Urban Studies - Theses, Dissertations, and other Required Graduate Degree Essays

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The motivations and operational realities of mixed model developments in the Province of B.C.

Date created: 
2020-04-09
Abstract: 

This thesis analyzes four housing developments in the Province of B.C. that involve mixed rental rates, uses and, in some instances, tenures (oftentimes referred to as mixed model developments in this document) to understand the political, economic and social motivations that lead to this form of housing development and their operational benefits and challenges. The main theme—through interviews, analysis of each project’s publicly available planning documentation and the project’s economic model—are that while these developments may have been desired from a social perspective, there are also large economic and political motivations driving them forward. It is often suggested that mixed income development attempts to counteract the negative effects associated with highly concentrated inner-city poverty, however, the true social outcomes of mixed income development on lower income individuals is unclear. What is generally accepted is that mixed income development is an economically and politically feasible urban redevelopment strategy. This study finds that while economics and politics were motivating factors of these projects, community building was also an important aspect of the four case studies; however, it wasn’t indicated by interviewees as being because of mixes of income levels within the developments. It was because there was a belief that building community with your neighbors was important to social well being. Furthermore, operationally, adequate amenity space and appropriate commercial space with facilitated programming to all tenants was noted by interviewees as being important to community building and social mixing in these developments. In most instances, when there was limited amenity/commercial space and limited facilitated programming, social mixing wasn’t occurring according to the housing providers interviewed.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Peter V. Hall
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Urban Studies Program
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.Urb.

Relationship-building on unceded lands: An examination and assessment of the Musqueam–YVR Sustainability and Friendship Agreement

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-04-15
Abstract: 

Musqueam Indian Band and the Vancouver Airport Authority signed a ‘Sustainability and Friendship Agreement’ on June 21, 2017, following decades of Musqueam assertions of rights and title over the airport lands. While not an explicit recognition of Musqueam rights and title, the Agreement implicitly acknowledges that Musqueam community can benefit from its territorial lands and should have a say in how the Airport develops. The Agreement commits the Airport to providing various community benefits, including scholarships, employment, training, contracting, and business partnership opportunities. It commits the parties to engaging with one another on a regular basis about Airport plans and developments. It also commits Musqueam Band to supporting the Airport’s ongoing operations, regardless of title recognition. Two years in, the outcomes are supporting various Musqueam community planning objectives. The relationship now reflects several principles of reconciliation; however, it does not guarantee Musqueam’s right to determine uses of its territorial lands.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Patrick Smith
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Urban Studies Program
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.Urb.

A leap of faith: Motivations for place of worship redevelopment in Vancouver

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-04-20
Abstract: 

This research study explores the motivations for religious congregations in Vancouver, Canada that are redeveloping their sites, building housing (and other ancillary services and uses), while retaining their place of worship function. This is a recent development phenomenon for Vancouver, and at the time of research, no academic studies had yet addressed the topic for the Vancouver context. The purpose is to better understand what internal and external forces may be motivating congregations to pursue such redevelopment schemes, by focusing on their rationale, objectives, and experiences with the projects thus far, from the perspective of the congregations themselves. The lessons learned from this research aim to provide insight on place of worship redevelopment in Vancouver, with a focus on four case studies, and highlight the areas of convergence and divergence from place of worship redevelopment happening in other urban contexts.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Peter V. Hall
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Urban Studies Program
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.Urb.

Multilevel governing in British Columbia: A case study of residential development and the Agricultural Land Reserve in the City of Richmond

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-02-27
Abstract: 

This thesis presents a locally specific case study of the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) in the City of Richmond, British Columbia, providing an examination of multi-level governance and government ‘on the ground’ in Canada. The last several years represents a significant period of policy and political change, at both the City of Richmond and the Province of British Columbia, intended to protect ALR land from residential and accessory residential uses as well as the outright exclusion of land from the Reserve. Yet, a lack a cooperation and policy coordination between, across and within federal, provincial, regional, and municipal scales has allowed such exclusions and the increased residential and accessory residential development of land within the ALR to occur. Such policy discord and inconsistencies are largely attributable to several challenges inherent in the multi-jurisdictional character of the ALR with sometimes competing and conflicting interests between government scales and conflicting private and public interests. Most significant has been a lack of political will to act and the passing off of jurisdictional responsibility between government levels. Moving forward, further province-wide regulation limiting non-agricultural uses of ALR lands while allowing for continued municipal flexibility in regulating below these provincial benchmarks is needed. Such increased provincial regulation would allow for greater consistency between municipalities as well as urban and agricultural areas within cities, reducing the appeal of ALR lands for residential and accessory residential development.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Patrick Smith
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Urban Studies Program
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.Urb.

Fostering community resiliency for displaced persons: A case study of the Saddlebrook Temporary Neighbourhood

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-12-13
Abstract: 

In June 2013, the arid province of Alberta experienced heavy rainfall which caused rivers to overflow and flooding in urban areas. The Highwood River flood forced approximately 13,000 residents to flee their homes and the Town of High River. This case study reveals how the Government of Alberta and non-governmental actors accommodated and supported displaced persons through the provision of post-disaster temporary housing. The Saddlebrook Temporary Neighbourhood, known as Saddlebrook, was a place of community resiliency. This case study specifically examines how institutional actors collectively adapted social resources in order to foster community resiliency for displaced persons. In an era of climate change and rapid urbanization, the case of Saddlebrook contributes to increasing urban scholarship and research concerned with the displacement of urban populations after an environmental-related disaster.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Patrick Smith
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Urban Studies Program
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.Urb.

How will restaurants adapt and succeed in a world without plastics?

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-12-16
Abstract: 

Plastic pollution is an escalating global issue, prompting many national and local governments to take action on single-use plastic items; however, many of these strategies impact small restaurants. This research paper considers the City of Vancouver’s Single-Use Item Reduction Strategy (SUIRS) in terms of potential impacts on small restaurants in the West End neighbourhood. It examines types of packaging materials used, factors that affect whether a restaurant uses sustainable packaging, and the motivations and barriers for doing so. Data was gathered through a questionnaire and conversations with restaurant owners and managers. Over half of respondents identified management values as the primary reason for adopting sustainable packaging, and nearly a quarter of respondents identified cost as a key barrier. Although small restaurants face significant barriers, there are opportunities for local government interventions to inspire innovation and collaboration to assist in the transition away from single-use items in the restaurant industry.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Peter V. Hall
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Urban Studies Program
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.Urb.

Social sustainability strategies in green neighbourhoods: An assessment of Dockside Green

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-10-29
Abstract: 

This research paper examines social sustainability strategies in green neighbourhoods and how they involve a negotiation and balance between social justice and neoliberal justification. Dockside Green a LEED- ND Platinum Certified neighbourhood in Victoria BC is used as a case study to investigate how social justice can be envisioned and enacted within a Triple Bottom Line approach to sustainable development. The study examines the social sustainability obligations that were set out at the onset of the project within the Master Development Agreement (2005); and the underlying factors within neoliberal policies, that affected social sustainability outcomes. The research is based on interviews, observations, newspaper articles and policy documents. The results of the study reveal that social justice is at risk of being sidelined in neighbourhood planning to cater for profitability and the competitiveness agenda.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Meg Holden
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Urban Studies Program
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.Urb.

Finally home: Housing that works for women who have experienced homelessness

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-10-31
Abstract: 

This research explores the question: What makes housing work for women who have experienced homelessness on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (DTES)? Eleven women were interviewed, both in-depth interviews and tours of the women’s sleeping places. During the interviews and tours, trends and priorities were identified in terms of the housing type, choice, housing with or without a partner, design of the space, accessibility, safety, guidelines and policies, repairs and cleanliness, support from staff and programming. Interviews were also completed with experts in housing or homelessness to supplement the information heard from women. Experts included people involved in planning, finding, providing, or researching housing. Information from experts expanded on, confirmed and provided context to the findings from the women’s interviews. Engaging with women allowed them to provide this project with their experience and recommendations in the planning, design, management and provision of housing. Through this research, functional solutions were uncovered to provide better housing that works for women. The information gathered is useful to inform policy, planning, funding, design, and support services in order to better provide women with more than a roof over their heads, and to help them find a place to finally call home.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Meg Holden
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Urban Studies Program
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.Urb.

Fight the power: Redressing displacement and building a just city for Black lives in Vancouver

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-06-12
Abstract: 

Past and present planning practices impacting Black people in Canada are brought into focus in this master’s project that traces Hogan’s Alley, a Black community that existed in Vancouver’s Strathcona neighbourhood and that was displaced through a series of racially-motivated decisions spanning decades. The project documents the efforts made by the contemporary Black community to seek redress for the past displacement, and how the City of Vancouver reacted to those efforts. Engaging critical race analysis along with justice-based planning theory, the project uses auto-ethnography to document the specific justice-based interventions made by the author and other members of the Black community, including the proposal for affordable housing and a non-profit community land trust on the former Hogan’s Alley site. This work expands urban studies scholarship by including the histories and perspectives of Black communities, foregrounding the way race influences the ordering of cities and how city planning pedagogy, policy, and practice maintain white colonial hegemony.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Karen Ferguson
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Urban Studies Program
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.Urb.

Tools of the trade: How tool selection increases challenges in the work of binners in North-Central Surrey

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-08-13
Abstract: 

This study examined the role of work tools used by informal recyclers (binners). Binners in BC’s Lower Mainland use a variety of tools to collect and transport work product to recycle depots. Choice of tool poses challenges: none works perfectly in working spaces of binners in North-Central Surrey. Using ethnographic interviews and work-alongs, this research identified trade-offs pitting factors like mobility and income against one another. Some work tools elicit negative public opinion; some are hard to secure: grocery carts are confiscated and bicycles stolen. Although this autonomous work is not directly regulated, interviews revealed factors regulating how binners and their work tools move through neighbourhoods and access amenities during their work shifts. Hierarchies of binning tools created from this research illustrate daily challenges of this work.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Karen Ferguson
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Urban Studies Program
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.Urb.