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Author

Erin Moriarty

Date of Award

2007

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Geography

Supervisor

Allison Williams

Language

English

Abstract

This thesis evaluates the Local Area Plan (LAP) process as a community development strategy for improving quality of life in the Pleasant Hill neighbourhood in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Pleasant Hill represents a low SES, inner city core neighbourhood that was targeted for the LAP in 2000 because of concerns over safety, physical deterioration and the loss of local amenities such as accessible transportation and recreation networks. Local Area Planning utilizes public participation to inform structural modification and resource distribution within the neighbourhood. To evaluate this process, this thesis examines to what extent residents' perceptions of quality of life have changed since defining the LAP for Pleasant Hill. Using data from two quantitative and qualitative crosssectional data sets (2001, 2004) collected in conjunction with the ongoing Quality of Life (QoL) study being conducted by the University of Saskatchewan's Community-University Institute for Social Research (CUISR), the diverse social, economic, health and environmental factors affecting quality of life are examined over time. Sixteen face-to-face interviews were also conducted in the summer of 2006 to understand the perspectives of stakeholders, including residents and the professional planners who worked on the LAP, regarding their involvement with the LAP process as well as its outcomes on quality of life in Pleasant Hill. Results show that there has been a positive change in perception of quality of life with regard to specific variables between 2001 and 2004, especially in relation to safety, homeownership, social programs and social cohesion. The perceptions from 2006 show these variables intensifying with heightened positive quality of life results with a continued emphasis on the perception of safety, opportunities for homeownership as well as strong feelings of progress, of pride and of investment in Pleasant Hill. These results suggest that the LAP has had an overall positive impact on resident's perceptions of the Pleasant Hill neighbourhood as well as neighbourhood and individual perceptions of quality of life.

McMaster University Library

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