"You have to find your own place": neighbourhood participation and belonging in Calgary, Alberta

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Benoit, Aimee Deanne
University of Lethbridge. Faculty of Arts and Science
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Lethbridge, Alta. : University of Lethbridge, Department of Geography
Residents of Calgary neighbourhoods experience socio-spatial inequalities that contribute to an uneven landscape of participation, where not everyone has an equal voice or place. Drawing on theories of belonging and spatial justice, this comparative case study of eight Calgary neighbourhoods examines ways in which community-based organizations both challenge and reproduce exclusionary dynamics that shape residents’ experiences of belonging and not-belonging. The study used in-depth qualitative interviews and participatory maps to explore how participants understand and negotiate these complex geographies of belonging in their day-to-day lives. Thematic analysis of data underscored the importance of both formal and informal modes of participation, in particular everyday neighbouring practices such as sharing, helping and caring, through which residents navigate social difference and inequality. The study offers insights for research and policy within urban contexts to promote more inclusive, representative, and just neighbourhoods.
neighbourhood , participation , belonging , spatial justice , community associations , Neighborhoods -- Alberta -- Calgary -- Case studies , Equality , Belonging (Social psychology) , Social participation , Community organization , Sociology, Urban , Community development, Urban , Spatial behavior , Dissertations, Academic