Department of Geography and Planning Graduate Theses

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    The Relationship Between Erect Deciduous Shrub Growth and Spectral Greening on the Bathurst Caribou Range
    Bonta, Carolyn H.; Geography and Planning; Danby, Ryan
    The Canadian Arctic has simultaneously experienced rapid climate warming, increases in plant productivity (“greening”), and barren-ground caribou population declines in recent decades. Across the tundra biome, remotely sensed greening has been attributed to an expansion of erect deciduous shrubs, although the patterns and processes of shrub growth are heterogeneous. I applied field investigation and dendrochronology at different levels of the ecological hierarchy to examine recent patterns of growth of trees, erect deciduous shrubs, and other plant functional types in relation to climate. My research sought changes inferred from remote sensing within the relatively understudied treeline ecotone of central Canada on the late summer range of the Bathurst caribou herd. Consistent with previous studies, a high degree of heterogeneity manifested across sites that had greened and those whose productivity had remained stable according to remotely sensed time series trends. Overall, however, there was no significant difference in annual radial growth of trees and shrubs; in composition, establishment, height, or growth rate of shrubs; or in plant community composition between the two site types. However, subtle patterns of change and small differences were evident at all levels of the ecological hierarchy to suggest that dwarf birch is gaining dominance across the landscape and within plant communities, driven by increased secondary growth and a healthier, more productive canopy. Like birch, spruce growth has also been increasing, with both woody plant types responding to warmer temperatures. Greater birch importance at greening sites contrasted strongly with a greater importance of lichen and more bare ground cover at stable sites. A shifting dominance of shrubs can alter range condition and available forage for caribou, thereby also impacting the people who rely on caribou. In addition to improving our understanding of greening in relation to shrub expansion and climate sensitivity of woody plants at latitudinal treeline, my characterization of plant community change in recent decades can help identify areas for protection and monitoring on the Bathurst range, ultimately supporting recovery efforts for this ecologically and culturally important caribou herd.
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    Navigating Precarious Labour Geographies in Turkey: Young Women in a Time of ‘Chronic’ Crisis
    Kara, Hilal; Geography and Planning; Mullings, Beverley
    This thesis explores gendered spatial and temporal labour strategies of young women, in places where standard employment was never the norm, when they negotiate the labour instabilities caused by neoliberal global markets and authoritarian pious politics of the state. Located at the intersection of labour geography and feminist political economy, I examine the relationship between rising levels of unemployment and precarity among tertiary educated youth and the reliance of states on a heteropatriarchal gender politics to resolve them. Describing Turkey’s governing strategy under the Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi, the AKP), as authoritarian pious neoliberalism, I examine the impacts of this blend of authoritarian neoliberalism and Islamic piety on young people’s work lives and capacities to transition to adulthood. I argue that far from an economic success, the AKP state’s liberalization of the Turkish economy has been accompanied by rising levels of precarity that have hurt young people, women, and marginalized categories of workers the most. As a governing strategy, I argue that state efforts to produce a pious generation devoted to so-called ‘Turkish’ values can be also understood as a gendered labour strategy designed to obscure the failure of its free market economic strategy by scapegoating young women and marginalized workers. Drawing on qualitative interviews with young women, critical analyses of news articles, as well as statements by the state, I also argue that spaces of waiting and mobility, which are largely possible due to unpaid social reproductive work and informality, are mediums for young women to endure economic insecurities and social instabilities. While these spaces can be exploitative and obligatory, they enable marginalized youth to refuse state and market constructions of the acceptable worker/citizen and invent alternatives for a better future
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    Reawakening the ‘Dish with One Spoon’: The Haudenosaunee and Michi Saagiig Economies of Southern Ontario Past, Present and Future
    Barberstock, Ryan E.; Geography and Planning; Cameron, Laura Jean
    In this thesis, we explore the significance of the Dish with One Spoon, a Wampum Belt treaty that embodies a profound First Nations connection rooted in both cultural ties and economic interests. This treaty plays a pivotal role in shaping the development of an enduring economic reality between the Haudenosaunee and the Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg Peoples. Furthermore, this research focuses on the nation-to-nation resource-sharing agreement for the common lands of Southern Ontario among First Nations treaty holders, offering an examination of various facets and capabilities of the Dish with One Spoon from an economic standpoint. Despite the impacts of colonization, its resilience and sovereignty have endured, encompassing a significant portion of Southern Ontario which is protected by Wampum Belt diplomacy. The Dish with One Spoon treaty constitutes a multinational Indigenous economic accord, integrating perspectives from the land and waters. Beyond establishing rights and privileges, the Dish with One Spoon recognizes First Nations Peoples, plant life, and animals as active participants and decision-makers in the economic self-determination of their shared treaty territory. Framed as theory and informed by the Two-Row method, this research demonstrates how the Dish with One Spoon presents a distinctive model of Indigenous regional economics. This model places a premium on the economic autonomy of First Nations and their interdependent relationship with the local ecology. Moreover, it underscores the importance of acknowledging the agency and autonomy of the land in making treaty-based economic decisions, recognizing its crucial role in resource conservation and its intrinsic link to economic development.
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    Investigating Charter City Ideologies and Geographical Imaginaries: The Case of Próspera and Singapore
    Iqbal, Aaron; Geography and Planning; Cohen, Dan
    In 2011, economist Paul Romer gave a Ted Talk titled, “Why the World Needs Charter Cities.” During his lecture, Romer described an idealized form of urban governance. The essence of Romer’s talk was to reshape the connection between cities and economic development through emphasizing an unregulated competition between cities as a mode of spurring economic growth. Romer’s talk echoes a sentiment from like-minded individuals and institutions that believe cities should be organized around a libertarian ideology where institutions and landowners, rather than public governance structures, have the greatest amount of power in urban development. My thesis investigates the ideology that underlies the charter city idea through a study of Próspera, a charter city located in Honduras, and the libertarian ideology used to both promote the city and develop its constitution and institutions. This study also includes investigating the perceived historical continuity between Próspera and cities such as Singapore and Hong Kong that are seen as embodying the charter city model. Charter city advocates draw on idealized versions of such cities’ rapid economic development as both inspiration for, and justification of, their approach to urban governance. In contrast, in this thesis I highlight that charter cities alleged link with such sites do not reflect the reality and context upon which their economic growth occurred. Through focusing on ZEDEs (Zones for Employment and Economic Development), the enabling legislation passed in Honduras that allowed for Próspera’s establishment, I argue that the institutions which make up Próspera are more reflective of the colonial administration of Singapore and its contemporary use of state power to boost economic growth than of an idealized libertarian governing
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    One-Person Households in Canada and the Implications for Health: A Health Geography Perspective
    Li, Xinyue; Geography and Planning; Rosenberg, Mark
    In recent decades, one-person households (OPHs) have become increasingly prevalent in developed countries, including Canada. Health concerns among individuals living alone in OPHs have also been highlighted. Despite this global recognition, such issues have received limited attention in Canada, and existing literature primarily focuses on older adults and overlooks other age groups. This thesis comprehensively examines the phenomenon of OPH in the Canadian context through a health geography perspective, utilizing data from the 1991-2016 Canadian Census Public Use Microdata Files and the 2017-2018 Canadian Community Health Survey Public Use Microdata File. Through descriptive analysis and binary logistic regression, this study identifies temporal-spatial trends in OPH prevalence and assesses the health implications of living in an OPH, across all adult age groups nationally. This analysis reveals a consistent increase in the prevalence of OPHs among Canadian adults from 1991 to 2016, primarily driven by rapid growth among middle-aged individuals. The Atlantic Provinces and Quebec exhibit the fastest growth in OPHs across all age groups. While OPH living remains primarily an urban phenomenon among young adults, it has seen a growing presence in rural areas among middle-aged and older adults in recent years. Compared to living with others, living alone in an OPH is detrimental to the health of Canadian adults, although the severity and underlying mechanisms of this detriment vary among age groups. Poorer socioeconomic conditions and unhealthy lifestyles emerge as significant risk factors for the OPH population across all age groups. Sex, ethnicity, marital status, personal income, access to regular health care providers, and the place of residency have different impacts across the three age cohorts (young adults, middle-aged adults, and older adults). These findings address critical research gaps and provide valuable insights for policymakers to effectively respond to the rapidly growing phenomenon, promoting the health and well-being of the OPH population in Canada.