Local Economic Development Student Projects

Taking regional action? Understanding networks in the local food, green energy and creative sectors in Waterloo Region

"Taking regional action?" book cover

Project type

Research paper prepared for the Economic Developers Council of Ontario (EDCO). Co-authored by a team of students and Faculty.

Research team

Dr. Tara Vinodrai | Riaz Nathu | Scott Ross | Emily Robson | Dr. Steffanie Scott | Dr. Paul Parker

Project​ summary

A cross-sectoral case study of local economic development networks in Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada. The study uses in-depth interviews and social network analysis to examine economic development support for the Region's local food system, green energy sector, and creative and cultural industries.


Full document (PDF)

Presentation format (PDF)

Hamilton - Brutal Beauty | Hidden Heritage

"Hamilton Brutal Beauty Hidden Heritage" book coverHamilton - Brutal Beauty | Hidden Heritage: The making of a guidebook to the City of Hamilton as a practical exercise in context-sensitive place marketing and community economic development

Project type

Student Major Research Paper (MRP) consisting of a traditional research paper as well as a guidebook.

Research​ team

Ian Dunlop | Dr. Luna Khirfan (supervisor) | Karen Hammond (committee member)

Project summary

Cities in developed nations are starting to recognize sustainable tourism and its potential for local economic development. Sustainable tourism is conscientious travel. People are looking for different kinds of travel experiences that are local, which include shopping, eating, heritage, natural and built environments, cultural awareness, education, and exploration. A sustainable tourism trend called urban green tourism can be traced back to Toronto’s Green Tourism Association in 1993, and has since spread worldwide. Sustainable development initiatives, arts and culture, heritage, natural and environmental features are now actively promoted in many cities to both their local residents and tourists alike, thereby fostering sustainable business opportunities as well. Hamilton, Ontario is in a unique position to take advantage of this trend. Hamilton is transforming into a post-industrial city with a rich built heritage, infrastructure, strategic economic location, and ecological diversity. But, Hamilton still needs to come to terms with its previous existence as an industrial city, and the 2001 amalgamation with its distinctly suburban and rural communities. Through a review of this tourism trend and the concepts relating to economic development, resilience, place branding and marketing, and place-making, the need for a publication to aid in establishing Hamilton’s sense of place and identity emerges.


Digital version of Hamilton - Brutal Beauty | Hidden Heritage

Amazon listing