• 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.
    • Understanding Post-secondary Student Mobility and its Impact on Wellbeing

      Gervais, Jacqueline; Department of Geography
      There are approximately 30,000 Brock University and Niagara College students making their way around Niagara region to attend school, engage in social activities, and contribute to the local economy through their employment and shopping, among many other activities. Unfortunately, however, transportation barriers discourage or prevent many of these students from fully participating in community life. While numerous studies have examined the linkages between transportation and public health, few have been focused specifically on the post-secondary student demographic, including Niagara’s university and college students. Through the application of a mobilities lens, along with The Five Ways to Wellbeing and Determinants of Health frameworks, this study examines the ways in which students’ levels of transportation accessibility impact their levels of mobility and subjective wellbeing. By applying a mixed methods approach, including an online survey and a photovoice project, this study has found that there are geographic-type and person-type barriers that create inequities and, in some cases, exclusions. Geographically, students living in certain Niagara municipalities, or attending certain campuses, have longer and more convoluted trips leading to a lower sense of satisfaction and subjective sense of wellbeing. Person-type barriers are characteristics that are unique to populations of people such as being domestic or international students, gender and having hidden disabilities. Building on Cresswell’s relational moments of mobility and Flamm & Kaufman’s motility, this study exposes the ‘hidden’ power relations that are fundamental to being mobile subjects and, ultimately, students’ subjective wellbeing.