About the Department of Geography - University of Canterbury - New Zealand

Community Engagement

The Department of Geography is committed to facilitating learning through community engagement where possible and opportunities exist for this at all levels.
This is part of UCs commitment to engaging with local groups to help make the city more sustainable and resilient, especially post-earthquake.

While this occurs in many courses across the subject, it is a key feature of:

all of which involve students working with local communities to address real world issues of importance to those groups.

Community Based Film

In 2013 Prof Peter Newman (Curtin Uni, Perth), a Visiting Erskine Fellow helped make a film “Christchurch: Resilient City”. The film was made with staff (Prof Simon Kingham and Prof Eric Pawson) and students involved with the GEOG402 Sustainable Urban Development class in which students learn by working with local community groups and organisations on real research problems related to sustainable urban development. Many of the people in the film are partners we have worked with in the class.

The film is freely available to be seen.

The film is also divided into selected segments as follows:

GEOG110 Dynamic Places: Exploring Human Environments

GEOG110 draws on the insights of human geography to deepen our understanding of how places are made and inhabited. We examine the economic, social and cultural aspects of contemporary places and also consider their resilience and sustainability. We introduce some of the key methods and techniques available to explore changing places by working with local communities to examine their areas. To achieve this, a survey, designed between the community and staff and students from the University of Canterbury’s Department of Geography, explores these issues.  It is delivered and administered by students, as part of the University’s commitment to working with local communities. The data is then collated, analysed and written as a report. Finally an online assets map is produced.

With a change in focus and staffing, from 2017 GEOG110 will no longer include a community engagement component

\2016 working with the residents of Sydenham

Copy of the final report. Online maps identify (a) the key assets of Sydenham as identified by local residents and (b) where they felt their suburb's boundaries were. These can be found here

2015 working with the residents of Burwood

In 2015, GEOG110 worked with the residents of Burwood. They wanted to understand more about what it was like to live in the Burwood area (a suburb in the east of Christchurch that was badly affected by the 2010/11 earthquakes). In particular, they were interested in the ‘assets’ within their neighbourhood, including the skills, knowledge and resources of local people and groups. A copy of the final report can be found here. In addition, online maps were created that identified (a) the key assets of Burwood as identified by local residents and (b) where the local residents felt were the boundaries of Burwood. These can be found here

2014 working with the Avondale Residents Association

In 2014, GEOG110 worked with the Avondale Residents Association. They wanted to understand more about what it was like to live in the Avondale area (a suburb in the east of Christchurch that was badly affected by the 2010/11 earthquakes). In particular, they were interested in the ‘assets’ within their neighbourhood, including the skills, knowledge and resources of local people and groups. A copy of the final report can be found here. In addition, an online map was created that identifies the key assets of Avondale as identified by local residents.

2013 working with the Parklands Network

In 2013, GEOG110 worked with the Parklands Network, a group of local organisations that included the Residents Association, local schools, churches and sporting clubs. They wanted to understand more about what it was like to live in the Parklands area (a suburb in the north-east of Christchurch that was badly affected by the 2010/11 earthquakes). In particular, they were interested in the ‘assets’ within their neighbourhood, including the skills, knowledge and resources of local people and groups. A copy of the final report can be found here (pdf 1Mb). In addition, an online map was created that identifies the key assets of Parklands as identified by local residents.

 

GEOG309 Research Methods in Geography

GEOG309 provides a student-centred grounding in research methods, using a group work approach and service learning, i.e. research projects done in conjunction with partners in the community. It is a capstone course designed to deliver an engaging learning experience as preparation for graduate work or entry to the workforce. The course involves groups of students working with local community groups on real world research projects initiated by the community groups and developed by the students

2012 Reports (pdfs)*

Dog Park Use in Christchurch Christchurch Coastal Pathway: Potential Use
From red zone to green corridor Community Resilience within the Lyttelton Harbour Basin
Recovery of recreational assets in Sumner Exploring the Wellbeing of Residents In Redcliffs
Social Housing in Christchurch Sumner Waterways: Opportunities for Restoration
Park Vandalism in Christchurch Spatial Aspirations in the Red Zone

2013 Reports (pdfs)*

Attitudes to native plants Avon Otakaro cycleway
Connections and networks in Halswell Education for food resilience in Lyttelton
Evaluating the social impact of Trees for Canterbury Flood and natural hazard management in the Avon Otakaro Corridor
Gap filling in the suburbs Kids for edible gardens evaluation
Operational feasibility of the Taylor's Mistake and Godley region of the proposed Horomaka Geopark Mt Pleasant community facilites for youth
Volunteering in Lyttelton: Impacts and encouraging greater participation. Recovery options for red-zoned public land in Sumner
Spatial integration of key natural environment recovery options for Sumner valley Understanding connections and networks amongst Halswell residents

2014 Reports (pdfs)*

Developing a community sense of place in St Albans Planning and locating community facilities in Governors Bay
Lower speed limits and speed environments in Redcliffs Port Hills native planting
Lyttelton Edible School Walking Route Social uses of Lake Kate Sheppard and its environs
Panama Rock Reserve Transport needs and attitudes of Halswell residents
Peterborough Village Archive Whakapapa
Physical geography of Lake Kate Sheppard  

2015 Reports (pdfs)*

Analysis of the North Colombo transitional streetscape project

Map resources for Sumner
Community involvement in Halswell Outdoor classrooms in the mahinag kai exemplar project
Engaging visitors in the glacial valleys using interpretation boards Risk analysis of Yellow Creek Fan, Fox Valley
Hidden environmental impacts of copper in the Christchurch rebuild Travel modes and expenditure patterns: South Colombo
How is the salinity of Lake Kate Shepaprd affected by inflows and outflows? Understanding mode share and consumer behavior in Halswell
Hydrological characteristics of Lake Kate Sheppard Waitakiri ecosanctuary feasibility report

2016 Reports (pdfs)*

Analysing the Manchester Street urban landscape Connecting the Otakaro orchard and cafe into the city
Assessing the impact of extreme events on water quality and habitat in the mahinga kai exemplar Enhancing the place of local business in Sydenham
Biodiversity monitoring in the residential red zone Land remediation assessment in Woolston
Changing behavior to water the Christchurch water festival Forum Public life in the central city
Climate characteristics of the Waipara Valley wine district  
   

 

GEOG402 Resilient Cities

GEOG402 explores the contemporary and pressing issue of sustainable urban development, in the context both of the western world and the developing world. The course focuses on geographical issues related to urban planning for resource use and infrastructure development, including energy use, transport networks and housing development. The course includes an applied and practical element, conducted in collaboration with the local government officials and local community groups.

2012 Reports (pdfs)*

Vision in Action Ways forward for Pita Kaik
Rebuilding a business zone after disaster  

2013 Reports (pdfs)*

Local Food Initiatives A Future for the Avon River
Sustained Life in Vacant Spaces Opportunities and obstacle to the uptake of photovoltaics

2014 Reports (pdfs)*

Community Engagement in Coastal Adaptation Green Roofs in the Christchurch Rebuild
Food resilience in St Albans Lake Kate Sheppard-An exemplar mahinga kai site

2015 Reports (pdfs)*

Rejuvenating Linwood Park through placemaking

Child-friendly cities
Redevelopment and well-being: the Burwood and PMH hospital merger Weed control in the transitional city
Christchurch springs: management and policy A methodology for placemaking in Addington

2016 Reports (pdfs)*

A study of public life in inner city Christchurch

Identifying opportunities to improve food resilience in Spreydon-Heathcote
Food Transport and Food Deserts Fresh Food Markets and Community Resilience
 

* These pages contain research reports produced as part of courses where students have worked with external stakeholders. This include a range of community groups and in some cases local government.
These are university assignments, and not pieces of professional consultancy. As such, while most are very good, we cannot guarantee the quality of them.