The essay is around 2000 words (max 2100 – min 1900, bibliography, headings, tables, and title page included) and must be double-spaced. ANY ASSIGNMENT THAT DOES NOT RESPECT THE WORD LIMIT WILL INCUR A 20% DEDUCTION (this includes all assignments with a word count above or below the limit). Use 12-size font. The essay MUST combine your direct observations with academic literature. Only one submission is permitted on D2L so make sure you are submitting your final copy: IF YOU SUBMIT THE WRONG COPY, YOU WILL NOT BE PERMITTED TO RESUBMIT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. Zipped files and PDF are not acceptable; make sure you upload a word document.
Objective: Throughout a critical analysis, you are expected to demonstrate an understanding of one of two different aspects of the geography of Toronto (EITHER transportation OR gentrification). You are also required to show an active engagement with the subject and be able to formulate an original perspective on it. The goal of the essay is to examine first-hand how life in the city is shaped and affected by the constant interaction between place and the people who inhabit it, and to analyse and discuss your observations in light of the existing literature. You will explore some of the themes discussed in the course using information from everyday experience.
Evaluation: The essay requires the student to carry out an analysis of the subject, and make and justify an evaluative, comparative or explicatory judgement. The essay will be evaluated based on clarity of organization, logic, syntax, and grammar of student writing.
Follow an essay format and make sure your paper includes an introduction (clearly indicating topic, thesis statement, and how you plan to structure your paper), a proper body, and a conclusion (reviewing and summarizing the arguments and evidence presented in the body).
Make sure the essay discusses what is the situation of either gentrification or transportation within Toronto as a whole (for this part you will rely on the academic literature) and whether or not the situation in your BIA conforms to the situation in the city (for this part you will rely on your observations).
When you quote or paraphrase other scholars, you MUST provide in-text references and a full list of work cited at the end.
You are required to use at least 6 peer-reviewed journal’s articles (books’ chapters, commentaries, book reviews etc. will not be accepted) outside class readings.
How to proceed:
If you have chosen to write your essay on the topic of gentrification, you should begin with a discussion of what gentrification is and how the concept has evolved since its emergence in the 1960s, particularly within the Canadian context. Secondly, you need to assess how gentrification has been implemented within the city of Toronto. The third step is “to get out there”: you must physically reach the BIA selected in the Assignment and assess its form structure and degree (or lack thereof) of gentrification. You must indicate: a) day and time of your visit; b) how is the BIA structured; c) current construction activity (if any) in the BIA. Once you have all the information, you are expected to draw some conclusions on the area by assessing whether or not it validates the claims found in the existing literature (both the one we discussed in class and the one you have uncovered in your library investigation). Your selected BIA will provide you with a tangible example to analyze how gentrification affects urban neighborhoods.
If you have chosen to write your essay on the topic of transportation, you will discuss transportation in the BIA selected in the assignment. You should begin with a discussion on the role that transportation plays in an urban environment, particularly within the Canadian context. You also need to assess the problems transportation presents for the city of Toronto and discuss the factors causing/contributing to these problems. Make sure you assess private transportation, public transit, and alternative forms of transportation such as walking and biking. The second step is to visit the area (please indicate times and dates). Answer the following questions: a) is the area a trafficked one? b) What is the most used form of transportation? c) Is there a high circulation of cars in the area? d) What about buses? e) Are there subway stops, streetcar routes, bike lanes? f) Is there a high number of pedestrians? Finally, with reference to course reading material and to the additional articles you have found during your library research, you will assess whether the area investigated is among those presenting a significant problem for the city in terms of transportation and the reasons why this is or isn’t the case. You will also indicate possible solutions to make transportation in the BIA more efficient and cost-effective.
Grammar and Style:
Before submitting your work, please make sure that you have conducted a spell and grammar check in word, and strictly followed the page limits. In order to write a good assignment, it is not enough to follow the instruction and have thoughtful arguments, you also need to present the material in a clear and organized fashion.
Submissions must be made on D2L by the end of the day indicated in the course outline.
While writing your assignments, keep in mind the following:
a) Follow MLA, APA or Chicago style;
b) Make sure your argument unfolds in a logical, coherent fashion, and that the discussion emphasizes analysis over description, remains focused, and avoids irrelevancies and repetitions;
c) Quotations must be introduced, contextualized, and explained adequately;
d) Your goal should be to write an essay that is well structured and a pleasure to read; avoid one-sentence or one-page paragraphs;
e) Very important: make sure all sentences are complete; discussion uses formal language (no jargon or slang); no contractions or abbreviations; paper has been proofread and avoids typos, errors and punctuation problems; title page is included; pages are numbered.
Here is a non-exhaustive list of Peer-Reviewed Journals where students will be able to find articles focusing on urban space:
Canadian Journal of Urban Research
Environment and Planning A
Environment and Planning C
The Canadian Geographer
Journal of the American Institute of Planners
Canadian Journal of Regional Science
Annals, Association of American Geographers
Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services
Journal of Urban Planning and Development
Journal of Urban Affairs
International Journal of Urban and Regional Research