My research interests focus on three areas:
1) Culture and economy of small cities
I am working on several collaborative projects in which we compare the community development problems and solutions faced by small cities in British Columbia and Sweden. I am particularly interested in cluster and social capital strategies used by some Swedish communities and reasons why most Canadian communities prefer to continue with resource extraction and processing. I have recently contributed co-authored chapter on cultural development strategies to a book on rural Canada. Migration is also key theme my work on this topic.
2) Cartography and geographic visualization
Creating maps for others´ books and articles is a rewarding challenge. Cartography, more than writing, forces one to find innovative solutions for communicating data succintly. The author´s intentions, the limitations of software, and the constraints of the publisher force one to find solutions between the science and art of graphical communication. For example, the maps drawn for John Belshaw and Diane Purvey's new book about the dark side of 1940s and 50s Vancouver include a south side up view of the city's inner neighbourhoods, a deliberate attempt to make the reader think twice, and in the process reinforce the authors´ message about the working orientation of the city. I am also working on graphical strategies for showing migration patterns. My preferred platform is the statistical software called R.
3) The Post-carbon Landscapes of a rapidly aging, post-industrial society
Much of my current teaching address three large questions:
• How will the changing demography of our societies affect our cities and rural communities?
• How will the changing nature of work and employment affect our cities and rural communities?
• How will the possibility of more expensive oil supplies affect our cities and rural communities?
The last question is especially fascinating given our dependence on inexpensive oil and the degree to which it has affected the size and configuration of our communities. We need innovative solutions and thus creative planners, bold politicians, and an engaged public.