What's so special about the Vancouver Special?

Date created: 
Vancouver Special
Vancouver 1960s-1980s
Urban planning
Domestic architecture
Home ownership

During the 1960s and 1970s, Vancouver sought to redevelop its image as a cosmopolitan city. In order to encourage new urban development, the Planning Department loosened zoning restrictions regarding new house construction in an attempt to make it more affordable, and to encourage increased densification. These changes allowed for a new housing style to emerge, which challenged the existing ideas of race, class and power embedded in the domestic landscape. This thesis examines how the construction of the Vancouver Special shaped the city’s urban environment by further reinforcing the class distinctions between east and west side of the city. The affordability of the Vancouver Special allowed many new immigrants and working-class families to create a sense of place in the city. In 1984, the ending of approval of the construction of Vancouver Special became a way of limiting who should live in the city.

Document type: 
This thesis may be printed or downloaded for non-commercial research and scholarly purposes. Copyright remains with the author.
Senior supervisor: 
Nicolas Kenny
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of History
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.