Utopia Project and Proposal

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Utopia Project and Proposal

Assignment Purpose:

The purpose of this assignment is threefold:

1) To further help develop your research and information-finding skills.

2) To explore in deep geographical analysis an issue in Toronto’s Geography

3) To examine a Toronto neighbourhood and how it might be improved by utopian redevelopment

Project Overview:

This is a two stage-project. First, you will write a Proposal and then you will write a final plan, the Utopia Project. In this project you will choose a Toronto neighbourhood, some issues, and then create a plan for a utopian neighbourhood. Most of the below description of the assignment is for the Utopia Project (the one due July 21). See page 7 for a description of the Proposal. First, read all the criteria for the Utopia Project, then proceed to page 7 to see how the Proposal fits into this project.

Utopia Project Technical Details:

Your assignment must be between 1800 and 2200 words (this is about 6-8 pages of double-spaced text). If you write more than 2200 words, I will stop reading and grade all that came before. Ensure you have room to include all the required sections listed below. Please put a word count at the end of your paper. In-text citations count towards your word limit but your works cited list does not. Please submit your assignment as a word file type to ensure I can read and add comments in-text.

Research

This is a research assignment AND a creative assignment. You must include a minimum of 6 sources.  These must include:

– Minimum 4 scholarly articles (peer reviewed – see the list of possible journals below)

– Minimum 2 ‘newspaper’ articles from credible sources (can be online)

– (Optional) non-scholarly online sources (including websites, blogs, short videos, etc.)

You may use course readings as materials (and I encourage you to do so!) but if you do they will not count towards your minimum number of sources. You are encouraged to also include maps, data, images, and illustrations. If you do, your paper will likely be beyond 6-8 pages and this is okay.

List of possible journals in which to find ‘scholarly’ articles:

Social & Cultural Geography

Gender, Place, & Culture

Cultural Geography

Urban Studies

Canadian Journal of Urban Research

Environment and Planning A

Environment and Planning C

Geography Review

The Canadian Geographer

Journal of the American Institute of Planners

Transportation Quarterly

Canadian Journal of Regional Science

Annals, Association of American Geographers

Geojournal

Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services

Journal of Urban Planning and Development

Journal of Urban Affairs

Housing Studies

International Journal of Urban and Regional Research

Urban Geography

Assignment Content Details:

In this assignment you will choose a Toronto (or GTA) neighbourhood and propose a utopian redevelopment of that neighbourhood. You will research and write an 1800-2200-word Utopia Project

In the Module on The Modern City and Ideas about the City, we heard some ideas about how people thought the modern city could be improved. Some of those ideas, such as those of Frank Lloyd Wright’s ‘Broadacre City’, were quite utopian in character. A utopia is an imaginary society or place that contains many or all of the desired amenities of its residents. In this Utopia Project, you are tasked with redeveloping a Toronto neighbourhood to help make the city more utopian!

You should be prepared to dream big! Don’t be confined by what already exists or what is too expensive! Do you want roller coasters? Social housing as tall as the CN Tower? Plots of land for people to farm? Go for it! The Utopia Project is up to you!

Despite your grand dreams, what you redevelop should be grounded in contemporary reality and how human geography addresses that reality. Human Geography is the study of the relationship between people, place, and space. Your Utopia Project must be about a particular neighbourhood and through your discussion of proposed changes you should illustrate the integrative character of Geographical analysis. Consider the various aspects of Geography of Toronto (urban, social, cultural, political, economic, environmental, transportation) and examine how your topic and neighbourhood might be affected by each approach. Your Project should be grounded in the human experience of neighbourhoods.

You are tasked with a four-part objective:

1) Identification of neighbourhood (Approximately one page)

You should consider at what scale your proposed changes will occur. For instance, if you are proposing to redevelop the wealthy Toronto neighbourhood of Rosedale, will your proposed changes occur at a small, medium, or large scale? For instance, see the map below for three possible scales at which a student might redevelop Rosedale. Be sure to suggest the boundaries of your proposed changes, no matter the scale you choose.

You must offer a critical description of the current neighbourhood. You might consider including information about some or all of the below:

            -Statistics and/or demographics

            -Housing and/or commercial costs

            -Built form and/or land use (residential, commercial, industrial, recreational, institutional,         transportation)

            -Relevant historical aspects of the neighbourhood

*Special note: Many students choose the neighbourhood Jane-Finch for this assignment. While it is a legitimate choice, Jeff has read SO MANY projects about this neighbourhood! Please, if you can, choose another neighbourhood! You might even consider redeveloping part of a neighbourhood that isn’t traditionally the kind of neighbourhood that would be a target for redevelopment. I highly encourage you to do so. For instance, housing unaffordability and wealth inequality are major issues in Toronto, thus, a wealthy and expensive neighbourhood like Rosedale has problems! You can consider any Toronto neighbourhood as long as you justify it!

2) Discussion of the issue(s) your project aims to address (Approximately one to two pages). These might include some combination of the below:

            -Housing type or prices

            -Gentrification

            -Poverty

            -Automobile issues

            -Public transportation

            -Cycling infrastructure

            -Urban sprawl

            -Community space

            -Public housing

            -Monoculture (Starbucks and condos everywhere)

            -Homelessness

            -Natural environment

            -Public safety

            -Zoning/land use conflicts

            -NIMBYism

            -Accessibility

            -Food deserts

Some of the issues you discuss should be issues with the particular neighbourhood you have chosen, but you might also consider remedying issues with the city as a whole. In this section you should cite your research where relevant.

For instance, in the above example about Rosedale, that neighbourhood might not seem like an obvious neighbourhood to redevelop because it is wealthy, but it lacks affordable housing, as does the entire city! So, if you proposed an affordable housing redevelopment for the ‘fancy’ neighbourhood of Rosedale, you might expect to deal with housing type or prices, poverty, public housing, and NIMBYism (or others!).

3)  Literature review (Approximately one to two pages)

You must conduct a scholarly review of some relevant literature that discusses the issues your project aims to address. Your sources should support your proposed changes. See above for minimum research requirements. I would like to see a mix of scholarly and non-scholarly source usage.

4) Proposed utopian redevelopment changes (Approximately two to three pages)

What is your project? Here, you should lay out what you plan for the neighbourhood. There are many ways to do this and I encourage you to be creative! As long as your plan is within the realm of possibility, it will work for this assignment. I encourage you to dream. You might consider using images of your plans. Despite the room here for creativity, there are some things you should cover, including:

-Time frame for changes

-Plans for current residents/occupants (resettlement plans?)

-Transportation changes

-Infrastructure / built form changes (This is mandatory – you must propose physical changes!)

In this section you must also explain how your plan addresses the issues you have suggested above in 2). You should cite your research here as well. Your plan must be grounded in the literature!

Note: Because I’m encouraging you to dream big, money is irrelevant to this Utopia Project. You can imagine you have unlimited funds for your Project.

Works Cited List and Citations

You must include a works cited list in APA format and you should include citations where necessary. APA uses ‘author, date’ format (May, 2022).

The basics of what you need to do are simple! If you have read something written by Jeff May and want to cite his ideas, just include this at the end of your sentence (May, 2022). If your source has a specific page number and you have quoted directly, ‘cite with the page number included’ (May, 2022, p. 1).

For your works cited list, our course outline article references are in APA format. Just copy the format!

For further explanation of APA format, see the link below:

https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/apa_style/apa_style_introduction.html

A Note about Academic Integrity

This assignment provides you with a lot of freedom in how to approach your topic. It also requires that you employ other people’s research (and words) in making your argument. Because of this freedom and requirement, it is the type of paper that provides the temptation to employ dubious citational practices! Please see the paragraph about Academic Integrity in the Course Outline and ensure you understand what honest practices mean in an essay context. This is your responsibility, but your instructor is willing to help you understand and learn.

Grading and Assessment Scheme

  Research, Research Usage, Citations, and Works Cited List   Your works cited list should be in proper APA format and should include at least six sources. Your in-text citations should be used correctly and in the correct format.   A good assignment will use at least the minimum number of sources while a great assignment will use more than the minimum and will include sources very useful to the assignment. A great assignment will include extremely useful sources, while a less successful assignment will include sources that are barely useful to the paper.   A good assignment will include some discussion of each of your sources. A great assignment will critique the arguments made in the sources and/or will use those arguments to help critique the topic/issue.   Your research should focus on both your neighbourhood and the issues you are focusing on. Some neighbourhoods will have specific articles “about” them (such as Kensington Market) while other will not (for example, if you want to focus on a particular suburban area, you might need to focus on research about Toronto suburbs more generally).  /8
  Identification of neighbourhood   A well-chosen neighbourhood will cover both why the particular neighbourhood was chosen and why the particular scale was chosen. It will offer relevant and useful description of the neighbourhood.  /4
  Discussion of the issues   A good assignment will discuss relevant issues for the neighbourhood at the scale chosen. A great assignment will illustrate some understanding of the issues chosen. You should also discuss whether the issues chosen are with the city as a whole and/or with your chosen neighbourhood.   A great assignment will have citations where relevant to help ground the discussion in the literature.  /8
  Literature Review   A good assignment will employ the minimum number of required sources. A great assignment will use more than the minimum but will also use sources that are especially relevant to the assignment.   A good paper will have research that supports the proposed changes.  /5
  Proposed Redevelopment Changes   A good project should ‘solve’ or mitigate some of the issues laid out above. A great project will solve the issues in an intellectually creative way and contains the characteristics of a possible utopia.   A good assignment will cover all of the ‘shoulds’ suggested in 4) above. A great project will include references to the literatures cited in the review.   A good project will address how the redevelopment is utopian and a great project will help create a convincing utopian city through redevelopment of just one area of the city.  /15
  Total Marks  /40
Text Box: Utopia Project Proposal Instructions

The Utopia Project Proposal is worth 15% of your final grade in the course. The purpose of the Proposal is to ensure you have chosen a valid neighbourhood and scale, have considered some valid issues, and have begun to do some research. Your proposal will be graded out of 15 according to the grading rubric below (but note that my expectations will be MUCH LOWER than for the final Utopia Project, given this is only a Proposal).

In 200-300 words for 1-3 below, your Proposal submission should cover:

1) What is your neighbourhood? Consider the criteria on page 3 above.

2) What are your issues? Describe them briefly. Consider the criteria on page 4 above.

3) What are TWO scholarly articles you could use for the Utopia Project? Briefly describe how they would help your project. Consider the criteria above on page 2.

4) A works cited list with your two articles included in APA format (describe above on page 5).

Grading Rubric

A+        Discussions of the theory content show superior understandings of the arguments. They also show exceptional grasp of the subject matter with evidence of an exhaustive knowledge base. The critical analysis shows extensive innovative development of the theoretical ideas. The theoretical and creative aspects of the paper work together in an innovative way. Anybody who reads this project will learn significantly.

A          Discussions of the theory content show very clear understandings of the arguments. They also show excellent grasp of the subject matter with evidence of an extensive knowledge base. The critical analysis shows innovative development of the theoretical ideas. The theoretical and creative aspects of the paper work together in an innovative way. Anybody who reads this project will learn something.

A –        Discussions of the theory content show clear understandings of the arguments. They also show excellent grasp of the subject matter with some evidence of knowledge in the area. The theoretical and creative aspects of the paper work together in an innovative way. The critical analysis shows development of the theoretical ideas.

B+        Discussions of the theory content show clear understandings of the arguments. They also show solid grasp of the subject matter with some evidence of knowledge in the area.  The theoretical and creative aspects of the paper work together in a mostly innovative way. The critical analysis shows some development of the theoretical ideas.

B          Discussions of the theory content show understandings of the arguments. They also show solid grasp of the subject matter with some evidence of knowledge in the area and/or familiarity with the issues. The theoretical and creative aspects of the paper work together in a mostly innovative way. The critical analysis shows some development of the theoretical ideas.

B –        Discussions of the theory content show understandings of the arguments.  They also show solid grasp of the subject matter with some evidence of knowledge in the area and/or familiarity with the issues. The theoretical and creative aspects of the paper work together in a mostly innovative way. The critical analysis shows minor development of the theoretical ideas.

C+        Discussions of the theory content show some understandings of the arguments.  They also show some grasp of the subject matter with some evidence of knowledge in the area and/or familiarity with the issues. The theoretical and creative aspects of the paper work together in a partly innovative way. The critical analysis shows limited development of the theoretical ideas.

C          Discussions of the theory content show limited understandings of the arguments. They also show minor grasp of the subject matter with little evidence of knowledge in the area and/or familiarity with the issues. The theoretical and creative aspects of the paper work together in a partly innovative way. The critical analysis shows limited development of the theoretical ideas.

C –       Discussions of the theory content show little understandings of the arguments. They also show little grasp of the subject matter with little evidence of knowledge in the area and/or familiarity with the issues. The theoretical and creative aspects of the paper work together in a partly innovative way. The critical analysis shows very limited development of the theoretical ideas.

D          Discussions of the theory content show little understandings of the arguments. They also show very little grasp of the subject matter or familiarity with the issues. The theoretical and creative aspects of the paper work together but weakly. The critical analysis shows no development of the theoretical ideas.

F          Discussions of the theory content show barely any familiarity with the arguments. The theoretical and creative aspects of the paper don’t work together well. The critical analysis shows no understanding or development of the theoretical ideas.

Submission Checklist!

I have included my full name somewhere on the first page

I have named my file ‘LAST NAME, GIVEN NAME, CGEO793’

I have included a works cited list in APA format

I have used in-text citations in APA format

I have used at least the minimum required number of sources

I have adhered to all word limits and have placed a word count after my conclusion

I have written in a word-processing file (no pdf)

I will submit to D2L and check to ensure my submission worked properly

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