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Re-Working Community: Industrial Restructuring and the Challenge for Sustainable Development

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Title: Re-Working Community: Industrial Restructuring and the Challenge for Sustainable Development
Author: Sousa, Joao Paulo
Department: School of Environmental Design and Rural Development
Program: Rural Studies
Advisor: Leach, Belinda
Abstract: Many communities are looking to respond and adjust to a myriad of significant socio-economic and environmental changes fundamentally altering longstanding patterns of interaction and attachment to place. Nowhere is this more apparent than with the renewed interest in urban regeneration and sustainable communities. Yet the prospect of decline haunts some places. With de-industrialization, the connection between where people live and work is becoming increasingly disjointed, and this threatens to undermine the viability of older neighbourhoods and industrial districts left behind in the aftermath. While the bulk of public concern and academic research on globalization and industrial restructuring tends to focus on major metropolitan centers, this study brings analytical attention to how these trends play-out in smaller communities on the urban edge of Ontario’s rural heartland. Through an analysis of four community case studies, the dissertation examines processes of restructuring leading to the abandonment of brownfield sites in older places while identifying new spaces of urbanization in greenfield areas, highlighting how both unfold within a common regional spatial-scale. By critically engaging the literature discussing the transition from Fordism to post-Fordism, the thesis makes the argument that this broader transformation impacts urban and rural places alike, and problematizes conventional approaches to planning from the perspective of sustainable community development.
Date: 2014-08
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