This course is intended to develop your abilities to design and execute a research project in human geography. In this section of the course we will be conducting research within the theme of the hidden lives of urban public spaces.
Urban public space exists in many forms: parks, streets, back alleys, sidewalks. It has formal uses and informal ones. The informal uses are what concern us in this course. The formal use of sidewalks, for example, is as walkways for pedestrians, but they also have many informal uses. They become places for kids to hang out, for graffiti artists, for illegal postering, for street vending, for pet-walking, for sidewalk sales, for busking and many other purposes. Often there is a correspondence between the informal use of a public space and other aspects of the place. For example, if you walk along King St W in the new media/dotcom/condo district on garbage day, you can see what the residents and businesses are throwing out. It tells you a good deal about the lives of these people.
There are lots of possibilities for field research in this area, and a variety of techniques will be possible. Some of you may want to do questionnaire surveys of street vendors, others may want to examine graffiti. We can also investigate those who regulate the informal uses of public space. What do merchants feel about illegal street posters? How does the city regulate buskers and street vendors? etc.,
In this course we need each student to develop a coherent research proposal on the topic they wish to investigate, to execute that project and make a class presentation about it.
The proposed class schedule is here
The proposed assessment system is here
The course operates under the following standard university policies: