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

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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): 
Senior supervisor: 
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): 
Senior supervisor: 
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): 
Senior supervisor: 
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): 
Senior supervisor: 
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): 
Senior supervisor: 
Meg Holden
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Urban Studies Program
Thesis type: 
(Research Project) M.Urb.

Why Woodward’s? Investigating the Woodward’s redevelopment

Date created: 
2010-11-15
Abstract: 

This research examines Woodward’s, a mixed-use, mixed-income development that opened on a heritage site in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside in the spring of 2010. The purpose of this project is to answer the following question: Is Woodward’s an example of urban social sustainability. As many of the substantive impacts of the development will only become apparent over the next five to ten years, this research investigates the vision underlying the project and how well it aligns with principles of social sustainability. The conceptual statements that Woodward’s makes about neighbourhood transition and the low-income community in the Downtown Eastside are explored using data generated from six in-depth interviews with key respondents. Woven throughout this exploration of Woodward’s is a discussion of gentrification and what it means in the context of the Downtown Eastside.

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

Understanding media representations of homelessness in Metro Vancouver

Author: 
Date created: 
2010-10-29
Abstract: 

This project examines newsprint media’s coverage of homelessness in Metro Vancouver; specifically, documentation of its causes and solutions. I investigate how the media represented these, compared to causes and solutions proposed in the Regional Homelessness Plan, 3 Ways to Home: Housing, Income, and Support Services. This project includes an assessment of media representations-- causal attributions and proposed solutions/responses-- of homelessness and their potential to affect outcomes in public awareness, policy attention and change. Findings indicated abundant media coverage of individual causes, specific structural responses to homelessness. Coverage focused on municipal governmentinvolvement in causes and solutions/responses to homelessness. Lack of, or low-income leading to homelessness received considerably less coverage than housing affordability, availability, and provision of support services. Recommendations flowing from this research for stakeholders to draw attention to income problems as a key cause of homelessness, and continued awareness efforts on housing, and support services.

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

The 2010 Olympic downtown transportation experience: lessons for Vancouver and future host cities of mega-Events

Author: 
Date created: 
2010-11-22
Abstract: 

The XXI Olympic Winter Games presented Vancouver with significant transportation challenges and generated concerns about the potential difficulties of travelling during the 17-day period of the Games. Olympic partner organizations developed and implemented a range of transportation demand management (TDM) strategies to influence the travel behaviour of residents. The result was a very successful transportation experience. This paper examines the details of the Olympic downtown transportation experience including changes that residents made to their travel behaviour and the factors that contributed to the success of transportation in the downtown. In the end, ten transportation lessons for Vancouver were generated from this research. These lessons have a range of applications from informing long-term transportation planning to planning for episodic events. Additionally, this paper highlights the opportunity that future host cities have to leverage mega-events like the Olympic Games to generate valuable and insightful lessons on addressing current and future transportation challenges.

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

Allocating risk in transportation megaprojects: the case of the Canada Line

Date created: 
2010-09-08
Abstract: 

This project investigates risk allocation in urban transportation megaprojects within Canada and how public-private-partnerships (P3s) allocate risk in new ways. More specifically, I focus on how effectively the Canada Line P3 model dealt with construction-stage risk. The literature on megaprojects identifies ineffective risk allocation and cost overruns as typical features of megaprojects and recommends improved accountability and transparency throughout project planning and implementation. I also focus on how the Canada Line sets precedents for future transportation megaprojects. I analyzed the legal case of a Cambie Street merchant affected by Canada Line construction and found the project particularly poor at managing compensation as a construction-stage risk, resulting in costly litigation. A case study comparison of three other transportation megaprojects revealed different ways of allocating construction-stage risk that were more effective than litigation. The role of transparency and comprehensive mitigation strategies emerged as being crucial to managing risk in transportation megaprojects.

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

Taking care of business? An evaluation of public engagement with local businesses along the Canada Line

Author: 
Date created: 
2010-04-19
Abstract: 

This thesis examines the consultation process with affected businesses before and during construction of the Canada Line, a rapid transit line in Metro Vancouver, British Columbia, and one of the first public private partnerships in the region. The objective is to examine an academic theory on effective public consultation against a real world situation, specifically by determining and evaluating how a collaborative model of participation was implemented to reduce tension between the Canada Line partners and businesses affected by its construction. Research data was compiled from a survey with businesses along the Line and interviews with stakeholders involved in the consultation process. Findings show that a collaborative participation model was introduced after it was revealed that the project would be built using predominantly cut-and-cover construction. Several principles of collaborative participation could have improved relations between Canada Line partners and businesses if they had been applied earlier in the planning process.

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