Current Research Focus

CRSC maintains research focus in fields of study which include regional development, urban geography, local environmental risk studies, governance, and cultural identity. What unites this work is a focus on engaging and supporting communities and city-regions as they face complex socio-economic challenges in a contemporary context shaped by globalization, demographic change, and environmental risk. CRSC works with communities to translate academic research into the knowledge and capacity with which to improve social and economic well-being and foster sustainable futures.


  • Global Suburbanisms: Amiskwaciy - Suburbs for Settlers, Mill Woods Case Study

    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 (, through an exploration of 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.

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  • Governing Boom / Bust Communities

    The rapid growth and decay of rural communities has been a hallmark of Western Canadian development for decades, particularly in natural resource mining and processing communities. There is a strong link between boom/bust patterns and how natural resource development is managed - this link is so strong that a community's dependence the availability and demand for natural resources such as oil and gas is often considered inevitable. However, the boom / bust pattern can have negative social, economic, and environmental impacts.

    We believe that even with a strong economic dependence on natural resource development, there are more resilience paths to community development. This research will explore strategies for promoting sustainable development in boom and bust economies, through the lens of evolutionary governance, to better promote long-term growth and development in rural Alberta, and in other resource development communities worldwide.

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  • Historic Urban Landscape

    This project explores approaches to innovating urban heritage planning. Specifically, it provides an introduction and overview of emerging Historic Urban Landscape (HUL) perspectives, and explores their potential application to advancing heritage planning in Edmonton, Alberta Canada. The HUL approach addresses heritage as made up of the complex layering of the histories of people, cultures, places and physical artefacts (O'Donnell and Turner, 2012; UNESCO, 2011). This is often contrasted against the more dominant concerns of preservation, conservation and commemoration associated with traditional planning practices, and the designation and protection of heritage buildings in particular.

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  • Nanotechnology and the Community

    It is becoming clear that nanotechnology will be a persistent, pervasive and powerful influence on future social and economic development. Edmonton has been the focus of significant investments in nanotechnology research and the development of nano-applications. We asked: How might new technologies shape the future of Edmonton and the Alberta Capital Region? How can innovation be guided to support the future sustainability, prosperity and wellbeing of our cities and communities? How can we ensure new innovations and new technologies reflect local needs and context? What sorts of networks and relationships are needed to support locally accountable forms of innovation?

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