Dissertation Abstracts

The Rotting Heart of Gatineau Park: Mapping Issues, Institutions and Publics in a Unique Political Situation

Author: Lait, Michael C, michael.lait@carleton.ca
Department: Department of Sociology & Anthropology
University: Carleton University, Canada
Supervisor: Patricia Ballamingie
Year of completion: In progress
Language of dissertation: English

Keywords: Publics , Controversy Mapping , Conservation Movement , Wildland Urban Interface
Areas of Research: Political Sociology , Regional and Urban Development , Environment and Society


My research project consists of an interrelated series of controversy case studies focusing on Gatineau Park, an 88,000 acre public wilderness area. The Park is located in the Province of Quebec and is close to an urban conurbation of over one million people (cities of Gatineau, Hull and Ottawa). Gatineau Park has several long-standing political issues (private lands, residential development, road-building projects, ‘non-conforming uses’, etc.). Many of these issues are still open, that is, amenable to periodic flare-ups. My research project will be the first to map the Park’s “political situation” (Barry 2012); its mobile, shifting field of past, present, and future controversies and issues.

My project spans from the early 20th century—when the first planning “visions” for a nature preserve close to Canada’s national capital were articulated (e.g., Todd 1903; Holt 1915)—to Gatineau Park’s present-day political situation. It will describe the dynamics of the major controversies around this near-urban wilderness park, and will trace the trajectories of the Park’s various issues, interests, and actors.

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