Master of Urban and Rural Planning Theses (1998‑2002)

Theses completed by Master of Urban and Rural Planning candidates from 1998-2002 are listed below. The M.U.R.P. degree was discontinued and replaced with the M.Plan beginning in 2003.


  • Tracy Bealing, "Using a Social Action Theory of Participatory Design to Facilitate Empowerment in Public Housing Developments"
  • Ben Black, "Student Housing in University Towns: A Case Study of Sackville, New Brunswick"
  • Delaine Clyne, "Planning and Schools: School Closures and the Re-use of Surplus Schools in Halifax Retional Municipality"
  • Stephen Deveaux:, "Inter-Regional Transportation: An Investigation into HOV Lanes and Busways, and their Potential for the Greater Toronto Area"
  • Graham Fisher, "Kings County Nova Scotia: A Role for municipal Planning in the Protection of Surface Water Resources"
  • Jennifer Healey, "Suburban Connection and Identity"
  • Stefan Hoddinott, "Wiping it off: An Examination of Halifax Graffiti, and Prospective Preventative Techniques"
  • Ian MacDougall, "The Comparative Advantages of Open Space Development Design: MacIntosh Run Development Proposal: A Case Study"
  • David Mitchell, "Searching for an Alternative to Urban Swprawl on the Coastline of HRM: Learning from the Village of Prospect"
  • Patrick Moan, "On the Ground: Removing Barriers to Smart Growth Development at the Local level"
  • Mark Neill, "City of Abbotsford: Establishing Greenways Criteria"
  • Katarzyna Tota, "Can place-based collaborative planning work between First Nations and Local Governments in Nova Scotia? Defining the context and learning from other places"
  • Lucy Trull, "Making Connections: An exploration of water transit in the Bedford Basin"


  • Ronald Barr, "Planning and Urban Design Strategies for Addressing Stationary Noise Related Problems"
  • Sonja Brynelsen, "Multi-modal Transportation Planning. Lessons Learned from Mountain Resort Municipalities"
  • Keith Craig, "Siting Wireless Communication Facilities in Halifax Regional Municipality: Issues and Guidelines"
  • Orenda O'Brien Davis, "Case Study of Factors related to the success of Affordable Housing Organizations in North Bay, Ontario"
  • Laurelea Lutes DeAngelo, "Aging in Place: Integrating Senior's Housing Needs into a Community Plan"
  • Joan Parsons Doehler, "Scotia Square, Its Impact on the Downtown Core"
  • Heather Fairbairn, "Sustainability for Women-in-Need: Making the Transition to Market Housing"
  • Anne Hutton, "The Olympic Games: Lessons for Future Host Cities"
  • Scott Jones, "Planning for Wildlife: Evaluating creek daylighting as a means of urban conservation"
  • Samantha Murphy, "Rural Planning and Community Development in Prince Edward Island"
  • Holly Richardson, "Using Design Standards to Protect the Form and Function of East Hants Commercial Centers"
  • Paul Sampson, "Reinvigorating the Urban Heart: Directions for Revitalizing downtown Barrington Street, Halifax Regional Municipality"


Denise Carbol, "An Ecosystem-Based Regional Strategy for Natural Heritage Protection"

An Ecosystem-Based Regional Strategy for Natural Heritage Protection

There is a critical need for comprehensive natural areas protection, As urban centres continue to expand, the loss and degradation of natural areas becomes an ever increasing phenomenon. This thesis examines the problems common to conventional land-use plans, policies and "greenlands" strategies which have failed to address the successive loss of natural areas, and the interrelated problems associated with this loss, such as habitat fragmentation and decline of species and plant diversity,

It is proposed that municipalities take a more active role in protecting natural areas, This thesis examines how ecosystem-based principles and concepts can be used as a framework from which local authorities develop and implement more comprehensive land-use policies, natural heritage plans, and conservation strategies. In a broad overview of literature it is determined that a region's highly valued natural areas and features are best sustained and protected by way of an integrated natural heritage system. This thesis describes how municipalities can benefit from the application of an ecosystem approach as well as the challenges inherent in its application within the Canadian context.

Through the presentation of a case study, the thesis shows how an ecosystem-based approach to planning can be applied as a basis for effective natural areas conservation within a municipal planning strategy, An overview of the strategic planning process adopted by the Region of Hamilton-Wentworth for developing and protecting a natural heritage system is provided. This planning strategy requires that a large commitment to the identification, designation and protection of ecologically significant areas and features within an integrated system takes place at both the regional and local planning levels, Some of the opportunities and challenges associated with the development and implementation of this strategy are described. The research highlights the crucial role that nongovernmental organizations can assume in this process.

Recommendations for comprehensive land-use management and the protection of natural heritage are outlined. It is concluded that four factors must contribute to a strategy process for sustaining or restoring environmental integrity: effective leadership; comprehensive plans and policies; ecological knowledge and awareness-, and effective, implementation.

Patricia Collingwood, "The Impact of Transportation Planning on Transportation Equity in Toronto, Ontario, and Detroit, Michigan"

The Impact of Transportation Planning on Transportation Equity in Toronto, Ontario, and Detroit, Michigan

In recent years, there has been considerable focus on transportation equity issues, in both the popular and professional literature, in an effort to answer the question of whether people have the mobility services required to meet minimum daily needs. The goal of the thesis was to compare the degree to which transportation planning practices have improved the level of transportation equity. This was accomplished in two stages: first, by evaluating the numerous interpretations of equity and adopting one definition to guide the thesis; secondly, by identifying equity levels that were identified through a study of the outcomes of past and present transportation practices, in relation to the mobility needs of people in Toronto, Ontario and Detroit, Michigan.

The underlying reasoning for the exploration into the levels of transportation equity in Toronto and Detroit was to further the knowledge of the social benefits and burdens that have resulted from past and present transportation practices, that are necessary to better comprehend the impacts of transportation planning. The understanding of how dramatically different outcomes can result from transportation practices depending on timing, regional priorities for the future and the willingness to invest in particular projects while rejecting others, was a result of this thesis.

Beth Jo-Ann Lewis, "Using the Internet as a Planning Tool in Public Participation"

Using the Internet as a Planning Tool in Public Participation

Because of their rapid implementation into the home and work place, personal Computers have provided the infrastructure to allow the Internet to become a widely used and expansive tool for communication. Communications technology. specifically the Internet. has successfully opened up a new way of finding information, providing information. and communicating with others.

The Internet is a constantly growing and changing entity. Because of its dynamic nature. little about it is dormant or stagnant. This is also the case for community. Cities. towns. and villages: these places rarely remain exactly the same for long. As people. economics. values. and the physical environment change and grow. so does the community. It would follow, then, that the Internet will provide communities with a similarly active and dynamic communications tool to enhance participation.

This thesis will investigate the use of the Internet and its vast communicative abilities as planning tools within the realm of public participation. Because the Internet offers such powerful and innovative information and communications tools. it follows that it will offer compelling new methods through which the public's input can be gained in planning.

Public participation impacts greatly on the planning profession itself. Changes In how we gain public input can also cause changes in the way we view planning. The two are strongly connected and changing attitudes about one will begin change attitudes about the other.

Holly Richardson, "Using Design Standards to Protect the Form and Function of East Hants Commercial Centers"

Using Design Standards to Protect the Form and Function of East Hants Commercial Centers

This research involved an evaluation of architectural and site design standards through land-use planning for the purpose of protecting the form and function of commercial centers. It is argued that in setting basic design parameters for development, characteristics within the built form can be reinforced thereby enhancing the identity and function of centers within the larger community. The rationale is that contemporary development form, that ignores established development patterns and physical characteristics, erodes the identity and ultimate viability of centers and must therefore be addressed through the planning and development process.

Background research supporting this work included an examination of urban design theory within a planning context and the role of the planner in addressing development form and community identity. The practical application of design standards were examined by looking at established mechanisms used to incorporate design into the planning and development process. Examples of design regulation in Nova Scotia have been introduced to support the implementation of design standards through land-use planning. Recently adopted design standards in East Hants commercial centers were used as a case study, to analyze the effectiveness of design regulation in addressing the form and function of places.

The findings of this research are that design standards, when used both in a mandatory and an advisory capacity, are an effective means of protecting the established form and function of commercial centers. Furthermore, the research determines that mandatory design regulations in the absence of a larger urban design strategy cannot address the underlying contextual matters that define the inherent identity of places.

Darren G. Todd, "Towards Smart Growth: Examining the Implications of Redeveloping Urban Brownfield Sites"

Towards Smart Growth: Examining the Implications of Redeveloping Urban Brownfield Sites

Over the past few decades, the quality and vitality of urban core areas in North America have been deteriorating. This thesis proposes that the redevelopment of urban brownfields is an important part of urban regeneration, and that the issues of such redevelopment need more awareness and analysis. The scope of this thesis addresses the benefits and barriers to brownfield redevelopment, suggests possible solutions to overcome these barriers, and examines a series of case studies to introduce possible redevelopment approaches. The specific objective is to undertake an identification and analysis of brownfields in Dartmouth, N.S. to make suggestions on a framework for how the Halifax Regional Municipality could encourage the redevelopment of local brownfields. And further, to make some suggestions regarding the future growth of the city as it pertains to brownfield redevelopment.

As we enter the new millennium, 'smart growth' issues are at the forefront of the planning profession. In exploring an issue under this paradigm, I hope to provide a vehicle of thought to encourage more awareness and debate on issues concerning brownfield redevelopment. Within the context of this dissertation, the implications of brownfield redevelopment will be addressed in an environmental, economic, and social context. Whenever a subject has consequences pertaining to a diverse range of important societal issues, I feel that it can be relevant to not only planners, but government officials, developers and the public.

Xiaolin Tu, "Using GIS to Enhance Information Communication in a Public Participation Planning Process"

Using GIS to Enhance Information Communication in a Public Participation Planning Process

Although urban planning has used Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for many years, the application of GIS to assist public participation in a land-use planning process has not been pursued in any extensive way. Traditional planning tools consisting of two-dimensional paper maps, statistics and reports have not always provided efficient and effective tools to stimulate effective public participation in a planning process. With the advances in computer technology, information systems and 3D visualization techniques, GIS provides planners with an improved tool to assist in engaging the public into a planning process in a more effective and efficient way.

This thesis focuses on the discussion of the use of GIS technology to enhance information communication in a public participation planning process. The thesis discusses that information communication is the key to the success of public participation in a land-use planning process. It examines the applications of the capabilities of GIS in information integration, interactive information analysis and information visualization to enhance information communication in a planning process from three aspects: information reception stage, information exchange stage and information presentation stage. A real-world planning project - the Woodland Avenue East Planning Process in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia - is used as a case study in the thesis to explore the use of GIS and 3D modeling as information integration and information visualization tools to assist information communication in the public participation plan of the planning process. Through the analyses of public feedback, planners' comments, and the author's observations, the author believes that GIS is able to provide an easy-access and visualized database, and can assist the public in better understanding planning information in a public participation planning process.

The author recommends that with the use of web-based GIS, GIS 3D analyst functions, and photorealistic techniques, the outcome of the public participation in the case study can be further improved. Finally, the thesis concludes six factors that will affect the effectiveness of the use of GIS tools to assist information communication in a public participation planning process. They include audience, availability of good GIS data, structure of a participatory process, equipment/hardware, time, and interactivity of GIS databases. The thesis argues that to achieve a successful application of GIS in a planning process these six factors should be considered by planners.

Louise Van Wart, "Testing the Limits: An Examination of Family Housing Affordability in Nova Scotia"

Testing the Limits: An Examination of Family Housing Affordability in Nova Scotia

Testing the Limits assesses the housing needs of low-income families in six nonrural Nova Scotian communities. The six communities studied are: Town of Antigonish, Cape Breton Regional Municipality (CBRM), Halifax Census Metropolitan Area (CMA), Town of Kentville, Town of Truro and Town of Yarmouth. These communities represent a cross-section of towns and cities across the province, both geographically and in size.

The research focuses on case studies that establish the housing affordability issues faced by families in each community. The case studies use Census data, housing and economic data, and interviews with housing providers and government workers to define the housing affordability and suitability problems in each community.

The case studies reveal a severe shortage of affordable housing in the province. Many Nova Scotian low-income families live in unaffordable or unsuitable housing. In the most need of affordable housing are tenant and single-parent families. The case studies also indicate regional differences in housing across the province.

Current policies do not reflect the difficulties many families face in their quest to find and afford housing. To address the housing problems identified in this thesis the private and public sector must begin by understanding the problem. In this way, policy and programs can accurately reflect community need. This research is a start at defining the housing situation for families in the province.

Gregory O. Zwicker, "The Neighbourhood Concept and its Relevance in Contemporary Planning"

The Neighbourhood Concept and its Relevance in Contemporary Planning

The Industrial Revolution drastically changed the way cities were designed. This period of rapid, unplanned, chaotic growth created a city form that was unhealthy for its residents. Since then there have been many models put forth on how to 'properly' develop cities. Individuals such as Howard, Perry, Stein and Wright and Duany and Plater-Zyberk have all put forth suggestions on how to develop successful.

This thesis makes the assumption that successful cities are based on successful neighbourhoods. The objective of the thesis is to compare key historical models with current citizens concerns in order to make some suggestions regarding good neighbourhood design in the twenty-first century. In the Halifax Regional Municipality we have been developing residential 'subdivisions,' not neighbourhoods. This type of development does not offer the amenities residents desire and is costly for the municipality to maintain. It is clear a new neighbourhood model is needed.

As the basis for the research of this study a focus group session was held in an attempt to understand what neighbourhood elements a select group of residents view as being important. Common themes were taken from these results and used to develop a new neighbourhood model.

The thesis concludes with an explanation of the new model and some suggestions on how the municipality could promote the development of innovative neighbourhoods.


Ihab El Badawy, "The Role of Planning in Promoting Safer Communities"

The Role of Planning in Promoting Safer Communities

For a long time, crime within our urban communities was regarded as one of the main consequences of poor social and economic conditions. As a result, the issue of providing safer communities in our cities was always viewed from social and psychological perspectives, with disregard for the environmental and physical factors that encourage criminal behavior and provide opportunities for committing crimes.

The hypotheses of this study is that crime is mainly a function of the environmental opportunity that leads to it. More specifically, communities of higher crime rates are highly accessible to crime, their spaces are not well defined in terms of use and responsibility, and they lack a homogeneous mixture in their zoning and land use plans. As a result, there is a consistent and predictable relationship between human behavior and the physical context in which the behavior takes place.

It is also important to understand that there are no definite environmental solutions that could be generally applied to all communities as done in the past. There are some guidelines that could be generally followed but the main solutions should be implemented individually and according to the uniqueness of every community. This increases the responsibility of the planner, both as a development observer and urban designer, to consider greater safety measures in the physical environment and to create more homogeneous communities in terms of zoning, land uses, and hierarchy of public / private spaces.

This study focuses on the issues of crime prevention and how safety can be improved in several residential communities with high crime rates in Halifax, from an urban design and planning perspective. It discusses the CPTED methods that have been applied since the 1970s across North America, different opinions about them, and the nature of community crimes in Canada. It also discusses the possibility of enhancing safety in the selected high crime communities in Halifax through examining the environmental factors that lead to crime in these communities. Strategy plans that enhance safety according to the uniqueness of every neighborhood will be discussed.

James Thomas Charlebois, "Planning and Design: The Essential Relationship. The Role and Purpose of Physical Design in the Planning Profession"

Planning and Design: The Essential Relationship

By eliminating the planning profession from physical design, urban policy planners have been placed in a situation where they are required to devise new rules and solutions to urban problems, without being in a position to fully understand the causes, relationships or effects. As a result, a question arises regarding the role of the Planner in the design and evolution of the built environment. It is within the framework of this question that this thesis investigates the physical and theoretical concepts of the planning and design of urban places.

The underlying basis for this investigation is public space and the creation of places, streets and neighbourhoods which are attractive, functional and comfortable. Determining where the attention of the profession stops and where the role of the architect or landscape architect begins, arose early in the intellectual exploration of the question. Recognizing that there is a 'grey area' between planning and the design professions in how the public realm of the street is designed, contributed to the form and focus of the thesis question and overall project goals.

The project is structured into three main parts - Question, Approach and Response which investigate theoretical perspectives and practical alternatives for understanding the structure and components of the form of an urban street. Applying developed principles and guidelines to a specific location, provided examples of the ways in which the Profession can begin to define and accept a new role in the physical design of the urban landscape.

Terri Donia, "Diversity as the Key to Vitality: A Test"

Diversity as the Key to Vitality: A Test

Parks are intended to be the saving grace of development, but if a space is rarely visited, is it a successful and efficient use of land ? Imposing regulations stipulating the amount, type and location of parkland is obviously not enough to ensure active, vital places. Diversity - advocated by Jane Jacobs, Kevin Lynch, and others - has been deemed as the solution to the current vacuums in space, by concentrating on the surroundings of parks. Mixing land-uses in a finely grained urban fabric would enable a variety of people to enjoy public space for a number of reasons at different times throughout the day and year.

This thesis resolved to test the theory - whether diversity was the key to vitality - within neighbourhood parks in the South End of Peninsular Halifax.

Results confirmed the relationship between diverse areas and vital parks. Lessons learned indicate that planners have to be much more conscious of the features of the park, the physical surroundings and who the parks are serving. Meeting the needs of the community, through observation and communication, is an important step in ensuring vitality within the environment.

Peter Ewert, "Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design: Maintaining a Safe and Clean Environment in the Downtown"

Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design: Maintaining a Safe and Clean Environment in the Downtown

What are the effective roles of planners, crime prevention professionals, designers and the community in maintaining a safe and clean environment in the downtown?

This thesis is based upon a study of a public area of Downtown Halifax, providing an assessment of nighttime safety within the area. Its goal was threefold:

i) to identify and describe physical design issues which may affect safety in that area.

ii) to identify and examine the social issues related to safety in that area

iii) to identify the particular factors which contribute to the level of crime and fear of crime among users of Downtown Halifax.

The study is relevant to the question asked by this thesis. The quality of life of various users may be seriously affected if crime, and fear of crime, linked to the design of physical and social environments, are not explicitly addressed; in specific, not addressed by those whose decisions may impact users of the area (i.e. planners, architects, police, and local business people). The study brought not only the above groups together, but also worked upon the premise that individuals should be treated as experts in the environments that they use or may want to use. To this end, the study consulted as wide a variety of citizens and area users as possible, thus providing a wide variety of perspectives.

This thesis provides an analysis of this study in order to describe, understand, and identify the human/environment interactions in the downtown in which crime, fear of crime, and physical design may be an issue. Through this process, it attempts to link the roles of planners, design, and crime prevention professionals with roles the community can adopt in ensuring continued safety in the downtown area. If crime, and fear of crime, can lead to avoidance or curtailment of legitimate activity within an area over time of day and within certain spaces, it has implications for the several different legitimate users of downtown Halifax. To date, the issue of safety has been delegated or assumed to belong to a different domain than the one in question, thereby often being sidetracked. Even when addressed in planning, there is always the risk that improvements that enhance the safety of an area may be altered at a later time if the reasoning behind the safety value of certain designs is not made explicit. When the value of design (both physical and social) as it relates to crime, and fear of crime in downtown Halifax is explicitly recognized, even if it seems obvious, a raised awareness of its value might lead to more initiatives in other areas to maintain a safe and clean environment.

Lyle Samuel Goldberg, "The Role of Information Technology in Rural Development: A Case Study of Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia"

The Role of Information Technology in Rural Development: A Case Study of Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia

This thesis examines how information technology and telecommunications infrastructure can be used as a strategy in promoting rural development. The Village of Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia, which is employing this type of strategy, is used as a case study to analyze this type of approach to rural development.

A community education survey was conducted in the Tatamagouche area to determine computer knowledge and career aspirations of local residents. Through an extensive literature review and analysis of other case studies, several recommendations have been put forth which may be useful for planners or economic development professionals interested in promoting IT in rural communities.

The thesis purports that those living in rural communities are at least on an equal footing with urban residents with respect to their ability to use IT and telecommunications infrastructure. That being said, the majority of IT sector employment is still concentrated in urban areas.

The thesis concludes that the use of an IT strategy on its own will not be a panacea in solving rural disparities. However, it can be a viable option when linked with other types of rural development strategies such as tourism, retirement relocation and small business development.

Tara N. Ibrahim, "Small Lot Housing: Practice in Search of a Theory"

Small Lot Housing: Practice in Search of a Theory

The research presented in this thesis involved an analysis of urban design theory, established communities on the Halifax peninsula and of small lot housing developments in the Halifax Regional Municipality. Specifically, Heritage Hills in Eastern Passage, Glenbourne in Halifax and Torrington in Bedford, were selected for extensive and detailed examination.

The sources used in the analysis included a relevant literature review, interviews with players in the Halifax region's housing industry, and personal observations.

This examination of small lot housing and urban design theory revealed numerous considerations that are key when developing a small lot area. These considerations include urban design and regional planning.

It is hoped that the findings of this research, may encourage the use of alternative methods in the planning of future communities and, along with the recommendations discussed, serve as a catalyst for achieving a balance between design appeal, livability, environmental impact, and servicing costs of suburban development in the Halifax Regional Municipality.

Joseph Lilly, "Municipal Planning for Natural Hazards: What is the Best Approach?"

Municipal Planning for Natural Hazards: What is the Best Approach?

This thesis explores the emerging issue of natural hazard management within the context of the global and Canadian environment with an emphasis on it implications for the planning profession. Specifically, it attempts to answers the question: What is the best approach to planning for natural hazards at the municipal level?

In addressing this question, the thesis first examines the social, economic, and environmental nature of disastrous events in relation to conventional perceptions and the negative effects of established hazard planning practices. Attention is given to root causes and dynamic pressures associated with the creation of unsafe conditions in human settlements.

The work then provides an overview of hazard management across North America. The concept of planning for societal vulnerabilities is discussed and is determined to be of growing concern for emergency professionals and urban planners.

The research concludes that there is insufficient awareness of both the process of natural disaster and the role of the planning profession in enabling conditions of human vulnerability. Considering the situation in Halifax, it is recommended that a policy of planning for vulnerabilities be undertaken to help facilitate a new understanding of human - hazard interaction. In order to assist in integrating this knowledge into standard planning practice, the creation of a conglomerate "safety council" is recommended to act as a force for immediate change.

Andrew MacDonald, "Fisherman's Cove Waterfront Development: Rejuvenating Community Identity"

Fisherman's Cove Waterfront Development: Rejuvenating Community Identity

This research involved an examination of the Fisherman's Cove Waterfront Development (FCWD) in Eastern Passage, Nova Scotia. The purpose of the research was to examine the role of this heritage-based tourism destination as a means of community economic development. In doing so, the author identified impacts of the development on the community; assessed the effectiveness of the FCWD; examined the process used to create such a development; and identified the aspects and lessons from this heritage based tourism destination and community economic development initiative that are transferable to guide other projects of this kind.

The methodology for completing the research study incorporated a literature review and personal interviews. This information gathered using the literature search provided necessary background information about the FCWD project, the Eastern Passage community, tourism and community economic development. Personal interviews with members of community organizations, local business owners, community residents, and personnel in government agencies were conducted to acquire opinions from various stakeholders regarding the FCWD.

The findings of the research revealed that Community Economic Development (CED) initiatives and heritage-based tourism developments can play an important role in creating an economic and social foundation in communities. The rejuvenation of the "crick" (now FCWD); via the creation of a heritage-based tourism destination has restored the area as the community center in Eastern Passage. FCWD has: revived the areas' history and culture as a sea faring, fishing village; established a foundation for a new industry (tourism) within the community; and strengthened the commercial core area around Quigley's Comer, while maintaining the traditional character of the area.

Darryl Soshycki, "Rethinking Urban Rooftops" (Canadian Institute of Planners Award for Best Thesis, 1999)

Rethinking Urban Rooftops 
(Canadian Institute of Planners Award for Best Thesis, 1999)

Much of our memory is informed by our visual experience. There is an old saying that 'what's out of sight is out of mind'. Unfortunately, one part of our city that has been out of mind, but clearly in our sight, are the dreary flat landscapes formed by the rooftops of our modern buildings. Do rooftops have an impact on the quality of life for those who live and work within the city? To answer this question, this thesis examined the environmental and aesthetic impacts of numerous rooftop typologies and found that there is indeed a compelling case for planners to intervene in the functionality and visual impact of the city's roofscape.

This thesis proposes that by rethinking our current use of rooftops we will find that there are economically viable, energy saving, and visually exciting strategies to improve the quality of life for urban citizens by utilizing the forgotten roofscape in an environmentally sustainable manner. This thesis examined the aesthetic and environmental impacts of the current rooftop form and concluded that it was indeed important for planners to consider the abandoned rooftop spaces as an asset of the city waiting to be realised. Through rethinking our relationship to the fifth facade of buildings planners can create realistic remedies for real urban and real environmental problems.

Howard A. Trynor, "Creation of an Environmental Evaluation Process for Municipal Development Applications that fall Under the Development Agreement Process"

Creation of an Environmental Evaluation Process for Municipal Development Applications that fall Under the Development Agreement Process

The objective of the thesis is to determine whether a municipal level environmental evaluation is desirable when considering new developments. This determination is made through assessment of environmental legislation, policy and bylaws. An environmental evaluation process is devised for municipal development applications falling under the development agreement process.

The traditional municipal structures in Canada, oriented towards vertical power relationships, are not conducive to issues of environmental management, which require lateral, cooperative relationships. The role of municipal government is critical in controlling and directing development.

Environmental impact assessment is an environmental management tool presently used at both the federal and provincial levels of government, but not at the municipal level of government. A process has been developed to deal with overall gaps in project assessment, with consideration for cumulative environmental effects.

A survey was undertaken to determine the most frequently proposed development applications in Halifax Regional Municipality over a three-year period. This survey revealed common types of developments and helped determine what direction to take when developing the environmental evaluation process.

Municipal environmental evaluation is a means of ensuring environmentally sound municipal planning practices during the development agreement process. The environmental evaluation is completed before political and financial project decisions are made and costly design and engineering is completed.

Jennifer Lynn Whissell, "Community Involvement in Recreation Trail Planning: Success through a Best Practices Approach"

Community Involvement in Recreation Trail Planning: Success through A Best Practices Approach

Community involvement is a critical component of planning. And as most communities are experiencing devolution in the planning process, the volunteer sector is assuming a much larger role. One area where community involvement has been successful and continues to grow is recreation trail planning. Having a certain vision for their community and seeing it held up due to the lack of government support, many groups have been formed to implement their ideas and are turning them into reality through hard work of their own. Members of a community can offer unique and localized perspectives that are now being seen as a valuable, viable method of trail development. Given the importance of community involvement in trail planning, it is necessary to determine how the potential of volunteers as effective and responsible participants can be increased. The extent to which volunteer organizations can achieve success is dependent on the framework in place for them to work. While there are a number of communities that have successful frameworks in place to facilitate community involvement in trail planning, there is no method to share those experiences with other groups.

One thing that is preventing planners who are interested in implementing this approach is a lack of recent research and writing on concrete approaches and strategies for implementing community involvement. Much of the literature that is available tends to be outdated. Some also believe that a limited understanding of the concept of community development as it applies to recreation and leisure services makes it difficult for practitioners to develop clear principles (Hutchinson and Campbell, 1996, p. 20).

A best practices approach can create this opportunity. Through the examination of three case studies that establish benchmarks for community involvement in trail planning, six essential components are identified. These are further developed into eighteen lessons and relative examples that are transferable to community groups that are taking on trail development. The application of this approach to Walden, Ontario exhibits the usefulness to community groups that want to improve their efforts. New roles for professionals involved in trail development as well as a comprehensive system of implementation will make a best practices approach a useful tool in the recreation trail development process.

Rossalyn Workman, "Business Food Chain, A New Tool for Planning"

Business Food Chain, A New Tool for Planning

The planner is familiar with the operations of the city, and with the tools used to make decisions and to manage the city. As a future planner, and as a citizen, I have begun to question how these tools might be used more effectively in the future to preserve, protect and most importantly enhance the city.

Tom Turner said: "Environmentally, a sustainable city is one that can keep going because it uses resources economically, avoids wastes, recycles where possible and adopts policies that bear fruit in the long term"(1996, pg 91).

A sustainable city as defined by Tom Turner is possible. More importantly the focus of the thesis is to introduce a new tool for planning, one that might help bear fruit in the long term.

This new tool was conceived by addressing the question can industrial ecosystems be implemented within commercial districts of cities? This question was answered through the use of a case study undertaken in Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM). The case study also illustrated that the role of the planner must change in order for a sustainable city to occur.

An industrial ecosystem is the main component of industrial ecology. Industrial ecology is based on the principles of ecology. It borrows some of the elements of nature and adapts them to an industrial park setting. Like ecology, industrial ecology is made up of many processes, of which an industrial ecosystem is one.

The sharing of wastes is done through the development of industrial ecosystems, which operate to create economically as well as environmentally sustainable results. Making HRM a sustainable city is possible through the adoption of industrial ecosystems. The use of this process within the city requires a new name, the business food chain. The ramifications of the business food chain affect not only businesses and the city but also, impact the planner. The business food chain gives planners the opportunity to make their cities more sustainable. Furthermore, it gives them a new confidence and a new tool in developing that sustainability, a tool that would bear fruit in the terms of saving money, and responsible action towards the environment.


Laura Altenhof, "Policy Options for Local Government Regarding Big Box Retailing"

Policy Options for Local Government Regarding Big Box Retailing

The goal of this thesis was to provide policy options for local government regarding big box retailing. To facilitate the communication of the results of this research, a matrix called a "policy menu" was produced. By identifying an issue regarding big box retailing in a community, a user of the matrix can find a suggested policy that could address the issue.

All of the policy options given in the matrix were discovered through a series of nine community case studies and a literature search. Two aspects of the case study communities were examined: municipal policies and reports regarding big box retailing, as well as interviews with municipal planners; and interviews with chambers of commerce and business associations. Two Ontario Municipal Board Reports regarding big box retailing were examined as well.

By having and enforcing effective and appropriate policy regarding big box retailing, communities can use their regulatory power more effectively.

Dawn Bambrick, "Altering the Modern Retail Landscape Through Design: A Closer Look at Retail Parks"

Altering the Modern Retail Landscape Through Design: A Closer Look at Retail Parks

Wholesale and value oriented superstores, in the form of retail parks, have become the most popular shopping trend in the past decade. Despite the economic success of the retail park, it becomes questionable whether retail parks are an important increment of our retail history or just a passing phase. The solidification of the retail park as a prominent retail type for our future lies in planning and design.

Consumed by the convenience for the automobile, the physical manifestation of these new commercial centers has evolved into a suburban landscape that ignores the presence of the individual. Retail parks support conspicious consumption and lack amenities that would permit leisure, recreational, or cultural activities that have always been present in historic retail forms.

Design initiatives can range from basic configuration patterns that facilitate unobstructed pedestrian and automobile movement to elaborate architectural store designs. Guidelines should be established by planners to enforce basics design issues such as accessibility, scale reduction, landscaping, environmental considerations, and areas for social interaction. Without the implementation of design guidelines to new retail park development, municipalities will be unprepared for future retailing trends and the impacts they will have on the urban form and society.

David George Berney, "Scenic Resource Protection and the District Municipality of Muskoka"

Scenic Resource Protection and the District Municipality of Muskoka

The pollution, reduction and destruction of aesthetic landscape features is occurring at an alarming rate. Factors such as technological development, increasing populations, conspicuous consumption, economic profit making and some recreational pursuits have all played a role in the assault on landscape aesthetics. In our local and national media the outcry is evident in the numerous objections to sprawl, the felling of trees, the mining of mountains, the damming of watercourses, transportation and utility corridors, the pollution and destruction of animal and plant life, etc. Steps should be taken to ensure that future generations have the opportunity to benefit from/experience quality landscape resources.

In 1993 the District Municipality of Muskoka and the Muskoka Heritage Foundation published the "Muskoka Scenic Evaluation." This publication identified and documented the most scenic features in Muskoka. As identification and documentation will not protect resources, scenic or otherwise, from degradation or destruction there remained a need for the development of a methodology that would offer scenic resources protection.

By examining select examples of scenic resource protection, both foreign and domestic, and by evaluating possible protective mechanisms suitable to the Muskoka context a proposal for the protection of scenic resources was developed. This thesis concludes that a system utilising overlay zoning, easements and fee simple purchase of lands in conjunction with scenic designation could offer considerable protection to Muskoka's scenic resources.

Dong Cao, "Development of New Urban Space in China in the 1990s: Foreign Property Investment in the Emerging Market Economy"

Development of New Urban Space in China in the 1990s: Foreign Property Investment in the Emerging Market Economy

This thesis investigates the scope and impact of an unprecedented influx of foreign property development investment ( FPI) in China in the 1990s. It argues that the FPI represented the confluence of an explosion of development for profit by foreign developers and a surging demand for space by foreign enterprises within a context of China's urban land use restructuring. The underlying coalition of forces attributed to this phenomenon are:

� the emergence of land and property markets in China 
� China's substantial foreign direct investment inflow 
� urban economy and land use restructuring in Chinese cities

As one important force of urban development in China in the 1990s, FPI accelerated the urban regeneration process in major coastal centers. These proliferation of highly visible commercial projects developed by FPI that were springing up on the old urban cores formerly occupied by low-value use, forming new CBDs, came to symbolize China's transformation from a enclosed command economy towards an open market economy.

The thesis also briefly discusses the chaotic development process, and the danger of overbuilding in the immature market. The first requires policy makers to focus serious attention on building a fair and open development market system. The second requires fostering development of market mechanisms; and reassessment of the heavy reliance on foreign investment for urban regeneration.

Christopher J.B. Clibbon, "Retirement-based Developments as a Stimulus to Economic Activity in Rural Nova Scotia"

Retirement-based Developments as a Stimulus to Economic Activity in Rural Nova Scotia

The purpose of this thesis is to provide the framework for retirement baseddevelopments as a proven and responsible stimulus to economic development in rural Nova Scotia. Retirement-based developments can be promoted and developed in Nova Scotia given a variety of conditions that need to be taken into consideration: a community must balance both the pros and cons of this type of economic development, proper market research needs to be conducted, and planning implementation is needed to safeguard both the community and its assets.

The planner can play a leading role in the development of economic strategies for communities. Planners are probably the best-qualified professionals to assist communities, in part because of their interdisciplinary approach: facilitating public discussion, representing the needs of the elderly, mediating with developers, and in ensuring the satisfaction of all stake holders.

Recommendations and conclusions are formulated to provide a framework for future retirement-development in the province.

Patricia May Cuttell, "Increasing Community Capacity in Coastal Zone Management: Steps Toward Integrated Resource Planning"

Increasing Community Capacity in Coastal Zone Management: Steps Toward Integrated Resource Planning

Nova Scotia is geographically, environmentally, socially, and culturally defined by its coast. Despite the significance of this resource, little has been done to develop a management policy that specifically deals with issues that affect its integrity. To ensure the continued use of this resource for present and future generations of Nova Scotians, the development of a coastal management strategy is necessary. It has been recognized by various planning and resource management authorities that community involvement in the development and implementation of resource management strategies increases the probability of long-term management success. Increasing the capacity of coastal community residents to become involved in the management process is therefore integral to the realization of effective and responsible coastal management.

Through the examination of three Nova Scotian communities that have had success in community resource management, a number of factors which contribute to the communities' abilities to take on management initiatives have been derived. These factors are applied to a theoretical framework that proposes 1) Building Awareness, 2) Empowerment, and 3) Support as mechanisms for enhancing the capacity of coastal communities to become involved in coastal management.

Alan Dillabough, "Historic District Designation: Lower Princess Street, Kingston, Ontario"

Historic District Designation: Lower Princess Street, Kingston, Ontario

Historic preservation has long been an influence in North American cities although most of this preservationist effort has been focused on the preservation of particular landmark buildings or structures. This thesis examines the development of historic districts to protect notable areas rather than specific property types. The designation of historic districts is well and established in the United States but it is lacking in Canada. Although there are provisions for historic district designation in every province, it has not proliferated as in the United States.

This thesis examines the current effect of historic districts in North America generally, then uses the cases of Alexandria, Virginia and Markham, Ontario to draw specific conclusions about the implementation and effectiveness of these districts. The conclusions drawn from these overviews is applied to the specific case of the Lower Princess Street area of Kingston, Ontario with particular emphasis placed on the legislative environment. The Lower Princess Street area has seen its historic resource come increasingly under pressure. The ability of historic district designation to implement and to protect the heritage resource is analyzed.

Albert Ian Duff, "The Planning and Management of On-Site Communal Septic Treatment Systems to Support Clustered Rural Residential Development

The Planning and Management of On-Site Communal Septic Treatment Systems to Support Clustered Rural Residential Development

Rural land in North America has traditionally been a viewed as an endless resource. Because of this attitude, relatively low land values, low levels of taxation, and lack of development standards and guidelines, rural communities have expanded at rates often exceeding growth in neighbouring urban areas. As a result, many rural developments over consume both the natural landscape and the municipal infrastructure that services them.

In an attempt to combat the negative effects of excessive rural development, this thesis explores an alternative form of rural residential development and, more importantly, the on-site sewage disposal systems that service them. The alternative form of development to be examined is the cluster approach. While clustering is not a new or an exotic innovation, if carried out properly, it can enable the creation of a new form of rural residential development that contains the same density as a conventional type development, but consumes less land and requires only a fraction of the on-site infrastructure. In Nova Scotia, the clustering of rural residential developments can be achieved through Comprehensive Development Districts and Bare Land Condominiums and, as such, both concepts will be examined throughout the progression of this thesis.

In Nova Scotia, the Environment Act, R.. S.N.S. 1995, has recently been amended to allow for the use of cluster on-site sewage disposal systems to facilitate clustered rural residential development. In addition, the implementation of such cluster sewage systems can be achieved through Wastewater Management Districts and Bare Land Condominiums. These two approaches to wastewater management will thus be evaluated to determine which method should be used for new cluster developments and which should be implemented to accommodate failing on-site sewage disposal systems.

Finally, this thesis will recommend that the proper management of on-site cluster sewage disposal systems requires the implementation of a province wide inspection program that would see the privatization of sewage system inspectors as well as the requirement of annual inspections for both individual and cluster on-site sewage collection and disposal systems. Through these management systems, rural residential cluster developments in Nova Scotia will become a viable alternative to current sprawling developments plaguing the rural landscape.


Revised 15 March 2006

John K. C. Ingram, "When Cities Grow Wild: Natural Landscaping from an Urban Planning Perspective"

When Cities Grow Wild: Natural Landscaping from an Urban Planning Perspective

This thesis explores the emerging practice of natural landscaping in an urban environment with an emphasis on its planning implications. Specifically, it answers the question: What are the opportunities and barriers for the adoption of a natural landscaping strategy in Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM)?

To answer this question, the thesis first establishes the environmental, societal and fiscal benefits of natural landscaping in relation to the negative associations of conventional landscaping.

Next, in a broad overview of public and private naturalization initiatives across North America, natural landscaping is determined to be a growing pursuit and concern for urban planners.

For HRM itself, research concludes that there is significant enabling legislation and policy to advance natural landscaping, but insufficient public and political awareness of the practice and its benefits. Among other recommendations, the creation of an 'Urban Landscape Task Force' is suggested to facilitate the development of a local natural landscaping strategy.

Robert A. Lawrance, "Defining and Protecting Cultural and Heritage Tourism Authenticity in Rural Nova Scotia"

Defining and Protecting Cultural and Heritage Tourism Authenticity in Rural Nova Scotia

This research involved the collection and evaluation of survey data which was used to identify and consider "authentic" cultural tourism resources in a sample of rural Nova Scotia communities. As part of the research, a database of "place images" from communities with distinct cultural groups and levels of tourism activity were collected. This database was used as a tolls to identify local perceptions of cultural authenticity and potential community resources not fully developed for cultural tourism use. With this information, a number of actions are proposed for municipal and provincial planners in order to further preserve community heritage for the benefit of the community and the tourist.

The database was created using a mail survey of community groups and tourism businesses; personal interviews with municipal officials and members of the communities surveyed; and literature searches on local history.

The findings of the research conclude that more local community participation is needed in identifying authentic place images of the surveyed communities. A combination of changes to planning legislation and greater levels of community involvement in the planning process are suggested as possible actions to enhance future cultural tourism potential.

Robert G. Lipka, "Retrofitting Older Suburbs to Better Accommodate Our Growing Elderly Population"

This thesis argues that there is a definite need to begin redesigning and retrofitting older suburban areas of our cities to prepare for an increasingly aging society. The intention here is to show that planning should take the leading role in beginning such a process. One which aims to retrofit the existing built environment to better accommodate this growing segment of the population.

To address these questions of renovation, planners must begin to understand the physical changes associated with the aging process, and how these changes affect a person's ability to navigate their built environment. These questions, and the answers to them, will be the guiding principle of this thesis.

I plan to examine different aspects of design in order to help retrofit an existing neighbourhood to better serve its elderly residents. The final product will incorporate designs which will show that older suburbs can be adapted for use by elderly people, and make their neighbourhoods safer and more pleasant places to live.

Michael John Muir, "Preparing for the Information Age: The Impact of Information Technology on Cities and Planners"

Preparing for the Information Age: The Impact of Information Technology on Cities and Planners

This research involved the examination and prediction of the impacts of information technology on cities and the role of the planner. In developing the necessary results, a literature review of current technological trends and historical background was undertaken.

Using the information established through the background and technological trends, the land uses of office, retail and residential sectors were examined to determine potential future impacts caused by information technology. Various future planning issues were identified in conjunction with this land use analysis, and the future role of the urban planner was then evaluated.

The general findings suggested that the tools, processes and issues of urban land use planning will be modified in the information age, and that the professional planner will need to adapt to a emerging new role.


Cordell M. Paiement, "The Identification and Assessment of Municipal Watershed Planning Opportunities in Nova Scotia"

The Identification and Assessment of Municipal Watershed Planning Opportunities in Nova Scotia

The prevention and mitigation of water quality and availability problems in Nova Scotia are necessary to ensure the protection and restoration of ecosystems and the development and maintenance of healthy communities in Nova Scotia. The primary impact on water quality and availability is the development of land uses and related activities. Land use planning can plan and manage land use, but it is necessary to utilize the principles of watershed management to adequately account for the effects of land use and related activities on water quality and availability. However, the existing planning and management of land use and water resources in Nova Scotia is fragmented and uncoordinated resulting in water quality and availability problems.

The relevant legislation, the Fisheries Act (1970), the Environment Act (1995), the Planning Act (1983), and proposed Municipal Government Act, is reviewed to identify the opportunities to coordinate the planning and management of land use and water resources, as well as the opportunities to incorporate the principles of watershed management. The history of watershed management policy in Nova Scotia is also reviewed to identify past problems, proposed solutions, and trends of watershed management that can be incorporated in a proposal to improve the planning and management of land use and water resources in the province.

he conclusions of the preceding research indicate that the incorporation of the principles of watershed management in municipal land use planning can improve the coordination of the planning and management of land use and water resources in the province by implementing municipal watershed planning. The proposal for municipal watershed planning incorporates the principles of watershed management in the existing municipal land use planning framework and policies in Nova Scotia pursuant to the Planning Act and the proposed Municipal Government Act. This proposal also incorporates the provisions of DOE pursuant to the Environment Act for the regulation of land use activities and water quality and availability and the provisions of DFO pursuant to the Fisheries Act for the management of fish and fish habitat.

An assessment of this proposal to create municipal watershed planning indicates both benefits and issues that need to be addressed to implement this proposal to improve the prevention and mitigation of water quality and availability problems in Nova Scotia.

Grenville Walter Phillips, "Appropriate Post-clusure Uses for Limestone Quarries in Barbados"

Appropriate Post-closure Uses for Limestone Quarries in Barbados

This thesis discusses appropriate post-closure uses for limestone quarries on the island of Barbados. The quarries were excavated in response to a need for building material during intense periods of development in Barbados. To date (1998), there are no plans for their use after they are abandoned. To provide the data necessary for the land-use planning tools available, the physical and social development of the island is described. The quarry sites were examined and potential impacts from surrounding land-uses were identified during a site visit to the island. Ideas concerning the post-closure uses are formulated into proposals in response to the documented land-use needs of Barbados. These proposals are analyzed to determine the benefits of locating the idea in a quarry. The background data is used to perform a comparative analysis of the sites for each proposal, and a ranking of the sites is determined. This is followed by conceptual designs of the proposed postclosure uses. A computational framework for the hydrologic analysis of the quarries is developed. Should more detailed field data become available, this framework should facilitate making statements about the hydraulic retention time, which is relevant to water quality and flooding issues. The relationship between the change in water volume and flow rates define the continuity equation which is solved using the fourth-order Runge-Kutta method. To assess which quarries are vulnerable to slope instability, the Bishop's Simplified Method of Slices is used to determine the slope stability factors of safety.

The ranked post-closure uses proposed in this document in response to the specific landuse needs of Barbados are: playing fields with retail services, gardens, golf driving range, construction storage facilities, composting facility, temporary water reservoir, manufacturing facilities, warehousing facilities, prison, resource recovery facility, and a stadium/hurricane shelter.

Douglas Reid, "Forest Policy and Rural Landownership in Nova Scotia"

Forest Policy and Rural Landownership in Nova Scotia

This thesis argues that provincial forest policy substantially affects the pattern of rural landownership in Nova Scotia.

A provincial forest policy is recognized as being a "use-oriented strategy," and as such, must conform to land use planning principles. This thesis concludes one necessary primary principle is to incorporate the interests of small private woodlot owners in the policy development process. This particular landownership sector is recognized since they as a sector own the majority of forested land in NS.

After establishing the rationale for this argument, this thesis will conclude by assessing whether two of the strategy recommendations resulting from the 1996 Coalition review process are of significant consequence for the private forest landowner,

This thesis examines past and existing initiatives of the provincial government in its establishing a responsible forest management policy. It surveys the ongoing encroachment of public regulation over the use and cultivation of privately-owned forest land. The thesis will also recommend that the province reconsider whether its current regional development strategies adequately reflect the resource-oriented concerns held by existing rural private woodlot owners.

Jose Reyes, "Public Transit and People with Disabilities: A Comparative Approach for the Halifax Regional Municipality"

Public Transit and People with Disabilities: A Comparative Approach for the Halifax Regional Municipality

Transportation remains one of the biggest challenges that people with disabilities face in their daily lives. This is especially true for people confined to wheelchairs. Even though there exists a paratransit service provided by Metro Transit, general concerns still remain about the quality of the service in the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM). In order to evaluate the transportation challenges faced by wheelchair users, this thesis reviews the paratransit services provided by the Halifax Regional Municipality in light of those provided in other Canadian municipalities. Thus, the main goal of this exercise is to propose alternative transit programs which could improve and complement the services already provided by the Halk fax Metro Transit Department. These recommendations are based on an extensive evaluation of transit modes used in other municipalities across Canada. Some of these municipalities include: Vancouver, Ottawa-Carlton, HamiltonWentworth, Toronto and Fredericton.

This thesis proposes some strategies and initiatives which could improve and complement Metro Transit's special services. These strategies were chosen based on their routing, scheduling and booking flexibility, They are the following:

1) Access-A-Bus fixed route

2) Use of taxis with lifts in coordination with "TaxiSaver" program

3) Formation of ride-sharing clubs

This thesis also proposes closer links between barrier-free policies and public transit, Improvements in special transit can only succeed when policy formulation is coordinated with improvements in bus design and routing/scheduling.

Carla Bing Wo, "Searching for the Spirit of Place"

Searching for the Spirit of Place

The First Nation community of Eskasoni, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia is used for this study. Initially, a practical line of research was proposed - the potential for community infrastructure to reflect cultural context. As the research continued, the focus changed as larger issues of planning and its role in cultural continuity became apparent. Many theories of planning for First Nations have been discussed at length. Many of the latest theories call for Native culture and community participation. Yet, the research reveals that this does not occur in actual practice.

Photography was used as an active tool to gather information and generate discussion. This culminated in a joint showing between the author and a local Eskasoni photographer. The information gathered through this process provides the basis for a reconsideration of our perceptions of planning practice.