About our research

Beamsville District Secondary School, Ontario

The genesis of our interest in advancing the study on accommodation review stems from the academic and personal interests of both Professor Mark Seasons and Professor Bill Irwin.

As an established scholar and practitioner of urban planning, Professor Seasons has focused his career on long-range planning, urban renewal, downtown revitalization, and community planning in general. He became interested in accommodation review when a high school in his neighbourhood (Peterborough Collegiate and Vocational School, PCVS) was slated for closure. Seasons became involved with a community organization challenging the proposed school closure by offering pro bono urban planning advice.

Professor Bill Irwin’s experience and expertise has largely been focused on policy, leadership, and community engagement. Professor Irwin’s dissertation, “School Closures in Ontario: A case of conflicting values?” (2012) is one of the few in-depth academic examinations of this issue. Irwin is considered a national leader in this research area.

Our research team has identified a number of several important and high-impact weaknesses in the accommodation review process. These include:

  1. inadequate opportunities for meaningful consultation with stakeholders
  2. unilateral decision making by school boards
  3. consideration of a narrow set of impacts generated by school closures, and
  4. the dearth of research on school closures, particularly within a Canadian context.

We feel there is an opportunity to conduct objective research into accommodation review decision-making processes. We endeavour to address this issue in a constructive, informed, and balanced manner. Our research is designed to explore the current nature of accommodation review in Ontario, compare and contrast these experiences with current theory and practice in public participation, and in the end, propose alternative decision-making models.

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