Unwrapping the Research: What will the future for Fort McMurray hold?

With all the hoopla in the news about our national census (short form, long form, who has the right to ask you if you have a cracked bathroom tile etc.), you can be forgiven if thoughts towards our local regional profile and census have fallen by the way side.

Granted, we have had our own issues regarding the all mighty census – in fact, as of this post, the latest Regional Profile available to residents is the 2002-2004 profile. (Hopefully these issues are behind us and an updated profile will be released to us residents shortly…)

But putting the municipal census aside, Fort McMurray and the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB) seem to have caught the attention of a lot of folks. A lot.

Not only have we become a household name (ok, “oil sands”, “tar sands”, and “dirty oil” are becoming household words…) but apparently a healthy amount of researchers have been coming up here to gather data – data to better understand who we are and what makes the region tick. And gather they have.

City-Region Studies Centre Logo

property of the CRSC

Coming up this fall, we will have the opportunity to find out what these researchers have discovered.

A division of the University of Alberta, the City-Region Studies Centre (CRSC) is presenting Unwrap the Research: What now for Fort McMurray and Wood Buffalo.

The  conference will be hosted at multiple venues (Downtown, the Sawridge, and the Suncor Community Leisure Centre) from October 22 to 24, 2010. It seems to be a great opportunity to take a look at what has been found, ask questions and provide feedback on the findings.

(A draft of the the three-day program is available, though it is obviously subject to change.)

From the conference page:

The first of its kind, this conference is structured to facilitate dialogue and learning opportunities
a) among researchers from multiple disciplines; and
b) between researchers and local residents.

Unwrap the Research offers a unique opportunity for social researchers and local residents to share and learn from research conducted in Fort McMurray and the oil sands region of Alberta. These and other topics will be covered:

  • Education in a Resource Economy
  • Childhood Well-being
  • Work and Gender
  • Mobile Workers
  • Francophone Newcomers
  • Immigrants/TFWs in the Service Sector
  • Comprehensive Bibliography of the Region
  • Demographics and Census
  • Urban Planning and Space
  • Recreational Land Use
  • Health and Substance Use
  • Social Meanings of Environment
  • Aboriginal – Industry Relations
  • Visual Images of Community

Looks to be a pretty interesting conference if you ask me – seems to be a great event to truly find out about what makes this place tick. I plan to attend… will you?


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