Community Engagement

Community Engagement header center picture - Bri and Will October 2017

Running on Hamilton’s Waterfront Trail has been a great stress reliever over the years.  In the above photo, I am preparing to run a 400 m interval with my running buddy, Dr. Will Coleman of Political Science (Will is a Distinguished University Professor Emeritus at both McMaster University and the University of Waterloo).


My early professional goals were to be a County Engineer, or a Director of Public Works for an intermediate-sized city. But instead I went down the university professor path, and have no regrets. But now, at this stage of my career, the opportunity arose to work with a broad spectrum of students on projects of direct interest to the City of Hamilton. CityLAB's Semester in Residence program allows me the opportunity and privilege to explore design-related concepts with amazingly motivated students and City staff, and to get back to my municipal engineering roots.

2019 CityLAB students envisioning a more livable Hamilton, on the grounds of Whitehern
2019 CityLAB Semester-in-Residence students and faculty with Mayor Fred Eisenberger and City Manager Janette Smith
2019 CityLAB Semester in Residence students out in force in front of Hamilton City Hall!
Fresh off her Semester in Residence project on a Minimum Grid Cycling Network, Gabriella Christopher (CityLAB SIR '19 Alumna) made a Hamilton City Council delegation in February 2020 to advocate for the use of area rating funds to add protection to existing bike lanes in Wards 1-3. Council's recovery phase mobility plan includes Gabriella's recommendations, plus the addition of additional bikeway connectors. Way to go, Gabby! (photo credit: Gurvir Chana)
CityLAB 2019 Teaching Team-MSU Teaching Award Winner
The 2019 CityLAB Semester in Residence Teaching Team of Anna Marie Pietrantonio, Dave Heidebrecht, Randy Kay and Brian Baetz (left to right, photo credit: Mr. Gurvir Chana), were awarded the McMaster Student Union Community Engagement Teaching Award in March 2020

Dundas EcoPark

For 30 years, my family has been involved with the Dundas Chapter of the Conservers Society of Hamilton and District in the preservation of the Pleasant View lands in Dundas, which are the open space connectors between Cootes Paradise and the Niagara Escarpment. This has evolved to be known as the Dundas EcoPark, which is a significant component of the broader Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System. The work is ongoing, but with the vision and support of the Royal Botanical Gardens, the Hamilton Conservation Authority, the City of Hamilton, Conservation Halton, Hamilton Naturalists Club and countless locally-based individuals, this has become a legacy project with very positive benefits for downstream generations.

Dundas EcoPark Map (courtesy of Ben Vanderbrug and Richard Woodworth of the Hamilton Conservation Authority)

Wood Duck Articles

Birds--Might They Be More Than Meets the Eye?
Jane Neysmith Tribute Article
Bill Dermody Tribute Article
Lyrics by Deborah Smaluck, Music and Vocals by Rory Lavelle, with permission of Peter Smaluck
The 2022 Community Engagement Team for the Booth School, comprised of Brian Baetz, Salman Bawa and Richard Allen (left to right, with Provost Susan Tighe; photo credit to Dr. Wael El Dakhakhni), were awarded the McMaster Student Union Community Engagement Teaching Award in March 2023.

Emerging Topics

As different community engagement projects come into play, they will be encapsulated here...

The McMaster Forest
Growing Your Own Way to Micro-Localized Food Security
Go for GO: Extending Go Transit into Dundas
Miscellaneous Media Articles Relating to Local Issues
Alternate Route 15 Route Change to Service Watsons Lane Loop (Dundas) by Adam Chojecki
The Gateway Connecting Dundas and the C2EP
Connecting Dundas through the Spencer Creek Trail
Protecting Heritage Buildings and their Architectural Significance
Enhancing the Urban Tree Canopy Through Micro-Nurseries

Over the last ten years, many books have been written about labyrinths and they have been constructed in churchyards, private backyards, public parks and on the grounds of businesses and a range of institutions for the purposes of walking meditation. What has been lacking up to this point is a systematic method for planning and laying out a labyrinth for a specific area under consideration.

To address this need, Nick Giles, a mathematics student at the University of Waterloo, and Brian Baetz, Director of the Engineering and Society programme at McMaster University, have developed a series of computerized files for labyrinth construction. These are available as free downloads at the links listed below. For each of these labyrinth configurations, an associated Excel spreadsheet file has been developed, into which the user specifies the available area dimensions for the labyrinth. The labyrinth details are then calculated by the spreadsheet, including the layout particulars and the amount of the building or natural materials required for the labyrinth. The spreadsheet file is linked to an adjoining PowerPoint presentation file, which takes the user through a step-by-step graphical procedure for laying out and constructing the labyrinth for their specific situation. So consider constructing a labyrinth in your backyard, at work or in your community and use these computer-based tools to help you along the path.