Geography of Toronto

Critical Essay

Instructor Jeff May

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Discussed in class November 5
Due on D2L December 3, 10pm
See the last page for a submission checklist!

This assignment is worth 30% of your final grade
Please see the syllabus for the late policy

Assignment Purpose:

The purpose of this assignment is threefold:

1) To further help develop your research and information-finding skills.

2) To explore in deep geographical analysis an issue in Toronto’s Geography

3) To examine a particular Toronto neighbourhood

Assignment Technical Details:

Your assignment must be between 1800 and 2200 words (this is about 6-8 Pages), 12pt font, with 1-inch margins on all sides. If you write more than 2200 words, I will stop reading and grade all that came before. Please put a word count at the end of your paper. In-text citations count towards your word limit but your works cited list does not. Please submit your assignment as a word file type to ensure I can read and add comments in-text.

Research

This is an argumentative critical essay. You must include a minimum of 7 sources. These must include:

– Minimum 5 scholarly articles (peer reviewed – see the list of possible journals below)
– Minimum 2 ‘newspaper’ articles from credible sources (can be online)
– (Optional) non-scholarly online sources (including websites, blogs, short videos, etc.)

You may use course readings as materials but if you do they will not count towards your minimum number of sources. You are encouraged to also include maps, data, and images. If you do, these will be in addition to your 6-8 pages.

A Note About Essay-Writing

Geography of Toronto is a Liberal Arts course. Liberal arts courses employ essays as major forms of analysis. I know this stuff is taught in elementary schools and high schools worldwide, so you should know how to write an essay, but if you need a refresher, see the following link:

https://learn.library.ryerson.ca/Research

List of possible journals in which to find ‘scholarly’ articles:

Social & Cultural Geography
Gender, Place, & Culture
Cultural Geography
Urban Studies
Canadian Journal of Urban Research
Environment and Planning A
Environment and Planning C
Geography Review
The Canadian Geographer
Journal of the American Institute of Planners
Transportation Quarterly
Canadian Journal of Regional Science
Annals, Association of American Geographers
Geojournal
Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services
Journal of Urban Planning and Development
Journal of Urban Affairs
Housing Studies
International Journal of Urban and Regional Research
Urban Geography

Assignment Content Details:

In this assignment you will choose a Toronto neighbourhood and critically discuss an issue facing that neighbourhood. You will research and write an 1800-2200 word (6-8 pages) argumentative critical essay.

Human Geography is the study of the relationship between people, place, and space. Your essay must explore an aspect of the Geography of Toronto that is about a particular neighbourhood and illustrate through argument how you understand the integrative character of not only Human Geography, but of the relationship between people in the city and the spaces in which they live.

You are tasked with a three-part goal:

1) WHAT – You must identify a particular issue or topic. There are many we discuss in class, so you can use the lecture topics as your guide for the type of thing you might discuss. For example, you might be interested in the forces that guide neighbourhood change (and thus you might discuss things such as reinvestment, gentrification, neighbourhood BIAs, municipal planning policy, cultural change, etc.). I also encourage you to choose a topic we do not discuss in lecture. If you are interested in a topic and are not sure if it is eligible or appropriate, please ask Jeff.

2) WHERE – You must identify a particular neighbourhood in Toronto for your study. For example, to continue the above example, you might write a paper about the historical development of a particular neighbourhood (‘How did Cabbagetown change into Regent Park and what were the major forces involved in this change?’).

3) HOW – In this course we are examining the Geography of Toronto in an integrative way. Consider the various aspects of geography of Toronto (urban, social, cultural, political, economic, environmental, transportation) and examine how your topic and neighbourhood might be affected by each approach. In the above example, it is ‘urban’ because it is about changes to urban space, it is ‘social’ because it involves different groups of people with different goals, it is ‘cultural’ because it is about the changing ideas of what the city should look like, it is ‘political’ because of the many different interest groups involved, and it is ‘economic’ because reinvestment involves a lot of money.

Works Cited List and Citations

You must include a works cited list in APA format and you should include citations where necessary. APA uses ‘author, date’ format (May, 2019).

The basics of what you need to do are simple! If you have read something written by Jeff May and want to cite his ideas, just include this at the end of your sentence (May, 2019). If your source has a specific page number and you have quoted directly, ‘cite with the page number included’ (May, 2019, p. 1).

For your works cited list, our course outline article references are in APA format. Just copy the format!

For further explanation of APA format, see the link below:

https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/02/

A Note about Academic Integrity

This assignment provides you with a lot of freedom in how to approach your topic. It also requires that you employ other people’s research (and words) in making your argument. Because of this freedom and requirement, it is the type of paper that provides the temptation to employ dubious citational practices! Please see the paragraph about Academic Integrity in the Course Outline and ensure you understand what honest practices mean in an essay context. This is your responsibility, but your instructor is willing to help you understand and learn.

…assignment continues on the next page…

Grading and Assessment Scheme

Spelling, Grammar, Sentence Structure –

A paper that earns high marks will be free of spelling and grammatical errors and will have sentence structures that allow the answers to flow smoothly.
/3

Works Cited List and Citations

This should be in proper APA format and should include at least seven sources. Your in-text citations should be used correctly and in the correct format.
/3

Introduction and Conclusion

Your paper must have an introduction and conclusion. Your introduction should include at the very least a discussion of what your paper will be about and in what order it will proceed. A good introduction will leave no question what the paper will be about (and it will be accurate!). A good conclusion should include at the very least a brief summary of your main arguments. /2

Research and Research Usage

A good paper will use at least the minimum number of sources while a great paper will use more than the minimum and will include sources very useful to the paper. A great paper will include extremely useful sources, while a less successful paper will include sources that are barely useful to the paper.

A good paper will include some discussion of each of your sources. A great paper will critique the arguments made in the sources and/or will use those arguments to help critique the topic/issue.

Your research should focus on both your neighbourhood and the issues you are focusing on. Some neighbourhoods will have specific articles “about” them (such as Kensington Market) while other will not (for example, if you want to focus on a particular suburban area, you might need to focus on research about Toronto suburbs more generally).
/10

Essay Argument

This is the most important part of your paper, the culmination of your work. A great paper will have an original argument that is informed by various perspectives and approaches to Human Geography. A great argument will have weighed the various arguments from the research and will present an informed critique. The relationship between your topic and place(s) will be evident. Your paper should show evidence of knowledge of and learning about the topic.
/12

Total Marks
/30

Grading Rubric

A+ Writing is free of any spelling or grammatical errors and the sentence structure is also error free and vibrant (this does not apply to the discussion). Discussions of the theory content show superior understandings of the arguments. They also show exceptional grasp of the subject matter with evidence of an exhaustive knowledge base. The critical analysis shows extensive innovative development of the theoretical ideas. Anybody who reads this project will learn significantly.

A Writing is free of any spelling or grammatical errors and the sentence structure is also error free and vibrant (this does not apply to the discussion). Discussions of the theory content show very clear understandings of the arguments. They also show excellent grasp of the subject matter with evidence of an extensive knowledge base. The critical analysis shows innovative development of the theoretical ideas. Anybody who reads this project will learn something.

A – Writing is free of any spelling or grammatical errors and the sentence structure is also error free (this does not apply to the discussion). Discussions of the theory content show clear understandings of the arguments. They also show excellent grasp of the subject matter with some evidence of knowledge in the area. The critical analysis shows development of the theoretical ideas.

B+ Writing is free of most spelling or grammatical errors and the sentence structure is very solid (this does not apply to the discussion). Discussions of the theory content show clear understandings of the arguments. They also show solid grasp of the subject matter with some evidence of knowledge in the area. The critical analysis shows some development of the theoretical ideas.

B Writing has some spelling or grammatical errors and the sentence structure is mostly solid (this does not apply to the discussion). Discussions of the theory content show understandings of the arguments. They also show solid grasp of the subject matter with some evidence of knowledge in the area and/or familiarity with the issues. The critical analysis shows some development of the theoretical ideas.

B – Writing has some spelling or grammatical errors and the sentence structure is mostly solid (this does not apply to the discussion). Discussions of the theory content show understandings of the arguments. They also show solid grasp of the subject matter with some evidence of knowledge in the area and/or familiarity with the issues. The critical analysis shows minor development of the theoretical ideas.

C+ Writing has several spelling or grammatical errors and the sentence structure contains some problems (this does not apply to the discussion). Discussions of the theory content show some understandings of the arguments. They also show some grasp of the subject matter with some evidence of knowledge in the area and/or familiarity with the issues. The critical analysis shows limited development of the theoretical ideas.

C Writing has many spelling or grammatical errors and the sentence structure contains many problems (so that it begins to interfere with comprehension) (this does not apply to the discussion). Discussions of the theory content show limited understandings of the arguments. They also show minor grasp of the subject matter with little evidence of knowledge in the area and/or familiarity with the issues. The critical analysis shows limited development of the theoretical ideas.

C – Writing has many spelling or grammatical errors and the sentence structure contains many problems (so that it interferes with comprehension) (this does not apply to the discussion). Discussions of the theory content show little understandings of the arguments. They also show little grasp of the subject matter with little evidence of knowledge in the area and/or familiarity with the issues. The critical analysis shows very limited development of the theoretical ideas.

D Writing has many spelling or grammatical errors and the sentence structure contains many problems and cannot easily be comprehended (this does not apply to the discussion). Discussions of the theory content show little understandings of the arguments. They also show very little grasp of the subject matter or familiarity with the issues. The critical analysis shows no development of the theoretical ideas.

F Writing is incomprehensible with too many spelling errors, grammatical problems, and sentence structure issues (this does not apply to the discussion). Discussions of the theory content show barely any familiarity with the arguments. The critical analysis shows no understanding or development of the theoretical ideas.

Submission Checklist!

I have included my full name somewhere on the first page

I have named my file ‘LAST NAME, GIVEN NAME, CGEO793

I have included a works cited list in APA format

I have used in-text citations in APA format

I have used at least the minimum required number of sources

I have adhered to all word limits and have placed a word count after my conclusion

I have written in a word-processing file (no pdf)

I will submit to D2L and check to ensure my submission worked properly

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