabad constitute Gilgit-Baltistan discursively in ways that perpetuate (and sometimes disrupt) longstanding colonial and postcolonial portrayals of the region and its people. A significant effect of these online representations is to legitimate Gilgit-Baltistan’s political, economic and cultural domination and control by lowland Pakistan and the Pakistani state.
    • Student Commuting Patterns and their Effects on Readiness to Learn and Academic Achievement

      Tayler, Paul; Department of Geography
      This study examines how student modal choice to commute to school influences student readiness to learn and academic achievement during the first learning period of the day. The goal of all educational policies, curriculum expectation, literature, and studies is to develop a deeper understanding of student learning, teaching, teaching strategies, and conditions around educating that can better education and teach students. It is vital to understand how students learn, in which conditions promote different levels of learning and to help students succeed in the classroom. Much of the research around student learning and understanding how to better prepare students to learn has focused on social, emotional, physical and intellectual factors at home, in the community, and at school. There has been virtually no formal research investigating the role that transportation and modal choice have on student learning once they arrive at school. This research includes surveying students to determine their individual commuting patterns and interviewing the students’ teachers to outline students’ readiness to learn in the morning and perceived academic achievement. The study areas in this research are elementary schools in St. Catharines and Thorold within the District School Board of Niagara. The findings from this research seem to suggest that students who walk to school are more ready to learn in the morning than any other mode of transportation. Also, students’ perceived academic achievement is less dependent on modal choice as teachers could not explicitly link mode of transportation and academic achievement. This research was exploratory and there are opportunities to further research how student modal choice to get to school influences student readiness to learn and perceived academic achievement.
    • Sustainable Food Systems in northern Ghana: Assessing the influence of International Development

      Kwao, Benjamin; Department of Geography
      The concept of sustainable food systems gained prominence in the food security discourse as evidence from the 2007-2008 and 2010 world food and financial crisis suggested that food systems were under stress. The concept calls for a move from the production centered notion of food security towards a more socially and ecologically sensitive notion which is interested in addressing a complex array of problems that have rendered the food system ineffective. Given the continued prevalence of poverty and food insecurity in northern Ghana, this study assesses the attempts of international development agencies to improve food security in the region using the notion of sustainable food systems as the assessment criteria. Through triangulation, the study uses a combination of qualitative interview data and documentary analysis to answer the research questions. Various discourses of sustainability and concepts are used to deepen the understanding of the concept, leading to the identification of eight practical goals towards achieving sustainable food systems. Using the practical goals of achieving sustainable food systems as the assessment criteria, the study reveals that the food system in northern Ghana is unsustainable due to three categories of impediments (natural, cultural and economic, and institutional). The assessment of the World Food Programme development assistance in northern Ghana shows that international development operations remain ineffective in addressing the impediments to achieving sustainable food systems in the region. WFP’s interventions failed to achieve its potential due to institutional inefficiencies of the agency and its partners. The study contributes to development policy and practice in northern Ghana by establishing the need for development partners to improve institutional efficiency and coordination, empower marginalized groups to access their rights, and prioritize agricultural irrigation in the region.
    • There's No Place Like (Rural) Home: Why People Choose Rural Despite Decline

      Casey, Rebekah; Department of Geography
      Rural communities play a major role in the Canadian landscape and identity. As such it is important to explore the role of rural Canadian communities and why people are so drawn to them. The purpose of this research is to explore why people are so attached to rural communities across Canada despite the presence of economic and population decline. This has been achieved through a thematic analysis of the transcripts of CBC TV series “Still Standing”. An interview with the show producer was also conducted in order to gain background information of the show. The results showed that, above all, there is a strong desire and determination to stay among community members. They will do “whatever it takes” in order to stay in the community and continue calling it home. Results also showed that residents were not concerned with initiating significant growth for the community, they simply wanted to maintain the livability of the community for themselves. Many community members spoke about various initiatives and solutions that they had developed that were quite creative in terms of community resilience. Community members also often used place-based assets and unique local qualities as a catalyst for development in the community. One of the primary challenges that was common for communities regardless of their region or province was the threat and challenge of youth outmigration. Many community members were concerned that youth outmigration would threaten the survival of their communities in the future. Some of the challenges that emerged from this research included the limited number of communities that could be studied, as well as the fact that data was taken from the transcripts of an edited television show.
    • Transforming Downtown St. Catharines into a Creative Cluster

      Wierzba, Tomasz; Department of Geography (Brock University, 2014-10-30)
      The City of St. Catharines, located on the southern shore of Lake Ontario, is Niagara Region's only major urban node. Like many small/medium-sized cities in Canada and abroad, the city experienced a rapid decline of large-scale manufacturing in the 1990s. In a renewed attempt to recover from this economic depression, and spurred by Provincial policy, the City implemented the Downtown Creative Cluster Master Plan (DCCMP) in 2008. In this thesis I conduct a discourse analysis of the DCCMP. My analysis indicates that DCCMP is shaped by neoliberal economic development paradigms. As such it is designed to restructure the downtown into a creative cluster by attracting developers/investors and appealing to the interests, tastes, and desires of middle-class consumers and creatives. I illustrate that this competitive city approach to urban planning has a questionable track record, and has been shown to result in retail and residential gentrification and displacement.