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

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Investigating accessibility of public campus spaces at the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-04-20
Abstract: 

This research explores the spectrum of public accessibility at selected central public spaces at the University of British Columbia’s Vancouver campus and Simon Fraser University’s Burnaby campus. As both universities are progressing towards urbanization and density, knowing how their public spaces are used by students and the general public alike can advise future directions for campus planning and policy. These two major universities provide housing for a growing residential population and publics that are not necessarily registered students, or employees. Moreover, as both campuses are working to provide increased accessibility to their spaces through public transportation, they will need to chart out directions on how to navigate their seemingly contrasting missions as institutions for higher education while accommodating residents and a diverse demographic of space users who have no direct association with the university. Taking inspiration from methodologies used to study privately owned public spaces, structured observations of physical features, and interviews, the author finds disagreement among interpretations to the degree of publicness of university spaces commonly assumed to be “public”. The findings demonstrate the changing nature and meaning of campus spaces through time, as both universities navigate the challenges and opportunities of finding ways to accommodate a greater range of students, residents, and other space users.

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

Decolonizing municipal heritage programs: A case study of the city of Victoria’s heritage program

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-04-15
Abstract: 

This research examines the City of Victoria’s heritage program, which comprises of civic plans, policies and associated agencies, to understand whether or not it can meet the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action. I have argued that the City of Victoria’s heritage program must be adapted to include intangible cultural heritage to support decolonization and the representation of Indigenous cultural heritage. Intangible cultural heritage offers an accessible way for the field of municipal heritage planning to become more inclusive and supportive to reconciliation.

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

The motivations and operational realities of mixed model developments in the Province of B.C.

Date created: 
2020-04-09
Abstract: 

This thesis analyzes four housing developments in the Province of B.C. that involve mixed rental rates, uses and, in some instances, tenures (oftentimes referred to as mixed model developments in this document) to understand the political, economic and social motivations that lead to this form of housing development and their operational benefits and challenges. The main theme—through interviews, analysis of each project’s publicly available planning documentation and the project’s economic model—are that while these developments may have been desired from a social perspective, there are also large economic and political motivations driving them forward. It is often suggested that mixed income development attempts to counteract the negative effects associated with highly concentrated inner-city poverty, however, the true social outcomes of mixed income development on lower income individuals is unclear. What is generally accepted is that mixed income development is an economically and politically feasible urban redevelopment strategy. This study finds that while economics and politics were motivating factors of these projects, community building was also an important aspect of the four case studies; however, it wasn’t indicated by interviewees as being because of mixes of income levels within the developments. It was because there was a belief that building community with your neighbors was important to social well being. Furthermore, operationally, adequate amenity space and appropriate commercial space with facilitated programming to all tenants was noted by interviewees as being important to community building and social mixing in these developments. In most instances, when there was limited amenity/commercial space and limited facilitated programming, social mixing wasn’t occurring according to the housing providers interviewed.

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

Relationship-building on unceded lands: An examination and assessment of the Musqueam–YVR Sustainability and Friendship Agreement

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-04-15
Abstract: 

Musqueam Indian Band and the Vancouver Airport Authority signed a ‘Sustainability and Friendship Agreement’ on June 21, 2017, following decades of Musqueam assertions of rights and title over the airport lands. While not an explicit recognition of Musqueam rights and title, the Agreement implicitly acknowledges that Musqueam community can benefit from its territorial lands and should have a say in how the Airport develops. The Agreement commits the Airport to providing various community benefits, including scholarships, employment, training, contracting, and business partnership opportunities. It commits the parties to engaging with one another on a regular basis about Airport plans and developments. It also commits Musqueam Band to supporting the Airport’s ongoing operations, regardless of title recognition. Two years in, the outcomes are supporting various Musqueam community planning objectives. The relationship now reflects several principles of reconciliation; however, it does not guarantee Musqueam’s right to determine uses of its territorial lands.

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

A leap of faith: Motivations for place of worship redevelopment in Vancouver

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-04-20
Abstract: 

This research study explores the motivations for religious congregations in Vancouver, Canada that are redeveloping their sites, building housing (and other ancillary services and uses), while retaining their place of worship function. This is a recent development phenomenon for Vancouver, and at the time of research, no academic studies had yet addressed the topic for the Vancouver context. The purpose is to better understand what internal and external forces may be motivating congregations to pursue such redevelopment schemes, by focusing on their rationale, objectives, and experiences with the projects thus far, from the perspective of the congregations themselves. The lessons learned from this research aim to provide insight on place of worship redevelopment in Vancouver, with a focus on four case studies, and highlight the areas of convergence and divergence from place of worship redevelopment happening in other urban contexts.

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

Multilevel governing in British Columbia: A case study of residential development and the Agricultural Land Reserve in the City of Richmond

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-02-27
Abstract: 

This thesis presents a locally specific case study of the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) in the City of Richmond, British Columbia, providing an examination of multi-level governance and government ‘on the ground’ in Canada. The last several years represents a significant period of policy and political change, at both the City of Richmond and the Province of British Columbia, intended to protect ALR land from residential and accessory residential uses as well as the outright exclusion of land from the Reserve. Yet, a lack a cooperation and policy coordination between, across and within federal, provincial, regional, and municipal scales has allowed such exclusions and the increased residential and accessory residential development of land within the ALR to occur. Such policy discord and inconsistencies are largely attributable to several challenges inherent in the multi-jurisdictional character of the ALR with sometimes competing and conflicting interests between government scales and conflicting private and public interests. Most significant has been a lack of political will to act and the passing off of jurisdictional responsibility between government levels. Moving forward, further province-wide regulation limiting non-agricultural uses of ALR lands while allowing for continued municipal flexibility in regulating below these provincial benchmarks is needed. Such increased provincial regulation would allow for greater consistency between municipalities as well as urban and agricultural areas within cities, reducing the appeal of ALR lands for residential and accessory residential development.

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

Fostering community resiliency for displaced persons: A case study of the Saddlebrook Temporary Neighbourhood

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-12-13
Abstract: 

In June 2013, the arid province of Alberta experienced heavy rainfall which caused rivers to overflow and flooding in urban areas. The Highwood River flood forced approximately 13,000 residents to flee their homes and the Town of High River. This case study reveals how the Government of Alberta and non-governmental actors accommodated and supported displaced persons through the provision of post-disaster temporary housing. The Saddlebrook Temporary Neighbourhood, known as Saddlebrook, was a place of community resiliency. This case study specifically examines how institutional actors collectively adapted social resources in order to foster community resiliency for displaced persons. In an era of climate change and rapid urbanization, the case of Saddlebrook contributes to increasing urban scholarship and research concerned with the displacement of urban populations after an environmental-related disaster.

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

How will restaurants adapt and succeed in a world without plastics?

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-12-16
Abstract: 

Plastic pollution is an escalating global issue, prompting many national and local governments to take action on single-use plastic items; however, many of these strategies impact small restaurants. This research paper considers the City of Vancouver’s Single-Use Item Reduction Strategy (SUIRS) in terms of potential impacts on small restaurants in the West End neighbourhood. It examines types of packaging materials used, factors that affect whether a restaurant uses sustainable packaging, and the motivations and barriers for doing so. Data was gathered through a questionnaire and conversations with restaurant owners and managers. Over half of respondents identified management values as the primary reason for adopting sustainable packaging, and nearly a quarter of respondents identified cost as a key barrier. Although small restaurants face significant barriers, there are opportunities for local government interventions to inspire innovation and collaboration to assist in the transition away from single-use items in the restaurant industry.

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

Social sustainability strategies in green neighbourhoods: An assessment of Dockside Green

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-10-29
Abstract: 

This research paper examines social sustainability strategies in green neighbourhoods and how they involve a negotiation and balance between social justice and neoliberal justification. Dockside Green a LEED- ND Platinum Certified neighbourhood in Victoria BC is used as a case study to investigate how social justice can be envisioned and enacted within a Triple Bottom Line approach to sustainable development. The study examines the social sustainability obligations that were set out at the onset of the project within the Master Development Agreement (2005); and the underlying factors within neoliberal policies, that affected social sustainability outcomes. The research is based on interviews, observations, newspaper articles and policy documents. The results of the study reveal that social justice is at risk of being sidelined in neighbourhood planning to cater for profitability and the competitiveness agenda.

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

Finally home: Housing that works for women who have experienced homelessness

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-10-31
Abstract: 

This research explores the question: What makes housing work for women who have experienced homelessness on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (DTES)? Eleven women were interviewed, both in-depth interviews and tours of the women’s sleeping places. During the interviews and tours, trends and priorities were identified in terms of the housing type, choice, housing with or without a partner, design of the space, accessibility, safety, guidelines and policies, repairs and cleanliness, support from staff and programming. Interviews were also completed with experts in housing or homelessness to supplement the information heard from women. Experts included people involved in planning, finding, providing, or researching housing. Information from experts expanded on, confirmed and provided context to the findings from the women’s interviews. Engaging with women allowed them to provide this project with their experience and recommendations in the planning, design, management and provision of housing. Through this research, functional solutions were uncovered to provide better housing that works for women. The information gathered is useful to inform policy, planning, funding, design, and support services in order to better provide women with more than a roof over their heads, and to help them find a place to finally call home.

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