thesis topics - Musing ideas / by Elie Bourget

I have long been in favor on writing a research thesis over a design thesis.   The following are various thesis topics which are of interest, all of which revolve around the fundamental differences between Canadian housing in the 50s to that of the present.  I have conducted extensive research on Canadian post-war housing and the early work of the CMHC, as well as smart-growth policies and issues facing 1st-ring suburbs.  Topics marked with an asterix(*) assume the use of Overbrook/Castleheights as a particular case-study neighborhood.  Some of these topics may address similar topics from various points of view or simply refer to a variation on scope of work.

1-*A new typological look at adapting post-war suburbs.  Taking an inventory of the most common types of renovations, additions, severances and new-builds within the established suburban fabric of the 50s and 60s.

2*-A survey and review of Community Design Plans and their impact, or lack thereof, on 1st-ring suburbs.  Propose an alternative format and goal for a Community Design Plan of a post-war housing neighborhood in Ottawa. 

2b*-Proposing better Infill-housing accessibility via client/public education as a reflection of the 1950s Housing boom and the CMHC's early publications.  Develop a client/owner-targeted publication on infill to be distributed as a supplement to official Community Design Plan.

3-An analysis of Canadian housing trends in relation to the Canadian economy from the Great depression to Present(+10/20 year projection to complete the century.)  A reflection on how the two are so intrinsically linked.  Discussing its impact on size of dwelling, average family unit, rise of the single-occupant dwelling, evolution of dwelling types adapting to existing urban fabrics, Aging population, delayed stages of adulthood in millenials, trends in population growth (Form follows function, follows money?)

3b-A historical look at home financing in Canada from the Great Depression to present and its affect on both market accessibility and (sub)urban form. (A historical comparison of first-time homebuyers in the 1950's and at Present.)

4*-A survey of secondary-suites, registered or unregistered, within 1st-ring suburbs of Ottawa.   A statistical investigation to supplement the city's lack of data on secondary suites as a form of infill housing.

5*-A policy and market driven analysis of the problems of Intensification and Gentrification in Ottawa's first-ring suburbs.  (Policies, trends, land values, Community Associations, CDPs, reactive vs proactive, preservation vs renewal, NYMBY, neighborhood stigma, etc)

6*-Develop a model infill and garden-suite Bylaw for the neighborhoods of Overbrook and Castleheights as a case-study of small-scale infill in Canadian post-war suburbs.

7-Something about the aging population and the steady decline of the "net-buying/first-time-homebuyers" representing a massive opportunity for the renewal of of First-ring suburbs.