Geography - Theses, Dissertations, and other Required Graduate Degree Essays

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Spatial Tactics in Vancouver's Judicial System

Author: 
Date created: 
2014-04-24
Abstract: 

This thesis draws on field work in Vancouver’s adult criminal court system, a quantitative analysis of a one month sample of court records, interviews with judges and attorneys working in Vancouver’s criminal court, and interviews with individuals effected by court orders to examine the legal construction, enforcement, and overall effect of spatially restrictive conditions of release, or ‘red zones’, imposed on bail. Conditions of bail are found to occupy an increasingly central role in contemporary Canadian criminal justice and serve as the basis for new forms of police practice. The law grants police and courts broad discretionary authority to impose red zones, based on standards of reasonableness that assume a connection between disorderly behaviour and particularly urban areas or zones. Quantitative analysis of court records finds that bail orders in Vancouver adult criminal courts routinely employ spatially restrictive conditions of release. These spatial restrictions concentrate in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside neighbourhood where they are used as a policing tool. In this context many Downtown Eastside residents find everyday behaviours criminalized and police discretion to search and detain increased. This research sheds light on understudied exclusionary aspects of the contemporary administration of justice in Canada.

Document type: 
Thesis
Senior supervisor: 
Nicholas Blomley
Department: 
Environment: Department of Geography
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Witnessing the Colonialscape: lighting the intimate fires of Indigenous legal pluralism

Date created: 
2014-03-03
Abstract: 

Law has been used to impose and enforce colonial power relations in Canada, as well as being used as a tool of resistance within Indigenous-state relations. The day-to-day lives of Indigenous people remain shaped by the foundational geo-legal construction of Indians and Indian reserves through which the violence of settlement has been neutralized. Yet Indigenous law and Indigenous geographies continue to produce their own socio-legal identities and territories of meaning, which exist alongside colonial ideas about Indians and Indian space. Working from the understanding that Canada is a legally pluralistic state, it follows that the legal consciousness of Indigenous people are formed within relationships to multiple legal orders, and the individual identities of Indigenous people are produced through these heterogeneous relationships. In this dissertation, a grounded analysis of legal pluralism emerges as I investigate dynamics of law, violence and space through the frequently unheard perspectives of Indigenous people working to address violence in communities across BC. Although widespread efforts have been undertaken to seek justice for offences against native people, violence continues to be a daily reality for Indigenous people across BC and Canada. Thus, I first examine several cases of violence which have emerged into public discourse in recent years, asking what has been accomplished in these efforts to gain social and legal recognition of violence. Second, efforts to address violence within Indigenous communities are explored, suggesting that these initiatives at community, family and interpersonal scales might be understood as expressions of Indigenous law. These diverse initiatives are changing norms around violence at a community level among networks of people who share a reciprocal sense of responsibility to one another, rooted in Indigenous territorialities. These efforts to address violence form a countermeasure to the violence of Canadian law, providing possibilities for engagement of individual and collective agency, power, and self-determination. I conclude by discussing how the recognition of Indigenous jurisdiction opens up the possibility for Indigenous people to escape justice wormholes, recategorizing themselves and the violence against them within Indigenous geographies of law rooted in intimacy rather than violence.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Nicholas Blomley
Department: 
Environment: Department of Geography
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Low angle dune response to variable flow, dune translation, and crestline dynamics in Fraser Estuary, British Columbia, Canada

Author: 
Date created: 
2014-04-28
Abstract: 

Dune geometry and crestline dynamics in river environments are functions of the interaction between fluid flow and the channel bed, however, little is known about how they respond to variable flow conditions in tidal environments. This study examines the evolution of a dune field in Fraser Estuary, Canada using data collected during the largest tidal flux of the neap-spring cycle on the rising limb of the annual hydrograph. Chapter One examines changes in mean geometric properties. Height and lee slope angle respond directly to changes in flow, and are linked to suspended sediment concentration flux. Height and length also show a net increase, likely responding to larger scale changes in the annual hydrograph. Chapter Two addresses crestline dynamics in response to variable flow, examining planimetric morphology, translation rates, and changes in bifurcations. Mean translation increases toward low tide with increasing mean velocity, and decreases toward high tide. Highly bifurcated areas translate farther before low tide, while areas of lower bifurcation move farther after low tide. Bifurcation ‘deaths’ outweigh ‘births’ toward low tide, indicating a shift toward a more two-dimensional planimetric morphology, while births dominate post low tide, suggesting the bed is reorganizing toward a more three-dimensional morphology.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Jeremy Venditti
Department: 
Environment: Department of Geography
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

Integrating Soft Computing, Complex Systems methods, and GIS for modeling urban land-use change

Date created: 
2014-04-24
Abstract: 

The Logic Scoring of Preference (LSP) method is a part of general multicriteria decision making approach that has origins in the soft computing. The method can model simultaneity, replaceability, and a wide range of other aggregators to suit various evaluation objectives. As soft computing method, LSP is based on fuzzy reasoning and can aggregate an unlimited amount of inputs without loss of significance. The main objective of this research is to develop and test integrated methods that use LSP, complex systems theory and geographic information systems (GIS) to model urban land-use change. In this research study LSP is integrated into a GIS to determine land-use suitability and is integrated into both cellular automata (CA) and agent-based models (ABMs) to simulate urban growth at both regional and local spatial scales. LSP approaches were implemented with geospatial datasets for Metro Vancouver, Canada and several scenarios of land-use change have been created.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Suzana Dragicevic
Department: 
Environment: Department of Geography
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

Place, Race and Capital: A Political Ecology of Oil and Gas Expansion in Kitimat, British Columbia

Date created: 
2014-04-15
Abstract: 

Employing a political ecology approach, this thesis analyzes the historical legacy of industrial projects and current responses to oil and gas expansion in the unceded territory of the Haisla Nation, Kitimat British Columbia. Through an analysis of place, race and capital, this analysis illuminates a complex web of power and multiple layers of injustice and dispossession involved in processes of industrial development. As the terminus of the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Project, as well as the site for a number of proposed Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) projects, the future of this territory will be conditioned by the convergence of complex global political economic forces and multiple local interests on the ground. By paying attention to questions of race, this thesis seeks to bring political ecology literature focused on industrial projects into conversation with critical race theory.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Janet Sturgeon
Department: 
Environment: Department of Geography
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

The Role of Landscape Understandings, Transformations and the Political Economy of Agriculture in Attracting and Averting Young Adults from Farming in British Columbia

Date created: 
2013-12-16
Abstract: 

Recent critical studies in food geographies have attempted to make “powerful, important [and] disturbing connections between Western consumers and the distant strangers whose contributions to their lives [are] invisible, unnoticed, and largely unappreciated” (Cook et al., 2004, p. 642). These studies are based on the assumption that there is merely a disconnection between ‘Western’ consumption of ‘Non-Western’ production of food products. This thesis reports findings that display far more insidious disconnections at smaller geographic scales of production and consumption that have consequences for both local and global food systems. In British Columbia these disconnections take the form of pro-local food initiative discourses in spaces of consumption occurring at a time where declining numbers of young farmers are able to get access to the land, financial and other resources necessary to continue farming. This thesis builds on concepts within political ecology and land-use planning that suggests that several regions, primarily in the global north, are transitioning away from productive landscapes to either post-productive or multifunctional spaces. Using a qualitative research framework including ethnographic interviews, surveys and archival materials, the research supports the conclusion that farming is becoming increasingly inaccessible and unaffordable to young adults. This is partially based on agricultural production being pushed out of the landscape by other land-uses, but also because landscape and food products have become valued, supported and fetishized in separate ways in BC that create challenges for farms to stay viable.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Peter V. Hall
Department: 
Environment: Department of Geography
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Dependence of Regional Climate Change on Greenhouse Gas Emission Pathway

Date created: 
2013-11-20
Abstract: 

This study explores the dependence of the coupled climate-carbon cycle response on greenhouse gas emission pathway. An Earth System model of Intermediate Complexity is forced with 24 idealized emissions scenarios across five cumulative emission groups (1300 GtC - 5300 GtC) with varying emission rates. The global mean response, and regional responses of Arctic sea ice, the Meridional Overturning Circulation (MOC) and the Amazon are investigated. The ratio of global mean temperature to cumulative carbon emissions is found to decline with increasing cumulative emissions, unlike in previous studies. The long-term response of the MOC and Arctic sea ice is independent of emission rate and proportional to cumulative emissions, with the threshold for an ice free Arctic in September found between 1300-2300 GtC. Both global land carbon and Amazonian broadleaf carbon display non-monotonic long-term responses to cumulative emissions, whereby carbon uptake declines beyond a certain threshold (2300 GtC and 3300 GtC respectively).

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Kirsten Zickfeld
Department: 
Environment: Department of Geography
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

Obesity in the built environment: a spatial analysis of two Canadian Metropolitan areas

Date created: 
2013-03-27
Abstract: 

Global prevalence of obesity and overweight has rapidly increased over the past few decades. The relative growth rate of the epidemic, particularly in more developed countries, has triggered efforts to explore environmental determinants of weight gain. Research on how the built environment affects weight gain, and health more broadly, has been widely undertaken by public health, epidemiology, and geography disciplines, yet no clear relationships have been identified. Moreover, research on the Canadian context is generally lacking. Methods native to Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and spatial epidemiology may prove effective to furthering contemporary knowledge of the built environment determinants of obesity, and overall, contribute to wider disciplines involved. The first paper of this thesis reviews literature from the spatial epidemiology discipline to glean insight from recent methodological development of spatial clustering tools and provide guidelines for practical application. The second paper explores the spatial clustering of obesity and examines the built environment for potential correlates. Both papers take a unique perspective within the respected disciplines they are informing, and thus provide novel results for future research and development.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Nadine Schuurman
Department: 
Environment: Department of Geography
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

Placing the intersection: A qualitative exploration of formal and informal palliative caregiving in the home

Date created: 
2013-07-24
Abstract: 

Currently over 259,000 Canadians die each year, yet only 15 percent access palliative care services prior to death. This reality raises significant concerns regarding the awareness, accessibility, and meaningfulness of these services for dying Canadians and their families. It also signals a need to examine lived experiences of palliative caregiving in order to gain a better understanding of what needs exist and what barriers may be influencing Canadians’ access to this important care. As equity of access to health care is a main interest of health geographers, I address this need by seeking the experiential perspectives of those who work on the front-lines of providing palliative care in Canada, with a specific focus on the province of British Columbia. Using semi-structured interviews and ethnographic fieldnotes from three research studies, I undertake four diversity- or intersectional-based analyses that employ a relational concept of ‘place’ to explore experiences of palliative caregiving in the homecare context. Findings from the analyses reveal that differences exist among palliative family caregivers and, importantly, that these differences intersect to impact caregivers’ needs and patients’ access to palliative care services and supports. By employing a relational concept of place, the findings show how Canadian palliative caregivers’ opportunities, choices, decisions, and outcomes are shaped by where and how they are situated. As such, this dissertation disrupts the common notion in policy and practice that Canadian palliative caregivers are a homogeneous group with similar needs and thus require similar supports. Furthermore, the analytic findings offer specific implications for and research contributions to the geographies of care and caregiving, palliative caregiving policy, and homecare nursing practice. Considering Canada’s rapidly aging population and impending increased need for palliative care in the coming years, this dissertation contributes knowledge that can help to inform decision-makers and health care administrators of ways to enhance services, improve access, and ultimately, better meet the needs of all dying Canadians and their family caregivers.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Valorie Crooks
Department: 
Environment: Department of Geography
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Understanding friends and family members' experiences of going abroad with medical tourists

Date created: 
2013-07-25
Abstract: 

When patients privately obtain a medical procedure abroad they are engaging in medical tourism. Friends and family members often accompany medical tourists abroad to provide care, and are herein referred to as caregiver-companions. This thesis provides a broad understanding of caregiver-companions from an industry perspective. Interviews were conducted with medical tourism facility staff members who interact closely with caregiver-companions: International Patient Coordinators (IPCs). Twenty-one IPCs who work in nine countries were interviewed. Thematic analysis of these interviews resulted two analyses. The first examines the care roles taken on by caregiver-companions. The second examines the challenges that informal caregiving in medical tourism can present to medical tourists, facility staff, and caregiver-companions themselves. This thesis concludes that while caregiver-companions provide valuable care to medical tourists, with assistance from IPCs, they are not fully incorporated as caregivers in the medical tourism industry.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Valorie Crooks
Department: 
Environment: Department of Geography
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.