Department of Geography, Queens University
I began my association with The Centre for Environmental Health Equity in the summer of 2012 as the recipient of a University of Manitoba Undergraduate Research Scholarship, and it has been my pleasure to work under the supervision of Dr. Jeff Masuda ever since. I have always been fascinated by the deep connections that develop between people and places, and I have a lasting interest in understanding the macro and micro-scale processes that change urban landscapes. I am very passionate about urban geography, particularly the built form of the city, the power relationships that influence urban development, and the social justice implications of planning processes. Upon completion of my undergraduate degree, I moved to Vancouver to do research in the Downtown Eastside, and I am now in the second year of my Master’s degree at Queen’s University.
My research focuses on how place names (toponyms) have been used in urban planning in the Downtown Eastside, and at how naming changes the way people think, feel, and act towards the neighbourhood. I am investigating how the area was labeled historically by reviewing newspaper articles and planning documents, as well as doing a critical examination of a recent Local Area Plan to understand how naming is being used in the present day. Specifically, I am looking at how Japanese Canadian heritage has been used within this recent plan to promote neighbourhood transformations. My research is integrated with the goals of the Revitalizing Japantown? project under the supervision of Dr. Jeff Masuda, and it contributes to a growing body of knowledge regarding human rights, branding, and place in the Downtown Eastside. My association with CEHE continues to be an invaluable asset to me as I travel down my academic path, and the research experience I have gained has helped me immensely, both in preparing for and continuing with my graduate studies.