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Municipal Connections

Our innovative Municipal Connections program pairs advanced-level university courses with community partners facing unmet research needs. Through Municipal Connections, communities and municipal sector organizations of any size can benefit from research and analysis without having to hire consultants. It’s like having your own think tank for a semester! Read about our pilot Municipal Connections project to study the role of municipalities in addressing the province's housing shortage, and our latest work with the Town of Portugal Cove-St. Philips on rural public transit and with Food First NL on linkages between climate change, transportation, and food insecurity!

Sustainable Rural Mobility

SLG Hub researchers are conducting a scoping review of literature exploring sustainable mobility in rural contexts. This review will form the basis of a broader investigation of the current and potential role of transportation systems in Newfoundland and Labrador and how enhanced mobility options for residents might lead to economic, environmental, health, and social benefits for rural communities. Get in touch if you're interested in working with us on this project, either as a community partner or as a researcher.

Municipal Connections Pilot:
Researching Housing Solutions for Municipalities NL (Fall 2023)

Students enrolled in Dr. Elizabeth Schwartz’s Fall 2023 Municipal Politics course are partnering with Municipalities NL to investigate various dimensions of our province’s housing shortage. After being briefed on our partner's goals and unanswered questions, eight teams of students began investigating the challenges and possibilities municipalities across the province face around ensuring everyone in their jurisdiction has access to safe and affordable housing.

Student projects covered topics including:

  • investigating construction labour shortages,

  • probing discrimination in the rental market,

  • reviewing provincial legislation enabling or restricting municipal action on housing,

  • assessing the impact of short-term rentals (e.g., Airbnb) on housing supply,

  • understanding the impact of housing shortages on international students

and more!

The class presented their interim findings at the 2023 MNL Annual Conference Poster Session and  presented their final results in directly to our project partners. These projects will provide a foundation of evidence and analysis from which MNL staff and other stakeholders can determine their next steps towards addressing the housing crisis facing this province. 

Municipal Connections 2.0:
Public Transit and Food Insecurity (Winter 2024)

For the second iteration of the Municipal Connections initiative, students enrolled in Dr. Elizabeth Schwartz’s Winter 2024 Public Policy seminar courses at the senior undergraduate and graduate levels are working with two community partners: the Town of Portugal Cove-St. Philips, and Food First NL.

Staff from each partner organization worked with Dr. Schwartz to outline a total of eight specific project topics. As of February 2024, the fourteen teams of two or three students have refined the scope of their research and analysis, developed specific workplans, and have met with their community partner to ensure that the projects are aligned with the partners' broader objectives. 

This term's Municipal Connections projects focus on topics including:

  • best practices for rural public transit systems,

  • enhancing the accessibility of rural public transit,

  • exploring the relationship between transportation equity and food insecurity, 

  • mapping existing passenger transportation services in rural Newfoundland and Labrador, 

  • investigating how jurisdictions across Canada and beyond have structured rural public transit,

  • understanding the relationship between climate change adaptation and food insecurity

and more!

In April 2024, the teams will present their findings to the project partners and SLG Hub members. The  reports they produce will provide new information, perspectives and analysis that will help the Town of Portugal Cove-St. Philips and Food First NL advance their priorities and build a better province for all. 

Think a Municipal Connections project might be right for your organization?

Get in touch with us to learn more.

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