Saint John is a unique Canadian city.  It is rich in urban history and, as New Brunswick’s industrial engine, is continuously experiencing major social, economic and technological changes.  It is Canada’s smallest census metropolitan area, but it faces distinctive challenges surrounding immigration, population migration, poverty and economic development.

Saint John is a living laboratory, an urban area of great interest to researchers across the country and North America.  That is why it is the ideal location for the University of New Brunswick’s Urban and Community Studies Institute (UCSI).

This multi-disciplinary institute will make its home in historic Beaverbrook House in Uptown Saint John.  Its mission will be to promote research, teaching and dialogue on urban and suburban life in New Brunswick, as well as the challenges, opportunities and sustainability issues facing small and medium size urban communities in the province and elsewhere.  The UCSI will contribute to public policy discussions about urban growth and decline in New Brunswick, help shape new curricular directions at UNB Saint John, and enhance our understanding of the myriad forces that are currently shaping New Brunswick’s urban and suburban communities.

UNB politics professor Don Desserud has agreed to serve as the inaugural director for the first year of the institute’s mandate.

“The Urban and Community Studies Institute is a natural development for the University of New Brunswick’s Saint John campus and it is anticipated to become one of the areas of excellence for which UNB Saint John will become known,” says Dr. Desserud.

“Our goal is not to duplicate any of the great work being done by our local and provincial organizations and agencies, but to co-ordinate and encourage the study of the urban and community issues we face, and to centralize important research about Saint John.”

In the spirit of partnership, the UCSI’s remaining membership will eventually consist of a wide range of expertise representing faculty members from both UNB campuses and subject-matter expertise from across the Saint John area and around the province, including in the fields of urban governance, heritage planning, waterfront development, community social and economic planning, inner city revitalization, economic development, and poverty reduction.

Once established, the institute will also deliver a range of public outreach activities, including public lectures, workshops and conferences. 

“Not only will the Urban and Community Studies Institute develop a broad, Saint John-specific research base, but we hope it will also be of great benefit to the general public,” says UNB Saint John Vice-President Robert MacKinnon.

“I believe that the lessons learned through the work of the Urban Institute will have national and international relevance.”

A reception will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 3, at 3 p.m. at Beaverbrook House to kick off this exciting project.  Please RSVP by Monday, Nov. 1 to Rosemary Dionne if you plan to attend, 506-648-5594, rdionne@unb.ca.

For more information, or to arrange an interview, please contact Allison Brinsmead, Communications Officer, UNB Fredericton, 506-458-7969, or email allisonb@unb.ca.

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