The conscious city II: traffic congestion and the tipping point in greater Vancouver

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The Conscious City II explores how broad, long-term change toward sustainability in cities can be fostered, nurtured and facilitated. Using a qualitative, mixed-method approach, this research adapts a model from Malcolm Gladwell’s Tipping Point framework to explore how social consciousness can be mobilized to achieve change toward sustainability through an analysis of traffic congestion in Greater Vancouver. The results demonstrate the important influence of leadership, context and message on the development of a social consciousness of sustainability. The research also demonstrates the explanatory power of Gladwell’s framework and suggests that urban and suburban areas in the Greater Vancouver region are not exposed to the same types of messages, draw on different physical and social contexts, and are subjected to varying levels of effective leadership. The result is two separate, and incompatible mental models of sustainability in the region, both influenced by traffic congestion.

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Urban Studies Program - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Research Project (M.Urb.)