Why Surrey Urban Futures?
Since Surrey is one of B.C.s fastest-growing cities (and its second largest municipality) it faces numerous questions and concerns about the future in terms of socio-economic and environmental sustainability and the manner in which growth has occurred and is proceeding. What are the costs and benefits of this growth and what will be the socio-economic and environmental implications of the City’s material or physical growth 25-75 years into the future? Have Surrey’s politicos, policies, plans/planners and programming considered or examined scenarios or counterfactuals that may shape the Metro Vancouver and B.C. of the future? If so what are these plans, and if not, what are the gaps or shortcomings? Have scenarios for future urban directions such as environmental/climate change; technological change; demographic changes; immigration patterns and so forth been considered? These are some of the key questions that your SUFP study will need to examine.
What exactly do we study?
Your SUFP study will focus on a policy analysis of only one specific, targeted problem or topic area and examine the possible challenges that face Surrey residents and decision-makers of the future related to these specific issues. Examples of possible topics are shown in Annex 1. Your study is not so much speculative guesswork, but rather based on a careful analysis of existing directions and work that has already been done by governments in Surrey and elsewhere complemented by a wider literature review of examples or research from around the world. In this respect you are linking an issue in Surrey with wider urban geographic and urban/community planning research/studies or wider context. You will also develop scenarios or counterfactuals in your SUFP—this will be discussed in class.
What Is a Policy Analysis?
For the SUFP, you will not be able to interview subjects, but instead you are asked to employ your analysis of government policies, plans or project that relate to your research question (RQ). Usually a basic analysis involves looking at the benefits/strengths, costs/weaknesses or gaps, opportunities/spinoffs, threats/challenges of a given policy, plan or project — this is not simply guesswork, it is based on your carefully researched work (using citations and cross references and secondary data).
Therefore, your SUFP analysis must significantly draw-upon and cross- reference plans, policies or studies and importantly, other scholars and media observers’ critiques. You will also be expected to develop dystopian and utopian or other types of scenarios or counterfactuals for your readers based on your research. Many problems that effect Surrey’s futures do not simply involve one level of governance or policy-making.
A policy analysis is clearly also multi-level or multi-scalar because it can involve studying government or public policies at multiple sometimes overlapping levels, including: local or municipal government, Metro Vancouver (Regional) government, Provincial (B.C.) government and Federal (Canada) governmental-levels, First Nations leadership (Kwantlen, Katzie, Semiahmoo, Tsawwassen, Musqueam, Qay’Qayt) and international governments (e.g. neighbouring Washington State / Whatcom County, etc.). Your study will attempt to reference these various levels that are most relevant to your SUFP research question.
A study of the future of organized crime in Surrey. What have been the real and reputational impacts of organized crime on safety, security and urban liveability in Surrey? What are the manifestations of organized crime in Surrey, besides the usual media topics such as violence, intimidation, gang formation, hot rod/car/bling culture, drug and gun running, targeted killings, money laundering, racketeering, etc.? What newer manifestations has organized crime taken (e.g. money laundering through real estate; online rackets,
etc.)? What role has racism and ethnic misunderstandings played in the formation of organized crime groups? What role to culture, gender and subculture play in shaping organized crime and what are the coordinated approaches being employed by governments, police, civil society and other organizations to address organized crime in Surrey? What urban social justice, economic, educational and liveability strategies can policy makers employ to begin to address or tackle the pressure/allure exercised by organized crime groups?