Unscrambling (Sub)Urban Growth

Municipal development is one of ALI’s four main areas of study, and with Unscrambling Sub(urban) Growth, Dr. Sandeep Agrawal, the Director of the University of Alberta Planning Program, is examining one aspect of that subject: the growth of cities.

Currently in the midst of a one-year project funded by ALI, Dr. Agrawal is developing a ‘state of knowledge’ report to help us understand what researchers from across North America already ‘know’ about municipal growth. What criteria have been established to evaluate the growth of cities? Have we defined mechanisms that might support sustainable growth? Most importantly: what are the research gaps in our understanding of the growth of cities?

When it is delivered next fall, this report will set useful context as we work with stakeholders and policymakers on issues of municipal planning in Alberta, while also potentially helping us frame new municipal development research questions to pose in future calls for proposal.

However, we don’t have to wait for the report to share some of the benefits of Dr. Agrawal’s work.

One essential part of Dr. Agrawal’s research plan called for him to bring together a group of experts in municipal planning and development from across North America, for sessions exploring the existing knowledge surrounding urban and suburban growth. Those meetings occurred a few weeks ago in Edmonton, and because it is rare for such a diverse group of experts together, Dr. Agrawal proposed to make the most of the occasion.

Working in partnership with the City-Region Studies Centre (CRSC), the Kule Institute for Advanced Study (KIAS), and his own University of Alberta Planning Program, Dr. Agrawal coordinated a public forum at which all the assembled experts were able to take part in panel discussions, and take questions from the audience. The event was hosted at the Art Gallery of Alberta, as part of CRSC’s Regional Planning Speakers Series, and was completely sold out. Video of the event is embedded below.

Transferring knowledge gathered by our research projects remains one of ALI’s highest priorities. Dr. Agrawal’s work will be of great use to our ongoing research efforts in the months and years ahead, but in the meantime, we are delighted to be able to work in partnership with fellow research groups like CRSC and KIAS to share information, and contribute to the greater body of knowledge surrounding important issues like municipal development.

For more news about Dr. Agrawal’s research, and for details about his report when it is delivered this fall, stay tuned to this website.