Williams, Alanna

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    Uncovering and mapping place attachment in small cities
    (TTRA Canada, 2016-09-26) Vaugeois, Nicole; Williams, Alanna; Karsten, Sharon; Shaw, Pamela
    Understanding the connections that visitors and residents have to places is critically important for tourism development. Aided with this knowledge, authentic experiences can be developed, stories can be uncovered and told, and resident perspectives can be identified. This paper describes a case study to uncover and map place attachment in three small cities in Western Canada. The project was conducted in the cities of Courtenay, Port Alberni and Nanaimo, BC. A one day “walk about” in each community was used to record 1.5 minute videos (n=85) of residents speaking about a place in their downtown core where they felt connected to. These videos were then uploaded to Arc GIS resulting in the first layer of a dynamic map for each community. Findings were analyzed using content analysis and data visualization techniques. The findings suggest cultural mapping practices can aid in the design and promotion of tourism experiences.
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    Placemaking through deep cultural mapping: The Where is Here? project
    (World Leisure Centre of Excellence in Sustainability and Innovation at Vancouver Island University, 2016-12) Vaugeois, Nicole; Rosser, Sunny; Karsten, Sharon; Williams, Alanna; Shaw, Pamela
    One of the most visible avenues used by small cities to retain competitiveness can be seen in the attempts to revitalize their downtown areas to create places and spaces enjoyed and valued by residents and visitors. Formerly recognized as the heart or centre of small cities, many downtown areas have suffered due to urban sprawl and a loss of connectedness or familiarity among new residents. While efforts to address downtown revitalization are evident such as the creation of public spaces, events and support for small businesses, there remains a need to understand if, and how, residents in small cities value their downtown areas. Small cities are increasingly turning to cultural mapping as a way to identify the assets and values associated to the places and spaces within their boundaries. This case study highlights the Where is Here? project, an innovative initiative to develop cultural maps in three small cities on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, namely in the cities of Nanaimo, Port Alberni and Courtenay. The cultural mapping process included the active participation of local citizens, business owners, municipal development leaders, arts and culture associations, and Aboriginal groups. Three public engagement events or “walk abouts” were coordinated where 85 videos were captured of residents speaking to the places that they felt most connected to in their downtown core. The videos were shared widely in digital form on the project website and collectively, uncovered deep layers of meaning associated to a variety of downtown places. Leisure emerged as a central and embedded theme in the connect spots shared both in terms of the venues profiled and the experiences of residents. Leisure researchers may play a critical role in supporting small city place making initiatives by uncovering and mapping how residents engage with places and spaces within their leisure. Cultural mapping may provide a tool to leisure researchers to aid in these investigations.
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    UnSettling downtowns
    (Electronic version published by Vancouver Island University, 2017-05) Williams, Alanna; Vaugeois, Nicole
    Presentation of VIU's cultural mapping project, with the focus on downtown Nanaimo, B.C.