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

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

2010 cultural Olympiad impact study

Author: 
Date created: 
2010-08-10
Abstract: 

The 2010 Cultural Olympiad Impact Study looks at the period from successful bid (2002/2003) to immediately after the Games (2010/2011), and at the relationship between the Cultural Olympiad and Vancouver’s professional arts and cultural community, through a series of case studies, including the opera, symphony, producing theatre companies, an art gallery, presentation houses and festivals. Using the methodologies of content analysis, interview and arts-related data collection, the study aims to answer the following research question: What evidence exists to support the premise that hosting a Cultural Olympiad will provide Vancouver’s professional arts and cultural sector with: i. Positive and substantive legacies?; ii. Sustained material and financial benefits?; iii. Increased national and international profile? The results illustrate the divide between ‘prediction’ and ‘actuality’. The study sheds light on the impacts on an existing cultural community hosting an Olympic Games.

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.

Robson Street pedestrian design study: does Robson Street require pedestrian-oriented design enhancements in order to better serve the pedestrian, broaden its functionality and help assert it as a great street for the City of Vancouver?

Date created: 
2010-06-10
Abstract: 

This project examines the use of Robson Street by pedestrians and automobiles; evaluates its performance in fostering a safe, comfortable, enjoyable and navigable pedestrian environment; and assesses its existing design for pedestrians. It aims to determine whether Robson Street requires design enhancements to better serve the pedestrian, improve its functionality, and make it a great street for Vancouver. It explores the strengths and limitations of Robson’s existing design for pedestrians and identify priorities for improvement. Data included pedestrian and vehicle counts, interviews with key informants, and an observational checklist of pedestrian design features. Findings show pedestrian usage greatly outweighs vehicle usage on Robson Street yet provisions are not reflected as such. The study determined that although Robson is a successful retail street with strong pedestrian usage it is not yet a great street, and improvements to the pedestrian environment are key to asserting it as a great street.

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.

Learning environments, learning practices and the process of parks project design within Metro Vancouver

Date created: 
2010-04-28
Abstract: 

This project examines the learning environments and learning practices within the parks planning departments of Metro Vancouver’s municipalities. It begins with a review of the literature on policy learning, organizational learning, networks and best practices. The findings of the project are based on statistics, surveys, website information and qualitative interviews with parks planners. The project includes a case study of a parks design plan for each of the municipalities. The analysis explores the relationships between learning environments and learning practices and includes the identification of a dominant learning model currently used within most of Metro Vancouver’s municipal parks planning departments. The implications for the design of parks and the field of urban studies are discussed in the conclusion.

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.

Urban by design: An evaluation of public spaces in downtown New Westminster

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2007
Abstract: 

This research evaluates the public realm along Columbia Street in downtown New Westminster from an urban design perspective. It’s purpose is to provide a basis for future design decisions and related policy development affecting the quality of that public realm. The evaluation employs 35 criteria grouped under seven broad principles of urban design: good form, legibility, vitality, meaning, comfort, accessibility and security. The underlying premise is that these broad principles interrelate to create and protect the integrity of the public realm as a whole that may otherwise be compromised by individual developments on privately owned properties. Evaluation results suggest that improvements are needed to Columbia Street’s public realm in order to better support its intended role as a successful commercial core of a regional town centre. While this research does not recommend specific improvements, the results suggest aspects of the public realm that would benefit from greater attention.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Anthony Perl
Department: 
Arts and Social Sciences: Urban Studies Program
Thesis type: 
(Research project) M.Urb.

Playing in the city: football fandom and street protests in Buenos Aires

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2007
Abstract: 

This essay examines a particular aspect of certain forms of social behaviour that occur at selected times and places in the city of Buenos Aires, Argentina. In general terms, the essay adopts an ethnographic and culturally-informed perspective to identify and explicate particular dimensions of some publicly enacted relationships and activities that unfold within a large and densely populated city. More specifically, the essay asks whether the expressive activities of football fans, on the one hand, and street protesters, on the other, can be appropriately and usefully identified as constituting forms of ‘play’. Although necessarily limited in its aims and objectives, the essay does attempt to take account of some of the larger questions and analytic possibilities that emerge out of this preliminary investigation.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Noel Dyck
Department: 
Arts and Social Sciences: Urban Studies Program
Thesis type: 
(Research project) M.Urb.