30 Jan Urban Communities and Neighbourhoods: Observing your Neighbourhood
Please write a 5-6 page double-spaced and typed paper that examines community issues in an urban neighbourhood. Reference List and any photos, maps, illustrations that you choose to include are additional to the required 5-6 pages of text. Please do not include visuals in the main body of the paper.
You are to select an urban neighbourhood within Toronto or its urban region that you are familiar with. It can be a neighbourhood where you currently live, have resided in the past, or one that you have visited or regularly visit.
Selecting an Urban Neighbourhood:
Neighbourhoods are small geographical units of a city not the city itself. For example, Scarborough is not considered to be a neighbourhood because it is a large urban area made up of individual neighbourhoods such as Guildwood, Scarborough Town Centre, West Hill, Agincourt, Malvern. Please think about the small area in which you live, and the name that is given to this particular area. If you cannot identify the name of your neighbourhood it is fine to call it by a name of your choosing for example, to refer to the major intersection that you live close to (for example, Major Mackenzie & Highway 400).
If you do not live in or are not familiar with urban neighbourhood in Toronto or its urban region, please select an urban neighbourhood that is well known and has existing literature about it, and one that you are able to visit with some ease. Some examples in Toronto are: Malvern, Kingston-Galloway/Orton Park, Scarborough Village, Regent Park, Kensington Market, the Annex, Riverdale, Weston, Willowdale, and Mimico. Please consult with the course instructor if you are unsure or would like advice about selecting a neighbourhood.
Conducting your Research
The assignment allows you to act as the primary researcher and observer by addressing and incorporating your own observations about community issues and needs in an urban neighbourhood. Your personal observations and analyses will be strengthened by reference to lecture materials and course readings to date. Please feel free to use the first person (I) to discuss your observations and analyses in your paper.
You should also incorporate additional information about your chosen urban neighbourhood that might be in the form of demographic information (for example, the City of Toronto creates neighbourhood profiles with demographic information based on statistical data, for example) and media sources (such as city wide and local newspapers, video news reports) that discuss your neighbourhood.
You should observe your neighbourhood by making note of the surroundings, infrastructure, and community issues that are present during a walk around the neighbourhood. Some examples are (but not limited to):
the quality and type of housing
existence of street life how do people use the sidewalks? Is it primarily an automobile-centred neighbourhood?
community activities that you notice (sports? Recreation in parks?)
transit provision or lack of transit
presence of community centres, public libraries, schools
types of commercial spaces
communities in your neighbourhood what types of communities do you observe? (ie. sports communities, senior communities, faith communities).
This is more of approach to research where your personal observations and analyses are made first and then linked with scholarly writing and existing research data (such as statistics and media articles). You are welcome to include maps of the neighbourhood that you may find during your research as well as photos that you might take during your walk around the neighbourhood.
IMPORTANT: * If you do not feel safe walking in your selected neighbourhood please arrange for a classmate, friend, or family member to accompany you*
Questions to Consider in your Research. You must answer these questions in your Paper:
1) Where is the neighbourhood located and does it have a formal name?
2) What are the political, environmental, and/or social boundaries of the neighbourhood? How are these boundaries identified/identifiable?
Political boundaries: noticeably created by government (ie through streets, planning, and/or policies)
Environmental boundaries: demarcated by biophysical terrain (ie. ravines, valleys, parks, waterfronts, rivers, etc.)
Social boundaries: created by individual, community, and/or stigma how a neighbourhoods identity and territory is socially imagined and constructed
3) What types of communities do you identify in the neighbourhood? (ie. faith- based communities, residential communities, business communities, community-based organizations, sports communities)
4) What types of infrastructure do you observe in the neighbourhood? (ie schools, libraries, parks, community centres, community health centres, recreation centres, places of worship).
5) How (in what ways) does this infrastructure help to inform your understanding about the neighbourhood? (ie. if your neighbourhood does not have any green park space, what can that tell you about your neighbourhood?). Be analytical!
6) In your opinion, what are the main problems/issues of concern in the neighbourhood?
7) How do your opinions connect with existing literature about this neighbourhood, if available (ie demographic data, neighbourhood profiles, and/or discussions in the media)?
8) What solutions would you, as a student in a City Studies course, propose to address these problems/issues of concern? In what ways could the communities within the neighbourhood address these problems/issues?
You are not expected to answer the questions sequentially, but rather should incorporate them into the organization of your paper based on how you choose to structure your work.
Your paper must have an Introduction and a short Conclusion sections.
You may use subsections with subtitles to organize your answers.
Please try to connect your observations and analyses to lecture material and readings in the course to date.
Photographs and maps:
Your paper can include photographs and maps. These can be attached at the end of the paper, after the bibliography (one or two visuals per page). Each visual must each have a title and proper citation. For example, if you are including a photograph taken by yourself, you should state Author: Self and the date that the photo was taken directly underneath the photo on the page.
Your reference list must contain a minimum of 4-5 sources. Sources that can be used for this study are:
course reading material (required reading and recommended reading)
lecture notes to date
other scholarly journal articles and books
media sources (where applicable)
neighbourhood specific policy and plans (if you are able to locate any).
Please use APA referencing system and cite accordingly (please see guide for APA referencing and citations on Quercus).
* Please DO NOT conduct interviews or cite conversations with individuals in the assignment as this goes against university research ethics protocol. Interviewing people is not allowed for this research.