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

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Stripped bare: the regulation of public space in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside

Date created: 
2010-08-09
Abstract: 

This project examines the anomic use of public space in front of the Carnegie Centre in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (DTES). Using qualitative and quantitative data, including interviews, law enforcement statistics and urban observation, this research explores the issue through Giorgio Agamben’s rich theoretical framework of states of exception and the homo sacer. A confluence of factors including lack of access to private space, a great concentration of human services and the pursuit of harm reduction policy in response to drug addiction have contributed to the fostering of a space of exception in the DTES. In this space a unique figure has emerged, akin to Agamben’s homo sacer, who is identified primarily in terms of addiction, poverty and residency in the neighbourhood.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Anthony Perl
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Urban Studies Program
Thesis type: 
(Research Project) M.Urb.

The North Shore substance abuse task force: an assessment of drug policy making and practice through partnerships

Author: 
Date created: 
2010-11-29
Abstract: 

Cities around the world increasingly need to address problems associated with substance abuse. Homelessness, urban decay and neighbourhood unrest are often a result of the critical impacts that substance abuse can have on cities. How cities respond, together with non profit partners and other levels of government is the focus of this research paper. Specifically, the drug policy making practices of the North Shore in British Columbia will be explored. An analysis of the secondary data related to the North Shore Substance Abuse Task Force as well as interviews with key members of the task force reveals how the North Shore went about developing a partnership framework to address substance abuse. This paper concludes that, while looking to other municipalities to model drug policy making is interesting and working on a partnership based approach is beneficial, the importance of embedding an implementation plan directly in the policy cannot be overlooked.

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

Resilient clusters: connecting high-tech clusters to resilience thinking using Crestwood Corporate Centre and Yaletown

Date created: 
2010-12-01
Abstract: 

This research project explores the connections between economic development and sustainable land use planning. It brings forward the idea that to create cities that are resilient to coming crises such as climate change and resource depletion, coordinated economic development and land use development is needed. The purpose of the project is to determine what principles of urban development will create a resilient cluster, an area that is attractive to high-tech firms and matches the principles of smart growth, a set of principles for sustainable land use development. It analyzes and compares two case study areas in Metro Vancouver: Yaletown and Crestwood Corporate Centre, where I determine the important factors needed to attract high-tech firms while also finding connections with the aspects of smart growth needed to create more resilient clusters. I argue that economic development and land use development can have sustainable and resilient results when coordinated.

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

A case study of the green building sector in Vancouver

Date created: 
2011-06-30
Abstract: 

Vancouver is striving to be one of Canada’s most progressive cities in terms of sustainable development, as evidenced by its goal of becoming the world’s greenest city by 2020. A core area of the City’s strategy in achieving this objective is the promotion of green industries, including the green building sector. While there has been significant research on the technical aspects of green building, there has been relatively little on the policy dynamics of the sector. Given that studies of the Cascadia region reveal thriving green building sectors with active policy communities, the absence of a targeted and specific study of Vancouver’s green building sector presents a knowledge gap. The purpose of this paper is to examine the policy processes involved in promoting green building in Vancouver. The research seeks to provide insight into the intricacies of the green building sector and better understand how it responds to and shapes policy. It is hoped that the lessons drawn from the research will contribute to the discourse occurring locally and in other jurisdictions.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Sean Markey
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Urban Studies Program
Thesis type: 
(Research Project) M.Urb.

Hidden impacts? Externalities of social capital creation in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside

Date created: 
2011-04-27
Abstract: 

Social capital is a concept that is increasingly used by policy makers to help marginalized populations. A lack of consensus around the definition of social capital has led to its use in a variety of forms without adequate understanding. In particular, the local externalities and broader impacts of social capital and its creation are not well understood. This paper analyses the local externalities of social capital creation from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside Street Market. Using a mixed-method research strategy, qualitative and quantitative data was collected through surveys conducted on market vendors and local businesses to understand how both groups interact with and perceive the Market. The research finds that for the majority of businesses, the Market and its social capital have little to no impact on their operations. As well, businesses that have pre-existing negative opinions of crime in the neighbourhood, as well as limited knowledge of the Market, are more likely to oppose the Market’s operation.

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

Putting local food on the menu: comparing the food purchasing practices of Vancouver’s Chinese and fine dining restaurants

Author: 
Date created: 
2011-04-06
Abstract: 

In recent years, the concept of local food has attracted a great amount of attention. Little is known, however, about the organization and particular characteristics of local agrifood systems in different regions. This research paper examines the extent to which Chinese and fine dining restaurants in Vancouver, British Columbia (BC), purchase products from the local BC food system. The study also explores what factors affect the food purchasing practices, marketing strategies and supply chains of the two restaurant groups. Findings are based on data from a representative sample (n=79) and self-completion survey. Three-fifths of Chinese restaurants report sourcing over 60% of their annual food purchases from BC compared to one-third of fine dining restaurants. The difference in local food purchasing practices is not simply one of ethnic and non-ethnic cuisine types and differing food cultures. Less expensive restaurants in both groups are more likely to source local food.

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

Planning the Expo Line: understanding the technology choice behind Vancouver's first rail rapid transit line

Date created: 
2011-04-05
Abstract: 

This project investigates the factors behind transit technology choices in Canada. Specifically, I examine the case of the Expo Line in the Greater Vancouver Regional District (GVRD)- the region’s first Rail Rapid Transit Line. The literature suggests that a transportation system can be evaluated from a political optimality or a technical optimality. I provide definitions for both of these perspectives. In this case, the GVRD’s plans for light rail were replaced with the new technology of Advanced Light Rapid Transit by the province. An evaluation from a technical perspective would have raised questions of reliability, safety and cost. Thus, the system is more politically efficient than technically efficient. The result is that the region is left with a technology that has, in the subsequent 25 years, sold very poorly and has only one supplier.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Dr. Anthony Perl
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Urban Studies Program
Thesis type: 
(Research Project) M.Urb.

How can understanding the microeconomics of housing development contribute to the generation of more affordable housing?

Author: 
Date created: 
2011-04-13
Abstract: 

This project examines how a better understanding of the microeconomics of housing development can contribute to the debate on how to generate more affordable housing. Proforma analysis is used to examine the underlying microeconomics of two potential multi-family residential housing developments at UniverCity on Burnaby Mountain, for ways in which development costs could be reduced or eliminated, thus increasing housing affordability. One housing development is based on two common policy-related mechanisms and the other is based on a Cohousing related model. This research reveals through proforma analysis that decreasing or eliminating soft development costs related to the commodification of housing, such as developer profit, marketing, and luxury finishings, can increase housing affordability more than policy-related mechanisms. This research also demonstrates that a better understanding of the microeconomics of housing development gives housing regulators and housing advocates the tools and language necessary to appreciate the fundamental costs associated with housing development, enabling them to work towards achieving greater housing affordability.

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

Urban farming in Vancouver

Date created: 
2010-08-12
Abstract: 

There is a new generation of urban agriculture emerging in North America. Labelled urban farming, this modern urban agriculture industry is tapping into the economic potential for local, organic food. An ethnographic study of six urban farmers growing food in Metro Vancouver reveals that the act of growing and marketing food in the city is an expanding and dedicated business. The study focused particularly on newly emerging highly urbanized farm enterprises in the Vancouver area. Urban farmers are embedded in the community as land stewards, local suppliers of seasonal vegetables and educators. This industry has a light ecological footprint, with organic, small-scale planting techniques and local marketing. While not a lucrative industry, it proves to be a formidable lifestyle choice, with several non-monetary benefits. Most importantly, this study provides the first baseline data and theory regarding the extent and viability of this emergent type of commercial urban agriculture in Vancouver.

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

Urban female youth and their relationship with public space

Author: 
Date created: 
2010-11-30
Abstract: 

Whether the use of public space positively or negatively affects the development of youth is a long-standing debate in urban development. Those youth whose behaviour does not conform to the status quo of how space 'should' be used are often viewed as troublemakers. This paper examines how and why a group of marginalized female youth use public space. Through personal interviews with 10 female youth, aged 15-22, their physical and emotional use of public space is explored. When the youth experienced instability in their personal lives, they could find social support and a sense of community through their interactions in public places. As the stability in their personal lives increased, their use of public space decreased. Their use of public space was shaped by issues of proximity, presence of adult authority, safety, and acceptance and belonging.

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