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

Receive updates for this collection

Tsawwassen First Nation governance: an environmental justice case study

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2013-06-03
Abstract: 

This case study examines Tsawwassen First Nation’s (TFN) governance transformation over the past twenty years as a claim for environmental justice, and whether the new regime provides opportunities to achieve environmental justice. The paper presents narrative evidence from interviews, media articles and government and legal documents describing TFN’s transformation over into the first self-governing urban First Nation under a modern treaty agreement in British Columbia. Also key to this transformation was a 2004 benefits agreement with the port authority. The study contributes to a growing body of Canadian environmental justice scholarship using a framework that combines themes from existing literature with a specific definition generated from TFN interviewees. The paper finds that TFN’s new governance regime gives members and their government a better opportunity to pursue procedural justice as a proxy for environmental justice. But, in the same way that forces of economic globalization and neo-liberalism influenced TFN’s treaty agreement and port settlement deal, the powers of self-government will continue to be shaped by larger structural processes. The case study also reveals that considerations of environmental justice are necessary for achieving urban sustainability. The story highlights three elements for future sustainability efforts: transparent, accountable and democratic governance; Aboriginal/non-Aboriginal reconciliation; and a revision of how land is defined, valued and held.

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

One link in the chain: Vancouver's independent bicycle dealers in the context of the globalized bicycle production network

Date created: 
2013-07-24
Abstract: 

In this research project I explore the role of Vancouver's independent bicycle dealers (IBDs) in the context of a globalized bicycle production network. I consider how IBDs in Vancouver fit within the global network using frameworks developed in the Global Commodity Chain, Global Value Chain, and Global Production Network literature. I identify network actors at the local scale and the relationships between these actors, I suggest that embeddedness is an important feature of the local IBD sector, and I consider the foundations on which IBDs base their independence in this globalized industry. My research findings suggest that while the shift to global production in the bicycle industry has resulted in a greater number IBDs in Vancouver, there is cause to take a cautionary stance looking forward.

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.

Neighbourhood Intensification: Attitudes Towards Laneway Housing in the Dunbar Neighbourhood

Author: 
Date created: 
2013-05-23
Abstract: 

Single-family housing in residential neighbourhoods is an unsustainable, but prevalent, urban land use. Planner and policymaker attempts to intensify housing forms within established neighbourhoods are often met with opposition – even to relatively low-density options such as laneway housing. Public participation practices at times amplify anti-densification views when the voices of the most motivated residents predominate. An examination of the attitudes of residents in the Dunbar neighbourhood toward laneway housing reveals the dominance of an anti-densification view, led and nurtured by the local residents association. However, several hidden narratives also exist suggesting a community that is cautiously supportive of laneway housing. This finding points to the importance of public participation processes that capture the views of a broad range of residents. However it also reveals the challenges of planning with communities when the views of residents may be decidedly different than the planning orientations of the city.

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.

Socio-Reflexive Regional Learning in the Khorasan (Northeast Iran) Saffron Cluster

Date created: 
2013-05-07
Abstract: 

The central thesis of this research is that the policymaker’s ontological understanding about human learning – influenced by social and economic theories including those that fall within the urban economic development discipline – has a profound effect on the initiatives designed and implemented for urban and regional economic development. The Khorasan Saffron cluster in Northeast Iran is taken as a paradigmatic case study to investigate this thesis. While this region is the producer of more than 80% of the saffron consumed around the world, it has been unsuccessful in capturing a higher portion of the value in this value chain. Through a qualitative methodology centered on semi-structured interviews, various policies and initiatives addressing this issue from 2005 to 2012 are investigated by employing a conceptual framework that differentiates between socio-reflexive learning and three other possible types of human learning that either dismiss the sociality of human learning or overlook the role of mental models in this process. Findings suggest that the socio-reflexive learning ontology provides the most consistent and comprehensive explanation about the victories achieved in the saffron cluster by integrating processes of identity building and trust building in the process of balancing reflexive and adaptive learning. This research also proposes a breakthrough transformation of urban economic and international development initiatives, as well as a shift towards pragmatism in economic geography.

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.

Assisting an urban sustainability transition: Exploring the partnership between the Sustainable City Year Program at the University of Oregon and the City of Salem, Oregon

Author: 
Date created: 
2013-04-03
Abstract: 

Each year, the Sustainable City Year Program (SCYP) partners with local governments in Oregon to provide support to sustainability projects. In attempting to understand the potential for change toward sustainability within the SCYP-Salem Partnership, this paper finds the case is best explained with reference to the philosophy of American pragmatism which focuses on the central role of social experience in identifying and framing problems and taking action on solutions linked to durable visions. From the pragmatic perspective, the Partnership shows evidence of having stimulated new directions in actual practice which may prove to produce more sustainable outcomes. Leveraging the potential of the SCYP centers on using the partnership: a) to unpack complex problems and abstract social aspirations into real, implementable projects and proposals; and b) to demonstrate and stimulate the formation of community dialogue about the actually existing opportunities for incremental improvement and the visions which flow from them.

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.

Spaces of engagement and the politics of scale in B.C.’s Gateway program

Date created: 
2010
Abstract: 

This paper investigates the development and behaviour of the Greater Vancouver Gateway Council. The objective is to examine this group’s role in governments’ decisions to invest in transportation infrastructure in B.C.’s Lower Mainland, particularly the Gateway Program. Evidence used includes interviews, reports and studies, government documents and news articles that show relationships between the Gateway Council and governments and the regional transportation authority. Using the theories of Kevin R. Cox and others, this study shows that the Gateway Council influenced governments in order to implement its infrastructure agenda. The group’s success is based on access to governments, national transportation policy trends, and disparate local opposition to increased transportation infrastructure. This success translates to expanded road and bridge capacity in the Vancouver region; an understanding of this group’s role in influencing governments may be important for an understanding of changes to the region’s urban form.

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

Making space for children and youth in Surrey City Centre: An assessment of child and youth friendly policy & practice in Surrey, British Columbia

Date created: 
2010
Abstract: 

The City of Surrey’s Plan for the Social Wellbeing of Surrey Residents, adopted in 2006, identifies creating a child and youth friendly city as a priority. This research project examines Surrey’s City Centre Plan Update, Phase II, Stage 1 report and Interim Urban Design Guidelines to understand how the City’s priority to be child and youth friendly is reflected in long term plans for Surrey City Centre. The analysis is framed around five physical elements or “building blocks” of a child and youth friendly city: land use and density, public realm, parks and play space, housing, and transportation. Through qualitative content analysis and interviews with City of Surrey staff, the research reveals the extent to which the needs of young people have been incorporated into plans for Surrey City Centre and discusses challenges associated with planning for families in what will be Surrey’s highest density neighbourhood.

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

The challenge of engaging ethno-cultural and immigrant residents in the development of urban sustainability policies - the cases of Brampton, Ontario and Surrey, BC

Author: 
Date created: 
2010
Abstract: 

In an era where the levels of immigration are changing the size and the context of municipal populations throughout Canada, immigrant rich municipalities are forced to find ways to ensure that all voices are heard, and are part of the urban sustainable land-use policy development process. I have chosen to conduct a comparative case study of the municipalities of Brampton, Ontario and Surrey, BC, to discover how they have managed to engage the voices of their ethno-cultural and immigrant populations in their sustainable policy development processes. In order to answer the research questions posed I bring together the theories of “just sustainability” and municipal readiness/responsiveness and have developed a checklist to provide a set of criteria that will allow me to systematically examine the extent to which Brampton and Surrey have been inclusive of their ethno-cultural and immigrant residents.

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

Sustainable for whom? An analysis of housing affordability in proto-sustainable cities

Date created: 
2010
Abstract: 

Is it mere coincidence that some of the world’s most sustainable cities are also some of the least affordable? This study hypothesized that sustainability as a planning paradigm may be gentrifying North American cities. The findings of this study clearly show that this is possible, as determined through a comparison of the correlation between sustainability efforts and housing affordability in three sets of cities. Though this phenomenon may not be intentional, this undermines the efforts of proto-sustainable cities and inhibits their ability to develop into truly sustainable places. This small, but crucial, piece of research lays the foundation for future research on the interplay between sustainability policies and housing. Additionally, this research serves to caution urban planners against the assumption that sustainability plans and programs benefit everyone equally, and encourages them to consider the potential housing impact of planning for a sustainable future.

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

Power and the newsprint media’s framing of the Downtown Eastside

Author: 
Date created: 
2010
Abstract: 

The newsprint media’s portrayal of the Downtown Eastside (DTES) is often taken as just an objective reflection of the DTES without taking into account the media’s constitutive capacity and the power relations embedded in such representations. Thus, the media has broad social implications, affecting such phenomena as DTES related public policy and social movements and ultimately, the DTES itself. These social constructivist sentiments provide the theoretical basis for my content analysis of 247 articles of The Vancouver Sun and The Province from 1997 to 2008. I argue that the media’s dominant framing of the DTES reproduces and is, in part, a reflection of the existing asymmetric power relations of society. Consequently, this hegemonic framing doubly stigmatizes the DTES: firstly, privileging outsiders’ monochromatic portrayals of the DTES as a problematic space defined through the medicalization, criminalization, and socialization lens and secondly, framing its residents as passive social actors of constructive change.

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