The City-Region Studies Centre (CRSC) is a University of Alberta research unit that engages with communities to explore the nature of towns, cities, and regions. CRSC is one of the only centres in North America to focus on regional research. To do this, we undertake both engaged and theoretical activities, work with clients, host visiting experts and public lectures, and maintain a global set of links with planners and academics, and cities and institutes. We are the portal to urban and regional teaching and research at the University of Alberta.
Our goal is to increase understanding of the cultural, political, economic interactions and interdependencies within these social spaces. In doing so, we inform public policy and improve the well-being of citizens.
WHAT IS CITY-REGION RESEARCH?
A city-region has traditionally been understood as a metropolitan area and its surrounding suburban and rural communities; however, we have found “city-region” to be a much more complex concept. City-regions are areas that are territorially and functionally bounded by economic, political, socio-cultural, and ecological systems. A study of commuting patterns, for example, may reveal an area that is bounded by how citizens travel to work or play. These functional boundaries often differ from municipal ones.
As urban and rural areas grow, they become increasingly interconnected with their surrounding communities. As a result, housing, transportation, recreation, economic development, and environmental sustainability—to name only a few—are issues that can no longer be adequately addressed in isolated communities. We explore these and other issues through the city-region lens.
“Over the past twenty years there has been a growing awareness in North America that it is no longer sufficient for publicly funded universities to serve citizens by simply extending knowledge to those who wish to access it, a process sometimes referred to as outreach. There is a realization that communities have issues that need to be addressed collaboratively by those communities and their universities.” (Faculty of Extension Academic Plan: Engaging Our Communities. May 15, 2008)
Our research is conducted through community engagement, a collaborative and mutually beneficial process whereby community interests inform university research. Community engagement recognizes the unique strengths of the university and the community. As such, it brings the issues and expertise of the community together with the knowledge and tools of universities to address problems collaboratively.
UNIVERSITY OF ALBERTA AND FACULTY OF EXTENSION
The Centre strives to deliver on the University of Alberta’s goal of enhancing Learning, Discovery, and Citizenship. By engaging communities in research, we contribute to the University of Alberta’s vision to “build strong partnerships with the Capital Region, the cities of Edmonton and Camrose, other urban and rural Alberta communities, and all levels of government.”
Our activities are also guided by the Faculty of Extension’s commitment to the “scholarship of engagement,” a collaborative process initiated by members of the community, public or private organizations, university researchers, or other stakeholders who have identified an issue or area of interest. The outcomes of this process are jointly owned, and its activities form a cycle of scholarship that includes Learning, Discovery, and Citizenship.
The City-Region Studies Centre is located on the University of Alberta's downtown campus in Edmonton, Canada.