This research was supported by Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) through funding from the Major Collaborative Research Initiative (MCRI): Global Suburbanisms: Governance, Land and Infrastructure in the 21st Century (2010-2017)
School of Planning, University of Waterloo
What are the suburbs?
This was the question guiding the discussion for the first meeting of the Canadian Suburbanisms Working Paper reading course (PLAN 675). Run by Professor Markus Moos, Assistant Professor in the School of Planning, the focus of the course is just as it sounds – exploring the nature of suburbs. However, it is also a forum for the development of practical skills: graduate planning students get the opportunity to cut their teeth on the scholarly publishing process as they work towards putting together working papers to be included in the Atlas.
Today’s discussion centred on the juxtaposition between the traditional, stereotypical image of the suburbs and the reality that perhaps the concept is much more nuanced than it would seem at first glance. In this sense, what may be considered suburban in one context may not register the same way in another setting. If we think of exploring the suburbs in terms of a handful of dimensions, then the picture starts to look more like a spectrum: where a given place falls on that spectrum is a focal point for exploring the notion of suburbanisms.
So then, where to next? As much as this is a course for research and publishing, it’s also about developing and conveying stories of the way in which so many of us live. We hope you’ll join us along the way.