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

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Wayfinding & access to information: an investigation of intermodal design at Vancouver's Pacific Central Station

Author: 
Date created: 
2008
Abstract: 

This project investigates intermodalism and the benefits of an integrated transportation interface. The study attempts to identify the design aspects (or lack thereof) at Pacific Central Station (PCS) that contribute to a number of rail passengers becoming disoriented when entering the station. The research question asks: What specific design elements are needed in PCS to create a smoother intermodal connection and an overall better travel experience for rail passengers? The conceptual framework for this study views intermodalism through a Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) lens in conjunction with New Urbanist and Smart Growth principles. The study employs a mixed-method approach to collecting data on station intermodalism and wayfinding devices that includes the following: direct observation; passenger counts; in-depth, qualitative interviews; and an interview survey. This study seeks to advance ‘best practices’ in station intermodalism and wayfinding for PCS and other similar stations.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
A
Department: 
Urban Studies Program - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Research Project (M.Urb.)

Collaborative practice towards sustainability: the Southeast False Creek experience

Author: 
Date created: 
2008
Abstract: 

Not in list supplied

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
K
Department: 
sustainable community; collaboration; citizen participation; power; urban planning; Southeast False Creek - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Research Project (M.Urb.)

Planning for a home for people and the environment in Taipei

Date created: 
2006
Abstract: 

Taipei has become a more recognizable city but knowledge about planning in the city has been quite limited internationally. This research project uses two case examples of planning in Taipei – the protected to residential re-zone case and the efforts of urban renewal, to probe into conflicts of interest in land-use and to find out the limitations of planning processes. In addition to secondary data such as books, articles, meeting minutes and published/unpublished government documents, semi-structured interviews were conducted. Along the way, I found that the municipal government has placed little value on nature; nor has it planned much with the general public’s benefits in mind. Instead, corporate elitism and political manipulation have limited planning and what it was mandated to do. Finally, I suggest that planners, politicians, decision makers and residents in Taipei deeply reflect on the city’s current condition and collaborate to find a fundamentally different alternative.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
Urban Studies Program - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Research Project (M.Urb.)

Public participation in land use planning: What is the role of social capital?

Date created: 
2006
Abstract: 

This study examines the role of social capital in citizen participation in a particular case of land use planning. The case centres around the development permit process for a youth service centre in Vancouver, British Columbia. Social capital in the form of interest-based and community-based social organization, shaped by social networks, reciprocity and trust is thought to provide the groundwork necessary for citizen participation and play an important role in the case. Two approaches were used to investigate and analyze the role of social capital in citizen participation in the case. Qualitative data were derived from elite interviews and quantitative data from a telephone survey. Analysis of the data revealed that not only was social capital an important factor in citizen participation in the case, but the amount and type of social capital varied depending on its social context.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
Urban Studies Program - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Research Project (M.U.S.)

Surrey City Centre: Potential for a sustainable regional downtown?

Date created: 
2006
Abstract: 

This research project compares the growth of Surrey City Centre with Burnaby’s Metrotown and Richmond Town Centre to determine why Surrey’s centre has not developed substantially as a sustainable regional downtown. The hypothesis is that Surrey City Centre has not developed as planned due to external competitive market forces. The study compared data from two other regional town centres to determine if their development has affected Surrey City Centre’s anticipated growth. Interviews were conducted with municipal officials and developers to determine the effect of government policies and practices on town centre development. A review of town centre land development and population growth explored barriers against and opportunities for sustainable development. This research reveals reasons why Surrey’s downtown has not evolved more fully and also provides a framework of policy prescriptions for guiding its future development in a sustainable manner.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
Urban Studies Program - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Research Project (M.U.S.)

An examination of Downtown Vancouver streets: does pedestrian-oriented design actually foster increased pedestrian usage?

Date created: 
2007
Abstract: 

This research paper examines and compares Downtown Vancouver’s premier streets and the relationship between pedestrian-oriented design and pedestrian use. This study aims to determine whether streets that possess more pedestrian-oriented design features result in higher pedestrian counts than streets with fewer such features. In addition, the study tries to determine what specific types of pedestrian-oriented features are present on streets with higher pedestrian counts that were not present on streets with lower counts. Data were collected by conducting pedestrian counts for the streets studied and by an observational checklist of pedestrian-oriented design features present on each street. The results of this study provide insight on the relationship between street character and pedestrian-oriented amenities and how this relationship influences pedestrian use. The research determined that the quantity of amenities is not important but the types of amenities available in relation to the role of the street were important factors.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
Urban Studies Program - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Research Project (M.Urb.)

Measuring the oil vulnerability of Canadian cities

Date created: 
2007
Abstract: 

Availability of cheap oil has allowed cities to maintain a certain standard of living and growing dependence on it makes cities vulnerable. Oil is a finite resource that will reach its peak production level then decline. The impacts of oil depletion on cities and its consequences to human existence are therefore inevitable. Adaptation of cities to a potential future when cheap oil is no longer the norm is an important urban policy and little is known about the vulnerability of urban areas. This study attempted to measure the vulnerability to oil prices of 14 census metropolitan areas in Canada representing its large and mid-sized cities. The goals are to raise public awareness, stimulate more research, and to provide baseline information. A composite indicator of social vulnerability from a set of indicators was constructed which revealed that Calgary is the least vulnerable and Saint John’s as most vulnerable to oil prices.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
Urban Studies Program - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Research Project (M.Urb.)

Moving the GVRD forward: making the case for regional rail

Author: 
Date created: 
2007
Abstract: 

This research study makes the case for the development of a regional system of rail transit south of the Fraser River in the Greater Vancouver Regional District, based upon current policy debate and public opinion. The study establishes a case for regional rail transit based on the history of rail transportation planning in the GVRD, arguments of climate change, Peak Oil and fuel prices, traffic congestion and the Gateway Program and the urban rail debate, all of which are apparent in current policy discussions. The study also tests to determine how well this awareness corresponds with the public opinions collected in an online survey, targeted at GVRD residents who travel within the region. The results of this study were that, for the GVRD, a case is made for the development of a regional rail system, with support from both policy debate and public opinion.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
Urban Studies Program - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Research Project (M.Urb.)

Do political parties matter at the local level? The role of local political parties on rezoning decisions in Vancouver (1999-2005)

Author: 
Date created: 
2007
Abstract: 

This research seeks to understand the role played by local Vancouver parties in rezoning decisions made between 1999 and 2005. During this six year period, two parties with vast ideological differences held power—the Non Partisan Association (NPA) and the Coalition of Progressive Electors (COPE). Two methods were used in this study—a content analysis and elite interviews. Analysis of the data revealed that political parties do appear to make a difference in shaping rezoning decisions. Comparing the results of rezoning decisions between COPE and NPA Councils revealed a difference in approval/refusal rates as well as the amount of changes made to applications. The data also revealed how differences in the rezoning decisions of these two parties may be attributed to a difference in political ideology party cohesiveness, and the way in which these parties responded to the public.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
Urban Studies Program - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Research Project (M.Urb.)

The conscious city II: traffic congestion and the tipping point in greater Vancouver

Author: 
Date created: 
2007
Abstract: 

The Conscious City II explores how broad, long-term change toward sustainability in cities can be fostered, nurtured and facilitated. Using a qualitative, mixed-method approach, this research adapts a model from Malcolm Gladwell’s Tipping Point framework to explore how social consciousness can be mobilized to achieve change toward sustainability through an analysis of traffic congestion in Greater Vancouver. The results demonstrate the important influence of leadership, context and message on the development of a social consciousness of sustainability. The research also demonstrates the explanatory power of Gladwell’s framework and suggests that urban and suburban areas in the Greater Vancouver region are not exposed to the same types of messages, draw on different physical and social contexts, and are subjected to varying levels of effective leadership. The result is two separate, and incompatible mental models of sustainability in the region, both influenced by traffic congestion.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
Urban Studies Program - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Research Project (M.Urb.)