A1: Universal Benchmarking - Socio-spatial analysis of Canadian Suburbanisms

Team Lead:

Markus Moos (University of Waterloo)

Team Members:

Elvin Wyly (University of British Columbia)
Pablo Mendez (University of British Columbia)
Pierre Filion (University of Waterloo)
Richard Harris (McMaster University)
Ute Lehrer (York University)
Alan Walks (University of Toronto)
Liam McGuire (University of British Columbia)
Anna Kramer (University of Waterloo)
Robert Walter-Joseph (University of Waterloo)

Research Context, Methods and Goals:

The spatial analysis, or benchmarking, component began as an initial phase of the project on global suburbanisms. The purpose of the socio-spatial analysis was to provide an empirical account of Canadian suburbanisms. The project included quantitative and conceptual research on processes shaping the changing built form, land uses, and demography of Canadian suburbs at multiple scales. Theoretical frameworks included a combination of urban political economy and ecology and social and cultural geography. The project had three main components:

1. An examination and characterization of trajectories of change in the suburbanization of all regions of Canada.

2. A spatial analysis of the correlation of structural inequalities, spatial mismatch, privatization and power structures among other key facets that characterize suburbanism.

3. An attempt to disentangle the distinct processes that shape suburbanization at the intra-urban scale, including demographic change, growth, migration, institutions and market processes.

Much of the quantitative work was carried out using custom and publicly available data from Statistics Canada surveys such as the census and other comprehensive databases on infrastructure and land use.

Research & Dissemination:

In 2012, the Universal Benchmarking team launched a website entitled  Atlas of Suburbanisms. It is now included as a reference in select Canadian university libraries. The website presents detailed data on 19 Canadian cities and provides analysis on the changing physical and socioeconomic character of these cities.

Still Detached and Subdivided? Suburban Ways of Living in 21st-Century North America edited by Marcus Moos and Robert Walter-Joseph was published in 2017 by Jovis and features a number of MCRI researchers including Elvin Wyly, Pablo Mendez and Pierre Filion.

Presentations & Publications:

Conference and Workshop Presentations

Publications and Other Dissemination