The School of Environmental Design and Rural Development was well represented at the recent Sustainable Communities Conference, which brought together rural leaders, community-based organizations, government policy makers, businesses, students, and researchers. A total of 16 presentations and posters were delivered by students and faculty from the School! Details of each contribution are listed below:

  • Power in Policy: Measuring Farmland Loss in Ontario and Testing the Strength of the Greenbelt Act (Rachel Singer and Xiaoyuan Wan)
  • Transitioning to the new rural cannabis economy – Using transitioning economies and stakeholder participation as a theoretical basis (Tracey Harvey)
  • Intergenerational Activity in Rural: Learning from Differences (Bill Ashton, Fracenca Regoli, Sean Markey, and Ryan Gibson)
  • Launch of the State of Rural Canada III Report on Bridging Rural Data Gaps (Sarah Minnes, Hannah Main, Kristin Catherwood, Bill Reimer, and Josh Barrett)
  • Aggregates and Agriculture: Understanding the Impacts of Aggregate Production on Agriculture and Identifying Mitigating Strategies (Emily Hehl and Jeff Reichheld)
  • Agritourism as a solution to rural revitalization: the case study of North Durham region (Sarah Parish)
  • Discussion on Evaluating Sustainable Governance for Non-Profit Organizations in Rural Canada (Katie Allen)
  • Rural Philanthropy and Place-based Development (Sean Markey, Ryan Gibson, Kelly Vodden, and Bojan Fürst)
  • What’s the evidence on evidence-based policy? Reflections on knowledge mobilization in provincial rural policy (Ashleigh Weeden)
  • Rural Displacement and Digital Rights (Karen Foster, Jennifer Jarman, Ashleigh Weeden, Stacey Haugen, Seto Ario, Ray Bollman, and Hannah Main)
  • Implications of policy on development in rural Ktaqmkuk Mi’kmaw communities: A Case Study (Brady Reid)
  • The Senate Factor (Ryan Gibson, Sen. Robert Black, Sen. Mary Coyle, and Sen. Diane Griffin)
  • Rural Community Reinvention (Kristof van Assche, Kelly Vodden, Sean Markey, Ryan GibsonLeith Deacon, Brennan Lowery, & Bojan Fürst)
  • Virtual Rurality: Digital Rights and the Future of Rural Canadians (Ashleigh Weeden and Bianca Wylie)
  • Irish Model of Regional Development (David Douglas, Brendan O’Keeffe, and Heather Hall)
  • The Theory, Practice, and Potential of Regional Development: The Case of Canada (Kelly Vodden, Sarah Minnes, David Douglas, Bill Reimer, Ryan Gibson, Sarah-Patricia Breen, Heather Hall, Jen Daniels, and Josh Barrett)

The Sustainable Communities Conference examined four broad themes as it relates to rural communities: the future of work, food systems and drinking water, rural identity and heritage, and rural engagement. The conference provided opportunities to share research findings, create discussions about critical rural issues, connect with communities through field trips, and build new networks across Canada and internationally. In the coming weeks, all conference presentations and posters will be made available online – stay tuned for more information. The Sustainable Communities Conference was held in St John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador from October 1-5, 2019. The conference was co-hosted by the Canadian Rural Revitalization Foundation, the North Atlantic Forum, and the Leslie Harris Centre for Regional Policy and Development at Memorial University. Further details on the conference can be found at