Department of Geography and Environmental Studies
Social and Environmental Justice
Rural communities draw from their history of doing more with less, strong social networks and an intimate relationship with the natural environment to achieve economic innovation, positive social capacity development and environmental sustainability. These spaces also experience challenges including preparing for the impacts of climate change (CC). Ontario has already felt some of these effects leading to millions of dollars of damage to the province’s infrastructure. Exacerbated by an aging infrastructure built by now outdated assumptions, the vulnerability to CC will likely increase and the built-in coping range may not be adequate to handle future climate extremes.
The purpose of the broader research project is to 1) assess the potential of inter-community service cooperation (ICSC) as a possible tool to address the impacts of CC in small (500-7500 pop.) Ontario rural communities south of the Sudbury region and 2) understand the extent to which such collaboration and the impacts of CC are, or could be, embedded within the community’s infrastructure (asset) management processes (AMP). For the purposes of this project, rural communities include all Ontario communities who self-identify as rural, or partially rural, and have membership in the Rural Ontario Municipal Association (ROMA). This project is guided by a Project Advisory Board (PAB) consisting of experts representing key rural sectors. The research is focused on the infrastructure sectors most likely affected by CC, that are under the control of Ontario rural communities, and where ICSC shows promise.
Gunson, B. & Murphy, B. (2017). Enhancing Ontario’s Rural Infrastructure Preparedness: Inter-Community Service Sharing in a Changing Climate. (pp. 1-22, Interim Report 2: Provincial Survey Results). Brantford: Wilfrid Laurier University and Resilient Communities Research Collaborative.