Intersections 2015-2016

Intersections: exploring space, community, and local governance

Mapping a Bright Future for Alberta's Young Children: The ECMap Project

Date: November 24, 2015

Abstract: This seminar will overview the Early Childhood Mapping (ECMap) project and illustrates its findings using interactive maps. Studies and everyday experiences teach us that when young children thrive, they and our communities thrive in both the short and long term. A critical question for all of us is "How well are Alberta's preschool children doing and how is their development being affected by the communities in which they live?" ECMap analyzed information on the development of over 70,000 preschool children and created interactive maps of the data for all Alberta communities. Every community coalition received and used the information for local planning.

Presenter: Dr. Susan Lynch (Project Director for ECMap)

Culture, Governance, and Practices: Examining Flood Management in High River, AB

Date: February 23, 2016

Abstract: Numerous jurisdictions around the world have found the flooding issues are effectively addressed through systems-approaches that incorporate environmental and socio-political dimensions, as well as more integrated approaches requires institutional, rather than technological, innovation,as well as a cultural shift since culture is one of the main determining factors for disaster losses. Culture shapes disaster governance, consisting of norms, organizational and institutional actors, and practices designed to reduce the impacts and losses associated with disasters. The cost of large-infrastructure mitigation approaches - especially during an economic downturn - and the continued increase in losses from disaster events in Canada, have revealed the need to incorporate natural flood mitigation and nonstructural adjustments that address social factors, such as risk perception, historical development paths, and governance processes, all of which play important roles in reducing disaster risks and enhancing resilience. Did the 2013 floods, the most costly natural disaster in the history of Canada, trigger changes in Alberta's culture, governance, and practices related to flood management? This presentation explores findings from a case study on decision-making and land-use planning in High River, Alberta, the town with a history of flooding and most impacted by the 2013.

Presenter: Eva Bogdan (Doctoral candidate in Sociology, University of Alberta)

Edmonton, Amiskwaciy: Suburbs for Settlers

Date: March 15, 2016

Abstract: The Edmonton case study is an accessible exploration of a southeast Edmonton suburb, which focuses on the history, development, and transformation of the Mill Woods district. The 200 year long process of land settlement in and around Edmonton challenges conventional understandings of suburbanism. We look at the Indigenous community of Papaschase Cree Reservation-136 as Edmonton's first suburb. This is one of many historical 'layers' of settlement of the land that is now Mill Woods, and the research will explore the ways in which this early settlement has left an imprint on the community and remains relevant to this day.

York University, Toronto, hosts The Global Suburbanisms Project, a worldwide collaborative research initiative investigating the state of global suburban systems. This Edmonton case study contributes to the North American Research Cluster of the Global Suburbanism Project.

Presenter: Dr. Rob Shields

Timescapes of Urban Change

Date: April 4, 2016

Abstract: Underpinning urban change are a multiplicity of temporal narratives, practices and ideologies which operate at different speeds and intensities (Harvey 1990; Lefebvre 2004; Edensor 2010). By drawing on research projects from Barcelona (Spain) and Doha (Qatar), I argue that we need to examine how diverse timescapes converge or conflict in urban regeneration processes across the structural and experiential level to produce a particular sense of place. In particular I propose to understand urban change as a long-term process and place making as a temporal-sensory practice. The second project I would like to introduce is my 'Sensory Cities' network (funded by the AHRC) which aims to bring together urban professionals, academics and museum curators across Europe to discuss how to research, represent and curate present and past sensory urban experiences. What links these two projects is together is questions around how academic research on the 'soft attributes' of the city such as time, the senses or emotions can be made meaningful and available to the wider public and urban professionals. Both projects show that sensory-temporal narratives, practices and ideologies lie at the heart of the contested politics of urban change.

Presenter: Professor Monica Degen, Brunel University. Dr. Monica Degen is a Senior Lecturer in Cultural Sociology at Brunel University London. Her current research interests include urban life and culture, spatial politics with an emphasis on urban change and the sociology of the senses. She is the author of Sensing Cities: Regenerating Public Life in Barcelona and Manchester (Routledge, 2008). She is currently a British Academy Mid-Career Research Fellow examining 'Timescapes of Urban Change', she blogs about this on, and a full list of her publications can be found at