Department of City Planning
410 Architecture 2 Building
56 Curry Place
University of Manitoba
(Fort Garry Campus)
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3T 2M6
- BES, University of Manitoba
- M’Arch, Certificate in Urban Design, University of Pennsylvania
- PhD (Environmental Studies), York University, Toronto
- Canadian Institute of Planners
- Manitoba Professional Planners Institute
- Manitoba Association of Architects
- Planners Network and Planners Network Manitoba (PNmb)
- International Network of Urban Research and Action (INURA)
Towards age-friendly communities
Since 2008, Dr. Richard Milgrom been participating in the Age-Friendly Communities – Active Aging Alliance as a researcher and as a project steering committee member. This is a 5-year, $1 million, SSHRC-funded Community University Research Alliance (CURA), that is based in the University of Manitoba’s Centre on Aging, under the direction of Dr. Verena Menac. The project involves faculty from across the university as well as more than a dozen community partner organizations.
The CURA aims to make cities and towns better places in which to grow old. In concert with the Province’s Age-friendly Manitoba initiative, more than 70 municipalities, including the City of Winnipeg, are now participating. The focus of the work Dr. Milgrom has been undertaking examined planning processes and how they have (or have not) taken aging into account, as well as the challenges and opportunities that have emerged for older adults in the build environment.
Dr. Milgrom's recent work has addressed impediments to the production of age-friendly environments in Winnipeg. This includes those that are rooted in current planning practices – and specifically who is consulted in the preparation of plans – and those that are manifestations of historic urban development patterns – most specifically that of car-oriented sprawl in and around the city.
Graduate students who have contributed to this work include Becky Raddatz and Waleed Albakry. Raddatz’s practicum research explored questions of why organizations that serve older adults are not consulted in planning processes, work that revealed that these organizations are not generally recognized by municipal planners, but that senior’s organizations also need to improve their understanding of the importance of planning and the built environment in ensuring independent living as long as possible. Albakry, and recent graduate Matt Glavin, have been working with Geographical Information Systems (GIS) to illustrate the social impacts of sprawling development patterns, preparing maps and analysis that illustrate, for example, how walking distances to urban amenities have increased over the last fifty years.
Dr. Milgrom’s work in the near future is going to move towards visualizing how built environments might be modified to better accommodate active aging. The studio that he will lead in the Fall of 2010, with funding from the CURA, will examine existing situations in urban, suburban and rural communities and, in consultation with local organizations, will develop and illustrate planning and design ideas to make appropriate improvements. The results will be made available to the local groups to assist with their advocacy work. They will also be presented on a website providing examples that can be used by groups in other places.
Impacts of Urban Development / Planning and Urban Design for Social Justice My research focuses on the social impacts of urban development patterns. It addresses questions about how practices of planning and urban design have had negative impacts on the lives of communities and population, undermining their right to the city. In particular, I am interested in the roles planners and designers play in production of spaces of exclusion and segregation in processes of revitalization and gentrification.
My goal, however, is to understand how planning and design processes can enhance the development of human environments that support goals of social justice, to improve the quality of life for all inhabitants. I am seeking participatory processes that embrace the broad ranges of needs and desires within communities, and public education models that can inform debate about the future of towns, cities and regions.
I am interested in working with doctoral students, post-doctoral fellows and visiting scholars who share a critical view of planning and urban design. My study of impacts and possible future directions is currently focused on the production of age-friendly communities, cities and regions, relating the well-being of older adults to the environments that they inhabit. However, I also welcome interests related to the accommodation of difference (age, culture, etc.) within human settlements, particularly the redevelopment of downtowns and inner cities and the transformation of suburbs.