In addition to the benefits to my own dissertation, which is still in its formative stages I was also able to visit Vancouver, and discuss the Canadian context of planning and housing processes. Vancouver is consistently voted the most liveable city in the world and I was able to experience living in it, albeit only for ten days, first hand. This experience showed me the importance of a good reliable and cost-effective public transport system and the importance of good, safe and well managed public spaces in creating a liveable city.
In terms of my personal development, this Jamboree enabled me some time to reflect on my own studies, work-life balance and the link between my research and practice, in my day job. It also enabled me to see the results of an effective city administration with a successful master-planning and implementation processes. This has helped me identify some areas for improvement in my own work and highlight area of good practice within my local authority. This has further enthused me about the benefits of comparative research and the opportunities and importance of Canadian Best Practice in challenging and informing UK planning and research.
Since returning from the Jamboree I have been able to continue discussions with my fellow participants and we are looking into options for collaborative working- such as presenting joint papers,or running a panel at an international conference. I also feel much more confident about including an element of comparative research within my PhD dissertation and will explore this fully with my supervisor.
I continue to be particularly interested in Community and Trusts and Co-housing as a means of providing affordable housing and I hope to be able to return to Canada to add further to my knowledge of this. The experiences of Calgary,Toronto and Quebec would all seem capable of added a further dimension to my ongoing research interests, and compliment my experiences from and knowledge of projects in Banff, Winnipeg and Vancouver. I also hope to present a paper on my findings to date at the 2010 BACS conference