Major Research Papers

Students in the course-based MSc in Urban and Regional Planning program complete a Major Research Paper or Project (MRP) in their final semester. Below are the abstracts of recently completed work. If you are interested in reading the full paper, please contact the School Administrator at


Planning for Resilient Heritage: Climate Change Adaptations & Built Heritage, A Case Study in Charlottetown, Canada by Vada Antonakis

Charlottetown is characterized by extensive and distinct built heritage, which is highly valued by residents and significantly contributes to the local economy. Although policies for heritage conservation are in place, increasing climate instabilities are becoming significant threats to heritage that require attention. This study will attempt to uncover how effectively current planning policy is addressing the impacts of climate change on heritage and identify current challenges and potential opportunities for heritage policy improvement. This study will employ a mixed-methods research approach; the first phase of the study will involve content analysis of local heritage planning documents, followed by semi-structured key-actor interviews with local planning practitioners, other professionals (manages, elected officials, heritage officers) and stakeholders (heritage building owners, heritage organization leaders) with relevant knowledge and experience with climate change, planning, and heritage in Charlottetown. This study will contribute to scholarship and planning through exploring the challenges of climate change planning for heritage in Canadian coastal communities. Furthermore, this research will fill a gap in academic literature by addressing climate change impacts on heritage in North America from a planning policy perspective.

Keywords: climate change, urban planning, heritage, coastal communities, Prince Edward Island

Connecting Long Term Perspectives to the Development of Strategies: A Case Study of the Town of Banff by Jared Candlish

This research project focuses on the connections between long term perspective and the development of strategies for land use and spatial organization in the Town of Banff, Alberta. Using Evolutionary Governance Theory as a theoretical framework, this project analyzes the historical and present day policies to identify long term perspectives. These perspectives, as found in the research, have been a part of the community and deeply rooted in history or more recently, they are much newer and are emerging. Using interviews with key actors in the Town as a method to steer towards new policies and plans, a series of long term perspectives were identified along with the complex interconnections within the multilevel governance structure that frames land use decision making in the Town of Banff. By drawing connections through a contextual analysis, path mapping, governance mapping, and historical mapping, connections between long term perspectives and the development of strategies are identified and discussed.

Keywords: Banff, Long term perspective, strategy, community planning, spatial planning, governance

Modes of Transportation Among Immigrants Across Canada by Elena Moezzi

Immigrants are increasingly the source of population growth in Canada. This population growth puts a great demand on various services, particularly transportation. This underlines the necessity of acquiring information regarding the way immigrants move within cities. This study will attempt to investigate the travel time budgets of immigrants in Canada across five modes of transportation, namely, driving an automobile, riding as a passenger in an automobile, riding on bus/metro/LRT, bicycling, or walking. This study will be accomplished through a quantitative research method where based on a deeper analysis of the data set and with regard to the outcome variable (travel time per day), the appropriate specification for regressions will be chosen among one of the following methods: Ordinary Least Squares (OLS), Zero-Inflated Negative Binomial regression (ZINB), Binary Logistic regression, or Multinomial Logistic regression (MNL). This study will use the 2015 Statistics Canada's General Social Survey on Time Use in order to construct statistical models. This study will provide insight into the travel behaviour of immigrants in Canada and will contribute to achieving the information that is integral to improving transit infrastructure. It will help planners to shape the future travel behaviour of immigrants that will lead to a more sustainable transportation as well as a better quality of life for communities.

Keywords: Immigrants, transportation, travel time budgets, transportation behaviour

Balancing the Conflicting Demands of Resource Development and Caribou Conservation in Nunavut: A Land Use Planning Approach by Denise Baikie

There is ongoing conflict between promotion of resource development and the need to protect wildlife habitat in Nunavut, Canada. This arises from the overlap of mineral potential with important habitat such as caribou calving grounds.The goal of this paper is to identify opportunities to balance these conflicts in the Nunavut planning context, with a focus on mitigating effects to caribou. This is achieved through a review of relevant literature and a document analysis of similar jurisdictions' planning documents. The following planning opportunities are highlighted for the Nunavut planning context: plan review protocol, incorporating ecological frameworks, utilizing scenario analyses, and working with smaller planning regions. This research synthesizes the findings and enables policy makers to make more informed decisions during the land use planning process.

Keywords: land use plan, caribou, resource development, Nunavut

The Redesign of Jasper Avenue, a Case Study of the Public Engagement Process by Felipe Canavera

How do public engagement processes affect urban redesign projects and the actors that are involved in them? This research addressed this question with a case study that analyzed the context and the narratives of facilitators and participants of the public engagement process of the Imagine Jasper Avenue (IJA) project in Edmonton, AB. The IJA project used a contemporary approach to urban redesign by dedicating two years of public engagement and applying complete streets guidelines in the streetscape redesign of Edmonton's premier main street. This research's main contribution is an analytical framework of public engagement processes for urban redesign projects. The framework presented will allow urban planners to comprehend the complexities of public engagement during its design, implementation and evaluation. Thereby providing urban planners with a better understanding of the variations of urban redesign states and methods to analyze their public engagement process.

Keywords: public engagement process, urban redesign, urban narratives,analytical framework