1) What is your official current position and title?
Recently completed my PhD in Sociology at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton where my focus was on urban sociology and local government in Greater Saint John.
Policy consultant, have worked with New Brunswick’s Department of Transportation.
2) What is your educational background?
BA – Political Science (UNB: 1996-2001) à Focus on comparative politics
MA – Political Science (Carleton University: 2001-2003) à Research focus on public policy and ideology of New Labour government in Britain.
LLB – Law (University of New Brunswick: 1999-2004)
PhD – Sociology (University of New Brunswick: 2008-2015) à Urban Sociology, Political Sociology and Local Government
3) Talk a little about your career path? Where did your passion for the research/work that you do originate and how did it develop?
The two main areas of my research focus are local government and regional economic development, with a particular focus on New Brunswick and comparable jurisdictions.
As a newspaper columnist, I have written extensively on issues of economic development, poverty, and environmental sustainability in my province. This interest extends into my academic work where the focus of my dissertation was on suburbanization and local government in Greater Saint John.
I published a paper, with the Canadian-American Center at the University of Maine, comparing sustainable economic development strategies in Vermont and New Brunswick. I contributed to Insight articles on this theme for the Martin Prosperity Institute at the University of Toronto.
I recently published a column with the Huffington Post charting the next steps in New Brunswick’s economic development, which is sustainability and the green economy. The column can be found at the following link: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/hassan-arif/new-brunswick-economy_b_9452882.html
I have a passion to employ peer-reviewed and evidence-based research and communicate these ideas to the general public and policy-makers to contribute to the development of strong public policy.
4) Tell us about one or two of your current projects?
I am currently working with Dr. Roland Cole (PhD, JD Harvard) of the Sagamore Institute in Indianapolis and Mark Long of the Sid Martin Biosciences Institute in Florida on a multi-volume ebook series for Amazon on economic development in smaller and medium-size cities in the United States.
I plan to continue to research on local government by publishing my dissertation research as a book and expanding the topic in future work to include comparative analysis of New Brunswick’s centralized system of local government with decentralized home rule systems in the United States.
5) How do you see your research/work in terms of possibly contributing to evidence-based public policy?
I hope to contribute to debates on local government reform and economic development in the context of smaller jurisdictions like New Brunswick through evidence-based research. This way more effective and informed public policy can be developed.
6) Discuss any past achievements that were significant to your professional path? Have any contributed to the promotion of evidence-based public policy?
Publication of my paper comparing sustainable economic development strategies in New Brunswick and Vermont with the Canadian-American Center at the University of Maine and expansion on these themes by contributing to Insight articles for the Martin Prosperity Institute at the University of Toronto.
I co-authored a book chapter with Dr. Roland Cole of the Sagamore Institute on the application of smart city technologies to the zoning process.
As a newspaper columnist, I have sought to promote ideas on economic development and urban policy to a wide audience.
7) Describe in a couple of sentences your involvement with NBSPRN and how your relationship with the Network has contributed to your research/work and/or to social/economic policy?
It has helped connect me with a broad network of researchers in New Brunswick.
8) Any last thoughts?
I love skiing (downhill and cross-country), hiking, long-distance biking. I do much of my work at local coffeeshops, including the Second Cup on Prospect Street near my home, where I enjoy meeting new people and making new friends.