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Zoning and the single-family landscape: large new houses and neighbourhood change in Vancouver Pettit, Barbara A. 1993

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ZONING AND THE SINGLE-FAMILY LANDSCAPE:LARGE NEW HOUSES AND NEIGHBOURHOOD CHANGE IN VANCOUVERByBARBARA ANN PETTITB.A., McMaster University, 1962M.E.S., York University, 1975B.Arch., University of British Columbia, 1982A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OFTHE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OFDOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHYinTHE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIESSchool of Community and Regional PlanningWe accept this thesis as conformingto the required standardTHE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIAFebruary 16, 1993© Barbara Ann Pettit, 1993In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanceddegree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make itfreely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensivecopying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of mydepartment or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying orpublication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my writtenpermission.(Signature)Department oThe University of British ColumbiaVancouver, CanadaDate Fi-bl-UDA43 j 1 9 93DE-6 (2/88)AbstractZoning and the Single-Family Landscape:Large New Houses and Neighbourhood Change in Vancouver, CanadabyBarbara Ann PettitIn the 1980s, very large houses began to replace smaller homes in oldersingle-family zones in Canada's major cities. Protests by residents resultedin more restrictive single - family zoning schedules. In Vancouver, however,houses built as large as zoning permitted had appeared in the late 1960s. Thiscase study traces Vancouver's single- family land use from 1900 to 1990.The intent of Vancouver's original single- family zoning (1930) was tocreate a suburban landscape. To appeal to European immigrants of the 1950sand Asian immigrants of the 1970s, Vancouver's east-side builders developeda distinctive large house easily converted to include one or more illegal suites.By encouraging this design, zoning amendments in 1974 destroyed the sub-urban pattern intended by the original zoning. In response to affluent Asianimmigrants of the 1980s, westside builders constructed larger, more elaboratehomes. The city reacted to complaints about the size and design of thesehouses by amending its schedule in the 1980s to legalize suites, to reduce thebulkiness of new construction and to re-establish the suburban pattern.Local residents do not like the new homes, and many neither need norcan afford them. The research indicates that Asian buyers are outbiddinglocals for these homes, and locals are dispersing to peripheral areas wherehomes are more affordable and styles support their cultural traditions. Theresearch suggests that the more compact land use pattern of the 1900s may beiimore appropriate than land use patterns that have resulted from the city'soriginal and amended single-family schedule.The research concludes that Vancouver addressed symptoms of theproblem but not its cause: a zoning practice that continues to exclude the lessaffluent from single-family zones. Vancouver needs to espouse a more inclu-sionary zoning schedule that adopts the compact land use and mixed tenurestypical before zoning and preserves the traditions of local residents. Other-wise, the zoning changes may preserve single- family areas for affluentimmigrants as the Vancouver market aligns itself with the global market.iiiTable of ContentsPageAbstract ^  iiList of Tables  viList'of Figures ^  viiList of Photographs  ixAcknowledgements ^  xChapter1. Introduction ^  1Urban Planning and the Single-Family Landscape ^ 3Vancouver as an Example of Neighbourhood Change  8The Large House Issue ^  11The Research Design  182. Relevant Literature ^  29The Suburban Pattern and Single-Family Zoning ^ 30Invasion and Succession ^  39The Global Economy  443. Early Residential Patterns ^  50The Disappearance of Early Residential Patterns ^ 52The Introduction of Planning in Vancouver  58Vancouver's Single-Family Zoning Schedule ^  63The Legitimacy of Large Houses Built Before Zoning ^ 674. The Vancouver Special ^  76The Emergence of the Vancouver Special ^  78Explanations for the Vancouver Special  83Changing Immigration Patterns ^  89Specials, Suites and Neighbourhood Change ^  92ivChapter^ Page5. The Monster House^  98Immigration and the Monster House ^  99Legalizing Suites ^  106Taming the Monster House: The "Quick Fix" ^  113Taming the Monster House: A Return to the Suburban Pattern^1196. The Ethnic Connection ^  134Baby Boomers, Migrants and the Large House Market ^ 135The Buyers of Monster Houses ^ 144Stabilizing the Suburban Pattern: The 1990 Amendments ^ 153The Style of the Monster House ^  1637. Implications for Planning  174Evaluating the Issues of Size, Use, /Esthetics and Ethnicity ^ 176The Fundamental Issues: Density and Design ^  185The Impact of Vancouver's Zoning on Other Cities ^ 1958. Conclusion ^  205The Legitimacy of Large Houses, Suites and Contextual Design^207The Legitimacy of Zoning Regulations ^  211A Vision for the Future ^ 213Recommendations for Further Research ^  215AppendixesA. Vancouver's Single-Family Regulations ^  218B. Plans, Elevations and Perspectives ^  228C. Renovation and Conversion  236D. Local Area Tables ^  240References ^ 242vTablesTable Page1 A Comparison of Built and Open Space-1900 and 1938 ^ 712 Asian Language Groups as a Percentage of Population ^ 903 A Comparison of Land Use-1900, 1938 and 1974 ^ 974 Net Migration and Natural Increase in British Columbia ^ 995 Asian Immigration to the Vancouver Region 1981-1988 ^ 1006 Major Sources of Immigration to the Vancouver Region ^ 1017 Residential Buildings Constructed — City of Vancouver ^ 1208 Comparison of Land Use-1900, 1938, 1974 and 1988 ^ 1329 Age Group Sizes in Percentages — 1971 to 1986 ^ 14010 Mobility in Vancouver's Census Metropolitan Area and City 14311 Percentage of New Home Buyers by Ethnic Origin ^ 14712 Renovation Activity in Vancouver — 1987, 1989 and 1990 15613 Summary of Vancouver's Single-Family Zoning Schedule ^ 22014 Housing Characteristics by Selected Local Areas ^ 24015 Mobility in Single-Family Zones 1971 — 1976 24016 ° Percentage Changes in Age by Local Area ^ 241viFiguresFigure^ Page1 The Size of Vancouver's Single-Family Zone ^ 52 Vancouver's East-West Division ^  103 Vancouver's Local Areas ^  224 Variables in Neighbourhood Change ^  435 The Transition from Cottages to Rowhouses and Apartments . . ^ 516 The 1930 Building Envelope with a Typical House of the Period 647 1938 By-Law Results ^  658 The Davis Houses, Street Elevation ^  699 The Davis Houses, Site Plan ^  7010 The Suburban Vision ^  7911 The 1938 By-Law Results Compared to the Postwar Pattern .^8212 Section of Typical Special of the 1960s ^  8313 New Construction — 1971 to 1981  9014 The 1960s Special Compared to the 1974 By-Law Results ^ 9515' Section of a Typical Special After 1974 ^  9516 Land Use and Streetscape Patterns of the Special ^ 9617 A Comparison of the 1985 and 1986 Building Envelopes ^ 11518 The Results of the 1974 and 1986 By-Laws Compared ^ 11619 The Partial Basement ^  11820 A Comparison of the 1986 and 1988 Building Envelopes ^ 12721 The Sliding Scale ^  12822 The Results of the 1986 and 1988 By-Laws Compared ^ 13023 A Return to the Suburban Pattern ^  13124 Land Use and Streetscape Patterns from 1900 to 1988 ^ 13325 The 1990 Building Envelope on Large Lots ^  15426 The Effects of the Second-Storey Setback  162viiFigure Page27 Cartoon of the Monster House ^ 18328 Building Envelopes 1930-1988 22129 Cumulative Results of the Zoning Changes ^ 22230 A 1968 Vancouver Special Plan and Perspective ^ 22831 A 1972 Vancouver Special Plan and Perspective 22932 A 1985 Vancouver Special Plan and Elevation ^ 23033 A 1988 Vernacular Plan and Elevation ^ 23134 1990 Monster House (Hypothetical) 23335 A Renovation Completed After the 1986 Amendments ^ 23636 Site Plan and Basement of Renovation ^ 23737 Main and Upper Floor Plans of Renovation 23838 Plans of Converted Davis House ^ 239viiiPhotographsPhoto^ Page1 An Early Vancouver Special in an Older Neighbourhood ^ 92 A Vancouver Special ^  103 A Monster House  104 A Contextual Westside House ^  115 An Early Vancouver Special Flanked by an Older Bungalow^12,6 A Large Westside House in a Traditional Style ^ 147 Purpose-Built Nineteenth-Century Duplex  388 Tightly Packed Older Eastside Houses ^  529 An Elite Suburb of the 1850s ^  5510 An Older Home on West 10th Avenue ^  6811 Speculative Single-Family Homes of the 1900s ^ 7312 The View Down West 10th Avenue ^  7413 Eastside Streetscape of Vancouver Specials ^  7714 A 1986 Monster House Flanked by Smaller Ranch-Style Homes ^ 9815 The New Vernacular Flanked by Older Specials ^ 13016 A "Small" 1900s House and a "Large" 1988 House  13217 Hoardings Protest Demolition of Affordable Housing ^ 13618 Westside Brick House ^ 15519 ° Westside Monster House Deriving from Vancouver Special . . ^ 16420 Westside House in Traditional Style ^  16521 Westside House Celebrates Origins of Owner ^ 16922 Ornate Fencing Contrasts with Simpler Eastside Fencing ^ 17123 Addition to Older Westside House ^ 20924 Variants of Vancouver Specials  23225 Variants of Monster Homes ^ 23426 Variants of Monster Homes 235ixAcknowledgementsThis thesis has been a journey which had to confront ethnic values directlyto understand that cultural traditions, not ethnicity, lay at the root ofVancouver's large house controversy. As a result, the research has been aconscious effort to balance ways of thinking that characterize modern soci-ety with an older way of thinking which supports many of these culturaltraditions. Foremost in shaping my approach to the large house problem havebeen the writings of the late George Parkin Grant who, in English-SpeakingJustice, so elegantly critiques our modern liberalism. I am also indebted tomy mentors, Henry Hightower, David Hulchanski, Shelagh Lindsey andBrahm Wiesman, who each increased my understanding of the problem in aunique way. Their efforts to help me bring structure to a multi- faceted andoften confusing problem were invaluable. I am equally indebted to AnnMcAfee, Associate Director of City Plans, City of Vancouver, whoencouraged me to undertake this research and has given generously of hertime and experience over the past five years. The research would not havebeen possible without the contributions of local residents, planners, aldermen,builders, architects, designers and realtors whose experience grounded theresearch in the reality of Vancouver's changing single - family neighbourhoods.Finally, I should like to thank Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation forits financial assistance during the research period, and my husband for hispatience and consistent encouragement.xChapter 1^ IntroductionAmong the issues facing planners today are the apparently discreteissues of housing affordability and neighbourhood change. In Canada's largestcities, providing housing for the middle-class has been added to the perennialproblem of housing the poor. At the same time that middle-class familieshave had difficulty finding affordable housing in or near large cities, single-family neighbourhoods in these cities have been changing. Smaller, moreaffordable homes are being demolished and replaced by larger more expensivehomes which select out families affluent enough to afford them. These phy-sical, social and economic changes—and the reasons for them —are not clearlyunderstood and have become a new challenge for planners.The issues of affordability and neighbourhood change occur withinthe broader context of urban planning. While housing planners focus on theseissues, other planners deal with the equally important issues of transportation,commercial development, environmental degradation and so forth. Too often,the energy focused on specific issues leaves few resources left to examinerelationships between them. As this thesis will illustrate, planners may notrecognize how policies within different departments interact or how policychanges may affect other municipalities.There are also broader forces that impinge on the urban fabric. Moderntechnology is not only reshaping the world but also reshaping the way peoplethink and act. As computers process information ever faster, they impose adifferent structure on users' thoughts and actions, and set up new relation-ships between those who can access data banks and those who cannot.Advances in communications made possible by technology have affected the1movement of ideas, money and people to the extent that the global village hasbecome a reality in a very short space of time.In Canada, the social, economic and political upheavals of the latterhalf of the twentieth century have transformed immigration policy to favourextended families and economic refugees over applicants seeking entrance onthe basis of their skills and talents.' As a result of this policy shift and thestability of western Europe, the proportion of immigrants from traditionalEuropean sources began decreasing in the mid-1960s as the proportion fromAsia rose. The clustering of visible minorities in Canada's largest cities ischanging the ethnic composition of these cities and stretching the toleranceof Canadians who identify with a culture that traces its roots to Europe.How large our cities become and whom they will house remains unclear.Urban critics are of two minds about urban growth: those who believe thatno time should be wasted rebuilding neighbourhoods to higher densities andthose who advocate limiting growth at some still undetermined density. 2 Ineither case, the forces unleashed by growth and technology may alter theseneighbourhoods much as they have altered the downtown cores of majorcities. Given the pressures for growth and the confusion about density, itmakes sense to look not only at neighbourhoods undergoing change but alsoat neighbourhoods built before zoning where the use of dwellings may havechanged but the physical fabric remains intact. That such neighbourhoodshave survived suggests that they can offer insights for planners confrontingthe changes occurring in single-family neighbourhoods today.'Charles Campbell, A Time Bomb Ticking: Canadian Immigration in Crisis(Toronto: Mackenzie Institute, 1990).2See, for example, "City urged to plan growth", Vancouver Sun, 12 Feb.1990.2Urban Planning and the Single-Family LandscapeUrban planning attempts to realize the goals of a society. These goalsarise from a set of beliefs accepted by that society or by the dominant groupwithin that society. In Canada, this set of beliefs is a variant of liberalcapitalism in which the protection of individual freedoms and the ability ofthe market to allocate resources are seen to provide a reasonable quality oflife for most citizens. The tools and techniques of planning are the mecha-nisms used to translate the goals of a liberal capitalist society into reality ina rational, organized fashion.In Canada, planning was introduced as a formal discipline for organiz-ing the urban landscape in the early 1900s. Since its inception, zoning hasbeen one of its most powerful tools. Simply stated, zoning is the legal regu-lation of building form and use. Today, most Canadian cities have a compre-hensive plan to designate discrete zones of land use, and each zone isgoverned by a zoning schedule which dictates the uses and general form ofbuildings within that zone. Single-family zones have schedules which regu-late, in varying degrees, the form of dwellings and their use as single-familyhomes. Single- family districts, then, are landscapes with particular physical,social, and economic attributes that derive from zoning. In other words,planners have formulated what they believed to be the best setting for familylife, and have tried to translate this belief into reality through zoning.Because the urban planning function is set within the broader contextof a liberal capitalist society, planning and the market sustain and constraineach other. 3 The intent of government policy at all levels has been to let the3.1iirgen Habermas, Legitimation Crisis (Boston: Beacon Press, 1975); ClausOff®, Contradictions of the Welfare State (Cambridge: Wheatsheaf, 1984).3market distribute housing services with as little interference as possible. Butbecause history has shown that the unrestrained market does not always resultin housing of acceptable quality, governments intervene in the market invarious ways. In Canada, for example, the federal government intervenes inthe normal function of the market through housing programs that range fromcooperative housing to developer subsidies and through monetary policies thatinclude insuring mortgages and adjusting interest rates. The provincesempower local governments to regulate the market through zoning schedulesand building codes to ensure owners do not build in a manner that infringesupon the health and safety of others. This interdependence between planningand the market means that zoning becomes a filter for market forces whileat the same time the market restricts planning goals.With the help of government programs introduced after Second WorldWar, Canada has housed most of the middle class adequately in suburbs builtin and around cities.' Because of the apparent success of these suburbs,planners and residents believed that single-family zoning worked. As a result,planners focussed their attention elsewhere—often adopting fashionable solu-tions to win promotion and esteem among their peers. 5 Enthusiasm for high-rises in the 1960s, for example, shifted to similar enthusiasm for low-risehigh density development in the 1970s.6 Well into the 1970s, the single- family4J. David Hulchanski, "The 1933 Dominion Housing Act: Setting the Stagefor a Permanent Federal Presence in Canada's Housing Sector", Urban HistoryReview 25 (June 1986): 19-38; "The Evolution of Property Rights and Hous-ing Tenure in Post War Canada: Implications for Housing Policy", Urban Lawand Policy 9 (1988): 135-156.5Richard S. Bolan, "The Practitioner as Theorist: The Phenomenology ofthe Professional Episode", Journal of the American Planning Association (July1980): 268.6Comay and Associates, Livability at Medium Densities (Toronto, 1972).4zones were ignored even though underutilization of single-family districts wascausing pressure for redevelopment.In Vancouver as elsewhere, asFigure 1 shows, single-family zones arethe largest land use. They are also anexclusionary use. By excluding all non-residential uses except those that sup-port family life (parks, churches,Figure 1. The size of Vancouver's single andschools) and all other residential uses multi-family zones.except the single-family home, they exclude those who want to work athome, those who cannot afford a detached home and those who, for variousreasons, want to share their home with tenants.Beyond the occasional critic, the fundamental assumption that largetracts of land should be developed at low densities to cater to specific groupsof people on the basis of age, stage in the life cycle, household size, incomeand, implicitly, ethnic origin has not been seriously questioned. Between1940 and 1970, the size of single-family zones and the cloning of new single-family areas increasingly distant from city centre enabled most middle-classfamilies to buy a detached house within their means. For this reason, single-family zones did not appear to be exclusionary. But as suburbs sprawledbeyond a practical commute, the extent and the exclusionary nature of single-family zones began to work against the middle-class. The extent of thesezones left cities with little space for affordable housing alternatives and theirexclusionary nature began to attract more affluent purchasers. By the late1960s, established single -family districts in Canadian cities had begun tochange. As Jacqueline Vischer describes in her study of these changes in5Burnaby, elderly owners began to sell their homes and new families began tomove in.' As houses were renovated to meet the needs of new owners or torndowp and replaced by larger homes, the single-family landscape began to takeon a different character.The aging of established suburbs in and around cities was a changeoccurring within single-family zones. Other changes exerted pressure fromoutside. Since the turn of the century, the forces of urbanization had broughtpeople from rural areas to the cities and larger towns. As well, the waves ofimmigration that followed the first settlers included many who initially couldnot afford detached homes but were able to accumulate enough wealth to buyhousing of their choice.' More recent additions to urban populations haveincluded affluent immigrants, often from Asia, who can buy fairly expensivenew homes upon arrival. Finally, the "baby boomers" —the children of thosewho created the demand for suburban housing after the Second World War—began to buy first and second homes for their own families.In the largest cities, population growth outpaced the supply ofresidential land. Families who previously would have bought in single-familyareas were forced to commute from distant suburbs or seek multi- family'Jacqueline C. Vischer, "The Changing Canadian Suburb: A Case Studyof Burnaby, British Columbia", Plan Canada (June 1987): 130-140.8The Loyalists, the first large group of settlers in English Canada, variedin wealth, but because of land grants and other assistance, became the domi-nant social force. The Irish, economic refugees fleeing the great potatofamine, were the first to carve out culturally differentiated working classneighbourhoods. They were followed by Ukrainians and other ethnic groupswho came to farm the prairies. After each World War, other European immi-grants fled devastation and political realignment to satisfy the need for cheaplabour in Canada's industrializing economy. Like the Ukranians and Irish,these groups differed from the mainstream of Canadian society, and weretreated with similar suspicion. Earlier, Canada had sought cheap Chinesemanpower to build the western section of its trans-continental railway, butother Asian immigration was essentially prohibited until the 1960s.6accommodation intended to house urban residents of more modest means. Inresponse, planners began to improve transportation systems in and out ofcities and to include loosely developed single and multi- family districts intheir search for land for housing. The Canadian experience in urban renewaland freeway building had barely begun, however, when homeowners saw theintrusion of freeways and highrises as a threat to the stability of theirneighbourhoods.' Concern about the wisdom of destroying neighbourhoodsfor questionable new development began to surface in the late 1960s. By the1970s, "Not-In-My-Back-Yard" (NIMBY) had become a rallying cry inCanada's largest cities.As the NIMBY movement gathered force, voters replaced pro- develop-ment councils with councils dedicated to neighbourhood preservation. Muchof the planning energy that had gone to new development shifted to preserv-ing the stability of inner-city neighbourhoods and older single-family areasadjacent to them. Other single-family districts, simply because they werefarther from city centre, remained neglected in the planning process throughthe mistaken belief that single-family by-laws protected these areas fromundesirable change. Although planners recognized that these neighbourhoodswere rejuvenating as older families moved out, they did not recognize thatthese areas were ripe for physical change until the 1980s when builders beganto replace suburban bungalows and ranchers in the more affluent suburbswith very large homes.Residents saw that these imposing new homes were changing theirneighbourhoods and began to complain. In response, councils in large cities'Michael A. Goldberg and Michael Y. Seelig, Canadian Cities: The RightDeed for the Wrong Reason, Urban Land Economics Publications no. 29(Vancouver, 1975).7began to redirect planning resources to moderate the pace of change insingle-family neighbourhoods. Because of the inherent tendency to treat landuse zones independently, the planning process focussed on analyzing changesoccurring within these neighbourhoods rather than querying the fundamentalassumptions that led to the creation of these zones. This restricted focusresulted in technical amendments to single-family by-laws to improve theway in which new construction fitted into the single- family landscape.Because adjustments to the size and siting of new construction had littleimpact on the physical, social and economic changes that continued to alterthe single - family landscape, residents remained concerned.Vancouver as an Example of Neighbourhood ChangeThe introduction to the problem of change in single - family neighbour-hoods has touched lightly on housing affordability, the global movement ofpeople and investment capital, and the hard choices regarding density thatcities may have to make in response to urban growth and change. The briefdiscussion of urban planning described the interdependency between govern-ment policy and market forces that produced the exclusionary single- familyzone, the sprawl that such low-density development has engendered, and thecontemporary pressures on older single-family districts. The large house is,in short, a "messy" planning problem that brings together a number of seriousissues and defies neat and tidy solutions. At the same time, there has beenlittle research on the large house issue simply because it was not seen as a8problem until the mid-1980s." That large houses have resulted in a massivepublic outcry in Vancouver and extensive policy debate wherever they haveoccurred in any number makes them a worthy research subject.Photo 1. An early Vancouver Special (third house from left) in an older eastside neighbourhood(top) and an eastside street comprised primarily of Vancouver Specials (bottom).Vancouver offers a unique opportunity to explore the phenomenon ofchange in established single- family districts. Photo 1 shows that long beforeplanners saw the large house as a problem, the city's eastside had begun tochange in character. In the 1960s, large houses called "Vancouver Specials"1°The construction of large houses was not researched systematically until1990. See W. T. Stanbury and John D. Todd, The Housing Crisis: The Effectsof Local Government (Vancouver: Laurier Institute, 1990).9began to replace smaller older homes. The photograph shows that theseVancouver Specials substantially changed neighbourhoods wherever theywere built in any number.The Special evolved over the years to become larger and more elaborate.This more elaborate variant, known as the "Monster House", has its counter-parts in Toronto and elsewhere. Many planners and residents saw the Specialand Monster House as distinct types but they are two faces of a single pheno-menon. Both are as large as zoning regulations permit, both differ fromsmaller neighbours in form and detail, and both contain space that convertseasily to a secondary suite. The differences between the two arise from theirlocation in a city divided into an eastside working class district and a westsidedistrict for more affluent families.Photo 2. A Vancouver Special Photo 3. A Monster HouseThe Special, with its red tile roof, red brickwork and white or buffvinyl siding, first appeared on the east side and, for the most part, has stayedthere. Because eastside lots are smaller and cheaper than westside lots, theSpecial is more modest in size and detail, and owners often rent the suite tohelp pay the mortgage. The more imposing Monster House first appeared onthe city's larger westside lots in the 1980s. Its colours are more muted, itsmaterials and detailing are often more expensive, and its buyers seldom need10the income provided by a suite. Theshift from Specials to Monster Housesoccurs quite abruptly along a centralcorridor defined by Cambie Street. Thedivision of the city into two residentialareas and the corridor which marks thetransition in house type between theeast and west side is shown in Figure 2.Figure 2.Vancouver's east and west sidesare divided by a "central corridor" whichmarks the change in type from the Specialto the Monster House.Even though most houses are now builtas large as permitted by zoning, not all newhomes are Specials or Monster Houses. Some arebuilt in traditional styles (Photo 4), some fittheir neighbourhood context an some do notconvert easily to provide a suite. The Specialand the Monster House, on the other hand, areneither contextual nor traditional in style, andusually can convert to two or more units bysimOly closing interior doors. It is these housesthat have caused residents to complain.Photo 4. This new westside houseis more contextual and more inkeeping with Vancouver's verna-cular tradition than many newlarge homes.The Large House IssueEarly forms of the Special suggest that it derives from ranch-stylehomes popular in the 1950s. Built initially to appeal to young post- warfamilies, builders began to adapt it to appeal to European immigrants who,by the early 1960s, had saved enough money to buy an inexpensive newhouse on the east side. Over the years, builders increased the dwelling to the11limits permitted by zoning, refined its plan to maximize interior living space,and added details that they believed would appeal to immigrant tastes.Photo 5. An early Vancouver Special with similarities to 1950s ranchers is flanked by an olderbungalow, left, and a 1980s Vancouver Special, right.By the 1970s, the Special had a distinctive style and was spreadingthroughout the east side as the "popular plan." Neighbourhoods changedbeyond recognition, and residents began complaining about its size, itsappearance and its use as a multi-family dwelling. It is important to note thatthe zoning schedule permitted the Special—along with many other styles—tobe built, and its illegal use for two or more families occurred after it wasbuilt and approved by the city. Builders recognized that owners could use thebasement space illegally, but pointed to many instances where families usedthis area legally as additional living space. The city, for its part, vacillatedabout the use of the Special, alternating between shutting down illegal suitesbecause of public pressure and ignoring them because of the need for afford-able rental housing. But it was not until the 1980s, when Monster Housesbegan to spread across Vancouver's more affluent west side, that the city'For plans and perspectives of typical Specials of the period, seeAppendix B.12made a concerted effort to respond to complaints about size, use and design.Between 1986 and 1990, the city changed its single-family zoning three timesto selectively legalize suites and to reduce the apparent size of new homes.As the Special began to emerge as a distinctive style in Vancouver,ranch bungalows were being repeated across suburban landscapes elsewherein fulfilment of the single-family dream. By the 1970s, when more costlymaterials began to characterize the Special, homebuilders in other cities hadturned to Georgian, Tudor and other traditional styles." The developmentof a vernacular disliked by neighbours simply did not occur in other citiesuntil the mid-1980s.' 3 Those knowledgeable about the Special have put for-ward many explanations for its emergence and spread. Some have blamedland costs, the zoning by-law and the building code. Others have blamed thecity's inability to stimulate construction of more rental accommodation inother zones. Still others have suggested that it is easier to demolish andreplace existing homes than to renovate them. And occasionally, usually byimplication, it has been suggested that the Special is the direct result ofimmigrant tastes in housing. These reasons only partially explain the newlarge houses. They do not adequately explain the distinctive style of theSpecial or the replacement of large, high quality homes by Specials andMonster Houses of lesser quality. The explanations for the Special also leaveother questions unanswered.0 Why did builders build a style that residents disliked? Why did theynot repeat the ranchers that they were building on the west side?"Norbert Schoenauer, "House", Canadian Encyclopedia, 2nd ed."A 1987 field trip showed Monster Houses just beginning to appear inany number in suburban Toronto municipalities. Some planners could notstate with any accuracy where these homes were.13O Why did builders demolish and replace existing homes? Why did sofew new owners come on stream to renovate existing eastside homesbuilt in the interwar and post-war years.• 0 Why did builders build hybrids that included elements of the Specialwhen they began building larger westside homes? Why did they notrepeat traditional styles that Photo 6 shows were prevalent on thewest side?Photo 6. A large westside house in one of several traditional styles.Specials and Monster Houses have changed the single- family landscapeprofoundly. They have contradicted the expressed intent of Vancouver'ssingle - family schedule,' and they have contradicted the residents' vision ofwhat a single- family neighbourhood should be. The research demonstrates thethesis that a direct relationship exists between zoning and the market whichhas resulted in a residential landscape that contradicts land use patternsintended by the single- family zoning schedule. In describing this relationship,the research does not attempt to provide an economic analysis of market'See Appendix A, RS-1 District Schedule, Section 1, City of VancouverZoning and Development By-Law 1985: "The intent of this Schedule is tomaintain the single-family residential character of the District". This intentchanged as the RS-1 Schedule changed.14forces but rather to analyze the evolving forces of public sector planning andthe response by the market as can be observed in built form.'All research is shaped consciously or otherwise by the values of theresearcher. This research began with several assumptions which directed themethods chosen and the final conclusions. The first assumption is a long-standing belief in "walking gently on the land" which was sharpened in the1970s by exposure to the critical literature on environmental conservation."It was not clear during the early stages of the research that a review of morecurrent literature on what is now called sustainability would be useful. Onlyduring the final stages of analysis was it apparent that sustainability could belinked to the findings in a concrete manner. Thus, although environmentalconsiderations shaped the research, and particularly the choice of lookingbackwards to house form and land use patterns prior to zoning, these concernsare not introduced until the concluding chapters.Public interest in sustainability is a "window of opportunity" forplanners that opens and closes depending upon the economic environment.The emphasis on sustainability in the final chapters, therefore, is neitheroptimistic nor naive. It is simply an attempt to use public concern about theenvironment that was evident during the research period as a framework fordebate about single- family neighbourhoods and thus deflect debate awayfrom more volatile cultural issues which are, in any event, less useful over thelong term in guiding policy decisions."For a thorough economic analysis of the large house in Vancouver, seeStanbury and Todd."For example, Rachel Carson, Silent Spring (Boston: Houghton-Mifflin,1962; Donella H. Meadows et al., Limits to Growth: A Report for the Club ofRome's Project on the Predicament of Mankind (New York: Universe Books,1972).15The research also began with the conviction that single- family zoningwas inherently unjust. Because choices in unit size and tenure in single-family zones do not reflect the general need, many people have not been ableto choose to stay in place or to move to locations close to their family, theirfriends or their work. Before the research, builders and realtors had suggestedthat the exclusivity of single-family zones had taken on a new dimension,that zoning that once excluded immigrants by virtue of income requirementswas now, for reasons described in the thesis, excluding almost everyone whowas not an immigrant from buying the large new homes. As the research databegan to substantiate buying patterns described by builders and realtors, theconviction grew that zoning must not only provide more opportunities forpeople to stay in place but must also be slanted towards the needs of localpurchasers in order to retain a modicum of choice for them in a market thatmay now be global in scope.Despite these biases, the findings of the research rest on the empiricalevidence. To demonstrate that the relationship between zoning and the mar-ket ultimately contradicted the intent of single- family zoning, the thesisdescribes, in chronological order, the pressures of growth and change thatresulted first in the introduction of zoning in 1930 and then in criticalchanges to the single-family schedule in 1938, 1974 and 1988. As the empi-rical evidence is introduced, the physical and socio-economic results of thezoning changes are analyzed with particular attention to house form and landuse as these are affected by technical adjustments to the zoning schedule. Inkeeping with this chronology, the thesis first establishes house form and landuse patterns that were typical of Vancouver in the early 1900s, well beforezoning was introduced. At the conclusion of the analyses of the 1938, 197416and 1988 zoning changes, a comparison of each of these zoning changes withthe pre-zoning pattern illustrates the cumulative effect of zoning changes onthe city's single-family landscape.The final analysis moves from conclusions that can be supported bythe empirical evidence to conclusions based on reflections about broaderissues. These reflections, while not empirically supported, present the largehouse as an issue requiring much more than simple technical adjustments tothe zoning schedule. This analysis contends that the problem was not the large°house, but the density that single-family use permitted and the design oflarge houses as these designs relate to the traditional values of prospectivebuyers and neighbouring homeowners. The analysis argues that unless theissues of density and design are addressed coherently, racially based popu-lation shifts could occur simply because new large houses select out immigrantbuyers who can afford these homes.The analysis offers sustainability as a concept that can bring coherenceto zoning decisions which, as the evidence will show, consistently producedresults that were unintended and ultimately began to work against residentswho could still afford to live or buy in single-family zones. If other citiesmimic Vancouver's approach the large house issue, as the evidence suggeststhey are doing, then zoning changes in these cities may result ultimately inthe displacement of their own residents by those who have left larger citiesto find housing that is congruent with their traditions. The paper concludeswith the need for more inclusionary zoning that is accomplished not only byincreasing density and broadening the choice of unit size and tenure but alsoby using mechanisms that preserve the traditions or roots of the host commu-nity which are encoded in house forms and land use patterns of the past.17The Research DesignThe thesis is presented as a narrative that explains the emergence ofthe Vancouver Special in the 1960s and its transformation to the MonsterHouse in the 1980s. The lack of a clearly defined problem at the outset ledto various methods that were used first to understand the problem and thento test conclusions that began to emerge. Essentially, the research design usesmethods common to both the case study and historical analysis.The ability to quantify and compare the results of zoning amendmentssuggests an experimental research design. But zoning is first and foremost apolicy that reflects interactions between people and their environment, andresearch into zoning should focus on methods that have been used to explore,describe and explain such interactions. Furthermore, little is known aboutcontemporary problems associated with single-family zones. These problemshave only recently become legitimate subjects for academic inquiry and muchof the available literature is limited to particular municipalities and theirspecific zoning schedules. Research that "casts a wide net" and attemptsnothing more than loose hypotheses is preferable at this time to a morestructured approach. The cyclical approach advocated by Anselm Strauss,moving from stabs at forming, testing and proving concepts to formal veri-fication, seems to best fit the characteristics of the research subject. 17Multiple methods act as a check on assumptions and conclusions. 1817Anselm Strauss, Qualitative Analysis for Social Scientists (Cambridge,Massachusetts: Cambridge University Press, 1987).18Peter S. Li, Social Research Methods (Toronto: Butterworths, 1981);Royce Singleton et al., Approaches to Social Research (New York: OxfordUniversity Press, 1988); Eugene J. Webb et al., Unobtrusive Measures: Non-Reactive Research in the Social Sciences (Chicago: Rand McNally, 1966).18Both the case study and historical analysis are suited to this method ofinquiry. The literature on research methods shows that researchers in thehumanities and the social sciences, who were convinced that quantitativeanalysis could bring the same rigour to their research that it brought to thenatural sciences, became disillusioned with its limitations and with the pre-dictive power of the scientific approach for their disciplines." For planners,problems became evident in the late 1960s, and by the 1980s, many viewedpractical applications of social science research with suspicion. 2° The casestudy, much maligned during the period of positivistic inquiry, regainedfavour as a means of exploring, describing and explaining historical and con-temporary phenomena, and historians moved away from defining history asa kind of "scientific inquiry concerned with interpreting purposefulthought".21 Both historians and social scientists began to recognize thatquantitative data, used qualitatively, could improve their arguments. Theshift from positivism resulted in a more realistic appraisal of the methods of"Hubert Blalock Jr., Basic Dilemmas in the Social Sciences (Beverly Hills:Sage, 1984); Constance Perin, With Man in Mind: An InterdisciplinaryProspectus for Environmental Design (Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press,1970); M. Lal Goel, Political Science Research (Ames, Iowa: Iowa StateUniversity Press, 1988); Stephen Akroyd and John Hughes, Data Collectionin Context (London: Longman, 1981).20Lee Rainwater, "Fear and the House-as-Haven in the Lower Class",Journal of the American Institute of Planners 32, no. 1 (January 1966): 23-31;Douglas Blake Jr., "Requiem for Large Scale Models, Journal of the AmericanInstitute of Planners (May 1973):163 —177.21 R. G. Collingwood, The Idea of History (Oxford: Clarendon Press,1946). See also Richard Beringer, Historical Analysis: ContemporaryApproaches to Clio's Craft (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1978).19natural science for research in the humanities and social sciences, and hasaligned the social sciences more closely with the humanities.22Furthermore, as social scientists and historians have reevaluated theirresearch techniques, a merging of methods has occurred.' The case study isonce more perceived as a legitimate way to explore "messy" problems whilehistory, once locked into its museum of the past, has taken the methods ofsocial science to interpret contemporary events and link them to similar"cases" in the past. Both have become elastic, and this elasticity enables eachto address current phenomena in similar ways.In comparing research strategies, Robert Yin notes that experimentalresearch, surveys, archival analysis, case studies and historical analysis can bepositioned on two continuums: one moves from the controlled conditions ofthe experiment to the uncontrollable events of history, and the other movesfrom a focus on the immediate present to a focus on the past.' The casestudy and historical research, then, are most appropriate to the exploratorynature of this research, while the ability to quantify zoning regulations andthe availability of documentation surrounding these changes suggest that sur-veys and archival analysis are useful for supporting evidence.The scope of the research is the City of Vancouver. The period des-cribed in the research spans almost a century, from about 1900 to 1990. The22Michael A. Simon, Understanding Human Action: Social Explanationand the Vision of Social Science (Albany: State of New York University Press,1982); Edward Shorter, The Historian and the Computer: A Practical Guide(Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1971).23Robert Jones Shafer ed., Guide to Historical Method (Homewood,Illinois: Dorsey Press, 1974); Paul Veyne, Writing History: Essay onEpistemology (Middletown, Conn.: Wesleyan University Press, 1984).24Robert K. Yin, Case Study Research: Design and Methods (NewberryPark, Cal.: Sage, 1989).20narrative, therefore, describes an urban process that produced Vancouver'ssingle- family neighbourhoods and the changes to them. Because this histori-cal description of process is limited to Vancouver, it is unique and the find-ings cannot be generalized to other cities. The research, however, points toapparent commonalities in both the definition of and solutions to the largehouse problem and it may be that research on the problem elsewhere mayproduce generalizable findings.Figure 3. Vancouver Local Areas are shaded where over 50 percent of houses aredetached. The number of homes—shown for each area—gives some sense of the lowerdensities on the west side. Source: Vancouver Planning Department, Local Areas, 1986.In the City of Vancouver, approximately 70 percent of the land iszoned for single-family use (RS-1). The single-family areas used foranalyzing local area statistics are twelve local areas, shown shaded in Figure3, where more than 50 percent of the housing stock is comprised of detachedhouses. Six of these local areas are on the east side of the city where lots are21generally smaller and incomes more modest than on the west side. The figureshows the number of detached homes for each local area, thus indicating thedistribution of detached houses across the city and giving some sense of thelower densities on the west side.25Within these local areas are most of the single- family neighbourhoodsof Vancouver. The research uses documentation on specific neighbourhoodswithin Shaughnessy and Kerrisdale, for example, to strengthen the argumentspresented, but the analysis of local area statistics and field observationsshowed that the consistency of neighbourhood change was such that the onlyreal differences were when these neighbourhoods changed and how thephygical changes varied from east to west side.At the start of the research, Vancouver had one schedule that governedsingle-family land use for the entire city. Most cities, in contrast, have anumber of single-family zones governed by schedules that differ somewhatin regulating lot size, lot width, building height and so forth. Because of thenumber of homes in Vancouver with suites, describing any area as "single -family" is questionable. Nevertheless, the term "single-family" best describesthe physical character of the local areas chosen. The focus of the research ison new construction because it is new construction that is changing thesingle-family landscape. Where large new homes are described, they conformto the single- family RS-1 District Schedule unless otherwise noted.Document analysis and comments by key informants are introducedthroughout the narrative. Documents consisted of zoning schedules plusreports, letters and internal correspondence generously provided by theVancouver Planning Department, as well as newspaper and magazine articles25See Table 14, Appendix D.22collected during the research period. Letters to the editor and quotes in themedia by planners, builders, designers, realtors and residents supplementinterviews with key informants. These interviews were conducted informallythroughout the research period and formally after the 1990 zoning changes.Surveys are described at appropriate stages in the narrative. The major sur-vey, of new houses constructed after the 1986 and 1988 amendments, is des-cribed in three sections: the survey of 76 plans and permits of houses builtafter the 1986 zoning changes is described in Chapter 4; the replication of thissurvey for 76 new houses built after the 1988 zoning changes is described inChapter 5; and the gathering of ethnic data on the total sample of 152 newhouses is described in Chapter 6. Because census data for the 1986-1991period was not available, the research relies on this survey and on mediareports and interviews to describe changing demographics after 1986.For the most part, terms are defined when they are introduced, butterms such as "density", "local" and "vernacular" require special attention at theoutset. Density is usually defined precisely to mean the amount of built spaceor the number of units, households or people per acre. In this paper, the termis used more loosely to describe the potential for a building site to accom -modate people. "Low" density refers to sites with small dwellings that can onlyaccommodate a few people comfortably. "Higher" density may mean moreunits or more households or more built space but invariably means the poten-tial for more people. Thus when the paper refers to higher density, it isreferring to the capacity for a building site to hold more people either bylarger households or by more households in smaller units—usually achievedby adding more built space but also, in the case of large existing homes, byconverting existing space into more units.23Cities have used single-family zoning, often in combination with floorspace ratio, to control density because single-family zoning limits the use ofa dwelling to one family and floor space ratio controls the amount of spacethat can be built on a given site.' In the early years of zoning, houses wereseldom built as large as the zoning permitted and both apparent and potentialdensities were quite low. Until recently, therefore, use combined with lot sizeloosely controlled the number of people per acre, and floor space ratio con-trolled the size of homes. Now that most houses are built to maximum floorspace, both the apparent density and the potential population density ofsingle-family neighbourhoods has increased. The new large houses do notnecessarily increase the number of people living in a neighbourhood becausethe families living in them may be no larger than the families of the 1950sand 1960s who inhabited the smaller houses that these large houses havereplaced. At the same time, limiting the use of the dwelling to one familycan no longer control population density because families living in largehouses can be multi-generational extended families." Because of the widevariation in family size, both use and floor space have become irrelevant todescribe, quantify or control population density. In this paper, therefore, theuse of such quantifiers as "single-family" and "floor space ratio" do not implya specific population density or density range, although comparisons of floorarea in the text imply different potential densities and are used as such.26In Vancouver's single-family zone, the floor space ratio is 0.60. Thismeans that the total floor space permitted in a single family dwelling is 60percent of lot area, or 2400 square feet on a 4000 square-foot lot.'Andrew Scott, "Be It Never So Humble," Vancouver (Dec. 1988):118-124 describes an East Indian family of four generations and 22 membersliving in a new eastside home of 8000 square feet. A small number of housesrange between 10,000 and 20,000 square feet, and may contain much smallerfamilies.24"Local" is used to describe residents who have sunk deep roots intotheir community. Local residents can be of any ethnic group and are usuallyCanadian-born, but among those defined as locals may be new arrivals whohave assimilated quickly or who are so sensitive to local custom that they areindistinguishable from those who have assimilated the local culture. Residentswho are not born in Canada are described as "immigrants" even though theymay be Canadian citizens. Both "local" and "immigrant", although not preciseterms, are words that Vancouverites use to distinguish residents on the basisof their attitudes toward neighbourhood change. Immigrants are divided into"new arrivals" who have lived in Canada for less than 10 years and "estab-lished immigrants" who have lived here 10 years or more. To avoid confusionwith quoted material, the thesis adopts the unfortunate local usage of"Caucasian" and "Asian" to distinguish residents of British and Europeanorigin from those of Chinese and East Indian origin. East Indians are, ofcourse, Caucasian, but like the Chinese trace their origins to Asia.In the text, the term "vernacular" refers to a house type that has beenbuilt in large enough numbers to define the physical character of a residentialarea. In exploring vernacular house form and settlement patterns, AmosRapoport concludes that, despite physical constraints of climate, materials andtechnology, the dominant factors that decide form and settlement patterns arethe sociocultural forces operant in a given society—"the vision people haveof the ideal life".' The "vernacular", then, is the physical response to a setof forces that are primarily, but not entirely, social in nature. Rapoport dis-tinguishes between primitive and vernacular settlement patterns and further2,8Amos Rapoport, House Form and Culture (Englewood Cliffs, NewJersey: Prentice-Hall, 1969), 47.25divides the vernacular into pre-industrial and modern. By primitive, he meansform and settlement patterns that exhibit little specialization. People buildtheir own houses and over time a satisfactory form and grouping emerges thatsuits the society in question. The pre-industrial vernacular is similar in thateveryone knows the building types and how to build them. But while usersparticipate in the design process, tradesmen take over the actual building.Houses show more differentiation in the use of space and the houseitself—although not the type—may vary according to family size and wealthand the dictates of the site. According to Rapoport, the pre-industrial ver-nacular lacks theoretical or artistic pretension, it works well with its site andmicro-climate, and it shows respect for other people, their dwellings and theenvironment as a whole. It has a given order, but permits addition withoutdestroying the aesthetic of the design. Relationships between elements in thedesign rather than the elements themselves are significant, and the outcomeof the process is the result of a collaborative effort between builders andusers that spans generations. Turn-of- the- century houses, although properlybelonging to the industrial era, tend to follow these principles whereasVancouver Specials and Monster Houses do not.Rapoport admits to difficulty in defining characteristics of the modernvernacular that emerged during the industrial era and questions whether itexists at all. He suggests that there is a modern folk idiom "designed for thepopular taste, not by it" 29 which represents the values of ordinary people moreclearly than does the design subculture. Despite this concern about the exis-tence of a modern vernacular, the research uses "vernacular" to refer to bothturn:of- the-century homes and Vancouver Specials and Monster Houses. If,29Rapoport, 7.26as Rapoport claims, the "vernacular matrix" represents the values of a givensociety and forms the context for understanding high-style buildings of theperiod, then any house type built in large enough numbers to form a contextmight be legitimately considered the vernacular of that place. A major dif-ference between turn-of- the- century homes and Specials and Monster Housesis that the former resulted from a relatively homogeneous society's vision ofthe ideal whereas the latter ostensibly have been built for the popular tasteand have been selected by a particular segment of society as the best availableapproximation of the ideal. In this sense, the thesis is about two vernaculartraditions, one that existed before zoning and one that emerged from a speci-fic relationship between zoning and the market.° The chapters that follow develop the contemporary issue of new largehouses in Vancouver in a historical sequence from early settlement patternsto the current single-family landscape. In reviewing the relevant literature,Chapter 2 traces the development of the exclusionary single-family patternfrom its possible beginnings in the seventeenth century through to legal chal-lenges to single-family use in the 1980s. The chapter also discusses invasionand succession as a possible theoretical explanation for the large house, andthe globalization of the real estate market as an external force contributingto neighbourhood change.Chapter 3 briefly describes Canadian settlement patterns up to theintroduction of zoning with particular emphasis on the relationship betweenthese patterns and the belief systems that shaped them. It concludes bycomparing an example of the Vancouver's turn-of-the-century residentialpattern to the residential pattern typical after the 1938 zoning amendments.27Chapter 4 traces the emergence of the Vancouver Special from itsinnocuous beginnings in the 1950s to its demise in the mid-1980s. Thechapter links changes in form and detailing between 1938 and 1980 to criticalzoning amendments of the period and to changes in the ethnic compositionof the east side. The chapter concludes by comparing land use patterns of theearly 1900s with land use patterns typical after the 1974 zoning amendments.Chapter 5 describes the spread of Monster Houses through the city inthe 1980s, a period marked by high migration to the city and rising houseprices. It examines the effects of the 1986 and 1988 zoning changes on houseform and use, and completes the comparative analysis of land use patterns.Chapter 6 analyzes discrete factors in housing demand and providesevidence that most new houses built after the 1986 and 1988 zoning changeswere purchased by Asian immigrants. The chapter also describes the "fine-°tuning" of the zoning schedule in 1990 and suggests that the cumulativeresults of the zoning changes between 1986 and 1990 may serve only toprotect single- family zones for global wealth.Chapter 7 evaluates the implications of Vancouver's response to itslarge houses and concludes that the fundamental issues were density anddesign.In summarizing the research, Chapter 8 argues that cities should encou-rage more large houses, more suites and more restoration of existing homesif they wish to preserve local traditions encoded in the residential landscape.The chapter concludes with a vision for an inclusionary residential landscapethat requires, for its implementation, a planning practice that borrows fromresidential patterns that evolved around the turn of the century.28Chapter 2^ Relevant LiteratureAlthough considerable literature exists on zoning, very little describeshow contemporary forces act upon zoning to produce large houses. Documen-tation on large houses is limited to attempts by specific municipalities tocontrol size through zoning amendments,' and not enough time has elapsedto develop a literature that addresses contemporary change in single-familyneighbourhoods more comprehensively. In consequence, the literature searchbecame a search for literature that bore peripherally on the problem. Itaddressed three areas of inquiry: how single-family zoning evolved, why itevolved, and why single-family neighbourhoods were changing. The literaturedescribing the "vision" that produced the exclusionary single-family zoneaddresses the first two questions and provides the context for the empiricalanalysis of Vancouver's single-family schedule as it changed in response tomarket demand. The literature on neighbourhood change through the pro-cesses of aging and invasion of one social group's "turf" by another groupprovides insights into the process of change but does not adequately explainthe physical aspects of this process.The inability of theory based on local movement of populations toexplain neighbourhood change in Vancouver suggested that globalization ofthe real estate market might be a critical factor in explaining physical change.But the impact of global activity on local markets is not yet clearlyunderstood, and the documentation relating this activity to the Vancouvermarket is sparse and impressionistic. However tenuous, this documentation'See Chapter 7.29suggests that globalization may bring a new dimension to invasion-successiontheory and begins to explain why the contemporary large house has provenless than amenable to planning intervention.°The Suburban Pattern and Single-Family ZoningVancouver's single-family neighbourhoods are suburban in form —smallto large lots with small to mid-sized houses surrounded by green grass andtrees. 2 After fire destroyed the city in 1886, its inner neighbourhoods rebuiltin a compact fashion that had many commonalities with the pre-industrialpattern described by Rapoport. But the pattern that describes most neigh-bourhoods today is the result of construction in the twentieth century whichin turn produced the streetcar and the automobile suburb and a central coreof highrises which eradicated much of the old city. Most residential areas aretypical of suburban development before and after the Second World War.A precondition for the contemporary suburb is the concept of the small,single-family dwelling housing an independent two-generation family, butwhere this concept arose is unclear. Witold Rybczynski, while aware of thedanger of ascribing this concept to any single place, suggests that the emer-gence in seventeenth-century Netherlands of rowhouses just large enough fora couple and their children may be a partial explanation. In medieval Europe,it had been customary for families and their servants to live together in2The most common lot size in the City of Vancouver is about 4000 squarefeet. Older houses, particularly on the east side, are often quite small—about800 to 1000 square feet not including basements. Larger houses, usuallylocated on the west side, range from about 1500 to 3000 square feet notincluding basements. Very large houses are atypical and are located primarilyin the elite areas of Shaughnessy and Kerrisdale. Very few houses built afterthe First World War and before the 1960s approached the maximum size per-mitted by the RS-1 zoning schedule.30undifferentiated spaces within large town or manor houses. As the periodprogressed, interior space became more differentiated, but the custom oflarge numbers of people living together remained. A set of social forces thatcongealed first in the Netherlands, then in England and finally on thecontinent, changed this pattern.In the seventeenth century, the Netherlands lacked a landless peasantryand a powerful nobility. Society consisted mainly of merchants and land-owners living in small to mid-sized towns. The Calvinist religion and thebourgeois ethos of the upper-middle class produced a simplicity in manners,dress and housing. In comparison to Parisian houses of the period, which heldup to 25 people, the small Dutch rowhouse held only four or five. There wereno tenants because most people could afford a small home, and no servantsbecause society discouraged the practice. The result was a more private familylife than experienced elsewhere in Europe. Given the influence that the pros-perous Dutch had on English taste during the seventeenth century, arguesRybczynski, it is reasonable to assume that the English proclivity for a privatefamily life originated in the Netherlands. 3According to Robert Fishman, the direct precursor of the contemporarysuburb in England was the spontaneous creation of a commercial elite whosought to separate theselves from the disorder of industrial London. The ideaof a residential district that excluded commerce and industry was withoutprecedent. Crucial to its success was the nuclear family and the values thatthis concept of family life expressed in built form.From its origins, the surburban world of leisure, familylife, and union with nature was based on the principle ofexclusion. Work was excluded from the family residence;3Witold Rybczynski, Home: A Short History of an Idea (New York:Viking, 1986).31middle class villas were segregated from working classhousing; the greenery of suburbia stood in contrast to agray, polluted urban environment ... Suburbia, therefore,represents more than bourgeois utopia, the triumphantassertion of middle class values. It also reflects thealienation of the middle classes from the urban-industrialworld they themselves were creating.'The first houses of the new utopia were weekend homes built as familyretreats in the countryside, and the transition to permanent homes cameslowly. It was John Nash who transformed the discrete elements of these newsuburbs into a reproducible market commodity. By the mid-1800s, the ideaof grouping houses in a park beyond the grime of the city was fully deve-loped. Shortly afterwards, immigration and industrialization brought rapidchange to American cities and, around 1900, American suburbs built afterthe English pattern became an escape for the wealthy from cities increasinglypopulated by immigrants. The Canadian pattern differed because most elitesremained relatively close to city centre in suburbs built in the late 1800s andearly 1900s,5 while the middle class emulated the English suburb further out.Fishman explains the power of the suburban vision as a setting forfamily life. He shows how exclusion motivated the creation of the affluentsuburb and suggests why politicians, planners and residents, fearing the'Robert Fishman, Bourgeois Utopias: The Rise and Fall of Suburbia (NewYork: Basic Books, 1987), 4.'Elite suburbs of the 1850s persist in cities that did not experience rapidgrowth in the industrial era. Elsewhere, elite garden suburbs (e.g. Rosedalein Toronto) often developed after the 1900s at the end of stately avenueswhich were the locus for the very wealthy until commercial developmentovertook these avenues. Migration of Vancouver elites from the West End toShaughnessy between 1911 and 1922 was a "leap" rather than a simple pro-gression to adjacent territory. Like other elite suburbs, it persists close tocity centre. See, for example, A. J. Artibise, Winnipeg: A Social History ofUrban Growth 1874-1914 (Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1975);Residential and Neighbourhood Studies in Victoria, C. N. Forward ed.(Victoria: University of Victoria, 1973); Donald MacKay, The Square Mile:Merchant Princes of Montreal (Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre, 1987).32return of conditions that gave rise to the suburbs, promoted single-familyzoning as an exclusionary device. Although single- family zoning is new, zon-ing itself is an ancient technique for controlling built form that can be eitherhierarchical or egalitarian depending on the social system it reflects.' Con-temporary practice in liberal democracies has been hierarchical, and theliterature seldom fails to mention the exclusionary aspects of this practice.In tracing the development of zoning in the United States and Europe,Anthony Sutcliffe suggests that zoning originated not only to promote safer,healthier cities but also to "keep the poor in their place"? He notes thatdivergent approaches to zoning and planning controls respectively producedflats and tenements in Germany and monotonous rowhousing in Britain. Bythe 1900s, other than reducing crowding and creating basic conditions forhealth and safety, it was clear that planning had not improved housing forthe poor in any significant way. At this point, observes Sutcliffe, Germanylooked to the "piecemeal" planning practices that had enabled single- familyand rowhousing in Britain to reach a broader spectrum of middle and work-ing class families, and Britain looked to the "extension planning" that hadallowed Germany to develop a more efficient urban infrastructure.' North'Thomas Adams, The Design of Residential Areas, Harvard City PlanningSeries no. 6 (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1934) givesexamples dating back 5000 years.'Anthony Sutcliffe, Toward the Planned City: Germany, Britain, TheUnited States and France 1780 — 1914 (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1981), 115.8Extension planning, where areas were carved into large blocks with widestreets, was devised by James Hobrecht as a development plan for Berlin in1862. He probably saw it as a conceptual plan, with the large blocks sub-divided by minor streets and lanes, but speculators built large apartmentssurrounding an open court for light and air. The cheapness and efficiencyof the plan made it a model for other German towns and cities after 1875.33America was the beneficiary of both the English suburb and a comprehensiveplanning approach that Britain imported from Germany.While Britain and Germany sought solutions from each other, EbenezerHoward published a concept for complete new "garden cities" separated byopen country from each other and from older cities that no longer housedpeople adequately. In trying to design a system that combined the best ofcapitalism and socialism, he was far ahead of his time!' Although two gardencities were built in his lifetime, the end result was the antithesis of his work,the controlled garden suburb. Zoning has propagated both impoverished andelegant variations of the garden suburb throughout North America.Sutcliffe traces zoning until the outbreak of the First World War.Others carry this history through the 1960s. Robert Katz notes that the sameconcerns that led to planning controls in Britain and Europe motivatedAmerican zoning. Here, the exclusion of poor families, who were oftenimmigrants, remained a basis for zoning practice.The earliest regulations were passed to correct some of theworst conditions of tenement houses of the nineteenth andearly twentieth centuries. . . Providing at least a minimumguarantee of health and safety of multi-family housing wasperhaps the main, but not the sole, motive for the earliestregulations. These laws had the effect of isolating thepeople who lived in these buildings from the rest of soci-ety. If multi-family structures were equated with slumsand second-class housing, then occupants—often poorimmigrants—were regarded as second-class citizens.' °!Ebenezer Howard, Garden Cities of Tomorrow (Cambridge, Mass.: MITPress, 1965). Peter Hall, "Ebenezer Howard: Has His Time Come At Last",Town and Country Planning 52, (1983): 42-47; Eugenie Ladner Birch, "Rad-burn and the American Planning Movement: Persistence of an Idea", Journalof the American Planning Association 46, no. 4 (October, 1980): 424-439.1°Robert Katz, Design of the Housing Site: A Critique of AmericanPractice, (Urbana, Illinois: University of Illinois, 1966), 169.34To this end, single-family regulations often defined lot sizes and openspaces around the dwelling that were more generous than necessary for liva-bility. Such practices, argues Katz, hid a whole range of prejudices under theguise of sound planning and protection of property values. Katz also pre-dicted that single-family suburbs would be future "renewal sites" becausedensities were low, buildings were less durable and the lack of rootednessamong residents reduced relocation problems. He cites Wolf von Eckhardt indefence of his argument for more intense development of residential land.In most larger communities and cities today . . . especiallyin the suburbanized cities of America, the problem is no° longer that densities are too high but that they are, overall,too low. Yet the notion that lowering density will per seheighten livability, morality and virtue still obsesses mostof our planners and their zoning codes. They substitutecompulsory open space and setbacks for creative urbandesign."Writing a decade after Katz, Constance Perin also describes zoning asa moral statement. Perin points to early ordinances against Chinese laundriesand Jewish garment workers and to the coincidence of the introduction ofzoning in American cities with the Immigration Act of 1924. She also citesthe critical case of the Village of Belle Terre v. Boraas (1974) in which theSupreme Court of the United States found in favour of exclusionary zoning.'Canadian courts have brought in mixed judgments on residential uses ofsingle- family zones, and there would seem to be some evidence that overtime the courts have broadened their interpretation of use in single and two-"Wolf von Eckhardt, "The Case for Building New Towns", Harper'sMagazine (Dec. 1965): 91 in Katz, 75."Constance Perin, Everything in its Place: Social Order and Land Use inAmerica (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1977), 48.35family districts." While some municipalities interpret their by-laws gener-ously, judgments in several instances have found against a narrow, technicalinterpretation of single-family use by municipal staff. An important aspectof Perin's critique, which applies to these Canadian cases as well, is thatplanners often do not realize that zoning is anything more than the technicaladministration of land use.What has been thought of as singularly technical concernsin land-use matters, I take to be value-laden, that is,moral. American land-use classifications, definitions andstandards, alongside all other concrete tasks, name cultural"R. v. Brown Camps, 2 O.R. 461 (1969) and R. v. Brown Camps, 1 O.R.388 (1969). The Ontario Court of Appeal upheld municipal zoning which didnot permit a commercial home for children with emotional problems inScarborough and Mississauga respectively.° City of Barrie v. Brown Camps Residential and Day Schools, 2 O.R.(2d) 337, 344 (1973). The Ontario Court of Appeal found in favour of BrownCamps on the grounds that "the premises are being used in the same manneras if they were being used by parents with special expertise to deal with theirchildren who had similar emotional problems."R.v. Bell, 2 M.P.L.R. 39 (1977); Bell v. The Queen, 2 S.C.R. 212 (1979).In 1977, the Ontario Supreme Court (Court of Appeal) found against threeunrelated persons living in a semi-detached dwelling unit restricted by zoningto use by an individual or a single family. In 1979, the Supreme Court ofCanada overturned this decision on the grounds that determining who mightlive in a building rather than the use of the building was "people zoning" andultra vires the powers of municipal council.Charlottetown v. Association for Residential Services, 9 M.P.L.R. 91(1979). Prince Edward Island Supreme Court found for the association on thegrounds that the residential character of the area was not compromised byretarded adults living together in a dwelling unit.Benyon et al. v. Corporation of the City of Victoria, B. C., 16 M.P.L.R.1 (1981). The Supreme Court of British Columbia found against single-family residents who appealed against zoning that permitted a detoxificationcentre in their neighbourhood.° Ottawa Zoning By-Law 307-84, 30 M.P.L.R. 22 (1985). The OntarioMunicipal Board found that Ottawa discriminated in excluding roomers andboarders from its R1 (single- family) zone when they were allowed in R2 andR3 (single - family) zones.36and social categories and define what are believed to be thecorrect relationships among them.'Other critics also had difficulty with the morality of single-familyzoning. Lawyer Richard Babcock has queried whether health, safety, moralsand the public welfare were advanced by requiring that every housing unitbe on a separate lot," and Peter Marcuse has condemned zoning as a problemrather than a solution in improving conditions for the less affluent.One would expect that zoning, perhaps the first and stillmost important contribution of the city planning process. . . would be designed and used to improve the conditionsof housing ... Yet, contrary to all expectations, neither thecity planning movement as it moved from intellectual cru-sade to practical influence, nor zoning . .. contributedmuch to the solution of housing problems of the ill-housed,and arguably each worsened it.'According to these critics, exclusion derives from single-family use andfrom regulations that stipulate generous and thus expensive open space. Butolder elite areas can include large and small houses on small lots, purpose-built duplexes and houses converted to duplexes. These areas exclude not bysingle-family use but by the quality of the neighbourhood, its proximity tocity centre, and the resulting cost of accommodation. Often well definedbefore zoning was introduced, the persistence of such areas is due to valueorientations that newcomers can decipher from the residential landscape. 17' 4Perin, Everything in its Place, 3."Richard Babcock, "The Egregious Invalidity of the Exclusive Single-Family Zone", paper delivered at Lincoln Institute of Land Policy and theUniversity of Southern California Law Centre Conference, Los Angeles, Feb.1983, 193."Peter Marcuse, "Housing Policy and City Planning", Shaping an UrbanWorld, ed. Gordon Cherry (London: Mansell, 1980), 23."William Michelson, Man and His Urban Environment: A SociologicalApproach (Reading, Massachusetts: Addison-Wesley, 1970), 111 —130.37Photo 7. Purpose-built duplex in an elite nineteenth-century Ontario suburb.The ninetenth- century Ontario duplex shown in Photo 7 shows that realexclusion derives from quality and location. Even with its large lots and finehomes, Vancouver's elite garden suburb of Shaughnessy would not remainexclusive if it were built beside a stockyard. Nor would a collection of single-family shacks acquire prestige on the Shaughnessy site. The myth behind thesuburban vision is that single- familyness and open space create quality neigh-bourhoods which exclude. But the ability to exclude by regulating use isreserved for neighbourhoods of a lesser sort, the suburbs built in and aroundcities for the broad middle range of society, where location and quality aremore variable. Here, as Katz and Perin suggest, single- family use and mini-mum lot sizes increased the cost of houses and erected barriers to poorerfamilies, many of whom were immigrants.It is in such areas that neighbourhood intensification is so stronglyresisted, perhaps because these residents have a stronger need for the single-family house as status symbol than residents of either elite or working classareas." In examining intensification in Vancouver, Janet Lee describes theo-"Michelson, 114.38retical and emotional reasons for its rejection." She points out that the single-family neighbourhood is a theoretical ideal that is not compatible with chang-ing family structures and that the "stability" residents prize is actually acontinuing movement of people, money and materials that retains the charac-ter of their neighbourhoods. Emotional fears of intensification, primarilyincreased traffic and declining property values, are not substantiated byresearch conducted after intensification has occurred.' The only legitimatereasons for resident resistance are that intensification violates the single-family by-law and that unplanned intensification in the form of illegal suites,results in the potential for hazardous (uninspected) dwellings and unfairdistribution of taxes. Except for these legitimate reasons, the unsubstantiatedfear that change will bring declining property values, deterioration of neigh-bourhoods and an accompanying loss of status seems to underscore residents'desire to retain exclusionary single-family zoning.Invasion and SuccessionBoth Perin and Katz establish a relationship between immigration andexclusionary zoning. But the exclusion of immigrants did not last. As theyacquired wealth, they left inner- city reception areas and "invaded" other19Janet Mai-Lan Lee, "Responding to Future Housing Needs: ResidentialIntensification in Single-Family Neighbourhoods" (M. A. Thesis, Universityof British Columbia, 1989), 20-27. See also Klein and Sears et al., DetailedSummary of Findings and Recommendations, Part 1 of Study of ResidentialIntensification and Rental Housing Conservation, Ontario Ministry ofMunicipal Affairs and Housing and the Association of Municipalities ofOntario (Toronto, 1983), 30-35."See, for example, Ekos Research Associates, The Impact of Conversionson Neighbourhoods: Property Values and Perceptions, Ontario Ministry ofHousing (Toronto, 1987).39areas. Some clustered farther out and others dispersed throughout the city.David Ley cites several studies to show that dispersal and clustering relate tosocial distance or the degree of difference between individuals or groups interns of racial, cultural or status variables.. . . minority groups pass thorough variable assimilationhistories. Some minorities rapidly abandon their culturalroots, and their identity merges with that of the majoritygroup, whereas others voluntarily maintain their separate-ness. For a third category, for whom ethnic differences areoften compounded by racial diversity, segregation isenforced not only voluntarily but also by the hostility ofthe host culture!'Where differences between newcomers and existing residents are profound,says Ley, the invaded population leaves and the community restructuresaround the needs of the invading group. In most examples of invasion andsuccession, a lower status group takes over the territory of a higher statusgroup, and the physical landscape either deteriorates or acquires a "culturallayer" that alters the appearance but not the structure of the physical land-scape. With gentrification, a variant of invasion and succession, the reverse°is true. Here, a higher status group moves into a neighbourhood occupied bya lower status group, upgrades existing buildings and removes ethnic layeringapplied by previous groups. 22 The large new houses of Vancouver are a dif-ferent phenomenon in that they permanently alter the physical structure ofthe neighbourhood as well as changing its social and economic fabric.21David Ley, A Social Geography of the City (New York: Harper & Row,1983), 267.22David Ley, "Gentrification: A Ten Year Overview", City Magazine 9(Winter 1986/87): 12-19. An example of layering by successive immigrantwaves and the removal of these layers by "gentrifiers" is discussed in LizWeier, "Whose House is Home?, Canadian Heritage 12, no. 3 (Aug.-Sept.1986): 29-35.40Geographer Ali Modarres notes that invasion and succession theorydoes not consider differences between and within ethnic groups. Becauseimmigrant characteristics have changed, affluent immigrants are less likelyto experience the formation or intensification of an ethnic consciousnessbrought on by discrimination, and theories developed by studying lessaffluent immigrants may have little validity today. Using factor analysis,Modarres mapped the spatial distribution of eight ethnic groups in LosAngeles and Orange Counties in California. He found that spatial distributionof groups with high socio-economic status differed significantly from thedistribution of other ethnic groups and reflected more locational options forthe higher status groups. Because socio-economic status differed among andwithin groups, recent immigrants had settled in various locations throughoutthe study area rather than invading areas settled by traditional immigrants.Any clustering by ethnicity among high-status groups is by choice.In contrast to the invasion-succession theory, the first elitegroup never tried to invade an ethnic area of the city .. .[It] can choose to locate anywhere. Any concentrationamong these groups is driven more by ethnicity than byeconomic necessity. Since later groups do not have equalaccess to the housing market, they are located in the lowersocioeconomic areas, where they may form a residentialconcentration and co-occupy an area with other ethnicgroups.23Simple succession can also result from the aging of the resident popu-lation. Many older residential areas have developed a physical structure thatsupports different stages in the life cycle through a mix of large and smallhouses and the conversion of large houses to multi- family dwellings. Thepost- war suburbs, in contrast, are more homogeneous in house size and the23Ali Modarres, "Ethnic Community Development: A Theoretical andMethodological Re-examination", paper delivered at the Urban AffairsAssociation Annual Meeting, Vancouver, 17 April 1991, 21.41legal conversion of existing homes has not been permitted. These suburbs,extensively researched in their formative years,' have become candidatesfor social, economic and physical change as they have aged.In her study of four suburban developments in Burnaby, Vischer foundthat planning principles used to guide the development of these suburbs havenot stood the test of time. Because these principles were based on the needsof young families, they have left suburbs open to "pressures for redevelop-ment that affect the traditional design appearance of suburban subdivisions".25Vischer found that a more affluent second-generation population was replac-ing the middle income households who first moved to the suburb, and thatmany empty-nesters who previously had resisted higher densities wanted tomove into higher density housing in their own neighbourhoods. The collectiveaging of suburban populations and their outmigration for want of suitablehousing is widespread.These theories of neighbourhood change, although not directly appli-cable to the large house, describe variables that combine in a different wayto produce the large house and consequent neighbourhood change. Figure 4suggests how the large house phenomenon may differ from other theories ofneighbourhood change. In the figure, the heading "aging" refers to simplesuccession by younger buyers and the "0" under each heading represents theacting variables with the exception of the common variable of aging. Theaging of residents in established neighbourhoods is clearly the cause of simple24Herbert Gans, The Levittowners: Ways of Life and Politics in a NewSuburban Community (New York: Pantheon Books, 1967); William Whyte, TheOrganization Man (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1956); S. D. Clark,Suburban Society (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1966).25Vischer, 130. Emphasis mine.42succession and contributes to invasion/succession and gentrification. InVancouver, the aging of residents and their homes led to the sale andreplacement of these homes by new large dwellings purchased by immigrants.Invasion Gentrification Aging Large HouseIncome 0 0 0 0Status 0 0Ethnicity 0 0Physical Change 0 0Figure 4. Variables active in theories of neighbourhood change and in change involving largehouses in Vancouver.Other than the variable of aging, each theory of neighbourhood changeturns on a different set of variables. Invasion and succession brings togetherethnicity and (lower) income and status; gentrification brings together(higher) income and status; and the aging of residents or simple successionbrings together (higher) income and possible permanent change to the physi-cal landscape by extensive renovation or new construction. Neighbourhoodchange initiated by large houses differs because it brings together all variablesexcept status. The status of buyers of large new houses may be quite differentin their country of origin than in the communities to which they move. But,although the income and ethnicity of potential buyers affects the speculativebuilders' choice of location and design, the evidence suggests that actualbuyers may be higher, lower or equal in status to surrounding neighbours.Thus, the large house phenomenon turns around the variables of income,ethnicity and physical change.43Social- economic changes that threaten the status quo make manyresidents of affected neighbourhoods anxious. Yet planners cannot draw upona body of literature that supports either social mix or segregation, and noevidence exists to show that social mix is successful. 26 Modarres' findings—that affluent immigrants make locational choices commensurate with income—has a parallel in the Vancouver situation. If his research and Vancouver'sexperience have more general application, the clustering by affluent immi-grants in preferred residential locations is a new phenomenon for planners.The Global EconomyAlthough little literature on the global economy relates to planning andzoning at the local level, two themes highlighted by John Naisbitt and PatriciaAburdene repeat through the literature. The Pacific Rim will reshape theworld culturally and economically, and the need to preserve cultural identitywill ,offset the homogenizing forces of communication and the marketplace.The more humanity sees itself as inhabiting a single planet,the greater the need for each culture on that globe to owna unique heritage. It is desirable to taste each others' cui-sine, fun to dress in blue denim, to enjoy some of the sameentertainment. But if that outer process begins to erode thesphere of deeper cultural values, people will return tostressing their differences, a sort of cultural backlash .. .in a curiously paradoxical way, the more alike we become,the more we will stress our uniqueness.2726Wendy Sarkissian, "The Idea of Social Mix—Town Planning: A HistoricalReview", Urban Studies 3 (1976): 231-244; Christopher Silver, "Neighbour-hood Planning—A Historical Perspective", Journal of the American PlanningAssociation (Spring 1985): 161-174.'John Naisbitt and Patricia Aburdene, Megatrends 2000: Ten NewDirections for the 1990s (New York: Avon Books, 1990), 156.°44Several Canadian writers have explored the influence of the PacificRim and its impact on Vancouver and Toronto streetscapes. In describing alarge new house in Vancouver's elite Shaughnessy area, Margaret Cannoncaptures the way in which these houses anger residents by breaking with thecultural traditions of local neighbourhoods.Around the corner, Old Vancouver sits well back from theroad, daffodil and tulip beds ablaze, its windows decentlyshrouded behind firs, cedars and flowering magnolia. Butdefiantly next door to it stands New Vancouver, two-storey stucco-and-brick front, center -hall plan. It fills theentire lot. There is an infinitisimal strip of green betweenhouse and sidewalk. Two miniscule pollarded holly bushesin stucco pots sit resignedly on either side of the frontdoor. No doubt it is supposed to be impressive, butcompared with the quiet elegance of the rest of the street,it's a tacky fraud.28Cannon's exploration came from a concern for the cultural identity ofher adopted country. Others who provide similar descriptions of neighbour-hood change were more concerned with economic impacts that may influencecultural life. John Demont and Thomas Fennel predict a revitalized economythrough the entrepreneurial talents of Asian immigrants and their links to theawakening market of mainland China, while Donald Gutstein argues thatAsian wealth will translate to a new power base. 29 But even the optimisticanalysis by DeMont and Fennel alludes to shifts in power and regional econo-mic disparity as a result of the tendency of business immigrants to cluster inMontreal, Toronto and Vancouver. "Chinese emigres dominate the economy28Margaret Cannon, China Tide: The Revealing Story of the Hong KongExodus to Canada (Toronto: Harper & Collins, 1989), 200.29John DeMont and Thomas Fennel, Hong Kong Money: How ChineseFamilies and Fortunes are Changing Canada (Toronto: Key Porter, 1989);Donald Gutstein, The New Landlords: Asian Investment in Canadian RealEstate (Victoria: Porcepic Books, 1990).45of almost every Asian country they call home," they note. "Canadianbusinessmen should realize that they will likely do the same in Canada." 3°The dispersal of people to towns and villages in Canada since the 1960scould accelerate this power shift. Gerald Hodge and Mohammad Qadeer notethat, although smaller centres have gained population more rapidly thanurban centres since 1971, their social structure discourages immigrants frommoving to these communities.' The tendency for politicians to defer to thewealth and power in large cities at the expense of peripheral areas could havesignificant implications for society if wealth is not evenly distributed amongethnic groups. It is entirely possible, as Gutstein suggests, that the power basewill shift to Asians who operate in the global market.Michael Goldberg also describes the potential benefits to Canada fromlinks with the Nanyang (overseas) Chinese, who he estimates number around40 million. 32 His study of their investment behaviour in Pacific Rim coun-tries outside China emphasizes the strong ties within the Chinese culture tofamily and the land, and the links between land, family, business enterpriseand education which has enabled many of them to prosper in the PacificRim. Goldberg also describes the emergence of "global cities" as the criticalconduits in a new global economy in which the Pacific Rim and the NanyangChinese will play a major role. He concludes:. . . the continued ascendency of a relatively limitednumber of key urban areas around the world implies that30DeMont and Fennel, 176.Si Gerald Hodge and Mohammad A. Qadeer, Towns and Villages inCanada: The Importance of Being Unimportant (Toronto: Butterworths, 1983),134.32Michael A. Goldberg, The Chinese Connection: Getting Plugged in toPacific Rim Real Estate, Trade and Capital Markets (Vancouver: Universityof British Columbia Press, 1975).46much of the international real estate investment of thefuture will be directed toward these centres . . . existingChinese populations in these cities, the presence of world-class educational institutions and access to Asia by air .. .suggest that the Nanyang Chinese will continue to seeksound real estate investment in such world cities."It is probable that the global economy is the next phase of liberalcapitalism, and it is probable that global cities will become increasinglyimportant in this economy. Goldberg's analysis shows why Vancouver isfavoured by overseas Chinese as a city in which to live and to invest.Vancouver already has a large Chinese population and, in terms of location,education facilities, climate and political stability, it has the potential tobecome a global city. Goldberg and DeMont and Fennel make a convincingcase that Canada has much to gain by welcoming these immigrants and muchto lose if it does not. The question for planners is how to accommodate theinflux of new ideas, new people and new wealth to benefit both newcomersand local residents.The literature review has moved from "hard" generally accepted inter-pretations of single-family zoning to more conjectural reflections on theimplications of the global economy for Vancouver's single- family neighbour-hoods. It would seem that single- family zoning flowed from a vision of theideal life that had its roots in the industrial era. The reality that plannersattempted to pattern after this vision was shaped by regulations that excludedthose who did not fit this vision of the ideal. The low-density single- familypattern, shaped partly by regulation and partly by the vision itself, wasinherently unstable. Its instability will be shown through the empiricalanalysis of amendments to the single-family schedule that, in combination33Goldberg, 95.47with market forces, produced a new residential pattern. The generallyaccepted theories of neighbourhood change do not explain the changes to thesingle-family pattern that began in the 1960s. Of the variables that apply tothe large house, the only variable not easily observable or supported by exist-ing documentation is ethnicity. The introduction of evidence to supportethnicity as a variable in neighbourhood change in Vancouver completes theempirical analysis of the large house issue.The ethnic variable firms up, at least for Vancouver, the notion thatthe global market has become a factor in neighbourhood change. The globalmovement of people and wealth, therefore, may set up new conditions forinvasion that are based on the purchasing patterns of newcomers. These pat-terns have cultural repercussions that bring community rights—a non-issue inthe homogeneous single-family zones of the past—to centre stage.The issue of individual and community rights raises difficult questions.Do individuals have the right to use land as they wish as long as this useconforms to the zoning schedule? Or do communities have the right to retaincultural values that are expressed in the residential landscape? Should a city,however inadvertently, use zoning to destroy places where people feel rooted?Or should it try to preserve symbols of the local culture so that people feelless uprooted when neighbourhood change occurs? Should a city use zoningto exclude by ethnicity, even if this exclusion may be unintentional? If a cityought not to use zoning to exclude on the basis of ethnicity, what legitimatereasons remain to use zoning to exclude by age, by lifestyle and by income?In thinking about inclusion, it seemed that the fundamental planningproblem was scale. At what scale should land use encourage segregation ormix by age, income or ethnicity? Should the scale be the block, the neigh-48bourhood or the municipality? By setting aside large areas for highrises andeven larger areas for single- family use, Canadians have chosen large-scalesegregation by age and family type and, as exemplified by elite communitiesin Vancouver and elsewhere, a similar large-scale segregation by income.Encouraging mix or segregation by age and income is basically a regulatorychoice—to separate or mix unit sizes and tenures in any given area. Mix orsegregation by ethnicity is more complex. Ethnic mix at the scale of the blockconfers a real sense of cultural diversity but a very limited sense of rooted-ness, especially if individual houses reflect the ethnic origin of their owners.Conversely, entire neighbourhoods or municipalities that are ethnicallyhomogeneous confer a strong sense of rootedness and a limited sense ofcultural diversity. Because the tendency has been to large-scale segregationby age and income, it is reasonable to assume that large-scale segregation byethnicity will occur either by intent or otherwise.49Chapter 3^Early Residential PatternsThe replacement of small homes by larger ones is part of a transitionbetween early settlement and a more compact urban form. This transitionalphase can be seen in North American cities wherever older areas remainintact. In Vancouver, large new houses are the market's attempt to replace the"first settlement pattern" of bungalows and ranchers with a more matureurban form. In this sense, Thomas More's description of Utopia—possiblytaken from London in the 1500s—could easily apply to Vancouver today.The original houses were merely small huts or cottages,built hurriedly with the first timber that came to hand . .. But nowadays every house is an imposing three-storeystructure. The walls are faced with bricks, and lined withroughcast. The sloping roofs have been raised to thehorizontal, and covered with a special sort of concretewhich costs next to nothing, but is better than lead forresisting bad weather conditions, and is also fireproof.'Large houses have been built throughout history as symbols of theprosperity of individuals, groups and communities. In Ontario, they wereappearing regularly by the mid-1800s as replacements for the first homes ofearly settlers.2 Urban variations were often as wide as the lot permitted, astall as was comfortable for living, and crafted for durability over time.Wherever they have been not been replaced by higher density forms, theyimprove their surrounds by their quality, their scale, and their attention tothe public-private interface. Many have adapted to new uses as community'Sir Thomas More, Utopia (Penguin, 1965), 73.2In Ontario, this replacement reached its peak between 1845 and 1865.Verschoyle Benson Blake and Ralph Greenhill, Rural Ontario (Toronto:University of Toronto Press, 1969), 3.50.111 lulllullii1,21111IM1 1 ,1 iliffITI*itFlu iil l c,rui n II11110fle 11^lugneeds changed, and the best examples are links to our heritage and a sourceof stability in a changing world.Because space was not at a premium in early cities and towns, the firstlarge houses in Canadian cities and towns were built broadside to the street.As population grew, lots were subdivided and large houses turned to presenta narrow face to the street. Finally, the houses were joined together asdouble-houses, rowhouses and lowrise apartments. All these forms were oftenbuilt at the same time, and older areas in eastern Canada show a mix ofmulti-family housing and large single-family dwellings with commercialenterprises often found at important residential junctions. At that time, noone equated this mix of uses with neighbourhoods of inferior quality. It wasthe quality of the dwellings and their proximity to industry and to city centrewhich determined the social class of a neighbourhood.lbwn ^ qtyCottage^Broads* House^lOwnhouse Duplex orDoutieHouse Rowboases (two to fouFstorey)Figure 5. The transition from small houses to rowhouses and lowrise apartments.Vancouver in the early 1900s was a mix of small and large dwellings. 3As the city grew, larger two-and-a-half storey dwellings were turned to pre-3Michael Kluckner, Vancouver The Way It Was (North Vancouver: White-cap Books, 1984) graphically illustrates typical residential patterns in the city.51sent narrow faces to the street. Theresult, shown in Photo 8, was a tighturban fabric of tall frame houses—eachwith large front porches and steeplypitched roofs. Along with other cities,Vancouver rejected this compact use ofurban land, and chose a looser patternfor its residential development.Photo 8. Tightly packed houses in an older,neighbourhood on Vancouver's east side.The Disappearance of Early Residential PatternsWhen the first large houses were built in Canada, community valueswere as instrumental as climate and availability of materials in shaping urbanform. At that time, the population of English Canada was primarily British,politically conservative, and drew its elite from farming communities and themarket towns that served them. The urban pattern that developed was muchlike the pre-industrial pattern in Europe with the rich living in large housesnear the centre of town, the poor living at the periphery, and the middle-class living in a muddle in between.' Zoning and planning existed informallyin these early cities. Zoning emerged in local ordinances to protect citizensfrom a variety of hazards. Planning, beyond the original survey that laid outthe urban grid, combined the visions of the elite and the unarticulated rulesof the community in the form, detailing and siting of buildings. "In spite ofthe rack of any centralized planning or official controls," writes Gilbert Stelterof the mid-1800s, "there was a remarkable semblance of order and regularity"Ley, A Social Geography, 57, 58.52to cities of this era."' This unselfconscious ordering of built form resulted inan urban landscape where even early factories built along river banks formedpart of a unified visual composition that mirrored community values.These early cities of North America had more in common with themedieval city than with cities that emerged during the industrial era. LewisMum ford, for example, argues that medieval cities supported complex socialrelationships in a healthful physical setting. Until the change from an organicto a technical society brought overcrowding and overbuilding, says Mumford,the medieval city offered the vitality of the city within it and the naturalworld of the countryside beyond its gates. Its design, scale and vitality, arguesMurray Bookchin, came from the social relationships between individuals andsmall groups. In turn, the resulting physical form protected the central valuesof that society.' Although early North American cities lacked the complexitythat time has given to mature pre-industrial cities, they had similar attributesthat derived from community values. Adams believed that early New Englandtowns, built to sustain common needs rather than the profit motive, couldserve as models for early twentieth century planners.In the layout of early New England towns, considerationwas given to utilitarian purposes from the point of view ofthe happiness and welfare of the community rather than ofthe gain of the few at the expense of the many . . . Wheresome of their best qualities still exist, they shame modernmethods in supplying modern needs.''Gilbert Stelter, "The City-Building Process in Canada" in Shaping theUrban Landscape: Aspects of the Canadian City-Building Process, Gilbert A.Stelter and Alan Artibise ed. (Ottawa: Carleton University Press, 1982), 16.'Lewis Mumford, The Culture of Cities (New York: Harcourt Brace,1938); Murray Bookchin, The Limits of the City (New York: Harper & Row,1974).'Thomas Adams, The Design of Residential Areas, 104.53Suzanne Keller notes that in small towns, villages and cultural enclavesin large cities, where a high dependence on neighbours exists, social rules arerigidly defined, and that this interdependence and order weakens as citiesgrow in size.8 Although the communal obligations that shaped early citieshave lingered longer in Canada than in the United States,' the foundation forthese obligations was largely swept away by laissez- faire capitalism that tookhold in the late 1800s and ushered in rapid urban growth. Industry replacedagriculture as the basis for local economies and, increasingly, a commercialelite governed decisions affecting urban change. 1" In a perceptive passagedescribing the city of "Elgin", Sara Jeannette Duncan catches this transitionfrom community to individual values at the end of the nineteenth century.They were all hardworking folk together . . . fundament-ally occupied with the amount of capital invested, andprofoundly aware of how hard it was to come by. Thevaluable part of it all was a certain bright freedom and thiswas the essence. There was a decent communal way ofmaking a living, rooted in independence and the generalneed; it had none of the meaner aspects."The industrial era brought rural populations to work in the cities andattracted immigrants from Britain and Europe. Industries sprang up neartown centres and, by the mid 1800s, elite suburbs such as the one shown in8Suzanne Keller, The Urban Neighbourhood: A Sociological Perspective(New York: Random House, 1968), 23."Michael Goldberg and John Mercer, The Myth of the North AmericanCity: Continentalism Challenged (Vancouver: University of British ColumbiaPress, 1986), 18; Seymour Martin Lipset, Continental Divide (New York:Routledge, 1990), 155.1°John Porter, The Vertical Mosaic: An Analysis of Social Class andPower in Canada (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1965); WallaceClement, The Canadian Corporate Elite: An Analysis of Economic Power(Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1975).;'Sara Jeannette Duncan, The Imperialists (New York: Appleton, 1904).54the top two pictures in Photo 9 came into existence as the upper classesmoved from large houses built near the centre of town to equally large housesfurther removed from the smoke and grime of factories.Photo 10. An elite suburb developed around 1850 in "Elgin". Clockwise from upper left: aretirement cottage built among very large homes of the elite; on the same street, mid-sized single-family homes and a duplex belonging to the upper-middle class; working-class rowhouses adjacentto the suburb but "below the hill"; a crude cottage circa 1800 in a poor area at the edge of town.As the industrial economy shifted from local firms to national and multi-national enterprises after the Second World War, suburban expansion providedthe workforce for corporate capitalism. Established wealth stayed in elitesuburbs, and the middle class became the driving force behind outwardexpansion. 12 New immigrants, on the other hand, clustered in low-rent dis-12see, for example, Peter Smith, ed., The Emerging Metropolitan Pattern,(Victoria: University of Victoria Press, 1978).55tricts close to the factories employing them and then moved to housingvacated by the middle-class.As immigrants grew in number, local ordinances were used with greaterfrequency to discriminate against them. In one of several examples, JohnWeaver describes the bending of otherwise legitimate by-laws to protectVancouver residents from the city's Chinese population.It was only natural that to the clerks, managers and profes-sionals who flocked toward the security, status and green-ery of the suburbs, the Chinatown blight was pathogenic.Its first symptoms came in the guise of a Chinese laundry.Those suburban petitions, which called for a buildinginspector to refuse laundry permits in the suburbs, ulti-mately prompted a by-law restricting their location on thepretext that the dirty laundry presented a health problem."Along with social upheaval, liberal capitalism brought disorderly deve-lopment to towns and cities that benefitted from the industrial economy. Inthe first quarter of the nineteenth century, the commercial elite began tolook closely at comprehensive planning as a way to reintroduce orderlygrowth that would enhance profits and use land more efficiently. After aperiod of relative inactivity in the 1930s and 1940s, planning gatheredstrength again in the 1950s, and by the late 1970s most cities of any size hadplanning departments to coordinate growth in a comprehensive manner. 14Nevertheless, the pattern of settlement had fundamentally changedfrom cohesion to fragmentation. Stelter notes that changes in the social land-scape parallelled city growth during the industrial era; there was more"John C. Weaver, "The Property Industry and Land Use Controls: TheVancouver Experience, 1910-1945", Plan Canada 19, no. 3 (September 1979):214."'Kent Gerecke, "The History of Canadian City Planning", City Magazine(Summer 1974): 14, notes that there were only six local planning departmentsup to 1950, but by 1960, there were 30 planning departments, and by 1976,all cities over 10,000 had a planning department of some sort.56differentiation in land use, more separation between home and work, andmore segregation by ethnicity and social class.' Bookchin argues that theshift to a market- driven society destroyed the complex social relationshipsthat had given vitality and scale to early cities. Capitalism strippedindividuals of power and destroyed the richness of the urban experience bysegregating its various facets. Planning was a response to the problems of thismarket society, but because it was also a segregated function of urban life,it could rarely transcend these problems and ultimately added to thefracturing of the social structure."Planning changed the way cities were built. Before the Second WorldWar, urban form was a direct, local response to broad political, social andeconomic forces sweeping the country. After the war, zoning became thefilter through which these forces shaped built form. Just as advocates of themarket believed that free, rational choices by individuals in an unfetteredmarket would improve the quality of life for all, advocates of zoning believedthat regulating the individual site would improve the quality of the commonspace. Like their market counterparts, planners copied freely from each otherrather than responding directly to local conditions. But unlike the corporatesector, planners were less able to respond quickly to changing social andeconomic conditions with the result that critical amendments to zoningoccurred infrequently and well after unintended patterns had emerged. Toa large extent, single-family neighbourhoods have been governed by slowlychanging regulations devised in an era of laissez- faire liberal capitalism."Stelter, 28; Rapoport, 6-9."Bookchin, 80-101.57Liberal capitalism had other impacts on the urban landscape. In theearly 1800s, climatic variables and the availability of local materials and skillsconstrained the built form of cities and towns, producing identifiable verna-culars despite the larger forces which shaped development. The coming ofthe railroad increased standardization and, with the shift to national andmulti-national corporations, materials became widely available and mass pro-duction replaced hand-craftsmanship." Paradoxically, the standardization ofsingle- family houses as the century has progressed is the result of the forcesunleashed by liberal capitalism.The Introduction of Planning in VancouverTo understand the particular forces that shaped Vancouver's single-family landscape, it is necessary to go back to the introduction of zoning inthe city. Between 1900 and 1912, the city's population grew from 27,000 to122,000. Frenzied building was followed by a market collapse in 1913 and aresurgence in population growth and construction activity during the 1920s.These boom cycles convinced Vancouver's leading citizens that the city hadgrown beyond the point where its officials could manage change on an ad hocbasis. They saw its future as a world port, and wanted a plan to promoteefficient, orderly, and profitable growth.John Bottomley's analysis of early documents shows that Americanpractice and the beliefs of Vancouver's commercial elites influenced the city'szoning. These elites recognized that liberalism had brought both growth andhaphazard development to cities and towns and, as in other North American'Blake and Greenhill, 36-37, date the shift to standardization in Ontarioaround 1850.58cities, they believed that capitalism could be saved by reforming liberalism..The reform movement which took hold in the United States and EasternCanada between 1880 and 1914 offered a solution to the social and environ-mental problems that had accompanied rapid urban growth.Planning took the form of an expert bureaucracy whoserole it was to advise the city government of the "correct"procedures to attain the desired end result. The primaryadvocates of reform in Canada as in the United States werethe commercial elites who dominated the social and politi-cal life of their respective cities. These elites saw "reform"as the way to establish their control of the "public" envi-ronment. Drawing their ideas both directly and indirectlyfrom American sources, they implemented programs ofreform that were only marginally Canadian in origin. 18An early consequence of reform ideology had been the introduction ofplanning at the federal level through the establishment of the Commission ofConservation under Thomas Adams. Adams, who went to the United Statesafter the commission disbanded in 1921, urged the Vancouver Town PlanningCommission to hire a Canadian to draw up a plan for the city. Instead, theCommission hired Harland Bartholomew, an American whose urban visionwas restricted to his experience of the north-eastern and mid-western UnitedStates.Influencing the Commission was the fact that Bartholomew's beliefsmeshed with those of Vancouver's commercial elites. 19 Among these beliefswere a fear of slums and the conviction that single -family use provided the18John Bottomley, "Ideology, Planning and the Landscape: The BusinessCommunity, Urban Reform and the Establishment of Town Planning inVancouver, British Columbia 1900-1940" (Ph.D. diss., University of BritishColumbia, September 1977), 154. See also Paul Rutherford, "Tomorrow'sMetropolis: The Urban Reform Movement in Canada 1880- -1920," TheCanadian City: Essays in Urban History. Gilbert A. Stelter and Alan JArtibise, eds. (Toronto: Macmillan, 1979).19Bottomley, 230.59best setting for family life. Fear of slums derived from American andEuropean experience. Adams, for example, argued that haphazard growthwas responsible for blighted conditions, and that North America was moreprone to intractable slums because its cities had developed at higher densi-ties.' He advocated the separation of uses, segregation of traffic and pedes-trian routes, and ample provision of public and private space, but he alsocautioned against legislating uniformity into residential areas.That houses should conform to a certain uniformity ofprice and quality . . . is not productive of the best civicand social conditions. Both [rich and poor neighbourhoods]suffer from the separation ... In early New England townsthere was an agreeable blending of large and small housesand a resulting opportunity for intercourse between richerand poorer families. The same has been and even now istrue of many of the old villages and towns of Europe. 21In most Canadian cities, there was little basis for the fear that infectedVancouver's elites. Even though tenements existed in Toronto and Montreal,Schoenauer points out that neither the tenement nor the apartment "consti-tuted a large proportion of the Canadian housing stock and consequently thedire housing conditions experienced in Great Britain and in many largeAmerican cities never existed in Canada".22 Even so, Vancouver's elitebelieved that apartments were precursors of slums. When Bartholomew askedwhat abuses he should consider in the interim zoning by-law of 1927 he waspreparing, the chairman replied that "the only serious abuse . . . is the intru-sion of undesirable apartment houses into residential districts". AnotherCommission member brought memories of slums and the Garden City ideal"Thomas Adams, Outline of Town and City Planning: A Review of PastEfforts and Modern Aims (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 1936), 174.21Adams, The Design of Residential Areas, 104.22Schoenauer, "House".60from his native England. "Any deviation from the Garden City ideal of asingle - family home for all citizens," writes Bottomley, "he regarded withhorror?" Despite duplexes and apartment buildings that co-existed withsingle- family homes in elite neighbourhoods elsewhere, the faith in single-family zoning as a deterrent against slums largely explains Vancouver'szoning schedule.Vancouver was the first major Canadian city to adopt a comprehensivezoning schedule. This schedule, adopted in 1930, was the only part of theBartholomew Plan legislated, although Vancouver has used elements of theplan to guide development over the years." The schedule provided concentricrings of apartments, two-family dwellings and single-family homes arounda commercial downtown. In keeping with prevalent views of the time, mostof the city was zoned for single-family homes with duplexes and apartmentsbuffering them from commercial zones. Bartholomew was clear about theprinciples that shaped the city's zoning. Uppermost, of course, were health,safety and convenience, but also important were prevention of overcrowding,preservation of amenity and protection of property values. In the end, arguesWeaver, the by-law "reflected the clash of realty interests rather than anycertain principles of land use or any precise guidance from the AssociatedProperty Owners."25Although Bartholomew believed that zoning would bring more unity toresidential neighbourhoods, he recognized its limitations in this regard. Other23Bottomley, 235 and 132."Weaver, 212. It is important to note that while Vancouver had a com-prehensive zoning schedule early on, it has never had a comprehensive plan.25Weaver, 219.61than a recommendation to educate the public, nothing in the by-law con-trolled for unity of design.The mixture of architectural types and styles, and thehaphazard placing of buildings of all sizes along the samestreet is responsible for the disturbing effect found in somestreets of Vancouver . . . Through education a gradualimprovement of public taste should be sought. WhatVancouver needs is an agreement as to a style of buildingthat is at once aesthetically pleasing and adapted to localclimatic conditions. The half-timber house should bestudied and advocated by architects, for it seemsappropriate to these surroundings 28The schedule took its cues from the schedule for the wealthy westsidesuburb of Point Grey which Bartholomew admired as a "first-class residentialdistrict". Point Grey developed its first by-law when it separated temporarilyfrom Vancouver in 1908, and in 1926, it was one of the first Canadian muni-cipalities to adopt a zoning ordinance as part of a town planning policy. 27 Butaspects of Point Grey that he admired may have had more to do with thesuburb's affluence. Both Point Grey and the eastside working- class suburb ofVancouver South amalgamated with Vancouver as part of Bartholemew'sprojected comprehensive plan for the city. Although both areas became moreordered after zoning, the dichotomy in the appearance and the socio-economic structure of the two areas has remained. 28 At the same time, theadoption of one schedule for all single-family areas ultimately led to the26Harland Bartholomew and Associates, A Plan for the City of Vancouver,British Columbia: Including a General Plan of the Region, 1929, 254.27It should be noted that Thomas Adams and Horace Seymour prepareda plan for Kitchener-Waterloo in 1923 and that the first Canadian zoning by -law,' formulated by them for these cities, was enacted in 1924. Seymour wasresident planner under Bartholemew for the Vancouver Plan. Gerald Hodge,Planning Canadian Communities: An Introduction to the Principles, Practiceand Participants, 2nd ed., (Toronto: Nelson Canada, 1991), 124 and 222.28Bottomley, 198.62replication of Specials and Monster Houses. One designer noted that "ablanket policy discriminates against uniqueness, against different characterin different neighbourhoods. We cannot escape that some neighbourhoods arericher than others but that does not mean that each neighbourhood cannot beunique whether it has modest or expensive housing"."Vancouver's Single-Family Zoning ScheduleEarly zoning schedules were simple documents easily understood byresidents and builders. As amendments were added, usually to prohibit fla-grant abuses of the by-law, the complexity of schedules increased. A floorspace ratio was introduced to the single-family schedule in 1938 to regulatethe maximum floor area allowed in new and renovated dwellings. Later, sitecoverage began to regulate the percentage of the lot that house, garage andother outbuildings could cover. As time progressed, both actual and hypo-thetical ground levels or "grades" from which building height was measuredbecame precisely defined in the schedule. The complexity of the scheduletoday makes it difficult for the public to negotiate as equals with technicalstaff who administer the by-law."Vancouver's first single-family schedule regulated only height and thedistance the house must be "set back" from each property line. Height andsetbacks described a simple three-dimensional box or building envelopewithin which the house could be built. As shown in Figure 6, the front set-'Designer Linda Valter, interview with author, 15 May 1990."For a summary of the single-family schedule and a sample schedule(1985), see Appendix A. The 1985 schedule is somewhat more complex thanthe 1930 schedule but is less than half the length of the 1990 schedule.63back was 24 feet or the average depthof adjacent front yards, the side setbackwas 10 percent of lot width, and therear setback was 25 feet. The maximumheight was 35 feet. Little was builtduring the depression and war years andafter the war, material shortages andhousehold income meant that houseswere modest in size, cheaply built, and Figure 6. The 1930 building envelope and atypical small house of the period.sparing of detail. Because most newhomes were small relative to the envelope, there was no way of knowingwhether single-family zoning actually worked in practice.The city made few changes to the single-family by-law in the earlyyears of zoning. In 1938, council introduced a floor space ratio that limitedfinished space within the dwelling to 45 percent of the area of the lot. Base-ments were not included in this calculation. On a standard lot, building atwo-and-a-half storey unarticulated box-shaped house to the maximum spacepermitted by the zoning schedule meant a smaller main floor (716 square feet)and fewer total square (2506 square feet) feet than typical for this houseform. 31 Building a one-and-a-half storey box to maximum size on the samelot provided a much larger living spaces on the ground floor (1188 squarefeet) and more total floor space (2970 square feet). From 1938 onward, itmade no sense to build vertically. Although developments consisting of low-slung suburban bungalows would have occurred in any event, the 1938 by-law was the first of several major regulatory changes which reduced options31See Table 1, page 71 for typical floor areas on a 4000 square- foot lot.64for house form and the distribution of space per floor.' Figure 7 is the firstof a series of schematics that show the results of these regulatory changes.TYPICAL 1900S SIZETYPICAL FORM 1938MAXIMUM MAXIMUM SIZE 1938 WA35 2 1/2 STOREYS 1938 MAWAttic^358 sq ft^ 1 1/2 STOREYS Upper Floor 716 sq ft Attic^594 sq ft.Main Floor 716 sq. ft. Main Floor 1188 sq ftBasement^716 sq ft. Basement 1188 sq. ft.Ibtal Area 2506 sq ft.^ lbtal Area 2970 sq. ft.1938 BY4..AWFigure 7. The 1938 by - law results on a 33' by 120' lot. The introduction of a floor space ratioin 1938 made the two-and-a-half-storey home (left) impractical.Rapoport notes that "the creation of the ideal environment is expressedthrough the specific organization of space, which is more fundamental thanthe architectural form." 33 After 1930, the height restriction of 35 feet dis-couraged tall, turn-of-the-century vernacular homes, and after 1938 it madelittle sense to build a two-and-a-half-storey dwelling which had its mainfloor space so restricted by floor space ratio. Thus, regulating height and floorarea marked the beginning of construction that devoured open space. The lossof the two-and-a-half -storey vernacular type was not apparent at the timebecause the one-and-a-half-storey dwelling had become popular between theFirst and Second World Wars. Nevertheless, the 1930 height restriction and'These changes are summarized graphically in Appendix A.33Rapoport, 49.65the 1938 amendments removed the option to return to a more compact formby discouraging taller houses of a reasonable size.In his comprehensive plan, Bartholomew saw single- family zones as aninterim measure in managing urban growth, and wrote that conversion totwo-family zones might be necessary.At present, Vancouver is largely a city of one-familyhomes and large areas for one-family dwellings have beenprovided. Whether or not these will remain one-family orbecome two- family can safely be left to the wishes of theowners or the by-law amended accordingly when occasionarises."Bartholomew acknowledged that owners of large homes in areas zoned forsingle and two-family use had exerted pressure to have these areas changedto three-storey multiple-dwelling districts so that they could convert theirproperty to apartments. Vancouver Town Planning Commission reports ofthe 1930s confirm that pressure for conversion and redevelopment continuedinto the war years. In 1940, the city relaxed the by-law to permit owners tocreate suites in single-family areas to relieve wartime housing shortages. By°1944, the number of duplexes in single-family districts had increased to thepoint where one alderman accused the Zoning By-Law Board of Appeal offailing its responsibility to homeowners.We do not like to see the nice districts slipping into whatmight be termed depressed areas; we do not like to see ourhome districts being exploited, mostly by newcomers, byhaving certain houses in them used for commercialpurposes.35In 1956, council decided to close all suites except those installed before 1956and, in 1959, council ordered all suites in RS-1 areas closed. In 1961, it"Bartholomew and Associates, 27735Weaver, 221.66chose not to close those occupied by parents and grandparents. Vacillationover suite closure continued into the 1980s.The Legitimacy of Large Houses Built Before ZoningWhile the legitimacy of the large new homes that comprise the currentlandscape is being questioned, the legitimacy of older large homes remainsintact. In Vancouver's inner-city districts, large turn-of-the-century homesstand close enough together to give the impression of rowhousing. Many resi-dents cherish this older vernacular. Some restore these homes and others peti-tion the city when demolition threatens particularly appealing examples. Thisdesire to retain the city's heritage is not ethnically based. In one instance,over half the petitioners opposing the demolition of a heritage cottage inStrathcona were from visible minority groups.'Many heritage homes in single-family zones are prone to demolition.Buyers who can afford large old houses may replace them with new largehomes bcause they do not appreciate their links with the past. The buyer ofa house on Minto Crescent, for example, wanted to relax the front setback tobuild a new house set closer to the street. The proposed house, as large aspermitted, was smaller than the combined floor area of the existing heritagehouse and coach house. The planning department refused the request to relaxthe setback because a relaxation to demolish a heritage home contradicted theintent of city's heritage policy. The zoning department overturned this deci-sion, the house was replaced, and other new homes on either side have"Petition to Heritage Planner re: 711 Prior Street, 29 Aug. 1989. Theheritage planner confirmed that the desire for heritage preservation cutsacross ethnic origins.67Photo 10. An older home on West10th hidden behind greenery.compounded the change in the character of the street. Other owners whowant to restore their homes often cannot afford to do so without creatingsuites to cover the high costs of sensitive restoration. In 1986, the owner ofa heritage house in Dunbar requested a relaxation to create a legal triplex todefray restoration costs. When his request was refused, he demolished thehouse and built two new houses on the subdivided lots.nFour large turn-of-the-century homes onWest 10th Avenue in the local area of MountPleasant presented an opportunity to comparelarge houses built before and after zoning.Blueprints of the homes provided informationon structure, details and siting that could becontrasted with plans and elevations of newlarge homes. Calculating the amount of builtand open space for the cluster provided ahypothetical zoning that could be compared toVancouver's zoning schedule as it changed over time.The four houses, one of which is shown in Photo 10, are part of anintact streetscape of similar large homes. Built as single- family homes in theearly 1900s, they are typical of larger homes built throughout the city by andfor its affluent middle class. They are the result of both individual affluenceand a community prosperity that unleashed an economic boom shortly after37 RS-1 Monitoring Notes. The Vancouver Heritage Advisory Commis-sion minutes record cases of owners wanting to demolish heritage homes. Anexample, 1037 Matthews, is also described in Robin Ward, "Heritage conser-vation a matter of respect," Vancouver Sun, 16 Feb. 1991 and MichaelKluckner, Paving Paradise: Is British Columbia Losing its Heritage? (NorthVancouver: Whitecap Books, 1991), 61-63.68they were built. As city centre moved westward, this area declined. Three-storey walk-up apartments replaced some older homes, and others weredivided into suites or became rooming houses. In the 1970s, commercialinterests shifted eastward again, and the area took on new life. During thisperiod, the Davis family acquired these homes, restored them and convertedtheir interiors to fifteen suites. In 1985, the Davis houses were included in thecity's Heritage Inventory, and the street itself became the city's firstdesignated heritage streetscape. Not only are these houses recognized as urbantreasures but they have also encouraged the rehabilitation of other houses inthe neighbourhood.Figure 8. This cluster of four large turn-of-the-century homes has encouraged the renovationof other homes in the Mount Pleasant area. The illustration was traced and composed fromblueprints of original drawings loaned by Patricia Davis.The Davis cluster, illustrated in Figure 8 shows the flexibility of thelarge house over time. Conversion to fifteen suites caused little change to thestreet, although parking and fire regulations have changed rear yards exten-sively. Two houses have three suites, one has four suites and one has fivesuites. Suites not only vary in number per dwelling but also in size, and eachhas a character and occasional awkwardness of plan that derives from differ-ences in each house. Thus, while the street has a unity of form and detail,each suite provides a unique space which is part of a larger whole. Moreover,69in most new multi-family projects.West 10th Avenue26-3^214^ 30.4^• 221-•128.5Figure 9. The site plan for the Davis cluster.Adapted from December 9, 1977 survey, courtesy ofPatricia Davis.the basic structure permits conversion back to single-family homes.' Thisvariety and flexibility is lackingThere are several dif-ferences between regulated andunregulated development. Mapsof the area show that lots varyconsiderably in size (from under3000 to over 6000 square feet)and that owners almost alwaysmaximized built space at thefront of the lot. Houses wereoften over 40 feet in height andas wide as possible with someside yards almost too narrow toallow passage. Front yards are only somewhat shallower than the 24- footdepth permitted by single- family zoning, but front verandah steps camewithin 8 to 13 feet of front property lines. The shallow front yards combinedwith the height and width of the old houses resulted in intimate streets andgenerous backyards. Figure 9 shows that the practice of minimal front yardsand larger rear yards, along with the size of the houses themselves, led to aparticular balance of built and open space.This balance between built and open space may be appropriate for citiesof the future because of the need for built space and the value placed on openspace. Using the Davis homes as typical for larger houses of the period,"See Appendix C for the conversion of one of the Davis homes intosuites.70Chapters 3 to 5 compare land use before zoning with land use that emergedafter the 1938, 1974 and 1988 zoning changes. The variables considered are:total built space, above-grade built space and open space.' The comparisonshows that if a city values open space but needs built space, then the balanceof built and open space achieved before zoning more closely approximatesthese goals than forms and land use resulting from zoning.Table 1:—A Comparison of Built and Open Space — 1900 and 1938in Square Feet as a Percentage of 4000 Square-Foot Lot1900s Typical 1938 MaximumsSq. Ft^% Sq. Ft. %Total Built Space 3120 78 3000 75Above-Grade Space 2600 65 1800 45Main Floor Excluding Verandah 834 21 1200 30Open Space 2766 69 2400 60Source: Davis blueprints and 1938 Zoning By-Law.Table 1 compares the "zoning" derived from the Davis houses with aone-and-a-half storey house built to maximum floor area on a 4000 square-foot lot. To make this comparison, the total space and the above-grade floorspace (including verandahs) for all four Davis houses was divided by the sitearea to arrive at a total floor space ratio of 0.78 and an above-grade floorspace ratio of 0.65. If these floor space ratios are applied to a 4000 square-foot lot (the average lot size on the Davis site is 4235 square feet), the totalfloor space would be 3120 square feet and the above-grade space would be39Other variables, which would appear to favour older houses in terms ofsustainability, were discarded because of the complexity of analysis. Thesewere: the amount of surface space exposed to the elements, the materials ofconstruction, and the amount of sunlight penetrating the dwelling.712600 square feet. To calculate the main floor area, 200 square feet for atypical 8' by 25' verandah was subtracted from the total floor space, leaving2920 square feet of total space, and a main floor of approximately 834 squarefeet.4° To compare actual open space with open space after later zoningchanges, a single garage and verandah of 200 square feet each are added tothe main floor space of 834 square feet, leaving 2766 square feet in openspace. Using the 1938 schedule to calculate maximums for a one-and-a-halfstorey house, total space is 3000 square feet, above-grade space is 1800 squarefeet and main floor space is 1200 square feet. Assuming a typical verandahand single garage of 200 square feet each, the remaining open space is 2400square feet. These calculations show that houses similar to the Davis houseshad more open space and more space above grade than houses built tomaximums after 1938.The Davis cluster illustrates floor areas and building heights typical oftwo-and-a-half storey homes of the period. Total floor areas ranged from2787 to 3760 square feet, and main floor areas (excluding verandahs) rangedfrom 770 to 953 square feet. House height ranged from 29 feet (for the one -and-a- half -storey dwelling shown) to 41 feet, and the average height for thecluster was slightly over 36 feet. Whether the 35 - foot height maximum chosenfor the 1930 single-family schedule was determined by averaging the heightsof typical larger homes or simply by pulling a figure out of the air is40The main floor of a boxlike 2 1/2 storey form is 2/7 of the total 3 1/2floors (basement, main floor, second floor and attic). Typical basements werenot set deeply into the ground, and averaged heights for each dwelling rangedfrom about 3.5 to almost 7 feet between ground level and the bottom of themain floor joists. The above-grade floor space calculation assumes that spacemore than five feet out of the ground is above-grade space. In keeping withzoning to April 1990, verandahs than exceed 4 by 6 feet in size are includedin above-grade and total floor space calculations.72immaterial. The result was that two-and-a-half-storey houses with well litand well ventilated basement space could no longer be built. In the long run,as the empirical analysis will show, the attempt to bring order to developmentthrough zoning reduced the potential for both built and open space by dis-couraging the organization of space typical of two-and- a-half-storey homes.Photo 11. Speculative single-family homes built around 1912 are very large relative to lot area.All have minimal front yards (not shown) and rear yards barely large enough for a garage.The Davis cluster is typical of the balance between built and openspace that owners would choose for themselves in building a relatively largehome. But during the period, many smaller homes were also built,41 and fieldobservations showed that speculative builders of the period took advantageof the lack of regulation to build houses much larger than the Davis houses.These "spec" houses, as Photo 11 shows, left little open space around thedwelling, and this kind of development was one of the reasons zoning wasintroduced^in the city. It is important to note that most of the smaller homeshave been demolished while many of the large speculative homes survive.°Harold Kalman, Exploring Vancouver: Ten Tours of the City and itsBuildings (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 1974) FiguresB34, B36, E5 and E7.73Photo 12. View down West 10th Avenue.Although multiple conversion is often the only way to make sensitiverehabilitation of large old homes economic, single- family zoning usually doesnot permit conversion, and finks to the past continue to disappear." In thecase of the Davis homes, rehabilitation has retained both the ambiance ofthe street and links to the city's past. The Davis homes are a complex andcoherent part of an equally complex and coherent streetscape. Plans showedan order to the structure, facades were richly detailed without being chaotic,and interiors showed the idiosyncracies of the original and subsequent owners.This balance of complexity and coherence, which people seem to need in theireveryday lives,' is lacking in most new construction where designs are eitherrepeated monotonously or differ dramatically from their neighbours. Onereason that people complain may be that they miss, perhaps at a subconsciouslevel, the complexity and coherence exhibited so strongly in the Davis cluster.As a result they find their neighbourhoods impoverished rather than enrichedby the new large houses that are replacing older, smaller homes."Since 1990, Vancouver has permitted infill on single - family lots wherehomes listed in the Heritage Inventory have been threatened with demolition.'Perin, With Man in Mind, 155 —158.74The Davis houses suggest that early land use patterns may be equallyappropriate today. Some planners and architects are listening to the voicesfrom the past. At McGill University architects have designed livable andaffordable versions of older compact housing that await only changes tozoning regulations to permit construction. Architect Avi Friedman notes thatthe traditional appearance of these homes was deliberate.Classicism . . . offers the architect a canon as a guide, butit is a liberal and tolerant one . . . It does not require theuse of unusual shapes and odd materials (which areinevitably expensive) and it is content with according ameasure of esthetic refinement and elaboration within theframework of sensible construction."Similarly, in the United States, a transportation planning firm hasfound that reintroducing the grid street pattern helps to diffuse traffic flowbogged down by modern hierarchical road systems and, by making the tripmore visually pleasing, also perceptually shortens the journey to work."Several American firms commissioned to plan new residential developmentsare reproducing early residential patterns as a solution to urban sprawl. Theirgoal is not to copy or romanticize the past, but to find the patterns beneaththe surface that made these urban spaces succeed.It seems incredible that such a simple, even obviouspremise—that America's 18th and 19th century townsremain marvelous models for creating new suburbs—hadbeen neglected for half a century.'Witold Rybczynski, "The Home of the 90s-1: Designing for Afford-ability" and Avi Friedman, "The Home of the 90s-2: An Urban Starter",Canadian Architect (Apr. 1990): 26-33."Walter Kulash, "Examining the Quality of the Trip, paper delivered atThe Emerging City Conference, Bellingham, Wash., 25 Sept. 1991.Kurt Andersen, "Oldfangled New Towns", Time, 20 May 1991.75Chapter 4^ The Vancouver SpecialDuring the 1950s and 1960s, the city moved farther away from the landuse patterns that had shaped Vancouver's residential areas before zoning. Itis curious that planners, guided as they were by the concept of rationality,'would promote a less compact use of land, but it is entirely understandablein light of the increasing use of automobiles, the apparent abundance of land,and the desire by all levels of government to extend single-family ownershipas widely as possible. Given public support for single-family zoning, it isalso curious that post-war builders would try to replicate aspects of the pre-zoning pattern in single-family areas. But this is precisely what they did. Inresponse to very specific market demands, Vancouver's eastside buildersbegan to build larger homes with floor plans that could convert easily to two-family use. Although early Vancouver Specials were similar in size to housesbuilt before zoning, their design was quite different. 2'For a critique on rational planning, see Charles Lindblom, "The Scienceof Muddling Through", Public Administration Review 19 (Spring 1959):70 —99;Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities (New York:Vintage, 1961); John Turner and Robert Fichter, Freedom to Build (NewYork: MacMillan, 1972); Robert Fishman, "The Anti-Planners: The Contem-porary Revolt Against Planning and its Significance for Planning History",Shaping an Urban World, ed. Gordon Cherry (London: Mansell, 1980);Christine Boyer, Dreaming the Rational City: The Myth of American CityPlanning (Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 1983); John Friedmann, Planning inthe Public Domain: From Knowledge to Action (Princeton, N.J.: PrincetonUniversity Press, 1987); John Raulston Saul, Voltaire's Bastards: TheDictatorship of Reason in the West (New York: Free Press, 1992).2The average total floor area of the Davis houses was about 3300 squarefeet on an average lot size of 4235 square feet. On a standard 33 by 120-foot lot (3960 square feet), Specials spread over much of the site. Specialscould—and some did —have a total floor area of 3550 square feet.76Vancouver's council and planners resisted the builders' attempts toincrease the number of potential units and to provide more built space. Influ-encing this resistance were demands by residents to preserve their neighbour-hoods from change. In 1974, pressure from homeowners to eliminate suitesand pressure from builders for larger homes on standard 33- foot lots resultedin critical zoning changes. These changes increased the floor space permittedabove-grade but reduced the total floor space permitted in a dwelling. Theability to build more space above-grade made houses bulkier but had noeffect on the spread of illegal suites.Photo 13. An eastside street of Vancouver Specials.As Specials spread through the east side of the city during the 1960sand 1970s, neighbourhoods took on a new pattern. This pattern had littlesimilarity to the suburban pattern envisioned by Bartholemew. Photo 13 showsthat the new large houses stood cheek-by-jowl like houses built before zon-ing. But unlike the old homes, they left little open space for green grass andtrees. This chapter suggests that the size, style, and use of the Special—andthe residential pattern it created—was the builders' response to the immigrantmarket. This response was accommodated by changes to the zoning schedulethat consolidated the Special as the popular plan.77The Emergence of the Vancouver SpecialThe large houses built at the turn of the century had been well suitedto the large families of the period but, by the 1950s, families were smallerand small single-family homes that supported this lifestyle had become thenorm. The post-war period brought a halt to the construction of storey-and-a- half houses and introduced styles attuned to new technology and modernsensitivities. Although styles influenced by older traditions and stylesinfluenced by Modernists occasionally appeared in residential neighbourhoodsduring the 1940s, ranch-style houses dominated construction of the 1950s.The popularity of ranchers followed the federal government's interven-tion in the housing market. This intervention, designed to produce neededhousing quickly after the war, was successful in bringing ownership ofsingle-family homes to the majority of Canadians. But federal interventionalso strengthened the role of land developers and large construction firms.This, relationship between government and industry had unintended conse-quences. Residential, commercial and industrial developments, describedcollectively by James Lorimer as the "corporate city", ultimately served realestate interests at the expense of community needs. 3Until the late 1940s, observes Lorimer, most homes were built on nar-row lots within walking distance of low density commercial strips and street-car lines. By the 1950s, the garden suburb had become the pattern for newdevelopments designed for the automobile. In new suburbs, developers aban-doned the grid for winding streets, lot widths doubled, and more compactstorey-and-a-half homes were replaced by ubiquitous single-storey ranchers3James Lorimer, The Developers (Toronto: Lorimer, 1978).78set broadside to the street (Figure 10).Councils supported the growth of thecorporate city through zoning and aninfrastructure of roads and services thatfitted the needs of the industry. By the1960s, the only alternatives available inany number were rented highrise apart- Figure 10. The suburban vision as computer"clip-art". Dover Publications.ments and purchased single- family homes. Unlike the pre-zoning pattern,which had some mix of residential and commercial uses, people were not onlyseparated from commercial activities which sustained their everyday lives butalso segregated by age and income according to the form of housing theychose or could afford. The orderliness of comprehensive planning and zoningprovided efficiencies for planners and developers but carried with it a set ofsocial and economic consequences that the pre-zoning pattern had avoidedbecause it took its cues from the social order of the community.Many westside areas developed according to the suburban vision. Inresponse to post- war families who wanted affordable homes larger than thoseof the 1930s and 1940s, builders produced a simple rancher on an unfinishedbasement set well below ground. On the east side, where 33-foot lots pre-vailed, they turned the rancher so that its narrow side faced the street. Bysetting the basement only slightly below grade to save excavation costs, theycould produce a relatively large house at low cost. According to builder BenFrith, acknowledged by builders to be "the father of the Vancouver Special",the changes that resulted in the Vancouver Special occurred gradually.We had been building two-bedroom houses like those webuilt in the 1940s, but the realtors told us that peoplewanted three bedrooms. So we built them and they sold.And then we put in one-and-a-half baths and roughed in79the basement for more space. The houses at this time werenot full FSR [floor space ratio} .4The need for housing grew rapidly after the war. Population in theGreater Vancouver Regional District almost doubled from 1921 to 1941 toroughly 400,000 and grew by about 200,000 every decade thereafter to reach1.38 million by 1986. 5 As population grew, the search for affordable housingleapfrogged the city's boundaries to adjacent suburbs. In his analysis ofToronto suburbs of the period, S. D. Clark describes the consequent sortingout of the population as a search for space by those least tied to an urbanlifestyle. 6 Those who moved outward were Canadian born, usually of Britishorigin, generally Protestant, and pervasively middle-class. Poor and immi-grant families were seldom part of this dispersal. For them, the suburb wasa frightening world which detached them from friends, relatives and commu-nity support.' In describing the American experience, Nelson Foote similarlyattributes the exodus to the suburbs to a search for housing space. But healso notes that immigrants were highly motivated toward home ownership inthe city and particularly attracted to investment properties!' Decisions byimmigrants to stay in the city affected the choices of local residents.Although Clark is clear that the need for housing propelled people to thesuburbs, he also notes that some residents left because of "foreigners" in their4Ben Frith, telephone interview with the author, 12 Oct. 1990.5Michele Lioy, Social Trends in Greater Vancouver (Vancouver: UnitedWay, 1975), 15.6Clark, 80-81.'Clark, 98.Nelson Foote et al., Housing Choices and Housing Constraints (New York:McGraw Hill, 1962), 129.80neighbourhoods.9 In this respect, Vancouverites were probably no differentfrom Torontonians in wanting to distance themselves from immigrants.Although rapid growth led to unsatisfied demand in Vancouver's post-war market, there were a number of discrete groups who were not in themarket for new homes. The rich, well-housed in Vancouver's elite areas hadno need of their services, the less affluent who remained in the city stayedput in their homes, and the poor could not afford to buy. The builders wereleft with young post-war families who could afford small, new single-familyhomes. As these families moved to the suburbs in their quest for space, thebuilders' market changed. According to Frith, the builders turned their atten-tion to families who had emigrated from post- war Europe to improve thequality of their lives, and were now in a position to afford inexpensive newhousing on cheaper eastside lots.We built for young families and immigrants in the 1950s.First the Germans, and then the Italians ... I was surprisedthat working-class people could afford the space . . . butreal estate firms helped out . . . with financing and trade-up policies.The simple rancher turned with its narrow face to the street suitedimmigrant needs. They could use the basement for family members or rentit out to help pay the mortgage. Illegal conversion of the basement to a familyor rental unit, therefore, was often a necessary step in owning a home oftheir own. Although builders built these houses for easy conversion, theywere acting within the law, and could point to many examples where familieshad finished this space for their own use.As builders transferred their attention to the immigrant market, theminimal rancher took on details that appealed to immigrant buyers. And as'Clark, 60.81TYPICAL FORM 1938^ TYPICAL FORM 1956MAXIMUM SIZE^TYPICAL SWF.1938 BYLAW1 1/2 STOREYS^ 1956 BYLAWAttic^594 sq. ft. Y&KQUFAMECIAL,^Main Floor 1188 sg ft. Upper Floor 1775 sq. ft.^'Basement 1188 sq. ft. Main Floor 1775 sq. ft.^Ibtal Area 2970 sg ft.^ lbtal Area 3550 sq. ft.vacant land became scarce, builders began to demolish smaller, older homesthat they could purchase for lot value to free up land for construction. Buyerscontinued to demand more space, recalled Frith, and builders competed witheach other to provide it.If one guy built 58 feet long, the next would build 60 feet.But there was also demand from the public. The Italians,who were probably responsible initially for shaping theVancouver Special, liked the upstairs to be formal and tolive and cook downstairs. . . The builders also added extraspace if they were caught in a downturn in the market togive themselves an edge.Figure 11. The 1938 by-law and a typical Special of the 1960s compared on a 33' by 120' lot.Floor areas show maximums of 2970 and 3550 square feet that could be achieved after 1938 and1956 respectively. The illustration of the Special (right) shows the typical Special with a lengthof about 60 feet and a total of about 3000 square feet on two floors.By the 1960s, builders were pushing the single-family schedule to itslimits. By building the maximum floor area permitted in a storey-and-a-halfdwelling, builders could obtain only 2970 square feet of floor space on astandard 33' by 120' lot. But by building a single-storey house on the samesized lot, they could obtain a house over 70 feet long and about 3550 squarefeet in area including the basement. In 1956, the city standardized develop-ment by increasing the rear yard setback from 25 to 35 feet measured fromthe centre line of the lane and by discontinuing front yard averaging which82had been implemented in 1930. Figure 11 compares the maximum floor areasthat could be achieved after 1938 and after 1956, but the right hand drawingin Figure 11 and the section in Figure 12 illustrates the typical, somewhatsmaller Special that was built through the 1960s. 24 sr ^ I^I^ ^1 ^ rcarportfamily unitsuitestreet laneFigure 12. Section of typical Special built after the 1956 amendments to the single-familyschedule. It is about 10 feet shorter than the zoning permitted.The longitudinal section shows important aspects of these houses. The"basement" was only several feet below grade, comparable to basement depthsbefore and during the early years of zoning but not to basements of typical1950s ranchers which were set more deeply into the ground. Where houseswere built at or close to maximum size, the carport filled most of the rearyard and an asphalt drive leading to the carport covered much of the remain-ing open space. This pattern, which dispensed with rear gardens, continuedinto the 1980s.Explanations for the Vancouver SpecialTo understand why the Special departed from familiar styles, it isuseful to examine the explanations for the style provided by designers,builders, realtors and planners. The Vancouver Special study, conducted in1981 by Vancouver's planning department, contains most of the conventional83explanations for the emergence and spread of this style. This study wasundertaken in response to complaints about the Special which surfaced in thelate 1970s. These complaints, according to the report, included concerns thataffordable housing was being "demolished and replaced by inferior 'boxes',that Specials caused "excessive density", and that Specials disturbed "theintricate scale and character of the older residential neighbourhood whilecreating instead, monotony and mediocrityv. ioThe study team interviewed realtors, builders and designers to elicitreasons for the Special's popularity, and sent out over 4700 questionnaires toprobe residents' attitudes towards the Special in the eastside local area ofHastings-Sunrise and the westside local area of Marpole. Despite the attemptto represent the population accurately, the 1173 questionnaires returned wereskewed in favour of westside residents and residents who did not live inSpecials. Because planners conducted the study after the Special becamepopular, it emphasizes the reasons for its proliferation. The explanationsbelow, however, are analyzed as they apply to both the emergence and spreadof the Special.1. According to the report, realtors, builders and designers argued that lowereastside land costs contributed to the design of the Special. Cheaper landallowed builders to build large houses with inexpensive materials and minimaldetails for those who wanted space at low cost. The report contended that thislogic explained why so few Specials occurred on the west side. But higherland costs during the 1970s and 1980s resulted in more affluent buyers whocontinued to demand Specials, but with more expensive materials and detail-10C . • ylc of Vancouver Planning Department, The Vancouver Special, reportprepared by Planning Department (June 1981), 5.84ing. ii Thus, although cheap land may have influenced the initial design andspread of the Special, this logic cannot explain the persistence of a moreexpensive version aimed at more affluent buyers.2. The report concluded that the zoning schedule accommodated the size anddesign of the Special, particularly after 1974 when the city introduced amaximum site coverage and increased the floor space from 0.45 to 0.60 FSR.Basements were now included in floor space calculations and site coveragefurther restricted the size of dwelling. The amendments, argued the report,eliminated those homes that were excessive in size and site coverage but, atthe same time, encouraged all builders to build to the maximums stipulatedto satisfy a market now used to buying larger homes.' Although the generos-ity of the envelope allowed other designs, the 1974 amendments consolidatedthe form of the Vancouver Special for reasons that are described in the ana-lysis of these amendments at the end of this chapter. The argument thatzoning accommodated the Special holds for the form of the Special but notfor its size (which was reduced) or for its style and detailing.3. The report concluded that the city's approval process encouraged theSpedial at the expense of other styles. As the Special became popular, stafflearned to check it more quickly than other designs. Because any delay inprocessing cost money, builders eliminated other styles in favour of theSpecial. But the Special is not inherently easier to check than other straight-forward designs, and the approval process would have facilitated the repro-"Allied Builders Association members, informal conversations withauthor, 1986 and 1987.'2 The Vancouver Special, 1485duction of any popular style at the expense of others. The approval process,then, influenced the spread of the Special once it became popular, but doesnot explain why it became the popular style.4. The report suggested that the small-scale nature of the industry influencedthe Special's style. Unlike other cities which tend to medium and largefirms," Vancouver builders work alone or with a partner, and hire peoplefrom the subtrades rather than having full-time employees. By using the sametradesmen and the same design, they can approximate the economies of scaleof larger firms. But the building process was no different than the processhistorically used by Vancouver builders to reproduce earlier styles. Thus, thesmall-scale nature of the industry helps to explain the spread of the Specialbut not its style.5. According to the report, the style evolved because it was more cost-efficient and marketable than other designs. The higher cost of custom plansplus the unforeseen delays they can incur turned builders toward the Special.Cost savings included a low-pitched tar-and-gravel roof and, after 1974, aslab-on-grade foundation. But these elements were used with similar costefficiency in other styles of the period,' and cost does not explain more"Clayton Research Associates and Scanada Consultants, The Evolutionof the Housing Industry in Canada: 1946-1986 (Ottawa: Canada Mortgageand Housing), 1989."The West Coast Style often incorporated a slab-on-grade foundation anda flat tar-and-gravel roof. According to one owner, architect Ron Thomestimated the post-and-beam construction of these houses to be two-thirdsthe cost of stud- wall construction in general use at the time. The popularityof the West Coast Style with young families in North and West Vancouver inthe 1950s attests to the cost efficiency of the design. Dr. D. H. Copp,telephone conversation with author, 14 June 1991.86expensive design elements that were used. Brick veneer on the front facade,although an incidental cost, has long been an important facade detail, andbefore the study, builders had begun to accommodate a demand for moreexpensive concrete tile roofs. Shortly afterwards, they began finishing themain floor suite space to attract sales in a depressed market. Because buildersdid not hesitate to use such features to attract buyers, cost efficiency onlypartly explains the design and the continued marketability of the Special.6. The report noted that, when the study was conducted, builders already hada fixed design which they believed they could sell on the east side. The inter-views with the industry and questionnaire responses suggested that the Specialsatisfied consumers because of size, cost and style. Buyers also liked thepotential for a rental suite, and found obtaining a mortgage easier than forother designs. Because the financial community's familiarity with the Specialmade them more willing to authorize loans for it, lenders "indirectlyentrenched consumer demand for the Vancouver Special"." But builderscould have achieved maximum space, low cost and rentable suites with otherdesigns which, if they became popular, would have gained the financial com-munity's approval. Thus, the reason for the design of the Special and itsreproduction would seem to be that consumers found it attractive.7. According to the report, design firms interviewed confirmed the popularityof the Special. Clients who were shown other designs first usually preferredthe Special design, and those who were shown plans similar to the Specialasked for modifications to make the design identical to the Special. Butalthough residents and non-residents disagreed markedly on most aspects of15 The Vancouver Special, 24.87the Special, the study's questionnaire showed that the aspect least liked byboth groups was the Special's uniformity of design. Fully 85 percent ofSpecial residents and 88 percent of non-residents believed that the city shouldbe more involved in house design. Confronted with survey figures, plannersconcluded that the Special's popularity was largely due to the desire by buyersto conform to the tastes of their peers.The study concluded that the dominance of the Special over otherdesigns was the result of a set of related factors: its form was a response tothe single - family zoning schedule; its proliferation especially across the eastside was the result of market forces; and its reproduction was the result ofinherent tendencies in Vancouver's building industry that were facilitated bythe city's own permit approval process. To be sure, these factors contributedto the spread of the Special, but they do not explain adequately why buildersinitially settled on the Special as their design of choice.It is important to note that the Vancouver Special report was silent intwo areas. There was no effort to investigate the revealing comment by indus-try tepresentatives that Chinese buyers were particularly attracted to thesehouses, and no discussion of the reaction of designers to the Special. Thatdesigners interviewed tried to offer alternatives suggests that they were notfond of the style. The Special became popular despite attempts to offer alter-native designs. The following sections address the argument that plannersdid not pursue —that the relationship which developed among the builders,zoning and the immigrant market was responsible for the size, style and useof the Special.88Changing Immigration PatternsIt has already been noted that builders attributed the size, use and styleof the Special to a growing demand by European immigrants for large but°inexpensive new homes. As the Special spread, immigrant patterns changed.In 1968, 44 percent of international immigrants to British Columbia camefrom Europe and 22 percent came from Asia, but by 1988, 66 percent camefrom Asia and only 17 percent from Europe." Over this period, eastsidesingle-family areas changed their ethnic mix more than did westside areas ormulti-family areas. Table 2 measures the increase in Asians by mothertongue, and divides the city into east and westside local areas where mosthousing is single- family and other areas where most housing is multi- family.In each area, Asian language groups are calculated as a percentage of the totalpopulation. The measurement is not precise because ethnicity is not alwayscaptured by mother tongue and because the method for classifying responseschanged between the 1971 and 1986 census. Nevertheless, the largest Asianlanguage group in 1971 was Chinese, followed by Indo-Pakistani and Japan-ese. In 1986, the largest Asian language group was also Chinese, followed byPunjabi and Philipino. Japanese was not a separate category in 1986.Despite the imprecise measurement, Table 2 shows that Asians haveclustered in eastside single- family areas. In 1971, Asian language groupscomprised 3 percent of the city's westside single- family population and 9percent of its eastside single- family population. By 1986, they comprised 8percent of the westside single-family population, and 29 percent of the east-"Danny Ho, "An Investigation of the Impact and Rationale for RentalApartment Demolitions in Vancouver's Kerrisdale Neighbourhood, 1989"(M.A. Thesis, University of British Columbia, 1989), 83.89side population. In multi- family areas, they increased from 8 to 12 percent.In absolute numbers, the city gained almost 40,000 Asians between 1971 and1981 and lost over 50,000 residents of British and European extraction.Table 2:—Asian Language Groups as a Percentage of Total PopulationCity of Vancouver 1971 — 1986% of Total1971% of Total1986NumericalIncreaseSingle-Family West 3 8 3,340Single-Family East 9 29 28,155Multi- family Areas 8 12 6,230TOTAL 8 17 37,725Source: Derived from City of Vancouver Planning Department, VancouverLocal Areas 1976 and 1986.Construction figures for the period are also revealing. In 1981,Vancouver's east side was characterized by houses built between 1946 and1970 while its west side was characterized by houses built before 1946. Homesbuilt between 1971 and 1981 repre-sented the smallest segment of the totalstock, ranging from 11 to 20 percent onthe eastside and 3 to 14 percent on thewestside. Figure 13 shows that, between1971 and 1981, 7219 houses were built^WestN,....,—Easton the east side and 1736 houses were Figure 13. New construction, 1971 to 1981.built on the west side for a total of 8955 houses. Most eastside homes builtafter 1971 were Specials while westside homes were of various styles includ-90ing Specials.' This pattern of construction suggests that the spread of theSpecial on the east side after 1971 coincided with ethnic change.Before the Second World War, immigration policy discriminated againstvisible minorities and reflected the still- conservative bias of the country.After the war, immigration policy broadened somewhat to permit entry onthe basis of merit and adaptability to Canadian society. Policies whichremoved barriers to Asians in the 1960s reflected a growing liberalism in thecountry, but the changing nature of immigration policy also coincided withchanging world patterns. The stability engendered by social democracies inwestern Europe meant that Europeans were less likely to emigrate whereaseconomic hardship and political instability elsewhere attracted immigrantsfrom countries with cultures significantly different from Canada.Charles Campbell observes that during this period, visitors could applyfor landed immigrant status from within Canada and were given the right toappeal. By 1972, so many were appealing that the Liberal government granteda general amnesty. The New Immigration Act in 1978 still enshrined merit asa principle for selection, but the government gave top priority to refugees andfamily-class immigrants. After 1978 as well, family relationship to sponsorswas broadened so that those most likely to benefit came from countries wheresocial programs were minimal.' These factors combined to increase the flowof extended families from Asia to Vancouver. A natural outcome of immigra-tion policy was the reproduction of the Special during the 1960s and 1970s.As Asia became the predominant source of immigrants, both size and use'City of Vancouver Planning Department, "Vancouver Housing Stock1981".'Campbell, 13. Campbell served from 1973 to 1983 on the ImmigrationAppeal Board, eight years as vice - chairman.91became essential to house extended family members and sponsored relativeswho were often less able to provide for themselves than those selected on thebasis of skill and talent. 3The reason for the Special's style is more complex. If builders wereresponding to immigrant tastes, more variation in style should have occurredto respond to each specific group. Instead, a style congealed around unrelatedelements that builders found would sell across European and Asian cultures.Why? First, the link between builder and buyer was often through realtorsso that the translation of buyer preferences would have been imprecise.Second, as Asians arrived in large numbers, the prevalence of Specials con-vinced them that the Special was the preferred style. Finally, as the styleproved its marketability, immigrants demanded it, not because they liked thestyle, but because they believed that others liked it. This demand convincedbuilders that the Special was the popular style.Specials, Suites and Neighbourhood ChangeThe 1970s were characterized not only by changing trends in immigra-tion but also by the NIMBY syndrome. Public anger over threats to neigh-bourhoods from highrises and expressways voted out councils allied withdevelopment interests in both Toronto and Vancouver and brought in councilsmore sympathetic to neighbourhood concerns. 4 Instead of zoning land tohigher densities to meet a growing demand for housing, these councils froze°3Campbell, in a letter to the Vancouver Sun, April 8, 1991 notes severalstudies that show that the ability of those from non-traditional sources toprovide for themselves has fallen steadily after 1978 to reach, according toone study, a level of 30 percent below the national average.4Ley, Social Geography of the City, 318, 331.92or reduced densities to preserve neighbourhood character. One alderman des-cribes the early 1970s as a "pivotal time" for the city. Reducing permissabledensity by downzoning eliminated much of the potential for new multi-family housing and reinforced public expectations that there would be nochange to existing neighbourhoods. With few opportunities to build reason-ably priced multi-family housing, the response of the building industry wasto build more expensive housing in single-family and highrise areas.For the next twenty years, the pressure built. VancouverSpecials replaced bungalows on the East Side, illegal suitesproliferated, the Condo came in . . . but higher zoned landdid not expand. In fact, in the inner-core neighbourhoods,growth in housing units was offset by the decline inhousehold size . .By the late 1970s, the lid was on tight. . . and what neigh-bourhoods wanted was basically the status quo. . . . Whatexisted was what you got—and all you would ever get.Some infill could occur, multiple conversion would beencouraged, new houses could replace old, but . . . zoningsaid that nothing should fundamentally change the charac-ter or significantly increase the density of any existingneighbourhood.5Because over 70 percent of Vancouver's residential land was zoned forsingle-family use, trying to maintain the physical character of neighbour-hoods meant social and economic change. In a summary report on secondarysuites, the Vancouver Planning Department noted that the number of suiteshad increased from an estimated 3000 in 1976 to an estimated 26,000 by1986.6 Even if the city wanted to enforce closure, the social, financial andpolitical costs had become prohibitive. The alderman argued that the city5Gordon Price, unpublished document, 6 May 1990.6 City of Vancouver Planning Department, "Secondary Suites in RS-1areas: Summary Report," August 25, 1986. Stanbury and Todd suggest thatthe estimate of 3000 suites in 1976 is probably low. The increased eastsidepopulation and the growth of the Vancouver Special suggest their own esti-mate of 6000 suites is more accurate.93should have legalized suites early on and allowed the city to evolve. But,despite pressures of migration and natural increase, residents wanted to retainthe dream of affordable single- family neighbourhoods, and councils sup-ported them by refusing to increase the legal density in single- family areas.'The result was that the dream of an affordable single -family house began todissolve. Small houses were demolished to make way for larger, more expen-sive Specials that fit the social and economic needs of immigrants.The spread of the Special on the east side during the 1970s broughtcomplaints from residents concerned about the size and use of new homesand from builders who wanted more space above grade" In response, the citymade two critical changes to the by-law in 1974. Up to this time, buildingsize had been governed by height, setbacks and a floor space ratio of 0.45. Tofurther control building size, the city introduced a site coverage that allowedbuildings to cover no more than 45 percent of the lot area, and set the floorspace ratio—including basements—at 0.60. The changes had no effect on thespread of illegal suites, but did have other consequences.Figure 14 shows that houses built on standard lots after 1974 couldhave only 2376 square feet of floor area. Whereas the typical Special of the1960s was often built to less than maximums permitted by the 1956 zoningschedule, the typical Special after 1974 was always built near or at themaximums of the 1974 schedule. Despite Vancouver's need for built space,this °schedule meant that less total space could be built than at any time in thecity's history, and builders were forced to build to maximums to satisfy amarket now accustomed to larger houses than the 1974 schedule permitted.'Gordon Price, interview with author, 17 May 1990.8 Vancouver Special, 5-6.94TYPICAL SIZE1956^_ . . . ,i.,_/^TYPICAL FORM 1974TYPICAL^1,//^MAXIMUM SIZE , -4111111111h-....411a... /1956 BY-LAW^ 1974 BYLAWVANCOUVER^ VANCOUVER SPECIALUpper Floor 1775 sg ft. Upper Floor 1400 sg ft.Main Floor r/75 sg ft.^Main Floor 976 sg ft lbtal Area 3550 sg ft lbtal Area 2376 sg ft.Figure 14. The 1960s Special and 1974 by-law results compared on a 33' by 120' lot.Figures 14 and 15 show that the Special was now built at grade ratherthan set several feet into the ground. It appeared larger because all floorspace was located above grade and length was not subtantially reduced.Houses continued to extend almost as far into the rear yard because buildersredistributed floor space so that the upper floor (where the owners lived) hadmore floor space than the main floor (which contained the potential suite). Aswith previous Specials, the only open space was in the front yard and in arear yard covered with asphalt. Because basements, usable or not, were nowcalculated as floor space, zoning further discouraged construction and renova-tion of traditional homes with basements.56'family unit = 1400 sq. ftlsuite = 976 sq. ft.^carportTbtal Living Area= 2376 sq. ft.Figure 15. Section of typical Special after 1974 with living space extending over parking area.24 20' ^20'lastreet95This analysis of the Vancouver Specialhas shown that the buildingindustry and the zoning schedule adapted overtime to meet immigrant demand. The movementof post-war families to the suburbs meant thatthe small bungalows that builders hadconstructed to attract them evolved into adesign to attract immigrants. The influx ofAsians after 1971, the disproportionate newconstruction on the east side between 1971 and1981, and the rapid spread of illegal suites after1976 cannot simply be coincidental. Over time,the replacement of small by large homesdecreased the availability of small houses forsmall families who wanted an affordable houseStreetscape PatternsFigure 16. Land use and street-scape patterns produced by theVancouver Special. The shadedareas include roofed verandahsand carports.without a suite. Instead, thehousing stock began to select extended families and those buyers who werewilling to overlook the illegality and loss of privacy that a rental suiteentailed. The replacement of existing dwellings by Specials led to a residentialpattern completely different in character from previous patterns. Figure 16contrasts the patterns established before zoning and before the Second WorldWar with the pattern than had evolved by the 1970s. Along with a decreasein total built space, both the height of houses and the amount of usable openspace decreased substantially.In other words, the balance of built and open space changed profoundlybetween the 1900s and 1974. The pre-zoning pattern had emphasized builtand open space. A much looser residential fabric developed between the1930s and 1950s because bungalows and ranchers of the period were much96smaller than maximums permitted. As a result, open space was actuallygreater than in the pre-zoning and early zoning periods.Table 3:—A Comparison of Land Use — 1900, 1938 and 1974Square-Foot Area as a Percentage of a 4000 Square -Foot Lot1109__ 1938 Max 1940s Typical 1974Area % Area % Area % Area %Total Built Space 3120 78 3000 75 1800^45 2400 60Above-Grade Space 2600 65 1800 45 900^23 2400 60Open Space 2766 69 2400 60 2700^68 2200 55Permitted Height na 35^feet 35 feet 35^feetTypical Height 36+ feet 25+ feet 20+ feet 22+ feetSource: Davis blueprints, site observations and 1938 and 1974 by-laws. Cal-culations for typical 1940s one-storey bungalows include 400 square feet fora garage. Calculations for 1974 include 400 square feet for an attached car-port to permit comparison with the 1988 amendments in Chapter 5.° After the mid-century, a new residential pattern emerged and the 1974zoning schedule consolidated this pattern. As shown in Table 3, houses hadless total space than houses built before zoning but more space than thosebuilt in the 1940s. Above-grade space, which declined consistently until the1950s, remained at less than pre-zoning levels after 1974. Furthermore, ratherthan conserving open space, the new large houses of the 1960s and 1970scovered much of the lot. Because the new houses "borrowed" open rear yardspace from houses built in earlier periods, neighbours in adjacent smallerhomes complained that the large houses overlooked their gardens, compro-mised their privacy and blocked their sunlight and views. These complaintsescalated with the appearance of Monster Houses in the 1980s and led to moreamendments to the single-family schedule in 1986, 1988 and 1990.97Chapter 5^ The Monster HousePermitting more space above grade not only consolidated the VancouverSpecial but also paved the way for a new kind of large house. In the 1980s,Monster Houses began to appear regularly on the west side. As shown inPhoto 14, these houses were larger and more expensively detailed than theSpecial. But like the Special, they were as large as zoning permitted andgenerally had a suite used, in most cases, for nannies, grannies or guests. Asnew construction escalated, westside residents began to complain about thesehouses. Eastside residents, whose complaints had been largely ignored,rejoined battle, and in response to this chorus of complaints, Vancouverchanged its single- family zoning in an attempt to tame the Monster House.Photo 14. A 1986 Monster House on the west side flanked by smaller ranchers.During these changes, the media linked the large homes with Asianbuyers. Although seldom expressed openly, ethnicity also became an issueamong residents who had complained previously only about size, suites andunsympathetic design. Although planners and council suspected that ethnicitywas an issue, the city's particular relationship to its Chinese residents pre-cluded debate on cultural traditions that may have influenced design. As a98result, changes to the schedule were purely technical. To deal with the suiteissue, the city legalized family suites across the city and permitted legal rentalsuites where a majority of residents favoured this use. To deal with size, thecity decreased height, increased setbacks and, in 1988, decreased above-gradefloor space. The market response to these changes was the disappearance ofthe Special and the emergence of a new vernacular across the city. In makingthese changes, the city reinstated the suburban pattern that had beenenvisioned by Bartholomew, although with larger houses than had been builtduring the early years of zoning.Immigration and the Monster HouseBetween 1986 and 1990, British Columbia experienced prosperity andheavy in-migration. Table 4 shows that population growth after 1985 sur-passed any other period in the previous 25 years.Table 4:—Net Migration and Natural Increase in British ColumbiaFive Year Periods 1966 — 19901966-19701971-19751976-19801981-19851986 -1990Net Migration 201,176 179,892 161,435 68,762 200,558From Provinces 120,850 100,289 108,121 22,281 121,066International 80,326 79,603 53,314 46,561 79,492Natural Increase 87,647 83,271 93,309 111,799 103,320Total Increase 288,823 263,163 254,724 180,561 302,878Internat'l Percentof Net Migration 40 44 33 68 40Source: Central Statistics Bureau, Ministry of Finance and CorporateRelations, Province of British Columbia, 1991.99Intemational migration peaked as a proportion of total net migration between1981 and 1985, and the decline in migration from other provinces during thisperiod reflects a depressed economy just as high migration after 1986 reflectsprosperous times. Table 4 shows that migration from the provinces was highboth in the 1966 to 1970 period and after 1985. Nevertheless, other datasuggests that the spread of the Monster House coincided with high immigra-tion after 1985 just as the spread of the Special had coincided with highimmigration between 1966 and 1975.Table 5:—Asian Immigration to the Vancouver Region 1981 — 1988ImmigrantsTo B. C.Immigrants to Vancouvern^%Asians to Vancouvern^%1981 22,007 14,811 67 8,300 561982 18,996 12,526 66 6,522 521983 14,447 10,015 69 6,144 611984 13,190 9,385 71 5,981 641985 12,239 8,935 73 5,673 631986 12,547 8,914 71 5,458 611987 18,913 14,536 77 9,350 641988 22,765 18,154 80 12,754 70Source: Central Statistics Bureau, British Columbia, 1991.Table 5 shows that the region's share of immigrants to the provincerose from 67 to 80 percent between 1981 and 1988, and Asians increased from56 to 70 percent. Table 6 shows that the most important source was HongKong. The Philipines also became prominent, while England and Chinabecame less significant. In contrast, India maintained fairly consistent figuresthroughout the period. Taken together, these tables show the impact ofimmigrants from Asia on Vancouver and its surrounds during the period inwhich the Monster House became a planning issue.100Table 6:—Major Sources of Immigration to the Vancouver Region1981 — 1990Hong Kong India Philipines China England Other^Total1981 1397 1649 961 2216 1888 7075 151861982 1424 1529 745 1004 1394 6904 130001983 1615 1445 794 645 620 5209 103281984 1583 1120 609 580 435 5124 94511985 1637 804 529 519 429 6099 90171986 1085 1341 713 476 419 4960 89941987 3309 1534 1075 623 860 7254 146551988 4965 1652 1354 659 1059 8838 185271989 4663 1557 1732 974 928 10996 208501990 6523 1721 1683 859 850 10094 21730Total 28201 14352 10195 8555 8882 71553 141758Source: Central Statistics Bureau, British Columbia, 1991.The link between large houses and the prosperity of purchasers was notobvious before the 1980s because most earlier immigrants could afford onlycheaply built large homes. The link became obvious in the 1980s because theimmigrants themselves were different. Many could afford more modestlypriced eastside homes on arrival, while others were wealthy enough to buyexpensive westside homes.' For builders, who had built for each immigrantwave since the 1950s, it made sense to demolish smaller houses on large west-side lots to meet demands by these immigrants for large, expensive homes.The planning department had some evidence that buyers of new houseswere primarily European or Asian immigrants. In 1986, it had surveyed 30large new homes in the Oakridge area to establish data on occupancy. Thesurvey showed that half the owners were European and most of the remainderwere Asian. For the majority, English was a second language. The survey alsofound that households were larger—about 4.5 persons per household compared'Among those from Hong Kong, some visited Vancouver briefly to buya house as security against 1997, while others settled their families inVancouver before returning to Hong Kong to work. DeMont and Fennel, 174.101to 3.2 persons per household in single-family dwellings as a whole—and that85 percent of families interviewed had children as compared to 35 percent offamilies in older homes. Half of the families had moved within the neigh-bourhood, and only one-quarter came from outside the Vancouver area. One-third had demolished their home to build a larger one, and over half of thehomes were custom-built. Although the survey established differences fromthe average Vancouver family, it was not broad enough to draw conclusionsfor the city at large. It was, however, the only published document that linkedthe large house to ethnic change. 2The refusal to bring ethnicity into the public discourse beyond phrasessuch as "social change" and "cultural diversity" is understandable. The city'sChinese population is larger in proportion to total population than in anyother Canadian city, 3 and it is the proportion rather than absolute numbersthat gives the city its flavour and its sensitivity to racial tension." Inexamining the city's relationship to its Chinese, Kay Anderson concludes thatVancouver has always objectified these residents. From the late 1800s to2Ann McAfee, "Vancouver's Single-Family Areas", Quarterly Review(Vancouver: City Planning Department, July 1986).3Statistics Canada (1986) shows the Chinese as the second largest group inmetropolitan Vancouver, comprising 5.7 percent of the total population of1.38 million. In contrast, they comprise 2.9 percent of the metropolitanToronto's population of 3.43 million.4Beginning in 1875, British Columbia legislation denied Chinese the rightto vote, to work on public projects or to own crown land. In 1923, theChinese Immigration Act restricted entry to Canada to diplomats, merchants,students, and children of Chinese. The act was repealed in 1947, but legis-lated discrimination against immigrants by race did not end until 1967.Other Asians have fared no better. Over 20,000 Japanese-Canadianswere interned during the Second World War, and in 1914, when the KomagataMaru brought 376 East Indians into Vancouver's harbour, authorities quaran-tined them for two months before sending them back. When the ship dockedin Calcutta, police killed 20 passengers in the shooting exchange that ensued.102about 1950, the Chinese were rejected. Exemplifying this rejection is herquote from an alderman supporting a 1941 petition that asked the city toprevent the Chinese from buying in Vancouver's desirable neighbourhoods.They simply don't comply with our standards. Real estatevalues are falling. Where one oriental buys, another follows. . . The time has come to do what has been done in otherPacific Coast and eastern cities.5When legal avenues for restricting Chinese entrance into the city's betterneighbourhoods failed, residents turned to property covenants until the RealEstate Act abolished this practice in 1956. 6 After the Second World War, resi-dents began to see the Chinese as a positive feature in the social landscape.Chinatown was an "exotic" addition to the city, and the Chinese were des-cribed in public statements and media reports in a complimentry but stillobjectified vein.In the large house controversy, planners and politicians did not breakthis "social code". It was, however, broken by the media and occasionally byresidents in private conversations with city staff. For newcomers to the cityunaware of this social code, the political correctness of the time precludedany discourse on ethnicity. Author William Gairdner accurately depicts thefear of open dialogue that has infused Canadians in recent years.The entire subject [of immigration] has become so politi-cized, the average Canadian so frightened of expressing anopinion, and the media so ready to pounce, that all reason-able dialogue has been shut down completely.'5 Kay Anderson, " 'East as West': Place, State and the Institutionalizationof Myth in Vancouver's Chinatown" (Ph. D diss., University of BritishColumbia, 1986).'Anderson, 284, was unable to confirm the extent of this practice beyondShaughnessy and Point Grey.'William Gairdner, The Trouble with Canada (Toronto: Stoddart, 1990)405.103Paradoxically, the media's attempt to comprehend the Monster Housewas perceived both as a "witch-hunt" for racists and as breaking the socialcode. Examples of the latter are found through this text, but a letter to theVancouver Sun, confirms Gairdner's view that media reaction can discouragelegitimate discourse.Who are these racists you search for so diligently underevery bed? Scarcely an issue of your paper appears withoutsome such allusion, implying that those who oppose un-restricted foreign investment must be bigots, racists or whitesupremists.Your constant beating of this straw man obviously makesrecent and prospective immigrants nervous. It tends to makelocal victims of the real estate boom keep their heads down.It harms our reputation abroad . . . It does nothing toimprove the reputation of the Vancouver Sun.8According to business consultant Chin- Ning Chu, Asians do not sharethe North American preoccupation with race. Each Asian ethnic group, shesays, believes it is superior to the others, and it is so normal for them to thinkthis way that "they do not even bother with denial or guilt".Asians do not have the same sensitivity to racial issues asdo Americans. The issue is not so emotionally charged forthem. Asians regard it as natural to feel that their race, theirnation, their province, their city and their family are betterthan yours. Westerners exhibit most of these same attitudesand refer to them in mildly pejorative terms such as "chau-vinistic", "nationalistic" and "provincial". But "racist" is a veryugly word in English even though it often only expresses thecommon weakness of mankind to believe that "mine is betterthan yours". 9Most of those who complained were elderly British and European resi-dents and a selective reading of magazines and newspapers could suggest that'Letter, Vancouver Sun, 10 Apr. 1989.'Chin -Ning Chu, The Asian Mind Game: Unlocking the Hidden Agendaof the Asian Business Culture (New York: Rawson, 1991), 8.104anger over large houses was racially based." But saying that racism drovecomplaints ignores legitimate concerns by residents of all ethnic groups. Oneresident with ties by marriage to the Asian community led a campaign againstlarge houses, and in an adjacent municipality, one of the residents massingresistance was Chinese. In an unprecedented move, the lieutenant-governorof British Columbia, himself Chinese, intervened in an attempt to quell racistallegations. "When a Canadian is concerned about his own way of living," hesaid, "this concern is not racism"." To residents of all ethnic backgrounds,then, the large new houses challenged aspects of their identity as Canadiansthat were embodied in Vancouver's single-family zones.In retrospect, the silence of planners and politicians was legitimate.Given Vancouver's social code, attempts to discuss ethnicity may have shutdown this debate for most Vancouverites while inflaming the passions ofbigots and the politically correct to the point where no progress could havebeen made. But the refusal to address ethnicity also had practical implica-tions. It precluded dialogue with Asian buyers who may have viewed theissue with more detachment than locals and it prevented planners fromexamining cultural values that were based on rootedness to place rather thanethnicity. The controversy, therefore, raged around symptoms of the problemthat were amenable to technical solution rather than its actual cause.-"See, for example, Howard G. Chua-Eoan, "A Promised Land?" Time,5 Mar. 1990."Ben Tierney, "[David] Lam advises Hong Kong on Canada," VancouverSun, 13 Dec. 1989.105Legalizing SuitesFrom the outset, residents were concerned about cultural values as wellas functional problems arising from size and use. A letter to the mayor froma westside resident opened with "a cultural concern with the aesthetics andvalues of my community" ,12 and a column published the same day describedthe new houses as "freaks" and "fortresses" that followed their "own territorialimperative". The following week, the same column portrayed a council indisarray: the mayor suggested that large houses were not a serious issue; west-side aldermen maintained that no issue had caused as many complaints; andeastside aldermen, playing to an already ravaged east side, insisted it was awestside problem. These columns, perhaps the earliest media analysis of theissue, attributed size and use to high land costs, blamed previous councilsfor negligence, and treated size and use as aspects of a single problem."In 1985, council explored the possibility of treating the issues of sizeand use together. But after a civic election brought a new mayor and shifteda somewhat left-wing council to the liberal centre, the city concluded thatseparating the issues would lead to a faster resolution of the problem of housesize.'4 During this period, illegal suites were identified as the major issueand council showed its intent to preserve some single-family districts byagreeing that "if a particular area wants to remain single-family, everythingshould be done to try to accomplish this".' 5 Concerned about the time and'2Letter to Mayor Harcourt and City Council, 30 Sept. 1985."Pete McMartin, "The legal desecration of neighbourhoods," VancouverSun, 12 Oct. 1985 and "Those illegal suites," Vancouver Sun, 18 Oct. 1985.' 4City of Vancouver, Minutes of Council Meeting, 25 Apr. 1987."City of Vancouver, Minutes of Special Council Meeting, 17 Oct. 1985.° 106cost required to develop area zoning schedules, council chose to resolve thesuite issue by local area reviews and the size issue by city-wide adjustmentsto the zoning schedule. The guiding concept was "neighbourliness".Analysis by planners had shown the problem to be widespread. Of 825permits for new houses processed between October 1984 and October 1985:90 percent could be converted to include a suite; 85 percent required demon-tion'of an existing house; 70 percent were Specials; 85 percent were built tothe maximum floor area; and only 16 percent were larger than 3000 squarefeet. Recognizing that many eastside areas had already changed substantially,planners recommended that the city keep some areas intact to respond totraditional values and let others respond to changing needs."In dealing with suites, the city had three choices: close suites down;ignore their existence, or legalize them. To legalize suites arbitrarily wouldincur the wrath of many homeowners, to try to legalize by plebiscite riskedcity-wide defeat, and to try to legalize by area reviews was expensive andtime-consuming with no guarantee of success. If the city ignored the exis-tence of suites, law-abiding citizens would continue to be penalized whilesuites proliferated, and the city would remain unable to estimate needs forservices and amenities. If the city closed suites down, many illegal suiteswould remain because of the cost, time and ultimate futility of attempting toenforce closure, but affordable housing would still be lost. Closing suites notonly discriminated against those who could afford nothing better but alsoagainst ethnic minorities who needed large homes with suites to houseextended family members. In this regard, a spokesman for the East Indian"City of Vancouver Planning Department, "Vancouver's RS-1 Single-Family Areas", 10 Oct. 1985.107community accused city council of "separating and breaking up our familysystem."' After a prolonged study on the definition of family, council recog-nized that they had to decide between two "legitimate constituencies", thosewho wanted to restrict neighbourhoods to "traditional" nuclear families andthose who chose to live together for financial need or mutual support.' Inretrospect, arbitrarily legalizing suites across the city was the most equitableand least costly solution. But because of the power residing in the affluentwest side, it was never a real option.The process used to legalize suites began as a consultative process com-bined with an opinion survey in which owners and tenants voted either tophase out revenue suites or rezone their sub-area to RS-1S to allow one rentalsuite per house as a conditional use. To test the process, council chose theeastside area of Joyce Station. Because Joyce had just completed a Local AreaPlanning process which set the suite issue within a context of other localconcerns, the first review concluded successfully. Some neighbourhoods wererezoned for two-family dwellings as a conditional use and others remainedsingle- family in use." During the Joyce review, the city drew up RS-1Sregulations for areas where rental suites were legal. To preserve the appear-ance of a single-family home and permit conversion back to single-family"Sarah Cox, "Crackdown on suites angers East Indians," Vancouver Sun,21 Mar. 1987; See also Kim Bolan, "East Indians fight for suites," VancouverSun, 13 Apr. 1987."City of Vancouver Planning Department, "Recommendations on theFamily" (Draft), 10 July 1987."City of Vancouver Planning Department, "Joyce Secondary SuiteReview," 6 March 1987.108use, new houses were limited to a single front access and no side doors, andeach unit was required to have access to the other from within the dwelling.'Riley Park, the second area chosen for review, had not undergone aLocal Area Planning process and, after a year of wrangling, residents dividedinto pro and anti-suite factions?' To resolve the impasse, council discon-tinued the process and used results from the opinion survey to legalize suitesthrough most of Riley Park. This decision created rifts in the neighbourhoodand in council. One member of the anti-suite faction felt "manipulated by aprocess that was orchestrated by the opposition in cooperation with city hallstaff and City Council", and an alderman who voted against the rezoningdeclared, "I have never seen a public hearing where the will of the peoplewas so totally disregarded." 22The failure of the Riley Park review led to a plebiscite during the 1988civic election which asked: "Are you in favour of a neighbourhood review todiscuss secondary suites being allowed in single-family areas in your neigh-bourhood?" All eastside areas voted in favour of suite reviews, and mostwestside areas, even when polled again, voted against them. 23 After theplebiscite, council legalized family suites in all single- family zones with littlefanfare and virtually no public outcry. This zoning change created, as a new20 a 'ry 0 1t Vancouver Zoning and Development By-Law #3575, Amendmentsto the RS-1 District Schedule, May 1988.21 City of Vancouver Planning Department, "East Riley Park SecondarySuite Review: Summary Report". 3 Feb. 1989.22Daphne Bramham, "Riley Park suite decision criticized", Vancouver Sun,26 Sept. 1989; "Riley Park hearing a public mockery", Letter, Vancouver Sun,2 Oct. 1989.23City of Vancouver Planning Department, "RS-1 Secondary Suites—PollResults and Future Directions", 13 Jan. 1989.109conditional use, a suite that could house only grandparents, parents, childrenand grandchildren of the owner. Subsequent reviews to legalize rental suitesdispensed with area consultation. Instead, planners explained RS-1 and RS-1Szoning differences at public information meetings and used an opinion surveyof residents, tenants and absentee owners to decide whether to rezone.By 1990, council had rezoned most of the east side and a small westsidearea to allow rental suites which met specific health and safety standards.These standards, although lower than for new units, penalized suites in olderhouses that could not upgrade without considerable expense. Council allowedthese suites to operate legally for up to 10 years depending on the degree ofvariance from the standards. One alderman believed that legalizing familyand rental suites had been one of council's most positive achievements insetting a pattern for the future of Vancouver's single-family zones. Sheargued that those wanting no enforcement denied the need for safe housingand showed no awareness of the suffering of people who can be manipulatedby landlords.' Another alderman described the program as a total failure."After four years and $1.25 million, city council has issued only 63 permitsto upgrade and legalize existing suites out of almost 13,000 secondary suitesin the area that the program has affected." 25 By the end of 1990, owners of77 existing and 11 new houses had legalized their suites, and 415 owners hadobtained permission to rent sub-standard suites legally for up to 10 years. 2624Carole Taylor, interview by author, 5 June 1990.25 "NDP hopefuls call for suite changes", Vancouver Sun, 3 Nov. 1990.26 City of Vancouver Permits and Licenses Department, telephone inter-view by author, 1991.110During information meetings, eastside residents criticized the processwhet.' eas westside residents criticized both the process and the substance ofthe program. West Point Grey provided an example of an area's ability toorganize its neighbourhoods and articulate their concerns. Before the firstsub-area review, three neighbourhood associations met to plan their strategy,and at the first meeting, proposed electing a chairman from the crowd so thatthey could "discuss" the suite issue as promised in the plebiscite. Theplanners' refusal to turn the meeting over to residents prompted Point Grey'sNew Democratic MLA to state "You're not employed to tell people how theyshould think or how they should vote"."Residents argued that the illegal suite was not the issue council claimedit to be. For them, the issue was retaining affordable existing housing forowners, tenants and purchasers. They feared that voting for either RS-1 orRS-1S would bring more demolitions to West Point Grey. Leaflets handedout at meetings declared, "LEAVE WEST POINT GREY ALONE", and com-ments recorded showed negation of both the process and its substance.You have given us the option of remaining single-familyand getting rid of all affordable housing or going RS-1Swhich encourages new construction. The choice to retain theaffordable housing we have is not an option.I am in a lose/lose situation. If I vote RS-1, then I cannotafford to pay the mortgage without a suite. If I vote RS-1S,then I cannot afford to upgrade and have to leave.We are fiddling while Rome burns. The issue is . . . afford-able housing.Without the intervention of any bureaucrat, the city hashoused 60,000 to 70,000 people [in suites] by your own esti-mates. No one tonight has supported Council. We have heardonly cynicism and skepticism."This comment and those that follow were noted at West Point Greypublic information meetings, 14, 21, 28 Nov. and 5 Dec. 1989.111All opposed to this process, raise their hands. [Almost everyhand is raised.] Are you, as the messenger, going to take thismessage back to Council? Planner: Yes.For many, the suite reviews had been unjust. Legalizing rental suiteson the east side meant that eastside residents had to take more than their fairshare of population growth to preserve single-family use on the west side. Ifwestside landlords and tenants wanted to obey a law that council was nowmore determined to enforce, they had to relocate to areas that permittedsuites. Moreover, residents had believed that the purpose of the reviews wasto "discuss" legalizing suites as stated in the plebiscite, and were dismayed tofind that city staff intended only to describe the process by which rentalsuites would be legalized if a majority voted for them. As well, they saw theprocess as slanted towards legalizing suites. Houses with no suites (whereowners had acted legally) received only one ballot whereas houses with suites(where owners flaunted the law) received one ballot per unit as did absenteelandlords. Although tenants and landlords do not always vote in favour ofsuites, voting patterns showed that they were more likely to do so. 28 Finally,many owners believed that a process designed simply to legalize suites did notaddress related issues of affordability and neighbourhood change. Many whosupported suites in principle feared that regulations controlling suites wouldattract new duplexes and strata-title homes with the ensuing loss of neigh-bourhood character and affordable housing.West Point Grey's criticism that council had erred in separating theissues of size and suites was shared by some council members and staff. One28c• • yit of Vancouver Planning Department, "Kensington-Cedar Cottage—Neighbourhood Review on Secondary Suites", 9 Aug. 1987 and "Kitsi-lano —Neighbourhood Review on Secondary Suites", 23 Aug. 1989.112alderman, who had consistently advocated an integrated approach, concludedthat the direction chosen by council had failed.For four years, we have screwed around with an antiquated by-law. We are no further ahead and we have wasted a great deal ofthe taxpayers' money. The intent of the RS-1 zoning is to pre-serve single- family neighbourhoods. The irony is that the RS-1by-law is destroying neighbourhoods."Planners in charge of the suite reviews also felt that the process had beeninappropriate. To use this process for a single issue on which people heldstrong views could not help but turn residents against each other and thecity. A process similar to a Local Area Planning process, they said, wouldhave been less divisive because residents could explore the suite issue withinthe wider arena of other neighbourhood concerns.' Whether integratedreviews would have produced better results is entirely speculative. It is clear,however, that much could have been accomplished in the four and a halfyears spent separately on size and suites. Despite council's efforts, the suiteissue remains unresolved. As long as the need for affordable housing existsin Vancouver, enforcing closure of suites that are illegal because of locationor variance from standards will be financially and politically problematic.Taming the Monster House — The "Quick Fix"In contrast to the suite reviews, the large house review began as a top-down decison-making process and, when this approach failed, became a par-ticipatory process. The proposed changes to the by-law in 1986, later dubbedthe "quick fix", were put together speedily and without public input. Only'Alderman Libby Davies, interview by author, 12 June 1990."Planner David Thomsett, interview by author, 22 May 1990.113one planner, whose work included other housing matters, was assigneddirectly to the task. Council, recognizing the experimental nature of thechanges and the lack of staffing, made it clear that they accepted full res-ponsibility for all decisions.As with suites, public interest in the large houses was high. A publicinformation meeting to explain the proposed amendments drew a capacitycrowd of 250 residents and another meeting had to be held to accommodatethe overflow. Of 164 letters responding to the proposed by-law changes, mostwere from the east side, and only 10 percent supported the changes. TheShaughnessy Heights Property Owners' Association wrote that "wholesalechanges" to the RS-1 schedule would create "undesirable anomalies" and sug-gested separate zoning schedules to reflect different development patternsthroughout the city. One westside resident wrote that the "delicate wording"of city hall did not reflect the greed, lack of taste, and desire for conspicuousconsumption that were the driving forces behind the new large homes.'Another, urging a holistic approach, reflected a contempt for the planningprocess that was to increase throughout the controversy.[The proposals] do too little, too late. They will not prevent,and perhaps are not intended to prevent, the vanishing ofmost of Vancouver's residential neighbourhoods within thenext decade, sacrificed to much higher densities .. .The larger questions of illegal suites, of density . . . arerecognized but excluded . This is unrealistic because theissues overlap. An approach of piecemeal expediency is morelikely to serve the insidious breakdown of any real controlthan to optimize values and interests sanely. 323 'Letters to Vancouver City Council, 3 Mar. 1986.32W. S. Parker, "A Brief to the City Council of Vancouver Regarding RS-1Single-Family Regulations," March 1986.114Other criticism focussed on technical adjustments and led to furtheradjustments before council amended the zoning in April, 1986. 33 The criticalchanges, shown graphically in Figure 17, were:0 overall height was reduced from 35 to 30 feet.0 projections such as gables and dormers were not permitted beyonda roof plane which angled in at 45 degrees from the maximumsidewall height of 21 feet. Projections such as chimneys and eaves(already allowed by regulation) were permitted.0 rear yards were increased from 35 feet to 45 percent of lot depthmeasured from the centre line of the lane, but a single-storey spacecould project 12 feet into the rear yard.O front yard averaging was reinstated.O attached garages were discouraged by including any parking areaunder livable floor space in floor space calculations. Decks overattached carports could extend only 12 feet into the required rearyard.Pre-1986^ 1986Figure 17. A comparison of the 1985 and 1986 building envelopes.The amendments eliminated the few excessively large houses beingbuilt, but resulted in unintended consequences. The single-storey extensioninto the rear yard, permitted because planners and council were concerned33City of Vancouver Zoning and Development By-Law #3575, Amendmentsto the RS-1 District Schedule, April 1986.115that the deep rear yard might otherwise compromise the spatial organizationof the main floor of the dwelling, created a "long wall" which shaded andoverlooked adjacent properties. For those wanting to renovate, height res-trictions were especially punitive. Gables and dormers were often prohibitedand raising older houses to provide inexpensive space also caused problems.Figure 18. The results of the 1974 and 1986 by-laws compared. The detached garage and single-storey extension was one variation of the 1986 amendments. The other variation was an attachedcarport at the rear of the dwelling.Although not intended to interfere with the construction of VancouverSpecials," the zoning changes affected these houses severely. As shown inFigure 18, the amendments reversed the amount of space per floor for housesbuilt on standard lots. Because of deeper rear yards, the upper floor was nolonger large enough for family living, particularly for extended families withstrong traditions of privacy. Builders also noted that the ground floor wasconsidered inferior space because it was often rented to tenants. Families whowanted the large upper floor permitted before 1986 either had to buy a largerlot or buy in another municipality. Builders tried to meet the needs of"City of Vancouver Planning Department, "Vancouver's RS-1 Single-Family Areas: A Response", 5 Dec. 1985.116extended families by putting the family room at grade. But recognizing thatthe market for standard lots might now be smaller families wanting to rentout two suites at grade, they ensured that the family room had its own sepa-rate bath and entrance for conversion to a studio unit. Thus, the zoningchanges fostered three potential units on 33-foot lots at the same time that thecity was trying to deal with the issue of a second suite.Lack of communication between departments also caused problems. Byrestricting height and reducing rear yard depth, the planning department wastrying to encourage less space above grade and more space in basements. Butwhile the zoning changes were being discussed, the engineering departmentdecreased the depth of future sewer lines to save future installation costs andraised the required sewer connection depth from seven to five feet. In otherwords, planners wanted to push houses into the ground and engineers, observ-ing that most new homes (Specials) did not have basements, wanted to pushhouses out of the ground. As a result of the new sewer policy, houses withbasements often required a pumping system (estimated cost $3000 to $10,000)to bring sewage up to the required five-foot sewer connection depth eventhough they could connect to the existing sewer line without a pumping sys-tem. The cost of a pumping system could be avoided by building on slab ongrade, using the single-storey addition in the rear yard to build at or near thefull floor space ratio. The "long wall" created by this addition caused neigh-bours to complain about shading and overlooking. Although council requiredengineering to allow deeper sewers where possible, the department remainedrelatively in flexible. 3535City of Vancouver Planning Department, "Sewer Connection Costs",Memorandum, 2 Dec. 1986 and "Sewer Connection Depth Policy", Report toCouncil (Item 2), 26 Mar. 1987. City of Vancouver, "Revision to PlumbingBylaw 5964: Fees for Public Sewer Connections," Manager's Report, 3 Apr.117basementcrawl space ^Slab-on-Grade Part-BasementAfter the zoning changes, the planning department conducted a surveyof plans and elevations of 76 new homes by examining every fifth (or nearest)permit for a new single- family dwelling. The survey encompassed a six-month period five months after the 1986 changes, and represented 8 percentof all new construction for the year. The data showed that new constructionwas occurring in all single- family areas. About 80 percent of new homeswere speculatively built, and about 80 percent were either Specials or MonsterHouses. 36 Houses were deemed to have a suite if a self- contained unit couldbe created by closing a door within the house. Using this criterion, 24 per-cent of the sample were potential duplexes, 41 percent were triplexes and theremaining 35 percent true single-family homes. Triplexes were always east-side Specials, while most single-family dwellings were Monster Houses ortraditional styles located on the west side.° The survey found that restrictingheight had virtually eliminated gablesand dormers, made building on slopingsites more difficult, and resulted inhigher site coverage and many "longwalls". Moreover, as shown in FigureFigure 19. The partial basement caused by19, many houses now had partial base- the 1986 amendments to the RS-1 schedule.1987. Builders noted before the 1990 changes that they were installing pumpsin roughly 70 percent of all new construction, and the Building InspectionDepartment confirmed this estimate in a telephone interview by author, Apr.1990. City of Vancouver Planning Department, "Policy Report: Developmentand Building," 18 Mar. 1992 suggests that sewer depth remains a problem.36Judging whether houses are speculatively built or should be classifiedas Monster Houses on the basis of style is subjective. Estimates of spec-builthomes, which may be high, are based on permit data, knowledge of builderswho tend to build speculatively, and familiarity with the houses themselves.118ments. Because deeper rear yards made it difficult to build the total floorspace above grade on smaller lots, builders put the remaining floor space ina partial basement to achieve the 0.60 floor space ratio permitted by thezoning schedule. In December, a draft monitoring report concluded:the repetition of houses built today will result in a hardurban environment with large building masses, increasedconcrete surfaces and decreasing opportunities for greenopen space on residential lots ... [The issue] may not be theillegal suite, but the physical form . . . areas will take... . [The city] needs a vision for the future .. . Neigh-bourliness is too fuzzy a concept to help staff make decisionsthat are fair and consistent. 37Although the amendments eliminated excessively large homes and illus-trated the complexity of the problem, it was clear that the "quick fix" hadfailed to come to grips with residents' concerns about new houses of 2400 to4000 square feet which were not excessively large. A report written by thehousing planner noted that zoning was a "blunt instrument" for dealing withsocial and economic change, and that "in the absence of a clear direction onpriorities, meeting one city objective may negate another." The report con-cluded with the need for a comprehensive review of single-family zones. 38Taming the Monster House —A Return to the Suburban PatternThe review that began in the spring of 1987 was comprehensive onlyin its careful examination of the issue of size. Its context was a rising marketaccompanied by new construction and media coverage of Monster Houses.Table 7 shows that single-family starts in the city rose from 900 in 1985 to37City of Vancouver, "RS-1 Monitor Report" (Draft), Dec. 1986.38City of Vancouver Planning Department, "1987 RS-1 Single-FamilyWork Program", 9 Dec. 1986.1191752 starts at the peak of the market in 1989 before falling in 1990 to 958starts. Although duplex starts rose, rowhouse starts were insignificant until1990, and low-rise multi- family starts declined. This imbalance reflects boththe amount of land zoned for single-family use and effective demand. Themarket was geared to the affluent. Besides single-family houses, only highrisecondominiums geared to wealthy buyers were being built in any number.'Table 7:—Residential Buildings Constructed — City of Vancouver 1985-19901985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990Single-Family 900 938 1327 1262 1752 958Duplex 37 82 112 98 70 84Rowhouse 2 5 3 0 0 21Lowrise 32 13 8 14 9 2Highrise 51 11 19 40 15 4Soufce: City of Vancouver Permits and Licenses Department, Statement ofBuilding Permits Issued, 1986 to 1990.As neighbourhoods changed, journalists competed to inform andinflame readers. In an especially virulent piece, one columnist went directlyto the fears that nourish demands by some residents for restrictive zoning.The issue is that the hordes of Asia have moved in and areimporting the ways of Asia. That means packing all the rela-tives into a single dwelling . . . In Calcutta, they live out onthe sidewalk too . . . Given time, we, too, could reach thatstate of bliss. Anyone who doesn't like that sort of thing isa "racist" of course. 4939See, for example, Lance Berelowitz, "High-Rise Anxiety", CanadianArchitect 37, no. 1 (January 1992): 9-13.40Doug Collins, West Side Week, 5 April 1987.120Most media coverage was more balanced, but stories about MonsterHouses kept the issue top-of-mind among residents.' It was in this contextthat the city finalized the terms of reference for a review of the single-family schedule. Five architectural firms were hired as consultants: one firmto study small lots (40 feet wide or less), another firm to study large lots, andthree consultants to critique proposals for renovation potential, futureflexibility and administration ease. The consultants were asked:to achieve the best possible relationship between livability,marketability, and neighbourliness between existing and newhouses . . . emphasis should be on reducing site coverage andfloor space ratio (specifically above-grade building bulk)."The process was described as a sharing of ideas between consultantsand the presentation of these ideas to advisory groups of residents, designers,builders and realtors. Letters and briefs to the city were one means ofchoosing informed residents. One such document, complete with photos,detailed westside complaints: fear of density; loss of landscape and openspace; poor construction quality; and inappropriate house form and detailing.Once our neighbourhood was beautiful . . . Then along camethese . . . bulging over the lot like a fat lady in a bikini .. .Although some houses are not completely ugly, they stilldon't "fit" . . . A fifty year old rhododendron . . . wassmashed to make room for a house twice the size of the onethat was there—yet the same number of people live there... here, two monsters side by side . . . The same depressingrow housing (but not as well built) as one finds in the teem -ing cities of the old countries. Where brick and cementreplace trees and green grass and the sun never shines.""See, for example, Lori Cohen, "Invasion of the Monster Houses", WesternReport, 9 Feb. 1987; Shelley Fralic, "Monster House tells story of socialschism", Vancouver Sun, 24 Mar. 1987.42c• • yit of Vancouver, "Terms of Reference: RS-1 Regulations Review," 11June 1987. Emphasis mine.43M. F. Painter, "The Destruction of a Neighbourhood", brief toVancouver City Council, 5 Mar. 1987.121The builders brought a different perspective to the debate. Theyunderstood the technical implications of by-law changes, and acted asadvocates for new home buyers who, for the most part, did not participate inthe controversy. In a document prepared by their association after the 1986zoning changes, they left no doubt that they built for the Asian market.It is no coincidence that complaints doubled with the arrivalof a wave of immigrants from Asia about a decade ago. Noris it surprising they redoubled when these new immigrants. . . put their stamp on what they built or had built."In March 1987, the association presented their views to the city. Theycharged that builders were not consulted before the 1986 changes, that suiteowners were afraid to speak out at public hearings, and that owners of largehouses refused to speak. They charged that city staff had misinformed thepublic when they said that the 1986 changes would not affect the Special.They charged that the city had downgraded the kind of houses people couldbuild while increasing house costs. They charged that the aberration was notthe large house but the small bungalow built during and after the war.. . . to scale down to a wartime criterion is retrograde,unrealistic and insensitive to the needs and aspirations ofthe buying public ... the rate of demolition ... today showswhat can happen to small homes.. .[The statement by] the young professional ... who said "myhouse and the block were saved from demolition by beingbig enough to renovate or convert to duplex" will hold truein future if the city leaves the marketplace unfettered . . . 45The builders' charges were legitimate, and their opinions had merit. Theirexperience provided a rich source of information that was used to advantagein the 1988 zoning changes.Michael Hennessey, "Racism and the Dilemma of Changing Neighbour-hoods", brief to Vancouver City Council from Allied Builders, 1986.45Allied Builders, "Agenda for Discussion with City", March 1987.122Another group that lobbied the city was the Vancouver Neighbour-hoods' Association (VNA). The VNA concluded that most eastside residentshad no objection to affordable suites in affordable houses. For them, size wasthe issue. Size caused problems for adjacencies and made the new houses tooexpensive. The VNA argued that problems caused by the Special could havebeen corrected in the 1970s by ensuring that basements were set well into theground instead of changing the floor space ratio and introducing site cover-age.' The association recommended a schedule similar to the 1938 schedule:a floor space ratio of 0.45 plus a full basement with 50 percent of its depthbelow grade, site coverage at 35 percent, and garages detached from thehouse or counted as floor space. Considering that these recommendationswould produce houses with more total space than permitted by the 1986 zon-ing, the VNA stance was very reasonable.Sessions with residents, builders and designers, representatives of thereal estate industry and cultural groups brought a greater understanding ofthe issue. In summarizing the residents' views, the small lot consultants notedthat residents expected their neighbourhoods to change, but were concernedwith the speed and nature of change. Residents were not concerned aboutsuites, but about the fit between existing and new homes. They wanted moregreen space around houses and some of the bulk transferred to the basement,even if this meant more total floor space. Renovations should be encouraged°and new houses should reflect the character of existing homes."The Vancouver Neighbourhoods Association, "The Vancouver Special",brief to Vancouver City Council. 27 July 1987.'Hulbert Group, "RS-1 Regulations: Small Lot Review, City ofVancouver, B. C.," Sept. 1987. RS-1 Monitor notes confirm this assessment.123Eastside builders resisted any change that would raise the cost of theSpecial, but westside designers and builders, who had more freedom of priceand style, were open to change as were eastside designers who criticized thedesigns that the market and zoning imposed upon them. Both groups criti-cized zoning staff for interpreting regulations "to the exclusion of commonsense", and suggested hiring a permanent RS-1 planner to bring a consistentinterpretation to the single-family schedule." Council had already funded atemporary planner, and was considering staffing the position on a permanentbasis, but did not do so until after the 1988 changes were implemented.Sessions with realtors included representatives of the Chinese and EastIndian communities. A westside realtor pointed out that affluent Chinesebuyers preferred single- family areas near good schools and close to citycentre. The East Indian spokesman said that extended families had differentneeds than the typical Canadian family, and that the sponsorship conditionsof the immigration policy also encouraged large homes. An eastside realtorestimated that 75 percent of the eastside market for new homes was Chinese,and most of the remainder was East Indian. "We do not sell lifestyle, we sellaccommodation. The east side will not pay for character or age.""These meetings and other observations led the consultants to concludethat new houses were too big and too boxy with too many materials, toomuch paving, too few details and too little landscaping. In their proposal, theconsultants who worked on small lots concluded:48City of Vancouver Planning Department, "RS- 1 Workshop: Meeting withBuilders and Designers," 9 July 1987.49City of Vancouver Planning Department, "RS- 1 Workshop: Meeting withRealtors," 30 July 1987.124O The traditional pattern of front yard, house, garden and parking onthe lane provides a superior living environment for families.O Careful study of the building envelope could permit houses as largeor larger than existing new homes with more neighbourly massing.O The key to encouraging renovation while permitting variety in newhouse forms is careful control of house volume.O The history of Vancouver's zoning is a guide for appropriate futurerevisions to zoning.5°This historical approach, based on patterns established in 1930, was shared bythe large lot consultant and strongly influenced the 1988 changes.Throughout the study, small and large-lot consultants refused to con-sider the city's request to reduce site coverage and above-grade floor space."Because of incomes and lifestyle," argued one consultant, "[buyers] needlarger accommodation for their cars, computers, electronic gadgets, and oftenquarters for live-in domestic help." Reiterating the builders, he noted thatlarge houses are less prone to demolition because they can be changedinternally. In the past, mature landscaping and similar details, texture andscale had enabled large houses to fit in with smaller neighbours. The criticalaspect was not size but the treatment of space between buildings.'Except for different approaches to massing, the two proposals hadmany similarities. Both firms advocated a return to the 35-foot height limitwith no reduction to site coverage or floor space ratio. Both firms recom-mended a garden space in the rear yard with garages in a service zone on thelane, and both firms argued for transition zones around houses for porchesand other projections that would soften the building edge and reduce the50The Hulbert Group, 3."James K. Y. Cheng, "RS-1 Regulations: Review (Large Lots), FinalDraft," 1 Sept. 1987, 10-11.125perception of bulk. To control massing and bulk, small-lot consultants sug-gested horizontal and vertical transition zones controlled by a volumecalculation while the large-lot consultant suggested a simpler scheme ofcontrolled projections around the perimeter of the dwelling.The consultant hired to advise on renovations concluded that the propo-sals provided a neutral to more positive environment for renovations. 52 Theother consultants argued that the proposals be simplified. One advocated thereduction of above-grade floor space by adopting "a sliding scale" that theplanning department was in the process of developing, 53 while the otherbelieved that reducing site coverage was the most important consideration.[Both firms] have taken a shotgun approach to the problem,attacking all sections of the existing bylaw, changing every-thing . . . residential design is going to be restricted to ahandful of solutions that fit a set of very tight envelopes.The solutions are to reduce site coverage, restrict parkingand above-grade deck locations and if necessary mandatean open zone in the back yard. Simple solutions that can betested and measured quickly, not complicated documentsthat only a few people can understand.'Planners were also concerned that making too many regulatory changes atonce would make results harder to measure. On their advice, council choseto implement only the most critical proposals and monitor the results. Theamendments adopted in April 1988, shown in Figure 20, combined consul-tants' recommendations with changes advocated by the planning department.52Paul Ohannesian Architect, "RS-1 Regulations Review: Critique ofProposals with Emphasis on Housing Retention and Renovations," FinalReport, Sept. 1987, 39.53Matsuzaki Wright Architects, "Large and Small Lot Proposals," 10 Sept.1987."Stuart Howard Architects, "RS-1 Proposals: Final Submission", 4 Sept.1987.126O The front yard depth became 20 percent of lot depth.0 Where lanes existed, garages and other accessory buildings werelimited to a service area on the lane.O The rear yard setback of 45 percent of lot depth was now measuredfrom the rear property line and no construction was allowed betweenthe house and the rear service area.0 Maximum height remained at 30 feet, but eave height was raised to24 feet to resolve difficulties with new construction and renovation.0 Site coverage was reduced from 45 to 40 percent of lot area,consistent with actual site coverage in most new construction.0 Above-grade floor space was calculated by a formula-30 percent oflot area plus 1000 square feet. Total floor space was not changed. 551986^ 1988Figure 20. A comparison of the 1986 and 1988 building envelopes.Before the 1988 changes, planners had observed that above-grade floorspace of new construction decreased as lots became larger and developed a"sliding scale" to approximate market conditions. This formula was introducedbecause planners and council believed that changes that did not reduce above-grade space would be unacceptable to residents. The formula, shown graphic-ally in Figure 21, permitted large houses on small lots while reducing above-55City of Vancouver Zoning and Development By-law #3575, Amendmentsto the RS-1 District Schedule, April 1988.127.9il1ZxFigure 21. The sliding scale adapted fromCity of Vancouver Planning Department,Draft Policy Report.4000^5000^5000^10000Lot Area in Square Feetgrade space relative to lot size as lotsbecame larger. By reducing above -gradefloor space, decreasing site coverageand opening up rear yards, the changesresolved most problems of overlooking,shading and view blockage, particularlyon small lots. The introduction of thesliding scale, however, resulted in morepartial basements because the difference between the permitted total floorspace and above-grade floor space was not always enough for a full basement.Although public support for the 1988 amendments was overwhelming,letters to council showed the polarity of opposition. The first letter typifiesthe views of those long-term residents who saw suites of any sort as a threat,while the second represents the views of many Chinese and East Indian immi-grants who value the space large houses provide.The argument put forward by the development communitythat the family of the '80s requires more FSR [Floor SpaceRatio] is groundless. The typical new house built on a 33' x122' lot has on the top floor approximately 1400 square feetand on the ground floor 1000 square feet . . . in the vastmajority of these new houses, the ground floor is utilized asa revenue ILLEGAL suite. . . Allowing 1700 square feetabove grade on a standard lot will amply provide all theamenities required by a SINGLE family.We are paying very dearly for the building lot and in returnwe get a very much reduced home. The people who madethe complaints are none other than the local Canadians .. .it is too bad and unfortunate for them, but it cannot behelped, as each and everyone has the right and freedom tochoose whatever shape and style of housing he wants. . . Thewhole thing boils down to ... a case of jealousy between the"haves" and the "have -nots". 5656Letters to Vancouver City Council, 1 and 16 Mar. 1988. In the firstletter, floor areas of 1400 and 1000 square feet refer to the Vancouver Specialas it was built before the 1986 zoning amendments.128The 1986 and 1988 changes describe the period during which buildersturned from building inexpensive new housing on the east side to buildingmore expensive housing across the city. To compare this change, new single-family homes constructed after 1988 were surveyed following the samemethod used to survey new construction after the 1986 zoning changes." Thepurpose of the 1988 survey was to compare the effects of the zoning changesmore precisely than could be observed by on-site observation. After 1986,however, the zoning department changed its filing methods to separate outpermit applications with minor technical problems. Applications with noproblems were given a different code. The coding change was not evidentuntil well after the two samples had been compared. Discussions with zoningtechnicians suggested that replicating the 1986 survey more precisely wouldnot change the results of the comparison.The sample of 76 homes, representing 6 percent of the houses built in1988, showed that new construction continued to occur in all single-familyareas with some clustering across both samples in the affluent Kerrisdale-South Granville area. As in 1986, most new houses were speculatively built,but few retained the facade or the plan of the Special. Between 1986 and1988, houses with Vancouver Special facades dropped from 55 to 8 percentof the sample, while houses with Monster House facades increased from 18to 75 percent. Traditional and post-modern styles decreased from 27 to 17percent. As shown in Photo 15, the Monster House style, adapted to smallereastside lots, had become the vernacular across the city."Refer to page 118.129Photo 15. The new vernacular (centre) with a 1960s Special (left) and a 1986 Special (right).In view of the builders' tendency to maximize floor space and sitecoverage, the 1988 zoning changes reduced bulk and site coverage more thanwould have been expected. Between 1986 and 1988, above-grade floor spacedecreased on average from 56 to 47 percent of lot area and site coveragedropped from 39 to 35 percent.TYPICAL FORM 1986^ TYPICAL FORM 1988MAXIMUM SIZE MAXIMUM cry? Pins^ 1988 BY-LAW^1986 BYLAW NEW VERNACULAR VANCOUVER^ a, Floor 776 sq. ftp-ff Floor 1100 sq. ft Main Floor 1000 sg ft.^Main Floor 1276 sq. ft.^ Basement^600 sg ft. ^lbtal Area 2376 sg ft. Ibtal Area 2376 sg ft23'Plus19'Figure 22. Spatial distribution resulting from the 1986 and 1988 by-laws. The 1988 spatialdistribution is typical although articulation of the upper floor varies.Demand for suites seems to account for these decreases. To create a viablebasement suite of about 600 square feet on standard lots, builders had to takeabout 400 square feet from the permitted above-grade floor space and add it130Streetscape PatternsFigure 23. A return to the sub-urban patternto the 200 square feet of remaining total floor space that could not be builtabove grade. This spatial distribution, shown in Figure 22, approximatedVNA proposals for above-grade space, but lacked the full basementrecommended by the VNA.If the 1986 changes partly dismemberedthe Special, the 1988 changes destroyed it.Mandating an open rear yard returned the sub-urban pattern of house, garden and garage onthe lane, as shown in Figure 23. Living areasreturned to grade and the suite was once morelocated in a basement now set four feet into theground. Houses with two suites declined onlyslightly—from 65 to 60 percent between 1986and 1988, but those with three suites had dis-appeared. Although houses on large lots stillcaused complaints, the city had resolved mostof the functional problems that had drivencomplaints on smaller lots.The participatory approach of 1988 was clearly more successful than thetop-down approach of 1986. Table 8 shows the cumulative effects of thezoning changes and the market response in terms of built and open space. Byrequiring an open rear yard after 1988, the city provided almost as muchopen space as was typical of many large homes built before zoning. But thetable shows that, despite the city's need for built space, the 1988 schedule hasnot responded to this need.131Table 8:—A Comparison of Land Use — 1900, 1938, 1974 and 1988Square - Foot Area as a Percentage of a 4000 Square - Foot Lot1900^1938^1974^1988Area % Area %^Area %^Area %Total Built Space 3120 78 3000 75 2400 60 2400 60Above-Grade Space 2600 65 1800 45 2400 60 1800 45Open Space 2766 69 2400 60 2200 55 2575 64Calculations for 1988 included 400 square feet for a detached garage and 25square feet for a typical front porch. The distribution of space is typical forhomes with a 600 square foot basement, 1000 square feet on the main floorand 800 square feet upstairs. Source: Sample of new construction, 1988.Photo 16 illustrates the change in land use in a different way. On theleft is a "small" turn-of-the-century house on a 33' by 130' lot. The originaldwelling (excluding a later rear extension) was about 2100 square feet in totalfloor area, about the same size as the "large" house built on a 33' by 107' lotafter 1988. Both the original older dwelling and the new house are about 35feet deep, but the older house appears smaller because of its narrowness, itssharply pitched roof and the planted open space around the dwelling thatframes and softens the structure.Photo 16. A "small" turn-of-the-century house (left) and a "large" house (right) built after 1988.Previous chapters have shown the destruction of Vancouver's urbanpattern of the 1900s and the destruction of the suburban pattern intended by132the zoning schedule of 1930. This chapter has shown the return to the sub-urban pattern intended by zoning, although with larger houses and conditionalsuites. Figure 24 shows the cumulative changes to the residential landscapeover time and illustrates the relationship between height and open space.Under conditions of high demand and low supply, houses will spread out tocover the lot unless site coverage is restricted and height is encouraged.Figure 25. Land use and streetscape patterns from 1900 to 1955.This chapter completes the analysis of house form and land use.Although the city changed its single- family schedule again in 1990, thedecline in market activity after 1990 made it difficult to assess the results ofthe 1990 changes. While the following chapter describes these amendments,it focusses on demographic patterns in Vancouver and the region to assess theconsequences of returning to the land use pattern envisioned in 1930.133Chapter 6^ The Ethnic ConnectionThroughout 1989, builders continued to take advantage of the risingmarket. Neighbourhood change intensified, and the need for affordable hous-ing became acute. In reporting these changes, the media linked MonsterHouses increasingly to Asian wealth. Several reports refuted this linkage, andattributed changes in housing demand to the natural aging of the populationand to mobility within the region and from other provinces.'During this period the research focus shifted from technical to socialaspects of zoning because several pieces of evidence came together to indicatethat most owners were Chinese. This evidence implied that builders chosedesigns that reflected the tastes of this market, but telephone interviews withowners of the houses surveyed suggested otherwise. Over half the ownersresponding disliked some or all of the new houses, and this dislike was mostprevalent among recent immigrants. Builders interpreted signals from themarket, buyers purchased what they built, and the act of purchase confirmedto builders that their product was desirable. As with the Special, the ethniclink to the large houses was through builders who were changing single-family neighbourhoods according to their perception of market tastes.Despite the reduction of house bulk in 1988, complaints did not stop.Satisfied that the city had dealt as well as could be expected with the shading,'David Baxter, Population and Housing in Metropolitan Vancouver:Changing Patterns of Demographics and Demand (Vancouver: LaurierInstitute, 1989). Gregory Schwann, When Did You Move to Vancouver? AnAnalysis of Migration and Migrants into Metropolitan Vancouver (Vancouver:Laurier Institute, 1989).134overlooking and view blockage caused by large houses, residents became morevocal about design, ethnicity, and the destruction of trees.We . . . fear the power that Hong Kong money wields. Weresent the fact that they are able to mutilate the areas theychoose to settle in. Our trees are a part of our heritage.These people come with no concern for our past. . . Theyhave no right to devastate our residential areas. 2These complaints forced the city to amend the zoning again. The 1990amendments fine-tuned the suburban pattern re-established in 1988 byreducing the bulkiness of houses on larger lots, modulating their design, andencouraging renovation of existing dwellings. But these changes were super-ficia1 They did not recognize that most Vancouver families did not need andcould not afford the new large houses. The result of the zoning changes,therefore, may be the preservation of single-family zones for global wealth.Baby Boomers, Migrants and the Large House MarketAfter 1985, rising prices not only intensified the activity of buildersin single-family zones but also drove first-time buyers into suburban marketsand enticed older families to sell their city homes and move farther out. Atthe same time, local and offshore demand had impacted on those less able toafford housing. Rents soared, and developers began demolishing affordableolder apartments to build luxury condominiums. When new construction dis-placed seniors from apartments they had lived in for years, a western journalargded for restraints on the market to protect community values.. . . the well-being of our elder citizens is of much greatervalue and importance than the abstract, absolute freedom ofthe marketplace. The market economy exists and has beenretained because of its ability to serve higher values .. .When the "invisible hand" turns out to be a clenched fist2Letter to Vancouver City Council, 5 Aug. 1988.135threatening the security of the community, then people aregoing to get serious about bringing out the handcuffs.'Photo 17. Signs on hoardings protest the demolition of affordable Kerrisdale housing.Long before people began to feel the economic fallout from the boom,the planning department had described the need for more, smaller units. In1981, it had published Coreplan, its vision for the prosperity and vitality ofVancouver. The document noted an imbalance between housing supply anddemand by migrants attracted by core employment and by baby boomers nowseeking family housing. Despite conversion of industrial areas, redevelopmentof 143w-density areas, and replacement of older single- family homes by newhouses with illegal suites, supply had not increased significantly. The docu-ment stressed the need to increase supply while preserving neighbourhoodcharacter, but noted that past actions had achieved mixed results. With someexceptions, redevelopment had occurred mainly in eastern core apartmentareas and efforts to increase stock while preserving residential character hadresulted in socio-economic change.'Coreplan proposed intensifying land use throughout the city to achievemore medium-density, ground-oriented housing while diverting developmentfrom affordable areas towards the westside single- family zones. If this'Ken Drushka, "If the 'invisible hand' strikes out", British Columbia.Report, 20 Nov. 1989, 4."The physical preservation of neighbourhoods has had similar resultselsewhere. See George Pryzybylowski, "Housing in Existing Communities",Metropolis (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1983), 165.136strategy was inadequate, the city would have to expand its transportationsystem to link the core to the suburbs. If strategies for housing, transportationand the environment were unfeasible or unacceptable, the city would have tolimit core growth aggressively and undermine its goals of prosperity andvitality. Although demand by baby boomers would eventually decrease, Core-plan predicted Vancouver would run out of space in the early 1990s undercurrent zoning and the metropolitan area could exhaust its land supply inabout 20 years. High costs and lack of supply "could turn sons and daughtersof Vancouverites away from their city and discourage the entry of talentedpeople from elsewhere."5 High costs impacted on locals, but did not deflecttalent from elsewhere until the market peaked at the end of the 1980s.In 1989, a planning department study showed that two-thirds of thecity's housing demand over the next 15 years would come from within exist-ing neighbourhoods as aging homeowners sought smaller units. The lack ofcapacity was resulting in the demolition of affordable apartments, and thelack of alternatives in areas zoned primarily for single-family use was result-ing in residents having to leave the area when they moved from their homes.Assuming normal out-migration patterns, two conventional projections ofdem'and predicted a population increase of 50,000 to 70,000 from Vancouver'sbase of 432,385 in 1986 for an increase of 31,000 to 33,000 households by2001. A third approach estimated future demand generated by residents fromwithin their own neighbourhoods and projected an increase of over 270,000people and over 110,000 additional households. The report, recognizing thatcurrent initiatives were inadequate, proposed adding over 75,000 units outsidethe downtown core. Development would occur in industrial lands and "neigh-5City of Vancouver Planning Department, Vancouver Coreplan, 1981, 47.137bourhood centres" in established residential areas where the addition of multi-family housing would cause as little disruption as possible.' Without a changein residents' attitudes, it is unlikely that the city can meet these goals.During this period, the media reported regularly on Asian investmentin the market. In 1988, real estate and government spokesmen interviewed bythe media had ascribed the boom to a buoyant economy and migration fromother provinces. By 1989, they acknowledged that it was fed in part by Asianwealth./ In February 1989, the Vancouver Sun published statistics to show thatresidential sales to offshore buyers, primarily from Hong Kong, had risenfrom 10 to 30 percent between January and October 1988. 8 This attempt toconnect Asian immigration to real estate investment drew fire from the aca-demic community. One sociologist said that replacement of small houses bylarge ones had unleashed a tradition of anti- Orientalism, particularly on theaffluent west side. A month later, he ascribed westside prices to increaseddemand primarily from Alberta and Ontario. Asian immigrants, he wrote tothe Sun "are becoming scapegoats for market conditions for which they arenot primarily responsible."' The sociologist was correct that people were'City of Vancouver Planning Department, "Vancouver's Housing Strategy,"23 Nov. 1989./Susan Balcom, "Don't expect a Toronto crisis here", Vancouver Sun, 28May 1988; Rebecca Wigood, "Behind the boom", Vancouver Sun, 14 Jan. 1989;Margaret Philp, "Alberta, B. C. home sales soar", Globe and Mail, 24 Oct.1989; "Vancouver called hot spot for Hong Kong investors", Toronto Star,25 Mar. 1989; Bruce Constantineau, "Asian real- estate force expected toremain," Vancouver Sun, 14 Nov. 1989.'Gillian Shaw, "How Asian money fuels housing market", Vancouver Sun,18 Feb. 1989. Royal LePage Limited, Royal LePage Market Survey, 1989,showed similar statistics.""Race relations deemed unhealthy", Vancouver Sun, 18 Feb. 1989."Letters", Vancouver Sun, 16 Mar. 1989.138blaming Asians for a problem they did not create. But, along with others, hediscounted industry reports that immigrants were major players in the market.Anti-Asian sentiments caused ambivalence as the Asian community°tried to deal with racial slurs and their own concerns about neighbourhoodchange. In a letter to the Vancouver Sun, a westside Chinese teenager wrote:These immigrants for the most part do not attempt to fit intoCanadian society. With their rich and powerful Hong Kongbackgrounds, they are perfectly content to isolate them -selves. If discrimination is directed toward them, they shrugit off.The situation is distressing for Chinese-Canadians like me.We are victimized by the same generalizations that are madeabout the immigrants ... Even if we agree with parts of thegeneralizations, we cannot openly say so, as this would bebetraying our own people. 1°Denials by politicians and academics that the market could be respond-ing to a specific ethnic group caused confusion in assessing the role of immi-grants in the market, and confusion was compounded by using aggregate fig-ures to describe the market. Several studies conducted for the Laurier Insti-tute in 1989 illustrate that aggregate figures are of little value in assessinglocal markets. 11 In the first report, economist David Baxter used census datafrom 1971 to 1986 to analyze the 1075 square-mile Vancouver Census Metro-politan Area (CMA). He concluded that baby boomers were reaching peakhousing demand. If trends continued, demand in the region would be unpre-cedented. First-time buyers would decline between 1986 and 1996, anddemand would come mainly from established household heads aged 35 to 54,a group that historically prefers single- family or ground-oriented housing.w"Letters", Vancouver Sun, 7 Dec. 1989."The Laurier Institute, a non-profit group formed in 1989 to promoteunderstanding among cultures, was concerned that blame attributed to HongKong buyers for large houses was spreading through the Chinese community.°139. . . the responsible group is everyone, not some unusual orexotic group of residents or migrants. In fact, there is noone to blame: the future growth in housing demand is a logi-cal and normal extension of trends in the nation's popula-tion, trends that have their roots in the baby boom of the1946 to 1961 period, and the historical desirability of metro-politan Vancouver as a place of residence. 12An analysis of city data suggests that baby boomers affect city andsuburban markets differently. Table 9 compares these two data sets to showthat, proportionately, the 45 plus age group decreased more and the 25 to 44age group increased more in the city than in the region between 1966 and1986. Although all age groups in the region increased in absolute numbers,only the 25 to 44 age group increased numerically-by about 44,000-in thecity. The 15 to 24 age group decreased by about 11,000 and the group 45 andolder decreased by about 4000 people."Table 9:-Age Group Sizes in Percentages - 1971 to 1986Vancouver Census Metropolitan Area and City of Vancouver1971 1976 1981 1986 Percent ChangeCMA:15 - 24 23.5 23.4 21.8 18.9 -4.625 - 44 35.0 36.3 38.7 41.7 +6.745 plus 41.5 40.4 39.5 39.4 -2.1City: 15 - 24 22.7 21.9 20.3 18.0 -4.725 - 44 31.3 32.9 36.3 40.7 +9.445 plus 46.0 45.2 43.3 41.3 -4.7Source for CMA statistics: David Baxter, Population and Housing inVancouver, 1989. Source for city statistics: City of Vancouver PlanningDepartment, Vancouver Local Areas 1976, 1981 and 1986.'2Baxter, 79.13City of Vancouver Planning Department, Vancouver Local Areas 1976,1981 and 1986.140An analysis by local areas shows that two-thirds of the 25 to 44 agegroup are clustered in higher density multi-family areas. The only single-family areas showing this group as a higher than average proportion wereHastings-Sunrise and West Point Grey, on the eastern and western boundariesof the city respectively.' Although some aging baby boomers can afford largenew homes and younger baby boomers may prefer apartment living, the clus-tering in multi-family areas suggests that many urban baby boomers are notactive in the city's single-family market.Before Baxter published his report, Royal LePage research suggestedthat older buyers and those who already had bought more than two homeswould continue to fuel demand for luxury homes, particularly in the suburbs.The firm also believed that the decline of first-time buyers was a function ofthe market, citing as evidence that first-time buyers made up only 30 percentof the Greater Vancouver market in 1988, the lowest level in the country.The market now is driven from the top down, where peopleat the top of the market with huge equities are selling andmoving outward . . . If you go out to White Rock or Surrey,you'll see they are building 3000-square-foot homes forpeople who used to live on the west side."The firm stressed the need for smaller, more affordable urban housing units."The 'not-in-my-backyard' mentality has to change," said one executive."Government agencies and consumers are going to have to learn to acceptsmaller, more affordable homes situated in their neighbourhoods.""44 Local area figures are tabulated in Appendix D."Bruce Constantineau, "First-time buyers head for valley," VancouverSun, 18 Jan. 1989."Bruce Constantineau, "Asian real-estate force expected to remain,"Vancouver Sun, 14 Nov. 1989.141The heaviest demand was on areas most people could still afford. Citiesas far away as Kelowna and Prince George lured buyers selling Vancouverhomes for profit and a more relaxed lifestyle. Closer to home, White Rockoffered young families a chance to buy a larger home and pay down theirmortgage. "I think it will be a better place to raise the children," said onebuyer. "There's more space and . . . more sunshine."' One retired eastsideresident advised westside residents that the only solution was to move away.The pace of destruction has not missed a beat in spite ofminor design changes imposed on the city as a sop to com-plainers .. . I would advise our west side residents whotremble at the approaching bulldozers to do what so many ofmy east side neighbours have done. Take the money and run.No one is going to protect you.18Builders and designers noted that their own friends were moving to the sub-urbs. One designer described a retired multi-lingual European couple whoreluctantly moved to White Rock because they could not talk to neighbourswho'were now Chinese. Said a westside designer planning to leave, "Let's faceit, who wants their child to be the only Caucasian in the schoolyard?"The dispersal of Vancouver residents was precipitated not only by theeconomic advantage of the suburbs but by the example of friends and neigh-bours and the inability of the city to grapple with the cultural component ofneighbourhood change. Although Baxter was correct in his analysis of thedemand for single and multi-family ground-oriented housing, his aggregate17Dawn Hanna, "Kelowna, housing hotspot," Vancouver Sun, 2 Mar. 1990;Suzy Hamilton, "Blame it on the MARPies [Middle Aged Rural Professionals]:housing crunch hits the Kootenays", British Columbia Report, 19 Feb. 1990,13; Marilyn Storey, "Surrey couple bursts with ecstasy over new PrinceGeorge lifestyle," Vancouver Sun, 17 Oct. 1991; Donna Anderson, "Cashing inon White Rock," Vancouver Sun, 23 Mar. 1990.18"Letter", Vancouver Courier, 30 Nov. 1988.142figures do not show that demand by young and aging baby boomers for largesingle-family homes will be felt more acutely in the suburbs and other cities.In a second Laurier study, economist Gregory Schwann analyzed mobi-lity. He showed that the proportion of non-movers and those moving withinthe CMA had increased between the census years 1971 and 1986. Migrantswere a declining force in the market, and the "churning" of the market wasincreasingly due to local buyers. But again, as Table 10 shows, there are°differences between Schwann's aggregate figures and those for the city itself.Table 10:—Mobility in Vancouver's Census Metropolitan Area and the CityPercentage of Individuals in Each Mobility Status — 1971 to 1976Within^From From^Inter-^Non-CMA^B.C. Canada Nat'l^MoversVancouver CMA 36.0 4.1 7.2 7.0 45.7Vancouver City 31.1 3.2 6.2 9.8 47.7Source for CMA: Schwann, When Did You Move to Vancouver? Source forCity: Vancouver Planning Department, Vancouver Local Areas 1976.Table 10 coincides with the rapid spread of the Special during the1970s. City figures shows less movement into the city from the CMA, fromthe province and from other provinces for the five-year period ending in1976. During the same period, proportionately more international migrantscame to the city than to the CMA as a whole, and fewer city residents movedfrom their homes. Although Schwann could not incorporate figures for thefive-year period ending in 1991, other data suggests that a similar mobilitypattern may accompany the spread of the Monster House.143Schwann himself notes that net migration to the region "is dispropor-tionately felt in the new home marketi and that ownership increased amongnon-movers and immigrants and decreased among other migrants between1971 and 1986. Demand would be for large single- family homes and smallermulti-family units, and affluent migrants of all groups would buy the newlarge homes. "Because immigrants have not had incomes substantially higherthan existing residents," he said in a Vancouver Sun interview, "they are notout there buying these massive homes."' A realtor interviewed in the elitesuburb of West Vancouver considered Schwann "naive" in not recognizing theglobal forces at play in the market.The Chinese want the British Properties because it remindsthem of the Peak in Hong Kong. Iranian developers are res-ponsible for the knock -downs in Ambleside and Dundarave. . . The new players are the Japanese. They buy summerhomes, and so the houses are vacant much of the year.. .I have very mixed feelings about my job . . . The land isbeing sold out from under the Canadians. Where do our chil-dren go? ... The Laurier Institute is naive if it is using 1986figures. The market has changed to a global market.The Buyers of Monster HousesBaxter and Schwann describe a regional market responding to predict-able demographic changes. The housing industry, in contrast, saw localmarkets changed by global events. To get a better sense of local buyingpatterns through the region, the eleven top salesmen (by number of unitssold) for discrete areas in the region were interviewed by telephone in the19Schwann, 44."'Lower Mainlanders buy most Vancouver housing," Vancouver Sun, 13Dec: 1989.144spring of 1990. Realtors distinguished between "Caucasian" and "Asian"buyers, but their remarks suggested that second-generation non-Caucasianshad °similar preferences to Caucasian buyers and that Asian buyers wereusually Chinese. The interviews showed that buying patterns change relativeto distance from city centre, with Asian activity highest near city centre andCaucasian activity increasing with distance from city centre.According to east and westside realtors, the Chinese bought roughly90 percent of new eastside houses, 50 percent of used eastside houses, and 80percent of new westside houses. Caucasians predominated in the used west-side market except where builders bought older houses for demolition. Therenovation market was the reverse of the new home market with 80 percentof westside buyers intent on renovation being Caucasian. According to real-tors active in suburban municipalities, the Chinese bought 80 and 90 percentof new homes in the adjacent suburbs of Burnaby and Richmond, while Cau-casians bought most of the used houses in these areas. Caucasians also boughtmost of the new and used homes in the adjacent suburbs north of the cityand in the outer suburban municipalities. These observations suggest that anoutward dispersal of local residents accompanies Asian demand for large newcity homes. The only significant exception to this pattern was a localized areasouth of the city in Surrey, where East Indians bought 80 percent of the newand 30 to 40 percent of the used single-family homes.Several suburban realtors remarked that new housing follows traditionalstyles where Canadian-born buyers are active. And the westside realtor notedthat Canadian-born buyers of all ethnic groups who can afford new largehouses prefer quality used housing in traditional styles on the city's west°145side.' The purchase of used housing by the Canadian-born, therefore, relatesonly partly to cost. Traditional styles more readily available in the usedmarket are also a factor in housing choice among the Canadian-born.Media reports confirm patterns described by realtors. In Richmond, asuburb just south of the city undergoing rapid ethnic change, one in 12residents was of Chinese origin in 1986. In 1991, the city estimated one infive residents to be of Chinese origin, and within 10 years one in three willbelong to a visible minority group. A Chinese developer noted that almostevery home in developments in which he was involved was sold to Chinesebuyers. "Chinese people like to move in among friends. . . . Richmond hasbecome a very attractive city to the Chinese people from Hong Kong, Taiwanand the Philippines." As new people move in, said a Richmond planner,empty nesters and those near retirement are buying farther out. The possibi-lity of providing alternatives in their own neighbourhoods is remote. Peopleliving in single-family areas, said the planner, do not want change. 22Data derived from the survey of new houses built in Vancouver afterthe 1986 and 1988 zoning changes confirmed the realtors' view of the newhome market. Each address was matched to the owner's name on the assess-ment roles to determine the ethnicity of buyers. There was considerable dataloss because some addresses had changed, construction companies or num -bered companies still owned some homes, and the ethnicity of names such asLee and Stern was unclear. Eight percent of the 1986 sample addresses and16 percent of the 1988 sample addresses could not be matched to owners''This market splits evenly between Caucasian and Chinese buyers.22Jes Odam, "Immigrants give Richmond an Oriental flavor", VancouverSun, 5 Dec 1991.146names, leaving 70 homes in the 1986 sample and 64 homes in the 1988 samplefor which the ethnicity of the owner had been established. Four usefulgroupings emerged—Chinese, European, East Indian and British. Table 11shows that Chinese owners made up the largest group in both samples.Furthermore, the proportion of Chinese owners increased between 1986 and1988 while the proportion of European and East Indian owners decreased andthat of British owners remained stable. Three percent of the 1986 samplewere absentee owners, rising to 25 percent in 1988.Table 11:—Percentage of New Home Buyers by Ethnic OriginHomes Surveyed after the 1986 and 1988 Zoning ChangesChinese European^East Indian British^Total1986 (n=70) 67 16 11 6 1001988 (n=64) 82 7 4 7 100Source: B. C. Assessment Authority, June 1990.Because of sample sizes, the data on housing preferences are not reli-able. The British seemed to prefer the few traditional or post-modern styleson the west side and East Indians bought eastside Vancouver Specials almostexclusively. Chinese and Europeans were more eclectic in their choice oflocation and style and, within the sample, the most authentic traditional stylesand the most contextual houses had Chinese and European owners. The dataalso suggest that East Indians and Chinese were more likely to buy houseswith suites than were British or Europeans. In the 1988 sample, purchase ofhouses with suites declined among Chinese owners and increased among thefew British owners. This shift suggests that Chinese buyers had less need forsuites and that British buyers needed rental income to buy on the west side.147To find out more about these owners, Millie Chu, a graduate studentin the University of British Columbia's planning school, conducted atelephone survey. Of the 134 owners represented in Table 11, 82 owners'names could be matched to telephone numbers. 23 A letter outlining thepurpose of the survey preceded the interview, and the interview itself waslimited in length because of legitimate concerns over language difficulties. Allinterviews began in English, and 20 percent were completed in Chinese. Theinterviews showed that determining ethnicity by owners' name was reliable.Thirty-one owners from the 1986 sample and 24 owners from the 1988sample responded for a total of 55 respondents. All but four had been bornoutside Canada. Over two-thirds of the 1986 sample had been in Canada over10 years, and many had been residents for more than 20 years. In contrast,almost two-thirds of the 1988 sample had been here 10 years or less and mosthad been here less than 5 years. Across both samples, most British ownerswere born in Canada, and all Europeans and most East Indians were estab-lished immigrants. Two-thirds of Chinese owners were new arrivals.Chu asked whether buyers found the appearance of the houses attrac-tive. They were not asked to judge their own house, but to judge new housesin general. Nevertheless, photographs of respondents' houses showed that mostrespondents lived in either a Special or a Monster House. Because of the smallsize of the non-Chinese sample, all that can be said is that Europeans andEast Indians found the new houses more attractive than did British buyers.Among the 36 Chinese respondents, 39 percent found the new houses attrac-23The difficulty of matching telephone numbers to owner's names is themajor cause of the small sample size. Some owners had moved, others mayhave had unlisted phone numbers, but a large number may have listed thetelephone under the the name of an English-speaking relative. Some of thesewere identified by matching last name to address in the telephone directory.148tive  and almost as many liked some new houses and disliked others. A sizablegroup, 22 percent, found the houses "ugly". Within this group, new arrivalsdisliked new houses more often than did established immigrants. When askedabout the influence of media coverage on taste, Chu noted that many of therecent arrivals were well educated and well travelled and therefore less likelyto be unduly influenced by media reports. 24Because of time constraints, the questionnaire was not pretested. After10 interviews, questions on suites (which respondents were reluctant toanswer) were replaced by questions on the buyer's occupation, previous resi-dential location and the number of generations in the household. Responsesshowed higher-status occupations in the 1988 sample, and considerable varia-tion in previous residential location, with overseas buyers coming from otherpart of Asia as well as Hong Kong. Chinese households often had threegenerations living together and many East Indian households included rela-tives of the same generation. Extended families usually lived on the east side.The profile of the 1986 buyer is the well-established immigrant, usuallyChinese but often European or East Indian, who has chosen to buy or builda Special. The profile of the 1988 buyer is the newly arrived Chinese immi-grant with a higher status occupation who wants to settle quickly in a moreexpensive home than the Special. The builders, responding to this change inbuyer profile, switched from building the Special to building in the MonsterHouse style. This switch, evident in 1986, was almost complete by 1988. Therapid shift to the Monster House style shows that builders can adapt any new24Architect James Cheng notes that the wave of Chinese immigrants arriv-ing in the 1960s was less educated than the group arriving in the 1980s. Thelatter, often the children of prosperous Asians, are generally more travelledand have more refined tastes. Interview with author, 15 May 1990.149zoning quickly to a formula they believe will sell. Because the market consistsalmost entirely of buyers for whom the existing residential landscape has nomeaning, builders try to offer houses that have meaning to these buyers. Nomatter how often the city changes its zoning, new houses will reflect thebuilders' attempt to capture this market.A master's thesis by geography student Niall Majury confirms the linkbetween Chinese buyers and the new large houses in the affluent local areaof Kerrisdale. His examination of census figures for Kerrisdale for 1981 and1986 showed little growth in its Asian population except in some southerlyenumeration districts where Chinese populations ran as high as 28 percent.Field observations showed these areas had been substantially changed byMoirster Houses since the 1980s with 38 percent more new homes identifiedthan in northern Kerrisdale where the Chinese presence was low.Using assessment roles, Majury sampled 155 properties on three of thearea's most prestigeous streets. People with Chinese surnames owned almost83 percent of the 40 homes constructed after 1980 while those with surnamesother than Chinese owned 79 percent of the houses built before 1980. Usingthe city directory, Majury also traced change in ownership on a sample blockof 30 houses from 1980 to 1990. British and European owners had decreasedfrom 22 to 13, Chinese owners had increased from two to 14, and ownersfrom other ethnic groups had increased from two to three. Four propertieswere either vacant or listed as "no return". Monster Houses had replaced eightof the 30 original houses. All were owned by Asians, seven of whom wereChinese. "There would appear to be strong evidence," said Majury, "that localdevelopers and designers are constructing these 'monster' houses with a speci -fic market in mind" and that the houses "deliberately engage the cultural150codes and symbols of a very specific intended clientele—new middle classCanadian citizens, usually of Hong Kong and Taiwanese origin." 25Majury concluded that the Monster House is not simply an economicphenomenon but a merging of economic and cultural motivations. The largehouse controversy, he said, is a clash between an Anglophile elite whosenumbers and economic power are weakening and a new immigrant elite whowant to imprint their identity on the landscape. Because Majury's study waslimited to Kerrisdale, it could not address eastside anxieties. Concern amongthen residents suggest that the problem involves both cultural and economicmotivations but is more complex than a clash between elite groups.Stanbury and Todd use an economic rather than cultural analysis toexplain resistance to change. In a third report commissioned by the LaurierInstitute, they ask why residents pressed for more restrictive zoning when lessrestrictive zoning would add value to their properties. The report includes adetailed examination of the 1986 and 1988 zoning changes and an analysisof immigration patterns to the Vancouver region. Although the analysisrecognizes the link between immigration and the Monster House, it concludesthat, given current land prices, owners who wished to redevelop their pro-perty would choose to increase house size regardless of ethnic background. Todo otherwise would make no economic sense. For those not interested inredevelopment, resistance to change was neither irrational nor ethnicallybased. The construction of new large houses affects the utility value ofadjacencies. Residents wanted more regulation because they valued the cur-25Niall Majury, "Identity, Place, Power and the 'Text': Kerry's Dale andthe 'Monster' House," (M. A. Thesis, University of British Columbia, 1990),116.151rent enjoyment or utility of their property more than any future value theproperty might have with less restrictive zoning.Efforts by existing homeowners to make the RS-1 regula-tions more restrictive is [sic] not due to irrationality (eventhough they reduce the market value of their property) ordue to them having different tastes from those who buildthe new large houses . . . For those who do not plan to moveor renovate for a long time . . . the market value effect ofregulatory changes will not be realized for many years .. .Hence, owners will maximize the utility value of their pro-perty by having the city make the RS-1 regulations morerestrictive.26Stanbury and Todd's argument suggests that owners fall along aneconomic continuum from those who have no interest in moving, renovatingor redeveloping to those who want to move, renovate or rebuild immediately.Letters from residents to city council and to local newspapers suggest thatresidents also range from the racially intolerant to those who embrace culturaldiversity. Other letters suggest that residents may range along other con-tinuums in their desire to preserve streetscapes because of heritage, environ-mental or affordability concerns. Only those who embrace cultural diversityand do not value the existing neighbourhood character will favour less res-trictive zoning. Those who are anxious about change to the character of theneighbourhood may accept regulations that preserve this character even ifthey want to renovate or redevelop their property. These various motivationsfor resistance help to explain why complaints about size and use were morecomplex than either Majury or Stanbury and Todd suggest.2eStanbury and Todd, iii.152Stabilizing the Suburban Pattern — The 1990 AmendmentsIn 1990, the city tried to deal with the link between culture and designfor the first time. This intent was expressed by one alderman who hoped thatthe 1990 amendments would "bring to a halt what I consider the underlyingracism . . . the blaming of the problem on people who happen to look likeAsians".27 At the time, council was beseiged by other housing-related pro-blems elsewhere in the city, and these amendments were, as another aldermannoted, a "panic reaction" to complaints from westside residents rather than acareful response that furthered gains made in 1988. Part of the reason forpanic, said the alderman, was the unsettled status of the planning department.After the 1988 changes, the city had hired a new planning director andplanners responsible for the 1988 changes had moved on to other assignments.Although the 1988 approach had given the city a process that had provensatisfactory, council chose to return to an arbitrary approach to amend theby-raw in 1990. "Arbitrary zoning created by politicians", said the alderman,"is what happens when crisis meets planning." 28Planners proposed two amendment packages, each of which shapedresidential form differently. One package returned maximum height to 35feet while the other retained a maximum height of 30 feet 2 9 Assuming abasement high enough out of the ground for some light penetration, a maxi-mum height of 35 feet enables, although barely, the construction of a two-and -a -half storey dwelling while a 30 - foot height maximum does not. Even27Elizabeth Godley, "Council approves new restrictions on big houses,"Vancouver Sun, 28 Jan. 1990.28Alderman Carole Taylor, interview by author, 5 June 1990.39The options are summarized in "Notice of Public Hearing," Appendix A.153with the articulation of form required by the 1990 amendments, a two- and -a- half storey dwelling covers less of the lot than a two-storey dwelling of thesame size. The 35-foot height would have freed more open space and fosteredthe retention of neighbourhood character in areas comprised of older homeswith steeply pitched roofs. 3° Comments by aldermen during the public hear-ing suggested that council did not recognize the different implications forurban form in the two options, and the amendments passed in April 1990essentially adopted the proposals put forward in the 30-foot package.'Figure 25. The 1990 building envelopes on larger lots compared to the 1988 envelope (left). Thesecond-storey setbacks (1990a and 1990b) can occur on one or both sides of the house.0 A change to the sliding scale formula further reduced above-gradespace on larger lots. Owners of lots 60 feet and wider could use the1988 sliding scale to gain more space if the Director of Planningapproved siting, design and landscaping.0 A second sliding scale was introduced to create wider side yards onwider lots.0 For lots more than 40 feet wide, a deeper sideyard setback at thesecond storey modulated house form, as shown in Figure 25."Although the by-law allows for height relaxations to 35 feet, speculativebuilders generally build to the regulations.31 City of Vancouver Zoning and Development By-Law #3575, Amendmentsto the RS-1 District Schedule, April 1990.154O Interior spaces over 12 feet in height were counted as two floors in•^calculating floor space ratio.O Porches were encouraged by increasing permitted projectionsinto front yards.Among concerns expressed by residents and architects were the awk-ward use of brick on front facades, its use as a single cladding material toproduce houses clad entirely in brick (Photo 18), and the use of too manycladding materials in other homes. Other than imposing a second-storey set-back and allowing discretion in the use of the 1988 sliding scale on wide lots,the city's only direct foray into design control was an ill- conceived proposalto limit cladding materials and to restrict the use of masonry to foundations.The proposal prohibited contextual design in areas characterized by Tudor-Revival homes and denied new designs which may have equalled these "half -timller" homes so admired by Bartholomew. This attempt at design controlwas strongly criticism at the public hearing and defeated by council.Photo 18. This westside brick house does not fit the neighbourhood context of ranch-style housesbut dispells the criticism than Vancouver builders do not understand how to build in brick.Council also made technical changes to encourage renovation and set upa Hdusing Renovation Centre to help owners move through the zoning process155more easily. A planning department comparison of renovation activity forthree six-month periods after each zoning change, shown in Table 12, sug-gests on the surface that the attempt to shift the bias away from newconstruction may have been successful.Table 12:— Renovation Activity in Vancouver — 1987, 1989 and 1990Jan. to June1987Jan. to June1989May to Oct.1990New Construction Starts 594 944 309Renovation and Addition 287 228 513Total Construction Activity 881 1172 822Source: Vancouver Planning Department RS-1 and RS-1S Statistics, 1990.But whether the large increase in renovations in 1990 is due to home-owner confidence in the zoning changes, other market forces or simply atendency to renovate in the summer (the period captured in 1990) remainsunclear. What is clear is that, in the two time periods that can be compared(January to June 1987 and 1989), the 1988 zoning amendments further dis-couraged renovation and addition to existing dwellings.As part of the 1990 changes, council also set up an RS-1/RS-1SAdvisory Committee to review single- family zoning on a regular basis. Thecommittee initially consisted of two architects, two landscape architects, amember from the Greater Vancouver Homebuilders Association (who repre-sent only 10 percent of builders in the region), a local designer and thedirector of the Urban Design Institute plus up to five city staff. 32 The32City of Vancouver Planning Department, "RS-1/RS-1S AdvisoryCommittee Status", 20 Sept. 1990.156subsequent addition of a local builder and local realtor has made the com-mittee more representative of the local market. Nevertheless, according to onemember interviewed, meetings have been infrequent and it is questionablehow much influence the committee has on planning staff. 33Before the 1990 amendments, council had initiated a program to reviewthe zoning for the South Shaughnessy- Granville area to preserve its resi-dential character. After the amendments were passed, council persuaded theprovince to change the Vancouver Charter so that the city could pass a by-law to protect mature trees on private property during demolition and con-struction.34 Along with zoning changes facilitating renovation, these initiativeswere a powerful message that the city now valued its existing residentialneighbourhoods and the cultural traditions they embodied.For one resident who feared his neighbourhood would change beforethe city completed its South Shaughnessy- Granville rezoning, the city'sactions were not enough. 35 At his own cost, he hired two architects to pollhis  area of 182 homes for approval in principle to change the zoning anddraw up a new schedule for the area. 36 The architects proposed regulationsdesigned to preserve neighbourhood character, but also eliminated uses suchas family suites and special-needs facilities that benefit the larger community.After the planning department reinstated these uses and reduced above-grade33Committee member Brian Thorn, telephone conversation with author,8 July 1992.34City of Vancouver Zoning and Development By-Law #3575, April, 1991.35See Jeff Lee, "One man wields unique sword at 'monster' houses,"Vancouver Sun, 25 May 1990.36The area is centrally located within South Shaughnessy- Granville.157floor space to deflect new development to other areas, council voted to rezoneto RS-3.37 Council members on both the left and right of the political centrefelt they had to support the application because they had repeatedly statedtheir belief in the right of neighbourhoods to self-determination. This intentis made clear in a letter from the mayor to an eastside resident.You may rest assured that I have not ever been in favour of... "densification". I have consistently ... said that residentsshould determine the character of the neighbourhood.When it was clear that our Zoning and Development By-Lawwas not responding appropriately to the changes that havetaken place over the last three years, and when it was clearthat the former . . . council had no interest in maintainingthe quality of life in our neighbourhoods, I said that ourCouncil, if elected, would pursue a policy of neighbourhoodprotection.'Despite this concern for self - determination, the process had includedno input from residents other than approval in principle and made a mockeryof planning in the public interest. The message sent by the city was thatplanning was not intended to be fair. The city did not intend to distributecosts and benefits equitably, but preferred to support initiatives by wealthyneighbourhoods at the expense of neighbourhoods that would bear the bruntof deflected development. This concern about the "privatization of planning"to the detriment of other neighbourhoods was expressed not only by theplanner involved" but also by several aldermen who supported the rezoning.This is a historically significant rezoning process. The desireof the residents is to put the neighbourhood in formalde-hyde. I do object . . . that by putting a freeze on the physicalchange to the neighbourhood, the neighbourhood will not37City of Vancouver Zoning and Development By-Law #3575, RS-3District Schedule, July, 1990."Letter from Mayor Gordon Campbell, 10 May 1988.39Planner David Thomsett, interview by author, 20 May 1990.158have to deal with some of the consequences that occur. Thatis an unfair thing for them to ask of the city."We have to ensure that planning is not just done for some atthe expense of others. What happened [with RS-3J is the pri-vatization of planning . . . It is important to note that thisneighbourhood had the legal right to do what they did. Weare not discussing the legality but the ethics of encouragingthe privatization of planning.'Because of the localized nature of the market, the construction of oneSpecial or Monster House often creates a domino-effect on the street. Theresident who initiated the RS-3 zoning recognized that a planning reviewcould not respond quickly enough to prevent unwanted neighbourhoodchange. "Our neighbourhood feels it can no longer fiddle," he said, "becauseRome is burning."' He believed that he was breaking ground for otherneighbourhoods, and in all fairness, his initiative showed that anyneighbourhood, given adequate financial resources, could draw up a planresponsive to local needs quickly and inexpensively.Planners had already developed a process for such initiatives in rezon-ing First Shaughnessy in 1982. 43 In this instance, residents feared thatdevelopers would demolish the large homes in this affluent area (many ofwhich were architectural or historical treasures) and subdivide the lots fornew development. Shaughnessy hired an architect to prepare a plan to pre-serve the character of their neighbourhood but, dissatisfied with the result,"Alderman Gordon Price in Jeff Lee, "Rezoning idea has a permanentair", Vancouver Sun, 16 May 1990."Alderman Libby Davies, interview by author, 12 June 1990.42Alison Appelbe, "City supports monster moratorium for small area ofSouth Shaughnessy", Vancouver Courier, 10 April 1990."City of Vancouver Zoning and Development By-Law #3575, FirstShaughnessy Official Development Plan.159prepared a second plan. The residents presented the city with both alterna-tives and, working with planners and architects, devised a plan similar to theone the residents had prepared. Shaughnessy residents recognized that theyhad to provide variety in unit size and tenure to keep their large old homes.In essence, they accepted a potential increase in population density (whichhas yet to occur) to preserve residential character. Infill dwellings and con-version of existing homes to multiple units are the mechanisms to increasedensity, and a design panel made up of residents, design professionals andplanners ensures that any renovation or new construction follows the designguidelines accompanying the plan. As in the RS-3 zone, Shaughnessy resi-dents initiated the plan in their own self-interest. But unlike RS-3, theyrecognized that they had to negate single- family use to keep what theyvalued in their neighbourhood. The Shaughnessy process, although too costlyin tax dollars to merit general application, seems a better model for preserv-ing neighbourhoods than the RS-3 zoning that council approved.The 1990 zoning changes and the approval of RS-3 zoning coincidedwith the end of the real estate boom, and the slowdown in new constructionmakes it difficult to evaluate their results. The planner responsible for single-family zoning noted that "builders are catering to a more homogeneous tastepool, and east-and west-side homes are now looking more similar in terms ofesthetics"." There is some consensus that the amendments improved thegeneral level of design. Builders found houses built after 1990 more attrac-'Pamela Fayerman, "Monster mash: 'wedding cake' design replacing hugeboxes in many neighbourhoods", Vancouver Sun, 15 Feb. 1991.160tive although more expensive,' and field observations showed more examplesof restraint in design by the end of the decade.Several designers were interviewed on the cumulative effects of thezoning changes since 1986. One designer credited the city for destroying theVancouver Special, but felt that the zoning changes were otherwise severelyflawed. His major concerns were the wasteful use of land and the safety ofsuites now set well below grade. "It's a crime to allow basements but not allowfull basements raised enough above grade to be safe and livable," he said."The new suites are fire traps . . . the windows are too small and sills toonarrow for easy escape." He also argued for attic space. Roofs were now°approaching 30 feet, and five feet more would make little difference butwould provide more space for current and future needs. Because the newhouses were inadequate in size and built to minimum building code require-ments, he argued, "houses built today will not last more than 30 years."'Other designers expressed concern about technical adjustments to theschedule. One argued that the formulas made sense mathematically but hadlittle connection to the real world. The 1990 sliding scale had been tailoredto fit the envelope almost exactly, and the side yard computation penalized50- foot lots without giving lots 66 feet or more the wider side yards theyneed for good building proportions. "They are 'magic numbers' imposed ondesign rather than formulas that derive from real-life situations."'The consultants hired for the 1988 changes faulted the arbitrary methodchosen in 1990. They all concluded the 1988 process had been a positive45Fayerman.46Designer Reg Povey, interview by author, 1 May 1990.47lntarsia Designs, interview by author, 8 May 1990.161experience, but criticized the city on two counts. Most felt that the 1988schedule could have been improved had they been given an opportunity tocritique it before it went to public hearing. And most felt that a continuationof the 1988 process in 1990 would have served the public better because aworking group had been established that understood the issues.Several of the consultants, alongwith other architects and designers,predicted that "structural nightmares"would occur, and they did. Houses builtafter 1990 included tiered "wedding-cake" designs and second-storey wallsFigure 26. The effects of the second-storeyplaced over large first-storey windows. setback, predicted by Intarsia, May 1990."What some people will want to do now," said one designer, "is keep the boxbut thrust out the living room to one side at the front, thus retaining thewidth across the front of the house and the flatness of the front facade.""This prediction, shown in Figure 26, is borne out in photographs supportingan evaluation of the zoning changes prepared by the city in 1992. 49 While thisdocument shows that some excellent designs have resulted from the forcedsecond-storey articulation, the logic of structure has been compromised toregulatory whim. The problem here, as with the sewer problem, is that citystaff do not understand the fundamentals of good building practice.The city's evaluation noted that both complaints and negative mediacoverage decreased after the 1990 amendments, and concluded that the zoning48See "1990 Monster House", Appendix B for plans that correspond toFigure 29. Intarsia's predictions were confirmed by field observations."City of Vancouver Planning Department, "Evaluation of Revisions to theRS- 1/RS- 1S Districts Schedule," 18 Mar. 1992.162changes, along with higher house prices and greater public awareness, hadreduced resident concern and increased interest in renovation. The reportacknowledged that this conclusion was not shared by design, development andreal estate representatives on the RS-1/RS-1S Housing Advisory Committee.These representatives expressed concern about "sterility of design", thecontinuing need for pumping systems for sewage, and the costs incurred bythe second-storey setback and by the general complexity of the by-law.As property values continue to escalate . . . it is apparentthat no individual purchasing high-priced land is satisfiedwith building anything less than the maximum floor spaceratio. With current zoning regulations, in most instances thisobjective can only be fulfilled thorough the provision ofesthetically unpleasant structures. 5°It can also be argued that the Gulf War and the dissolution of the SovietUnion deflected media attention from local issues and the falling marketalleviated residents concerns. Because of capital losses resulting from unrestin mainland China, Hong Kong interest flagged, and by the end of 1989,sales to offshore buyers had dropped from 30 to 10 percent as buyers soughtlower prices elsewhere." Improvements in the general level of design couldbe a more perceptive response by builders to the tastes of a more affluentmarket or simply a more cautious response to a flat market.The, Style of the Monster HouseThe 1980s produced three variants of the large house. The earliestvariant, shown on the left in Photo 19, uses the materials and details of the50Letter to the Planning Department from RS- 1/RS- 1S Advisory MemberBrian Thorn of Select Home Designs, 19 Dec. 1991."Bruce Constantineau, "High city house prices reduce Asian interest,"Vancouver Sun, 7 Dec. 1989.163Special, and results from builders transferring their perceptions of markettastes from the east side. The second variant, shown on the right, is a hybridthat mixes details of the Special with those of older westside homes. Incor-porated into the design may be a fan-shaped window over the front door, lowgables in the roof, porches with wrought iron railings and, with the arrivalof the Taiwanese, a large, two-storey entry. Peculiar details often occur, withone of the more notable attempts at ostentation being a beige marble facadethat looks like plywood sheathing from a distance.Photo 19. A westside Monster House (left) that derives from a Vancouver Special and a hybrid(right) that draws inspiration from Specials and from traditional westside homes.A third variant, shown in Photo 20 (top), brings design elementstogether coherently or reproduces a traditional style. Details are appropriateto materials and the design exhibits proportional relationships that are asgraceful as height restrictions allow. The design often shows a contextualityabsent in other variants. Such houses occurred more often in the 1986 sampleand were generally found on the west side. The dearth of quality design inthe 1988 sample suggests that restrictive zoning may eliminate houses of highquality at the same time that it raises the general level of design.164Photo 20. Above, the height restriction at the eave destroys the proportions of this large, newwestside home built in a traditional style to fit the context of the neighbourhood. The new house,however, lacks the lush vegetation that frames an older westside house, below.Site observations suggest that the most powerful contextual tools arecolour and landscaping. The contrast between the landscaping in the housesin Photo 20 shows that the loss of mature landscape elements breaks the pat-tern of lush growth characteristic of many westside homes. On the east side,where landscape elements are smaller, retaining the few large trees that existreduces the impact of the new homes. Photographs of surveyed houses showedthat the loss of trees was a serious problem. Between 1986 and 1988, theproportion of houses with mature front yard trees dropped from 17 to 11165percent on the west side and from 5 to 1 percent on the east side.' Despitethe tree by-law, which requires the replacement of mature trees destroyed on°the site during development, observations suggest that the new residentiallandscape will be profoundly different because the new trees planted arevarieties that are smaller at maturity than those they replaced.The ability of colour to soften the impact of large new homes is equallystriking. On streets where smaller houses are grey or white stucco with duroidroofs in muted tones, a large house clad with grey or white vinyl siding anda cedar shake roof appears less imposing than a Special with a red tile roofor a pastel pink Monster House. But because the purpose of vinyl siding is toreduce maintenance, it is unlikely that owners will paint the siding to dimi-nish design flaws, reduce apparent house size or relate to neighbourhoodcontext through the use of colour.During the research period, various people made references to the tasteof Asian immigrants. Many noted that the Chinese prefer houses as wide andas large as possible to advertise their wealth and impress their friends, andthat they prefer new houses not only to avoid unnecessary maintenance butalso to preclude purchase of a house in which a death may have occurred. 53Some suggest that feng shui, a set of principles for building in harmony withnature, has had considerable influence on the style of the Monster House. Itis probable that a misunderstanding of these principles by purchasers andtheir misapplication by builders have been responsible for some of the moreunfortunate designs. But it is also important to note that no one interviewed52In both samples, the number of eastside houses was roughly equal to thenumber of westside houses.53For example, Cannon, 177.166mentioned feng shui, and the research found no evidence that the properapplication of these principles can adversely affect design.In general, comments by local residents of Chinese origin supportobservations made by non-Chinese critics of the Monster House. In the firstof the two quotes that follow, a Chinese resident who returned to Hong Kongacknowledges that immigrants from the colony have influenced the style ofthe new large houses. In the second quote, a local Chinese architect concurswith his assessment.They go to Canada but they do not want to live likeCanadians . . . You can't blame them for wanting to live inbig houses after living in small spaces here, but they [thenouveau riche] have no taste—the houses are ugly.54Asians from Hong Kong are a special breed. They are notused to the space for building that we have here, and spacebecomes a toy to play with. Their culture is warped—it isfocussed on making money. They have no appreciation ofother things: nature, green space. I have friends who arenew immigrants. Some take a while to get sensitized to ourway of life, and others are immediately sensitized and learnquickly to appreciate trees, residential landscapes andgreenery."For the most part, however, the foibles of taste and design attributedto the Chinese can be attributed to any ethnic group. Cannon contends thatthe ostentatious display of wealth is not peculiar to the immigrant Chinesebut part of a value system shared by Canadian young urban professionals,and other writers have described the conspicuous consumption of other eras."According to one designer with ties by marriage to the Chinese community,54Gillian Shaw, "Investment anger confuses Hong Kong", Vancouver Sun,18 Mar. 1989.55James Cheng, interview by author, 15 May 1990.56Cannon, 174. See also Thorstein Veblen, The Theory of the LeisureClass: An Economic Study of Institutions (New York: Modern Library, 1934);VanCe Packard, The Status Seekers (Montreal: Cardinal, 1961).167the brick facade found on many Specials and Monster Houses defers to theAsian desire for status and permanence. 57 He acknowledges that other cul-tures also use masonry to portray status and permanence, but adds that it wasseldom used as a primary design element in Vancouver until the advent of theSpecial. The designer attributed the awkward use of masonry to a lack ofprofessionalism within the industry and to the tendency of less skilledbuilders to copy details they believed would sell. Buyers, for their part,accepted these houses because they believed they were the lastest style.According to this designer, a key to understanding the style of theSpecial and the Monster House is the attitude toward family. The researchhas already noted the importance placed on the extended family by immi-grants from India, and has referred to Goldberg's description of the emphasison family in the Chinese culture. 58 The designer suggests that this emphasison family life leads to a strong interest in the interior of the dwelling and arelafive indifference to facade. This indifference to facade, mentioned byother designers as well, has much to do with survival in a world that Asianshave historically perceived as unfriendly.In Asian cultures . . . when you get old, you die on the streetunless the family is there. . . The family pitches in for thoseunable to get jobs so that no one in the family goes homeless. . . In Western cultures, the thrust is more outward, moreindividualistic. That is why more emphasis is placed onfacade—and why there are more homeless people. Welfarestates . . . have made the family less important to survival. 59The designer argued that, because Asian immigrants are disinterestedin the exterior of the dwelling and have no attachment to the city's heritage,57Chu, Asian Mind Game, 248.58Goldberg, The Chinese Connection, 23-27.39Designer David Witso, interview by author, 14 June 1990.168builders have no incentive to use styles that evoke this heritage. These buyersfocus their concern on work, on family, and on "getting ahead". In response,builders use materials not available in the past to reduce purchase andmaintenance costs. The desire for low maintenance and the emphasis on theinterior, concluded the designer, drives the aesthetic of the large house andthe minimal landscaping around it. That some owners have little interest inor understanding of facades is evident in custom plans where attention tointerior space contrasts with lack of attention to facade. Moreover, designershave commented that some clients may ask for a Georgian house but demanddetails that are inappropriate. Designers try to explain the principles of thestyle, but finally must give the clients what they want.Phot6 21. Top, a westside house celebrates the Greek origin of its owners but its style anddefinition of territory are out of context with its surrounds. Bottom, another westside house doesnot impose on adjacencies and adds to the quality of the neighbourhood.169Although architects have suggested that public education would improvedesign, Photo 21 suggests that education would have minimal impact ondesigners, builders and clients who care little about design or context andwould be of no benefit to those who do. Educating immigrants who buy onarrival is somewhat difficult, and the task would seem no easier with thosewho commission custom homes. "Suggesting that clients be educated to ourtastes is pointless", said one designer. "We have tried."' Where immigrantshave a sensitivity to form and context, zoning can work against them.Designers point out that, in these cases, restrictions can destroy theproportions of the spacious homes their clients can afford, resulting in asolution that offends both designer and client. This observation is confirmedby experience in the zoning department in 1986 and 1987 where immigrantowners and designers brought in contextual designs for approval. In severalinstances, regulations prohibited projections through the envelope that gavethe designs their contextuality.The quality of finishing materials used inside the dwelling confirms theemphasis on interior space. But with some exceptions in custom-built homes,interiors were finished no differently in terms of taste than suburban housesbuilt to appeal to the Caucasian market. This observation suggests that thecoding used by speculative builders does not extend to the interior. Exteriorimprovements to the dwelling by owners also suggest a desire to announcecultural identity, but these improvements, usually non-permanent additionsto the site, can be changed by subsequent owners. Front yard fencing inparticular, which changes the streetscape considerably, can be highly dis-tinctive. New eastside houses tend to have elaborate brick and wrought iron60Intarsia Design, interview by author, 8 May 1990.170fencing while older homes, if fenced at all,have plain fencing softened by plantings orchosen for its ability to weather. On the westside: new houses may have substantial brick orstucco fencing or, like older homes, defineterritory with shrubs or nothing at all. The dif-ferences in improvements made by owners,shown in Photos 19, 20, 21 and 22, suggestsvariation in taste both by ethnic group and bythe economic status of the homeowner, with thetastes of affluent homeowners more closelyaligned to those of local residents.There is no doubt that immigrant buyershave influenced the style of the Special and theMonster House by expressing taste preferencesto realtors, designers, and builders. And there isno doubt that some builders have foisted baddesigns on buyers who lack knowledge of localtastes. The sheer number of Specials andPhoto 22. On the same eastsidestreet, ornate fencing, top, con-trasts with simpler fencing in thesame picture and with wood fenc-ing, bottom.Monster Houses relative to other styles also may have convinced new arrivalsthat these houses are the best the city has to offer even if they personally findthem offensive. In periods of strong market activity, the sale of such homescan consolidate poor design as a popular style. When buyers discover thatlocal residents dislike these houses, some commission an architect to designa home to replace the Monster House that they have bought.°°Architect James Cheng, interview by author, 15 May 1990.171Although immigrants have influenced the style of the Special andMonster House, their indifference to or dislike of the styles that haveemerged suggests that design was an area in which the city could have inter-vened. It is ironic, therefore, that design was an issue that the city wasreluctant to confront. This reluctance transferred responsibility for neigh-bourhood character to the speculative builder, and the speculative homesthey built selected out immigrants because the homes held no meaning forlocal residents. This selection process was not intended by the first buildersof the Special or by a city reluctant to intervene in the design of the Specialor the Monster House. But the consequence has been a house style that, byselecting out some buyers and not others, may promote population shifts.Style is not the only aspect of the large house to select out some buyersand not others. The use of the dwelling is also critical. But despite the zoningchanges of 1986, 1988 and 1990, the intent to protect the lifestyle and invest-ment of the propertied class that shaped the 1930s zoning remains implicit.The zoning changes do not recognize that the average Vancouver family hasbecome smaller as urban property values have increased. Even if these fami-lies liked the large new houses, they neither need nor can afford them.Legalizing suites, while a positive step, is particularly useful to extendedfamilies. Most local residents belong to a nuclear family, and do not have anextended family to help finance home purchase. Moreover, they have beensocialized to cherish the single-family home in the single-family neighbour-hood as the best setting for family life. Those willing to accept a strata orinfill dwelling on a smaller site cannot make this choice within a single-family neighbourhood. And those who reject the responsibility or loss of pri-vacy that owning a house with a rental suite entails have no choice but to172compete for the decreasing supply of smaller, older homes or leave the cityaltogether. If, as the 1990 zoning changes suggest, the city chooses to preservewestside neighbourhoods without changing tenure patterns, then it has chosento preserve single-family zones for the very wealthy. The evidence suggeststhat this wealth will not be local.The studies of housing demand summarized in this paper have pointedto the demand for large single- family dwellings and the need for more,smaller units in single- family zones. But owners of single-family homes donot recognize that increased density in their neighbourhoods is the only wayto keep friends and family members from moving away. It is hardly the city'sintent to preserve single-family zones for overseas wealth, but the clusteringof Asian immigrants in new houses in the city's single-family zones and thedispersal of locals to the suburbs are early indicators that ethnically-basedpopulation shifts may occur.173Chapter 7^ Implications for PlanningThe empirical analysis has demonstrated that the Vancouver Special andthe Monster House have profoundly changed the physical and social fabric ofsingle - family neighbourhoods. The single - family vision was destroyed bycumulative adjustments to the 1930 schedule which itself had regulations toogenerous to shape this vision. The analysis has shown that these amendmentsto the schedule were in response to a market comprised primarily of Europeanand then Asian immigrants. Ethnic data also suggests that the global economybrought a new dimension to neighbourhood change in the 1980s. Without are-evaluation of planning theory and practice, the rebuilding of single-familyneighbourhoods could move beyond local control.By dealing with size and use separately and focussing on the single-family zone in isolation, the zoning changes of the 1980s could not addressthe problem that the large house presented in any meaningful way. Attemptsto tame the Monster House did not address the broader issue of affordabilityfor locals in a market that was now global in scope, nor did it address theincreasing need for cultural identity in a world that was becoming morehompgeneous by virtue of its technology. The zoning changes of the 1980ssimply reproduced the low-density suburban pattern of the 1930s. By accept-ing that larger houses and conditional suites would be part of this pattern inthe future, the city adjusted the pattern to suit the global market at theexpense of local residents.Bartholomew intended the suburban pattern to bring order to a citysuffering from unfettered liberal capitalism —and for a brief period zoningaccomplished this end. But this pattern was unstable because it was a low -174density pattern suited to nuclear families in the child- rearing years. It didnot recognize that family needs and resources change over time or that immi-gration would bring families with different needs, traditions and resources.The pattern that emerged with the Special recognized the city's need for morebuilt space and more smaller units. But it also transformed the physical andsocial character of eastside single- family neighbourhoods by attracting immi-grant families as locals dispersed. In a different way, the Monster House hascontinued this transformation on the west side. In trying to deal with thelarge house, the city dealt with symptoms rather than causes. As this chapterwill suggest, the issues were not size, use and ethnicity but rather a densitythat could accommodate the needs of local residents and designs that rein-forced their local traditions.It is unlikely that those involved comprehended that the zoning changesmay have the effect of preserving single - family neighbourhoods for globalwealth. Because there has been no discussion of this issue, there is no wayof knowing whether residents find their own or their children's potentialexcl'usion from these neighbourhoods acceptable. Local residents may preferto sell their homes and move elsewhere, and their children may prefer to raisefamilies in cities and towns at some distance from Vancouver. If so, the cityhas solved its large house problem. If, on the other hand, locals prefer toremain in their neighbourhoods, the city will have to find a new vision thatwill make its single-family neighbourhoods more affordable and acceptableto locals and immigrants alike.This chapter returns to fundamental questions about zoning asked at thebeginning of the paper. Do individuals have the right to build as they wishwithin the legal constraints of zoning? Does a city have the right to use175zoning to destroy places where people feel rooted? Does it have the right touse zoning to exclude by age, by lifestyle, by income or, howeverunintentionally, by ethnicity. Or does it have an obligation to use its scheduleto include, as much as possible, along these same variables?In this respect, the direction the city chooses has implications beyondits boundaries. Vancouver was the first to encounter and attack large houses,and in the 1980s, Vancouver became a leader in amending single-family zon-ing. The tendency to follow the leader means that other cities may acceptVancouver's solution without comprehending the forces that have shaped theredevelopment of Vancouver's single - family zones, and they may apply thissolution indiscriminately to established and new neighbourhoods.No branch of planning is more influenced by precedent thanzoning. What is done in one city is often copied forapplication to different conditions in another city. What issuggested for regulation of changes in built-up areas iserroneously regarded as suitable for areas not built upon.'Evaluating the Issues of Size, Use, Aesthetics and EthnicityFew residents complained about houses that were simply large, or hada suite, or were designed inappropriately, or destroyed mature landscaping.Complaints occurred when two variables, such as size and use, came togetherin the same house, and most complaints occurred when three variables cametogether in the same house. On the east side, size, illegal use and inappro-priate design coming together in the same house provoked the most com-plaints, and on the west side, where suites were less of an issue, size, designand landscape provoked the most complaints. In both instances, ethnicity was'Adams, The Design of Residential Areas, 63.176the variable that linked the issues that provoked complaint. As the researchhas already shown, immigrant demand for above-grade suites first increasedthe bulk of new eastside houses and this bulk, in conjunction with builders'perceptions of immigrant tastes, led to a house style that was generally dis-liked. On the west side, immigrant demand for large homes in conjunctionwith builders' perceptions of immigrant tastes, led to the loss of maturelandscape elements and to designs that offended buyers and local residentsalike. By treating size and use separately, by ignoring the ethnic connectionand by treating the single- family zone in isolation, the city could not moveforward to the fundamental issues of density and design. Breaking the pro-blem down into manageable pieces denied not only the complexity of theproblem but also the potential richness of its solution.Barring the few extremely large houses that were built, it is hard toprove that size was the issue it appeared to be. That residents fought topreserve large old homes suggests that they objected to elements other thansize in large new houses. To be sure, the houses that they wanted to savewere often located among other large old homes, and the few that werelocated in areas of smaller homes invariably predated these homes and resi-dents were used to their presence. In neighbourhoods of modest homes, thelarge old homes cause few problems for adjacencies because they have fairlylow site coverages and large backyards and because their design and detailingdiminishes their actual size. Where new large houses have been built with sitecoverage, massing and detailing similar to the large old homes, they havecaused few, if any, complaints. When asked if residents complained abouttraditional styles built in 1990 and 1991, the planner in charge of single-177family zoning replied, "No, people love them." 2 Size, therefore, was a designissue. As the consultants for the 1988 amendments had noted, massing anddetailing were more important in fitting large houses into established neigh-bourhoods than were technical adjustments to floor space ratio.It does not follow, however, that cities should ignore the issue of size.Residents saw size as an issue—and the city had to address this perception.Given that builders were used to building a particular style, the most effec-tive way to change the massing of new homes quickly was to reduce sitecoverage and above-grade floor space. Such measures are useful interim stra-tegies in dealing with the large house issue. They permit construction tocontinue in a more orderly fashion while giving planners time to devise aschedule that is based on local concerns and broader needs.Like size, suites were not the issue they appeared to be. Despite theevidence of multiple -use in elite areas, many homeowners still believe thatsingle-family zoning protects their investment and the quality of their neigh-bourhoods. But in 1985, when suites were identified as a major issue, owners'attitudes were changing. Both the Vancouver Neighbourhoods' Associationand West Point Grey residents noted that suites in existing homes made hous-ing affordable for both owners and tenants, and by 1989, one alderman saidin reference to the east side: "Affordability is an issue, demolition is an issue. . . people don't even consider suites to be an issue." 3 The issue in the 1980swas not the suite itself, but fitting it into existing single-family zones withas little disruption as possible. Like size, suites were first and foremost aproblem of design.2Planner Alan Duncan, telephone conversation with author, Oct. 1991.3Randy Shore, "City poll a subversion", Vancouver Echo, 23 Aug. 1989.178A problem of new construction was the bulk that accompanied demandfor suites at grade. Ratepayers argued that large new houses and the suitesthey contained were more destructive of neighbourhood character than weresuites in existing homes. They feared that legalizing suites would encouragethe construction of more large homes and, until renovation was encouragedin 1990, this fear was justified. Reducing above-grade space and site cover-age addressed some of these fears. New houses more closely resembled thespatial configuration of traditional Vancouver homes, and suites were againtucked discretely into basements. By forcing a more traditional configurationof space, Vancouver only partially addressed the suite issue, and designershave noted that the livability of suites has suffered as a result of the changes.Nevertheless, the sample of houses constructed after the 1988 zoningchanges suggests that most new houses have a potential suite and, unlesssingle-family neighbourhoods become the preserve of the very rich, thispotential will be used. Common sense, therefore, suggests that cities shouldanticipate that every single-family house may be used as a two-familydwelling and adjust zoning and building code requirements to enable thedevelopment of safe, well-lit and well-ventilated secondary suites. Planningresidential neighbourhoods should not be an exercise in determining whereto locate two- family dwellings but how to design them so that they providequality space and enhance the character of the neighbourhood.Although residents articulated their concerns about large houses interms of size and suites, it would seem that the issue was design. But like sizeand suites, the issue of design was not what it appeared to be. The evidencesuggests that good design, of itself, will not allay residents' concerns. Toappease residents, both house and landscape design must reinforce their own179cultural traditions. The fondness for large houses built in traditional stylesand the anger residents display when quality older homes are destroyed sug-gests that keeping or replicating symbols of the past may be critical inintroducing new large houses into existing neighbourhoods. The tendency forsome immigrants to choose traditional or contextual designs suggests thatthese buyers, in their desire to fit into their new community, also placeimportance on designs that reinforce the traditions of that community.Even though many people disliked the design of new homes, plannersand council were reluctant to intervene in design. Initially they believed inthe freedom of individuals to express their design preferences, but increas-ingly they began to question the freedom to build houses that destroyedexisting streetscapes. For residents as well, the right of the community topreserve values embodied in local streetscapes began to take precedence overthe right to build any design that conformed to the by-law.In all probability, the shift in focus from individual to communityrights was an indirect way for some residents to express concern about ethnicchanges occurring in their neighbourhoods. Nevertheless, there is no evidencethat ethnicity itself was an issue. Asians and non-Asians have lived harmoni-ously in single-family districts for years, and many residents believed thatAsians who moved into the new large houses were as much in the grip of"developer greed" as they were. When Asians built houses that respected thelocal context, no one complained. But when Asians built houses that offendedtheir neighbours, complaints were often linked directly or indirectly to race.One resident, who described how much she had liked her neighbour until hebuilt a large house that shaded her garden, did not fail to note that he was180Chinese.' In a widely reported case, complaints arose when the owner of awestside home cut down two large sequoias in his front yard. Complainantslinked the owner's Chinese origins to his apparent dislike of trees. Residentsbelieved that the trees, although privately owned, belonged to the commu-nity, and that the owner had a responsibility to protect them. 5Lack of respect for local traditions continues to bring racism to thesurface. In 1991, police attributed the burning of a Ku Klux Klan-type crosson the lawn of a North Vancouver home to a neighbourhood dispute abouthouse size In coupling the large house controversy to the resurgence ofcultural conflict elsewhere in the world, a Sun columnist commented that"there is no doubt in my mind the main motive for widespread 'communityconcern' three years ago was . . . racist."7 ' But the tenor of most complaintswas not intolerance of other races but rather a fear of being uprooted. Mostresidents wanted to live in harmony with new immigrants, but they did notwant to lose their own cultural identity. If houses were to be demolished,neighbours wanted new construction to reinforce their own traditions. Asianbuyers, per se, were not a problem. The problem was that Asians were prac-tically the only buyers, and their choice in the market was restricted tohouses that ignored the local context. It can be argued therefore that the fear4While working as a planner on the RS-1 amendments, the author notedseveral examples of the link between racial origin and house design.5"Letters, Vancouver Sun, 6 Apr. 1990; "Woodsman, spare that . .Editorial, Vancouver Sun, 7 Apr. 1990; see also Ray Forster, "Saving the urbanforest", Vancouver Sun, 7 Dec. 1989.Nary Lynn Young and Kevin Griffin, "Burning cross brings fear toNorth Vancouver doorstep", Vancouver Sun, 19 Nov. 1991.'Frank Rutter, "Louisiana election shows new middle-class America eagerto vote fascist", Vancouver Sun, 19 Nov. 1991.181of "the power Hong Kong money wields" was the fear that builders, respond-ing to the only market they had, would continue to build houses that wouldchange streetscapes beyond recognition. These houses, by attracting onlyAsian buyers, would change the neighbourhood socially to the point wherelocals would no longer feel at home. From the residents' perspective, the cityhad been derelict in its duty to preserve the cultural traditions of Vancouverresidents. The issue was not size, suites or ethnicity. It was design.Observers who believe that design is the critical issue commonly offerpublic education as a solution. But, as already noted, educational programsmay not reach those who abuse the intent of the by-law." Although demandby more affluent buyers—and to some extent the zoning changes themselves—contributed to an improvement in the general level of design, it is alsoprobable that intense media coverage sensitized the actors involved. While theargument can be made that the media attack on large houses was elite propa-ganda,' it can be argued in this instance that media coverage expressed toomany different views to qualify as propaganda. Media reports reflected,instead, a confusion about the issue and a search to understand it. Eventhough coverage was sensationalized to attract readers—and admittedlyuncomfortable for owners of large new houses—the viewpoints expressedprovided a forum for education at a city-wide scale. Thus, the mostimmediately effective educational tool for dealing with the difficult issue of8By 1990, "single-family" had been dropped from the intent statementwhich now read "to maintain the residential character of the RS-1 District".City of Vancouver Zoning and Development By-law #3575, 1990.'Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky, Manufacturing Consent: ThePolitical Economy of the Mass Media (New York: Pantheon, 1988) argue thatthe American mass media is a propaganda vehicle for government and thecorporate elite.182neighbourhood change may be the kind of coverage provided by the localmedia during the 1980s.Figure 27. Cartoon of Monster House published in the Vancouver Sun June 4, 1990. Reprintedwith the permission of illustrator David C. MacLean.Observers of the Monster Houses have suggested that builders are toblame for the changes that have occurred in Vancouver's single-family neigh-bourhoods and, in her critique of land use, Perin observes that zoning:has never been a reliable mechanism for deliberately limitingand channelling growth. In fact, just the opposite is true: itis a major piece of industrial equipment quickly tooled .. .to produce the latest models favoured by the capitalmarket. 1°But to blame the development industry for designs that change neighbour-hoods is fallacious. Because the zoning schedule requires single- family use,'Perin, Everything in its Place, 148.183high land costs mean that the only economically sensible replacement for asmall house is a larger one." Unable to serve the local market with theselarge single-family homes, builders have turned to the global market. InVancouver, planners have tried to "retool" single-family zoning to make newlarge houses less offensive to neighbourhood residents. But both the Specialand the Monster House show that builders can work with any zoning sche-dule to produce houses that will sell. During the study period, the market wascomprised almost entirely of buyers for whom the city's residential landscapehas little meaning. If new immigrants continue to be major players in themarket, builders have little choice but to build for them and will try tointerpret their tastes, no matter how often the city changes its zoning.The large house issue, then, is a complex design opportunity thatpresents three challenges. The first challenge, which Vancouver for the mostpart resolved, is to introduce larger houses into the existing residential fabricwith as few functional problems for adjacencies as possible. The second chal-lenge, which Vancouver only partly resolved by conditionally legalizingsuites, is to write a zoning schedule that accommodates the need for smaller,less costly units throughout the city. The third challenge, which Vancouverbarely addressed, is to retain symbolic referents which have meaning for localresidents. Because these referents were lacking, locals pushed for zoningchanges that unnecessarily restricted the size and use of new construction inthe hope that they could stop or slow the changes occurring in their neigh-bourhoods. While some may argue that expressing cultural diversity in single-family homes is a valid comment on the diversity that exists within society,"Both family and rental suites are conditional uses. Family suites can beused only for related individuals. Rental suites, legal only in RS-1S areas, areconditional upon being built or renovated to standards set by the city.184the furor the large new houses caused suggests that anything more than asubtle expression of this diversity may be counterproductive.The Fundamental Issues — Density and DesignAffluent immigrants usually come from crowded cities and the empiri-cal analysis has shown that they value spacious homes in low-density sur-roundings. Demands by locals for more restrictive zoning can only makesingle-family zones more attractive to these immigrants. Complaints aboutsize and suites have reduced the built space that the city needs, produced amore tightly regulated low- density pattern that only the affluent can afford,and brought a more cautious approach to legalizing suites than is appropriateunder conditions of high demand and low supply. This caution has closed thedoor to rental suites on the west side and to strata-titling, both of whichbroaden the market by keeping residents in their neighbourhoods and bring-ing in new local buyers. Strata-titling, in particular, offers owners oppor-tunities to renovate homes that cannot be brought up to standard withoutsubstantial cost, and may also prompt builders to choose designs that appealto a broader market. By rejecting strata tenure, the city has made single-family areas inaccessible to residents who might choose to own a smaller unitin a large "house". Because strategies to broaden the market did not accom-pany zoning changes, builders built almost exclusively for the immigrantmarket. Residents did not see that increasing density was necessary to attractothers like themselves, and the city did not see that design was critical tointroducing larger houses and more suites into single- family zones. Bothpublic pressure for more restrictive zoning and the city's response was biased,unintentionally, toward preserving single- family zones for the global market.185Public concern about higher density in single-family neighbourhoodswas apparent at public meetings, in letters of complaint, in concerns residentsvoiced during consultations with architects prior to the 1988 amendments,and in private interviews. One consultant hired by the city concluded thatfear of increased density was a major reason for demands for more restrictivezoning. Another consultant suggested that, while the city appeared to bereducing density in single-family zones, the potential for increased densitywas implicit in the zoning decisions of 1988." Other architects also accusedthe city of a "hidden agenda" to densify single -family neighbourhoods.How is it possible to reconcile the real need to densify withpublic demand to do the opposite? The answer of course isto fool the public into thinking that downsizing is takingplace and that control over design is making houses moreneighbourly while at the same time sneaking the idea of'increased housing potential' right by them. Very clever!"The potential for increasing density was, of course, the open rear yard spacedictated by the 1988 zoning amendments. By keeping this space open, argueStanbury and Todd, planners could satisfy residents while at the same timepreserve land for higher density in the future. "The planners' agenda wasbarely hidden, but there seems to have been a double agenda with the effectsof the second to be revealed in the next decade or beyond." 14There is no doubt that planners saw the potential of the open rear yardspace, but the notion of a hidden agenda does not stand up to examination.Planners have explicitly stressed the need for higher densities, and Coreplan"Stuart Howard and Eva Matsuzaki, interviews by author, 3 and 10 May1990."Charles Christopherson, "Mega- houses and mega - futures", SouthVancouver Revue, 3 Apr. 1988.14Stanbury and Todd, 122.186in particular discussed the need to intensify use in existing residentialneighbourhoods. Residents themselves were not unaware of the bias of theprofession towards increased density. One eastside resident commented thaturban planners at the University of British Columbia were "interested inproViding housing for immediate and future populations. They are dealingwith growth. You have to realize that they are trying to thwart your attemptsto keep a house with a backyard."'Both planners and council saw that adjusting the massing of new con-struction would bring immediate benefits to adjacent older homes. They alsoknew that homeowners' resistance to any suggestion of potential infill mightblock the benefits the rear yard space would provide. Earlier, awareness ofboth the need for and resistance to higher densities caused the vacillation byprevious councils and resulted in the spread of illegal suites. But constructionof Specials which accompanied this proliferation was hardly, as Stanbury andTodd suggest, "doing good by stealth"." Had planners and councils wanted tohide their intent, they would have ensured that house design made suites lessconspicuous. In short, the actions of successive councils show confusionrather than stealth and a failure to comprehend the nature and scope of theproblem in single- family zones. On this point, a number of architects,planners and aldermen agree.During the last decade, the city's planning department hashad no vision of the future . . . Attention to residentialareas, which make up the bulk of the city's land area, hasbeen sporadic and often inept. No wonder we are in themidst of a crisis: we have neglected to use the last decade"Jeane Manning, "Maintaining single - family neighbourhoods", SouthVancouver Revue, 1 Feb. 1987. This comment was echoed in private inter-views with residents."Stanbury and Todd, 136.187to identify and zone areas that can accommodate many morepeople."There is no hidden agenda. People don't know where theywant to go at all . . . There is no vision. However, densi-fication is an issue because we are dealing with problemswhich are based on densification."People can see massive change going on around them, butthey can see it's in no way planned . . .We've got millionstied up in this absurd suite review program, and its takenaway from the real planning issues like growth and trans-portation . . . It is a vacuum of leadership. What it reallymeans is that developers are running city hall."The absence of a clear vision for Vancouver's single-family zones ham-pered a coherent approach to changing the single- family schedule. Further-more, the issues of density and design, while fundamental to any vision forthe future, never really became part of the public debate. To be sure, the citylegalized the higher density that suites had already brought to the east sideand provided some potential for higher density on the east side, but noattempt was made to establish a policy on density that would take the cityinto the next century. Steps were also taken to retain older houses and maturetrees but, beyond some manipulation of form, no attempt was made to pro-mote contextual design in new construction. It is also true that any city thattries to increase density and regulate design faces not only resistance byresidents but also the hard questions of appropriate densities and designs.Without a compelling vision, debate could rage for years while neighbour-hoods changed."Michael Seelig, "Packing 'em in: plan for it now," Vancouver Sun, 18 Oct.1989."Architect Paul Ohannessian, interview by author, 10 May 1990."Alderman Libby Davies quoted in Ian Austen, "City has no vision",Vancouver Province, 18 Feb. 1990.188With neighbourhoods now populated by people of diverse cultures,cities must find a mutually acceptable vision powerful enough to provide aframework for the future yet unambiguous enough to guide decisions affect-ing urban form. One such vision is the environmental movement of the 1970sthat has been rearticulated in the 1980s as "sustainability". Support forsustainability has grown over the past decade, and it is probable that thosewho'bought and fought the large houses support environmental conservationat least in principle. Concerns about the destruction of mature landscapes,the demolition of quality homes, and the loss of open space were motivatednot only by the self-interest of residents but also by an awareness of the needto conserve the environment for future generations. Using the concept ofsustainability to structure a vision for the future turns residents' self-interestto the benefit of the larger community.Assuming some support of this concept, arguing for higher densitiesbecomes somewhat easier. The small single-family house is less economicalin terms of land use and infrastructure than a duplex or triplex on the samesite, and the large house, unless occupied by a reasonable number of people,consumes resources disproportionate to its size. Furthermore, neither smallnor large homes used exclusively as single-family dwellings contribute toneighbourhoods that are socially sustainable because they limit housingchoice. But unlike small homes, large houses can easily accommodate two ormore families 20 The higher densities that can be achieved by encouragingmulti- family housing within the single- family form may be resisted less°Isabel Minty, "Let's fight these monsters", Vancouver Sun, 16 Jan. 1992.Minty, a Kerrisdale homeowner, notes that a new 15,000 square-foot single-family house built on her block could provide 16 suites of 700 square feet andstill leave 3800 square feet for hallways and common space.189strongly than densities achieved through rowhouse and apartment construc-tion.' Housing would become more affordable because land and materialresources would be used more economically. More people could stay in theirneighbourhoods as they age, and more young people would be able to buy.The concept of sustainability can guide zoning decisions that affecthousing cost. The planner in charge of the 1986/1988 zoning changes legiti-mately believed that costs incurred by the changes were insignificant relativeto total house costs if the quality of the house or its surrounds improved.Detaching the garage was a legitimate cost that increased open space andreduced the impact of large homes on adjacencies. Pumping systems, on theother hand, do not benefit owners or neighbours, and may be environment-ally and economically less sound over the long term than retaining the lowersewer depth that eliminates the need for such systems. Sustainability can alsoguide decisions that affect the design of houses and entire neighbourhoods.As society seeks ways to reduce consumption, cities will have to choosebetween zoning changes that add to the longevity of houses and those that donot. Using the Vancouver example, city council would have been moredecisive about renovations that recycle existing structures, and the attempt torestrict materials in order to bring more unity to streetscapes would have hadits basis in environmentally sound criteria that most residents could support.These examples illustrate how sustainability could guide zoning decisions ina coherent fashion. But because council narrowly defined the parameters foramending the single-family schedule, a vision for the future based on sus-tainability or some equally powerful concept could not emerge. The vision"Concerns by residents about generically different forms are noted inCity of Vancouver Planning Department, New Neighbours (Vancouver: 1986).190that shaped the changes was the suburban pattern that residents wanted topreserve. It was not a vision that could take the city into the next century.Segregation by Age, Status and EthnicityBoth the celebration of the nuclear family and the segregation of landuse in this century have resulted in families no longer able to afford reason-able housing in locations of their choice. At the same time, the wealth ofsome immigrants, the extended families of others, and the work ethic of mostmean that housing costs are less of a problem to immigrants than to the aver-age Canadian family. As one Chinese resident wrote to the Vancouver Sun:It is no mystery how many ex-refugees manage to purchasesizable homes. Their working and spending habits are dif -ferent from those of us who take this land of peace andplenty for granted. . . all family members work and savetogether to have a mortgage-free home, even though at onetime they lived below the poverty line. 22These new immigrants bring traditions that Canadians can adopt to sur-vive in tomorrow's world. The extended family is one such tradition—orpossibly a survival technique—that provides a springboard into the future. 23With adult relatives at home, parents can work full-time without relying ondaycare and the cost of housing and maintenance becomes less onerous. Quitepossibly by such examples, local residents are bringing back the extended22"Letters," Vancouver Sun, 29 Oct. 1991.23The assumption of the pre-industrial extended family is challenged byPeter Lazlett, The World We Have Lost (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons,1965) in Beringer, 81-83. Beringer notes that Lazlett's findings have beenduplicated by other historians for other places and other times and thatLazlett's own international survey showed that only Japan had signifcantnumbers of extended families prior to industrialization. Such researchsuggests that the extended family may be an economic survival techniquerather than a preferred lifestyle.191family in new ways. Seniors are choosing congregate housing to replacefamily in their old age, singles are joining together as "mingles" to rent orown° housing, and several small families may buy a house together to sharethe mortgage and the risk.' Such lifestyle changes take time to permeatesociety, and the city does a disservice both to these "pioneers" and to lessadaptive residents by not increasing alternatives within single-family zones.With the best intentions, the city has chosen to discriminate against those wholack the wealth or the extended family support that might enable them toown a home. In doing so, the city has chosen to respect the traditions ofnewcomers at the same time that it discounts those of local residents.The large house issue, in its essence, is a clash of cultures. Single-family use became a tradition that protected the dominant culture throughmuch of the twentieth century. Today, in the city's single-family areas, localsand newcomers clash because both want to protect lifestyles which are partof their culture. In Vancouver, these lifestyles are accommodated respectivelyin older smaller dwellings and large new homes. By dealing with single-family zones in isolation, by separating the issues of size and suites, and bydisassociating culture from function, Vancouver was able to ignore thesegregating effects of the single-family schedule.The evidence suggests that social engineering, however much in disputeor disrepute, is still a powerful element in planning practice. Since 1930,zoning has defined two "lifestyle" environments—the highrise apartment andthe single-family house—that have effectively discriminated on the basis ofwealth. Planners and politicians, pressured by residents, have continued to24It is legal for families to co-own a single- family dwelling, but it is notlegal for them to live together in the house that they jointly own.192promote economic segregation by retaining these land use categories underthe euphemism of "variety of choice". More recently, planners and councilshave tried to increase choice by providing family accommodation in medium-to-high density forms, but the demand for luxury accommodation in the cityhas spurred construction of expensive condominiums in once-affordablemulti-family areas. Urban choices, whether a detached home, a rowhouse ora highrise apartment, are increasingly limited to the affluent.The popularity of single-family homes suggests that many people maynot want the variety of form that results from different land use categories.But it is clear that they want and need variety in unit size in locations oftheir choice. The spread of illegal suites could not have occurred withoutdemand for small, affordable "niches" in single-family areas. Despite thisdemand, councils have vacillated over the suite issue for years, and still resiststrata-titling suites in single-family zones. As a result, social engineeringcontinues. Some residents are forced to leave their neighbourhoods when theirneeds change while others leave because the neighbourhood has changedaround them. This dispersal is simply the evolution of a forced economicsegregation that began when the commercial elite commissioned planners tozone for single-family use as part of the movement to control the haphazarddevelopment of laissez- faire liberal capitalism.The social engineering that segregated people by age and income wasnot explicit, but its intent was clearly understood. The social engineering thatmay promote ethnic segregation is unintentional and not clearly understood.Ignoring the cultural aspect of residential design may reinforce any naturalsegregation by race, ethnicity or culture just as surely as zoning for discreteresidential uses has reinforced any natural segregation by lifestyle and income193that otherwise would have occurred. The challenge is not to engineer socialmix or segregation, but to provide real opportunities for people to choosewhether they want to live among people like themselves or in communitiesthat are socially and ethnically diverse. Recognizing that everyone cannotinhabit a city's most desirable land, real choice, then, means that all resi-dential areas—both urban and suburban—must become more inclusive. Inboth' single and multi-family zones, inclusiveness means a variety of unitsizes and tenures and a vernacular that, in its essence, either cuts acrosscultures or is robust enough to tolerate subtle cultural definition.'The concept of inclusive neighbourhoods cannot help but raise anxietyamong single-family homeowners who fear densities that will destroy theambiance of their neighbourhoods. But coupled with sustainability, it isprobable that inclusive neighbourhoods would be no denser than the compactneighbourhoods that developed before zoning. It is also possible that a robustvernacular can emerge from any zoning shaped by inclusiveness and sustain-ability, and that it will have much in common with past vernaculars thathave stood the test of time. The large house controversy, then, is not a debateabout size, suites, or ethnicity but about whether cities and their residentswant their neighbourhoods to be inclusive and sustainable. Because both con-cepts defy the fundamental principles of single-family zoning, it is unlikelythat cities will engage in this kind of debate. It is more likely that most willremain attached to planning principles that foster segregation."The idea of inclusionary zoning for those of modest means is exploredby Paul Davidoff, "Decent Housing for All: An Agenda", in America'sHousing Crisis: What to be Done, ed. C. Hartman (Boston: Routledge, 1983).A vernacular that cuts across cultures was suggested by an observation byRapoport, 79-82 that the constancy in house form is so great that what maybe considered novel has usually been used in the past by other cultures.194The Impact of Vancouver's Zoning on Other CitiesDuring the 1980s, large houses began to appear regularly in other cities,towns and rural areas. Because this research has focussed on Vancouver, thereasons for the appearance of large houses elsewhere in the country can onlybe speculative. It is probable that one reason for their appearance is simplythe desire for housing space among families affluent enough to afford thisspace. A second reason may be the ramifications of zoning changes them -selves. After the 1986 zoning changes in Vancouver, various sources sug-gested that when the builders could no longer build the Special in Vancouver,they shifted their attention to Burnaby,26 and conversations with the zoningdepartment in Surrey suggested a similar shift of construction activity. Athird reason for the large house appearing elsewhere may be the result ofpopulation dispersal. This dispersal of buyers with the financial means to buylarge houses in smaller centres creates a market for large new homes in andaround these cities.When large new houses are located in new suburban developments orin rural areas, they are not perceived as a problem. But in cities of reasonablesize, the replacement of smaller dwellings in established neighbourhoodsmakes large new houses a contentious issue. Some cities have already adoptedelements of Vancouver's zoning, and others have undergone a similar processwith similar results. In comparing zoning schedules elsewhere, Vancouver26See, for example, "Big house builder loses Burnaby bid", Vancouver Sun,6 Jan. 1987.195planners concluded that the city "appears to be leading the trend towardsmore complex and increasingly restrictive single- family zoning regulations". 27One of the earliest analyses of large houses was prepared by DonaldBarcham for West Vancouver in 1988. 28 Very large houses began to appearregularly in West Vancouver in the late 1970s, and the district acted quicklyby introducing a floor space ratio in 1981 and lowering the maximum heightshortly thereafter. As in Vancouver, these amendments reduced extremes inoverbuilding but did not stem complaints. Barcham's analysis, commissionedin response to these complaints, described attempts by other municipalities inthe Vancouver area to control the size of homes. New Westminster, forexample, began to experience problems with house size in 1974 when theychanged their single- family schedule to provide smaller lots, and Burnabyand North Vancouver City and District began to address the problem in themid-1980s. Of interest in Barcham's analysis are: the extent of the problemthroughout the metropolitan region, the similarity of problem definition andresolution, and Barcham's own emphasis on design as a central issue.In the case of West Vancouver, Barcham identified the issues as bulkrelative to adjacent homes; design and appearance; privacy, shading andoverlooking; loss of trees and landscaping; density; change in household sizeand characteristics; and ethnic values. A theme running through his analysisis the retention of those aspects of the single- family neighbourhood that resi-dents value, but his recommendations depend largely on changes to the27City of Vancouver Planning Department, "Summary Report - FurtherRS- 1/RS- 1S Amendments," Reference Document 2, Survey of Single-FamilyZoning Regulations Across Canada, 11 Jan. 1990.28Donald Barcham, The Large House Syndrome in Traditional and Deve-loping Neighbourhoods, prepared for the Corporation of the District of WestVancouver (May 1988) iii.196Municipal Act that would allow some measure of design control. It is impor-tant to note that the City of Vancouver, through the Vancouver Charter, isthe only municipality in British Columbia that can control house design.Changes to the Municipal Act in 1981 left other municipalities in the pro-vince without this authority. Dependent on changes to the Act, Barchamrecommended that the district develop guidelines for design, landscaping andneighbourhood character. Other recommendations not dependent on the Actwere the reduction of floor area, the introduction of area-specific zoning andthe initiation of an educational program to increase the understanding ofdistrict objectives among zoning staff and the general public. The followingquote from his analysis makes clear that he is describing a complex problemthat is tied to cultural traditions and environmental concerns.The intent of all this is not to inhibit development, but toguide and regulate it in a manner sensitive to existing neigh-bourhoods, to site characteristics, and to the environment.To do less is an affront to our heritage; to be effectiverequires a strong political will. 29Vancouver's own analysis of zoning schedules compared a representa-tive sample of 15 cities, 12 of which were concerned about large houses. Ofthe latter, most had tried to control bulk, and none was entirely satisfied withits approach. Some used only setbacks, site coverage and height as the controlmechanism, some used a simple floor space ratio, and others already usingfloor space ratios were considering reductions to the ratio or adoptingVancouver's sliding scale. A number of cities had tried to limit size byreducing height and relating setbacks to site and building dimensions, butnone had adopted setbacks proportional to lot width and depth. Three citiesrestricted maximum house length, and three others capped floor area at an29Barcham, iii.197absolute maximum area that varied from 4000 to 6000 square feet. Most citiesrelied on outright zoning. Only a few had tried to control house or landscapedesign, although such controls appear to be a growing trend.Apparent in the comparison was the similarity of setbacks and sitecoverage from city to city. Height showed considerable variation, rangingfrom a 26-foot maximum to a 35- foot average between peak and eave. Floorspace ratios also varied from 35 to 60 percent of lot area excluding base-ments. Most site coverages, however, were around 40 percent, and setbackswere remarkably consistent across the cities surveyed. Front setbacks rangedfrom 20 to 25 feet, rear yard setbacks were almost invariably 25 feet, andside yard setbacks were roughly four or five feet. With the exception of sideyard setbacks, which reflect code requirements for fire separation, setbacksand site coverages appear to have been copied from city to city."Toronto and Vancouver have chosen very different approaches to con-trol single-family development. Vancouver has changed its outright scheduleto regulate single- family development while Toronto has adhered to a sche-dule it now considers too restrictive in order to force applicants to go to itsCommittee of Adjustment.The City prefers this because it guarantees neighbourhoodinput into the design. Since decisions can be appealed to theOntario Municipal Board, an expensive and time-consumingprocess for all parties, neighbourhoods have become self -policing. A consequence is that almost all buildings are non-conforming. 31"Notable exceptions are: Halifax with side and rear setbacks limitingthe distance between houses to 12 feet; Toronto's sideyard setback of 1.5 feet,and Calgary's front setback of 9.8 feet.31 "Summary Report," Survey of Single-Family Zoning, 13.198Toronto's solution is an informal design control that treats each site asunique and transfers responsibility for design to owners and neighbours. Ofthe fifteen cities surveyed, seven cities had formal design or landscape con-trols or were proposing them. Of these, Calgary had developed the most com -prehensive approach. Calgary acknowledges that subdivision of urban lots andthe construction of larger homes are natural consequences of growth. Thechallenge, as the city sees it, is the sensitive design of these larger homes.[T]he process of incremental change is expected to be phasedover many years. It is important that during the transitionperiod, new development should attempt to respect neigh-bourhood character and the existing scale of adjacent houses.An infill development built to the allowable maximumheight and lot coverage can, if not sensitively designed,result in an overly massive and imposing building.'Calgary's guidelines are based on design principles that encompass essentialaspects of the house in its setting. The thrust is to present design principlesthat are easily comprehended, and the guidelines are illustrative rather thanprescriptive. Nevertheless, a development permit is required for any lot 40feet'or less and may be required for any development which varies signifi-cantly from the principles adopted.Design control, usually a discretionary process, is time-consuming andtherefore expensive. In Toronto, where redevelopment and renovation havealready produced a sizable stock of large single and multi-family homes, dis-cretionary zoning by default may be a valid approach. In Vancouver, deve-lopment is less compact and many homes are small and poorly built. Becausethis stock must be upgraded or replaced, Vancouver would need a large staffto administer discretionary zoning. If outright zoning can encourage new32City of Calgary Planning and Building Department, Single-Family InfillHousing Guidelines for Established Communities, Mar. 1988.199houses that fit their context or encourage pleasant neighbourhoods where adistinct context is lacking, outright zoning may be more appropriate.There are compelling arguments for and against design control but, inthe final analysis, the cost of design control must be weighed against thelong-term benefits that may be gained. Vancouver's planning departmentfound that several cities were less than satisfied with the results of designcontrol and, after the survey, Oak Bay" abandoned an attempt of grantingadditional floor space for contextual design because applicants found itinequitable. Burnaby limits design control to large houses on large lots, aninitiative Vancouver adopted in 1990. Applicants can request a rezoning fora higher floor area, but plans become open to public scrutiny and discretion-ary control. The process has created animosity among neighbours and takesconsiderable staff time. Although design controls can be used to exclude,there is no evidence that design controls can protect neighbourhood characterexcept in areas where an existing unity of streetscape makes the writing ofrelatively clear guidelines possible. Where such unity does not exist, archi-tects, designers and builders have spoken out strongly against design controlsto protect a design freedom which they seldom use. One architect, however,makes a powerful case against design controls in any market where neigh-bourhood character is shaped by the speculative builder. "Mediocredesigners," he asserts, "will quickly discover the latest 'quick approvalformula', and will produce dozens of such designs all over the city. There willbe almost no discernable change from the present situation." 3433A suburb of Victoria, B. C."Paul Ohannesian, slide presentation by the Housing Committee,Architectural Institute of British Columbia to Vancouver City Council, PublicHearing, 15 Mar. 1990.200The concern that design controls will have little impact on speculativedevelopment is legitimate. It may be possible, however, to establish designguidelines that the building industry would support. Builders will supportguidelines only if they are convinced that building to the guidelines willproduce houses that carry no more risk to their capital than the houses theyare already building. In creating such guidelines, planners would have toconfront the reality of the marketplace, and involve builders, designers,realtors and residents of new and older homes. The process has to include acommonly shared goal to build a better city that overrides the confrontationthat is perhaps a necessary aspect of the permit process. While guidelines thatevolve from such a process may express the lowest common denominator ofagreement, some exciting initiatives could also emerge.There are also ways of implementing contextual controls that are out-right. An example is front yard averaging. Halifax calculates the front yardsetback by averaging setbacks of adjacencies and permits the house to slidetwo feet on either side of this average. Vancouver reinstated this practice in1986 and still uses averaging in limited form today. Experience during 1986showed that the two-foot slide simplifies siting and tends to move housesforward over time because owners and builders use the option to gain morespace in the rear yard. Where averaging permitted very small setbacks,builders refused to site houses closer than 12 to 14 feet from the frontproperty line. The consistency between the builders' notion of an appropriatetransition zone and the front yards of the Davis cluster suggests socialmechanisms related to house type and density that ultimately control siting.Another opportunity for contextual design control was contemplated bythe planner in charge of the 1986 and 1988 zoning changes. She believed that201residents might pursue local design initiatives in the same way that they cur-rently obtain local improvements. Using a similar mechanism, residents couldcontrol height, landscape, colour, materials and even specific vernacularstyles for their block. Once passed by council, these controls would becomeoutright. Although administration would be difficult at first, it would becomeless complicated as initiatives were repeated by other blocks. Over time, areaschedules would emerge, and neighbourhoods would take on unique identitiesthrough different combinations of controls." Although the idea was never°pursued, architects and designers have favoured a similar concept of localarea schedules and advisory design panels.However appealing the idea of unique neighbourhoods that arise fromparticipatory planning, the thrust of zoning amendments currently tendstowards uniformity. Two municipalities adjacent to Vancouver are examplesof the tendency of planners to copy initiatives of other cities. The Districtof North Vancouver imitated Vancouver's process, hiring one of the consult-ing firms previously hired by Vancouver to propose amendments to controlhouse bulk. Burnaby is an example of a schedule shaped by Vancouver's ownzoning.36 One planner, noting the similarities in the Burnaby schedule,facetiously wondered why Burnaby had gone through a costly two-year exer-cise when it simply could have photocopied Vancouver's schedule.It is understandable that Vancouver would have a direct influence onBurnaby and North Vancouver. But zoning changes for North York (in Metro'Discussions with Ann McAfee to determine the feasibility of thisapproach, 1987.36Burnaby Planning Department, "Proposed Zoning Regulations forSingle-Family Dwellings", 4 Sept. 1991; Rian Maelzer, "Attack of the MonsterHome", Burnaby News, 11 Sept. 1991, 4.202Toronto) show that complaints about house size can trigger similar processesand solutions beyond Vancouver's sphere of influence." North York's processran parallel to Vancouver's in many ways. The city hired a consultant aboutthe same time and engaged the public in dialogue along the way. The con-cerns of residents echoed residents' concerns in Vancouver. Suites did notseem to be an issue in North York, nor were concerns about ethnicity and theloss of cultural values evident in the documentation.'North York's amendments were directed towards reducing bulk throughadjustments to setbacks, site coverage, and height. A floor space ratio,requested by many residents, was deemed an inappropriate control for size.As in Vancouver, residents' dissatisfaction with the zoning changes led tofurther amendments. In assessing the documentation, similarities to theVancouver example suggest that, even when cities are not directly influencedby the actions of other cities, shared attitudes, the sharing of information,and common planning approaches lead to similar solutions.The shared belief in the virtues of single - family zoning, nurtured byplanning departments and councils for decades, suggests that resistance tochange by local residents will manifest itself in much the same way in variouscities. The similarity in design of many large houses, whether in Vancouverand Toronto or in cities remote from their influence also suggests thatbuilders' responses are shaped by similar market forces and the widespreadavailability of stock plans, materials and technology. The similarity of zoningresponses to large houses, whether these responses arise from shared planning"City of North York, In fill Housing, 1 and 2, Feb. 1987 to Nov. 1990.38Descriptions of residents' attitudes in Cannon, 199, and DeMont andFennel, 113, suggest that ethnicity may have factored in complaints.203principles or from copying other cities, suggests that cities will rebuild theirsingle- family zones much like Vancouver is in the process of doing.Cities were once shaped by the constraints of climate, terrain, materialsand cultural conventions. Because society does not permit any useful discus-sion of conflicting cultural traditions, and because new technology allowsbuilders to ignore constraints of climate and terrain, cities lack a frameworkthat will bring a unity to streetscapes that is acceptable to all. In trying totame the Monster House, Vancouver's council made no attempt to define avision for the future of the city's single- family zones or to introduce a deve-lopment pattern that would accommodate the needs of its own residents.Because the Vancouver Special and the Monster House have less built spacethan other single- family forms that could have been built to the same site°coverage, it is likely that they will suffer the same fate of the smallerbungalows they replace. Any city that adopts Vancouver's solution adopts abuilt-in obsolescence that has been characteristic of our era. Without a visionthat draws from their own building traditions, cities will slip by default intoa planning approach that delivers houses that differ little from city to city.Wherever these houses have little meaning for local residents, these residentswill disperse to other cities and to remaining pockets in cities and suburbswhere vernaculars still support their cultural traditions.204Chapter 8^ ConclusionTracing the new large houses from their beginnings in the 1960s showsclearly that they are the result of a zoning schedule that has changed overtime in response to the immigrant market. The Vancouver Special became astandardized design that offended neighbours and offered buyers little choice.The Monster House is still evolving, but the restrictiveness of the currentschedule may have the same effect of standardizing a particular design as didthe earlier relationship between zoning and the market. The problem is notstandardization, because standardized styles that emerged before zoning con-tinue to be copied because of their integrity and their functional use of space.The problem is that Vancouver has eliminated valuable options as it changedits zoning to accommodate the immigrant market. The elimination of thetypical house form built before zoning, for example, denied the city a patternthat combines adequate open space with the built space the city needs today.The spread of the Special and Monster House brought greater culturaldiversity to both the east and west sides of the city. This diversity would haveoccurred in any event, but because the style of new homes attracts onlyimmigrants, cultural diversity may be a transitional phase to more ethnicallyhomogeneous neighbourhoods. Comparing the 1986 and 1988 zoning changesshowed a market shift from immigrants who had to establish themselvesbefore they bought to those who could buy on arrival. The latest immigrantwave is part of a global pool of buyers seeking a stable and secure environ-ment for their families and their wealth in single- family areas close to citycentre. Once they have bought large new houses in the region's most desirableareas, there is little reason to move outward. The consequence of the trans-205formation of the Special into the Monster House may be the displacement ofearlier immigrant waves by those now active in the global market.In general, local residents of all ethnic groups cannot compete with newimmigrants for these large new houses and, in any case, prefer the decliningstock of used housing in more traditional styles. Immigrants, even if theydislike what the market offers, need housing and can outbid many locals fornew houses in locations they prefer. Thus, in the 1980s, the relationshipbetween zoning and the market came full circle. Single-family zoning, whichonce excluded less affluent families who were often immigrants, stillexcludes. But the price of entry to Vancouver's single-family districts is nowmeasured globally and families now being excluded are the descendants ofearlier immigrant waves. These people are by no means poor, and many havesold city homes to move elsewhere. Their dispersal will affect the housingchoices of those of more modest means seeking accommodation in the suburbsand other cities. Cities that adopt Vancouver's initiatives may experience asimilar dislocation of local residents although the "new arrivals" may be thoseleaving larger cities that attract immigrant wealth.The critical question here is whether the data presented in this paperis an anomaly occasioned by specific global events or whether it reflects anearly phase of a continuing trend. Much will depend on the global economyand the twists and turns of Canada's immigration policy, but if immigrationcontinues to reflect the past several decades, the future direction ofVancouver's single- family schedule becomes important. If local residentswant single-family zones to remain exclusive, and if immigrants continue tocluster in these zones, Vancouver may be choosing an urban future of racialsegregation. If locals opt for more inclusive neighbourhoods, then they must206accept increases in density with little delay, and these increases in densitymust deliver more affordable housing stock. As long as people value proxi-mity to city centre, there is no way to make market housing in Vancouver'ssingle-family areas affordable for most middle-class buyers. Nevertheless,increased density can accommodate those of the middle-class who were ableto afford these areas until recently and can provide niches for those of moremodest means who are willing to sacrifice space for proximity to city centre.Increasing density and affordability is not enough to make single-family zones more inclusive. The housing stock must also embody meaningsimportant to local residents. Unless single- family zones can attract theseresidents, builders will continue to build for the global market. Neigh-bourhoods will take on new symbolic referents despite efforts to regulate size,use and design, and these referents will accelerate the clustering that isalready occurring. Broaden the cultural diversity of the market and the indus-try will respond. Inclusiveness, therefore, is a three-pronged approach thatcombines density, affordability and attention to meaning in the residentiallandscape. Once the large house controversy is recast in terms of makingsingle- family zones more inclusive, the issues of size, suites and design areno longer problems to be resolved, but strategies that contribute to a coherentand more equitable rebuilding of single-family neighbourhoods.The Legitimacy of Large Houses, Suites and Contextual DesignThe replacement of small, older homes by large new houses is a time-honoured method of delivering more built space in cities. But, as photographsin the text show, large houses need not be "monsters". With attention to mass-ing, site coverage and detail, they can add gracefully to neighbourhoods207without impairing the use of adjacent smaller houses. The Davis clusterproves that large houses can provide both adequate open space and enoughinterior space to suit extended families or several smaller households. TheVancouver Special itself proves that with adequate interior space, theconversion of large houses can be as simple as opening and closing doors.Although reducing house bulk decreases the potential for density, it isa valuable tool in managing the pace of change. It benefits adjacencies anddoes no harm as long as house size remains reasonable and opportunities foraddition and infill are preserved. When reducing the permitted floor space,the questions planners must ask are: "where can owners add space easily andeconomically in the future?" and "what amenities do adjacencies lose whenspace is added to existing dwellings?" Vancouver could not explore suchquestions adequately because residents feared increased density. On standardand even reasonably wide lots, infill or addition will leave less open spacethan if council had encouraged taller homes with lower site coverage and fullbasements. To accommodate growth, the city will have to tolerate the loss ofopen space or the demolition of homes currently being built.The suite is also a valuable tool in managing change. While many peoplestill object strongly to suites, others want to keep affordable suites andaffordable opportunities for ownership. Although there is support for newhouses with suites tucked discreetly in the basement, there seems to be nosupport for new strata-titled units and new purpose-built duplexes that wouldchange existing streetscapes. The renovation of older stock into rental andstrata-titled units, however, may bring fewer objections. The challenge forplanners is to ensure that suites are safe, bright and airy enough for thefamilies living in them. Because the cost of achieving these goals can be208prohibitive in many existing homes, renovation that permits strata-titlingmay be a useful strategy to pursue.The suite, which was critical in helping new immigrants establish them-selves in owned housing, is now critical in enabling local residents of allethnic groups to live in single-family neighbourhoods as owners and tenants.If prices continue to rise, those affluent enough to buy the large new homesin single- family areas may not need rental suites. Despite demand for suites,single-family districts may lose population as new houses without suitesreplace older houses, as new houses with suites convert back to single- familydwellings and as owners who cannot upgrade their suites to city standardsphase them out. Encouraging suites as a counterbalance to rising land costs,therefore, becomes an important part of any large city's housing policy.Photo 23. An addition to an older westside house.Rezoning that increases built space and the variety of unit size andtenure will be ineffective in broadening the market unless local residents feelcomfortable in Vancouver's single-family zones. The research has shown thatlocal residents of all ethnic groups probably prefer used housing, and thatused housing is all that many of them can afford. Any area that wants to209preserve the essence of its residential landscape must encourage renovationand conversion of existing homes to retain local residents and attract otherlocals marginally able to afford older housing. Because most renovations aremore contextual than new construction (Photo 23), facilitating renovation andconversion of existing dwellings may be more effective than any other singlestrategy in preserving the cultural essence of its residential landscape.'A by-law that provides incentives for renovation, conversion and infillcould change the nature of the single- family market. It legitimizes olderhouses still affordable by local residents and encourages their maintenance.Because many buyers now need a rental suite to afford even used housing,renovation that encourages conversion and infill is more likely to maintain astock of rental housing than is new construction targeted to the affluent.Similarly, the opportunity to strata-title existing homes would attract buyerswho prefer to own without the responsibility or uncertainty that a rental suiteentails. Yet a schedule that encourages renovation does not stop the construc-tion of new housing for affluent immigrants who prefer this option becausea supply of poorly maintained housing always exists.Attempting to preserve the character of more affluent neighbourhoodsthrough design controls or reduced floor space ratios that deflect new con-struction to other areas—as in RS-3—may simply be a short-term cosmeticthat preserves these areas for global wealth. Because of their attractiveness,amenity and proximity to city centre, these areas will change socially andeconomically if not physically. To preserve residential qualities that localsvalue, design and landscape controls would have to be very restrictive and'A graphic case study of a contextual renovation that contains a secondarysuite is shown in Appendix C.210may not have the desired effect in the long run. Leaving aside the cost anddifficulty of administration, the tendency for one neighbourhood to adoptthe exclusionary design controls of another may result in islands of exclu-sivity, and builders would shift their activity to areas where controls, or lackof them, operated to their advantage. Where streetscapes do not have clearlydefinable architectural or historic merit, it may be more sensible to let designsadapt to changing needs rather than rely on design controls.The Legitimacy of Zoning RegulationsThis research does not take issue with the need for zoning but with thelegitimacy of the regulations that have evolved. The planners of the 1930sdid not realize that the zoning they put in place could be abused to the extentthat it was. The 1988 zoning amendments in particular proved that carefullyconsidered technical adjustments to the schedule could eliminate many func-tional problems caused by this abuse. While Vancouver's regulations aregreatly improved in this regard, some are more powerful than others in con-trolling form and context.Site coverage is the most critical element in obtaining an appropriatebalance between open and built space. Although setbacks can achieve thesame results, the combination of reasonably generous setbacks with a morelimiting site coverage provides greater variation in siting on individual lots.Flexibility in siting the dwelling can provide opportunities for deferring tothe needs of adjacent dwellings and retaining mature landscape elements thatotherwise would be lost.Along with site coverage, setbacks can be excellent controls for context.Increasing the rear setback resolved most complaints about shading and over-211looking while providing more space for gardens and future infill. The slidingscale for sideyard setbacks was also reasonably successful. The side yard isnow more proportional to the size of new dwellings and provides opportuni-ties for plantings that soften the impact of new construction. Vancouver'sresolution of the front yard setback was less successful because averaging onlycomes into play if the front setback is more or less than an adjacent setbackby five feet. This regulation standardizes an overly generous front setbackthat sacrifices more backyard space than is necessary.Height is also critical, and the tendency to reduce height to counteractbulk is counterproductive. Height restrictions cause problems for renovationsand destroy designs that depend on height for styles and proportions thatreduce the appearance of bulk. Although tall houses may seem out of placeon streets of small houses, the varying heights in areas that predate zoningsuggests that height is less meaningful in unifying streetscapes than colour,style, detail, materials of construction and landscape elements. Height and sitecoverage are directly related. Most cities faced with the problem of large newhomes have chosen, perhaps unwisely, to reduce height and sacrifice openspace and a more graceful massing of the structure. If cities want to increasetheir capacity to house people in existing single - family neighbourhoods, thenthey must either sacrifice open space or permit taller homes.The value of a floor space ratio is arguable. Floor space ratio canencourage the articulation of structures that would otherwise be simple boxesthat produce the most space at least cost. While builders, for obvious reasons,favour boxy dwellings, architects, designers and planners encourage articula-tion of the structure to provide "variety" to streetscapes. No one can denythat Monster Houses add variety, but it is questionable whether badly or212excessively articulated dwellings add as much to streetscapes as simple, well-proportioned, and appropriately detailed boxes. The passion for maximizingfloor space at whatever limits are placed upon it may in fact contribute topoor design. Certainly the time spent calculating floor space and alteringplanes to reach maximum floor space might be better spent resolving problemsof proportion and detail. With carefully considered site coverage, height andsetbacks, a floor space ratio may be unnecessary.A Vision for the FutureVancouver is at a crossroads in the development of its single- familyzones. Much of its stock is old, and much of it reflects the haste in which thecity built after the Second World War, but many homes have the potential forrenewal. The city has two sets of choices. Does it want to retain the characterof its residential landscape or does it want to rebuild its single- family zonesin an entirely different manner? Does it want to retain the exclusive natureof its single-family zones or does it want these zones to be more inclusive?If the market activity of the 1980s was not an anomaly, and if the city wantsto encourage its own residents to buy and live in its single-family areas, thenredevelopment must be inclusive. Housing must become more affordablethrough conversion and infill that uses land more economically, and street-scapes must retain the essential qualities that local residents value.Reducing bulk cannot make single- family neighbourhoods more inclu-sive. Nor can it preserve the residential landscape. As long as zoning permitsnew houses large enough to meet basic needs, builders will demolish olderhouses for more expensive new homes. Legalizing suites that meet city stan-dards, while a step in the right direction, has reduced opportunities for213owners of older housing to retain affordable suites, and reduced opportunitiesfor others to buy affordable used housing in areas where rental suites areillegal. In this regard, much more variety of unit size and tenure must beoffered throughout zones that are now single- family in use. Although manysee design controls as a long-term solution to preserve streetscapes, controlsthat are not accompanied by a more inclusive use of single- family zones maysimply preserve these zones for global wealth. The renovation and conversionof older homes to owned and rented multi-family dwellings seems to offerthe best hope for mitigating potential population shifts while retainingneighbourhood qualities that residents value.The compact settlement pattern that results from a mix of single andmulti- family accommodation in large, detached houses may be one of themost flexible patterns for future urban settlements. Such neighbourhoods canreach densities that approximate rowhousing without the limitations to familysize that typical rowhousing imposes, and the detached form permits renova-tionand new construction with little displacement of people and no assemblyof land. The individual house can accommodate extended families with ease,and respond to changing family fortunes by conversion to multiple-familyuse. Given large enough houses, neighbourhoods can adapt relatively quicklyto changing economic conditions.Houses designed solely for and restricted to single- family use havenever been an appropriate method for building cities. The lack of variety indwelling size and tenure that exists in many single- family neighbourhoodsforces an artificial homogeneity that does not reflect the diversity of age,ethnic background and financial resources found in the larger community.The inability of the small single-family house to respond to the ordinary and214extraordinary needs of people as they move through stages in the life cyclemakes neighbourhoods composed of these dwellings particularly susceptibleto physical, social and economic change. On the other hand, the large single-family houses now being built are wasteful of land and other resources unlessoccupied by an extended family. That single-family zoning now works againstlocal residents reveals that the economic segregation that was a fundamentalprinciple behind single- family zoning was wrong. Surely the function ofzoning should not be segregation by age, race or economic status but ratherthe building and maintaining of sustainable neighbourhoods that, as equitablyas possible, nourish the body and the spirit for the challenges of life.Recommendations for Further ResearchThe purpose of this research was to understand the nature of neigh-bourhood change prompted by large new houses in Vancouver and the city'sresponse to this change. The research method permitted opportunities to lookat discrete aspects of the problem, and some of the paths followed are of littlefurther practical value. To explore immigrant buying patterns in more detail,for example, may be interesting but will serve only to reiterate the conclusionthat these patterns are simply the result of exclusionary zoning practices.Other areas that the research examined superficially may yield greater practi-cal value. The most important are design control, pre-zoning settlement pat-terns and sustainable development.This research began with a belief in the necessity of grass-roots designcontrol and ended with the belief that design controls were unnecessary andpossibly harmful. This conclusion may be erroneous. Controls may be neces-sary, at least initially, to broaden housing choice. In any event, Vancouver's215survey of other cities showed that design and landscape controls are anemerging trend. The difficulty of legislating and implementing such controlsand the uncertainty surrounding their efficacy suggests a comparative analysisof cities that already have controls in place. While such research could yieldno conclusions about their long-term benefits, it could eliminate methods thathave proven unworkable or unfair in practice. Knowing the costs and meritof the various methods already in use would enable cities that are consideringdesign controls to marshall their planning resources more effectively.The research has suggested that the compact residential pattern thatcharacterized turn-of- the- century development may provide a balancebetsyeen built and open space more appropriate to the twenty-first centurythan the suburban pattern which emerged in the twentieth century. In theUnited States, architects and planners have already applied older patterns tonew suburban development, and transportation planners have studied the gridstreet pattern in an effort to solve contemporary problems of traffic flow.Similar research into Canadian patterns from the past may prove useful inrebuilding established urban and suburban neighbourhoods. Accepting thepre-zoning pattern does not mean the reproduction of the styles of the past,but the reproduction of the principles that made this pattern succeed. Suchprinciples may help to develop a new but equally robust vernacular that canaccommodate the cultural values of local residents and immigrants alike.Research into sustainable residential environments may suggest a set ofprinciples that parallel those that define the pre- zoning pattern in Canada.Sustainability, because it emphasizes reducing, reusing and recycling mater-ials, means the renovation of existing structures where possible and theconstruction of houses built to last for generations. Concern about the use of216non-renewable resources means a greater reliance on building forms andtechnologies that work, as in the past, with the constraints of climate andtopography to protect residents from the elements. It also means more builtand .open space, more variety in unit size and tenure to reflect changinghousehold needs, and an infrastructure that supports routines of daily lifewithout high energy costs. Finally, sustainability means densities that aregentle on the land, neither so low nor so high that a costly infrastructure isrequired to support them. It is possible that these densities would approximatethose achieved by the mix of detached and attached houses found in Canadiancities after the mid-1800s. With forms responsive to climate and materialsrestricted to those that impact as little as possible on the environment, it maybe possible for streetscapes to achieve a unity that would permit people toexpress cultural diversity with little harm to the whole.Research into older patterns and sustainable residential environmentsimplies densities that many homeowners will resist. At the same time, manyurban professionals will find these densities too low for modern cities. Butjust as it has made little sense to use up land in low- density suburbs that nowsprawl beyond a reasonable commute, it makes little sense to rebuild cities todensities that are neither sustainable nor leave no trace of the past beyond thetoken preservation of a building or a street. Neither is necessary. Canada hascities that have developed their urban and suburban land unwisely and dor-mant towns that could be thriving communities again. Careful redevelopmentof already used land could lead to sustainable communities both in cities nowexperiencing population growth and in towns that need population to survive.217Appendix A: Vancouver's Single-Family RegulationsThis summary provides an overview of Vancouver's single-family zoning to1988. Because zoning schedules are complex and technical legal documents,it is inappropriate to do more than selectively summarize critical changes tothe schedule, bearing in mind that minor changes and interpretation of theregulations can also affect form and design in single- family dwellings.In 1925, the British Columbia Legislature passed the province's first TownPlanning Act. In 1926, Town Planning Commissions were established for theCity of Vancouver and the Municipality of Point Grey.In 1926, Point Grey passed one of the earliest zoning by-laws in Canada. Inits residential zone, one and two-family dwellings could not exceed 35 feetor two-and-one-half storeys in height. Front yards could not be less than 24feet deep; rear yards could not be less than 25 feet deep; and side yards couldnot be less than 5 feet. (Lots less than 40 feet wide could have side yards notless than 3 feet). Open space on the site could not be less than 60 percent oflot area. Yard depths defined the setbacks for the dwelling, and open spaceregulated the site coverage or the area of the site that buildings could cover.In 1927, the City of Vancouver passed an interim zoning by-law. In its one-and two-family residential zone, only setbacks were regulated. Front yarddepth, excluding open porches, could not be less than 20 feet; side yardscould not be less than 10 percent of lot width; and rear yards could not be lessthan 20 percent of lot depth.In 1928, the city amended the interim by-law to define one and two-familydwellings, basements, cellars, and accessory buildings. Garages had to beattached to the dwelling or located at least 60 feet from the main street and5 feet from adjacent streets. The required rear yard could not be less than 25feet. Side yards remained at 10 percent but need not exceed 5 feet in width.The site area could be no less than 4800 square feet. Relaxations were per-mitted for sites less than 4800 square feet but not less than 3600 square feet.These amendments initiated increasingly complex definitions for terms usedin the by-law. Accessory buildings are buildings on the site (such as a garageor workshop) which serve the principle building. Basements are spaces con-sidered high enough out of the ground to be habitable. Grade is defined as"the elevation of the surface of the ground at any point on a site", withfinished grade being the elevation of the ground after development is com-pleted. Calculating grades can be very complex, and the footnote below showsthe precision of the by-law with reference to simpler basement calculations.''Basements are defined in the by-law (#3575, 1989) as the "space betweentwo floors, with the lower floor located less than 5 feet below finished gradeand the floor surface of the storey above located not more than 6.52 feetabove finished grade." Cellars, on the other hand, have their lower floor 5 ormore feet below grade.218In 1930, Harland Bartholomew and Associates completed the Plan for the Cityof Vancouver. Only the zoning section of the plan was adopted. The zoningclearly regulated single-family use, but permitted conversion to two- familydwellings with the consent of the Board of Appeal. Height and setback regu-lations were unchanged from the interim by-law, but front yard averagingwas introduced.In 1938, the city introduced a floor space ratio of 0.45 to regulate the amountof livable space that could be built on the site. Accessory buildings notexceeding 12 feet or one storey in height were permitted in the rear yard aslong as they did not exceed one-third of the area of the rear yard. Projec-tions such as steps, eaves, cornices, sills and chimneys were allowed in frontand rear yards, and fire escapes were allowed in the rear yard.In 1939, the city amended the by-law (#2516, 1939) to improve the livabilityof suites and housekeeping rooms and adjusted the definitions of one andtwo- family dwellings. As well, floor space ratio was defined (ratherambiguously in terms of basement space) to mean:the ratio obtained by dividing the total area of all the floorswithin all the buildings on a site including accessory buildings,by the area of the site less any proposed street or lane dedicationsas determined by the Director of Planning. Basements or cellarsshall not be counted as floor area for the purpose of computingfloor space except where basements are considered as habitableaccommodation under the city by-laws.In the late 1940s, the Town Planning Commission concluded that the city'sneeds had grown beyond its own small staff working with consultants. In1951, the city established a Planning Department and subsequently appointeda Director of Planning reporting directly to City Council. In 1956, the citydiscontinued front yard averaging and the rear setback was changed to 35feet measured from the centre line of the lane.In 1974, the city introduced a site coverage of 45 percent and changed thefloor space ratio to 0.60 (including basement space). The accessory buildingregulation was more rigorously defined but remained generous in size.In 1986, maximum height was reduced from 35 to 30 feet, the rear setbackwas increased to 45 percent of lot depth and front yard averaging wasintroduced again. Averaging is currently determined by averaging thesetbacks of the two adjacent buildings on either side of the development site(four sites in total) to establish the setback for new development.In 1988, site coverage was reduced to 40 percent of lot area and a slidingscale (30 percent of lot area plus 1000 square feet) was introduced to regulatethe amount of floor space built above-grade. Roof heights and floor arearatio now control basement depth. For houses built after April 12, 1988, theby-law (#3575, 1990) stipulates that basement height from grade to the floorsurface of the main floor cannot exceed 4 feet if the basement is to beexcluded from above-grade floor space calculations. This regulation pushesbasements deeply into the ground and contrasts with the "high" basementscommon to houses built before the Second World War.219Table 13:—Selective Summary of Vancouver's Single-Family Schedule1927 — 1988Date SetbacksFront Side^RearHeightPeak^EaveSiteCoverageFloor^FloorSpace Ratio Area1927 20' 10% 20% — —1928 20' 10% 25' --1930 24'* 10% 25' 35'1938 24' 10% 25' 35' .45 29701956 24'* 10% 35' 35' .45 35501974 24' 10% 35' 35' 45% .60 23761986 24'* 10% 45% 30' 21' 45% .60 23761988 20% 10% 45% 30' 24' 40% Scale 2376Source: City of Vancouver Zoning and Development By-Laws.Table 13 summarizes the critical change to the schedule. Asterisks (*) indicatethat averaging was introduced in 1930, discontinued in 1956 and reintroducedin 1986. All other changes are boldfaced.Floor area calculations have been made for the maximum space that couldbe achieved achieved on 33 by 120- foot lots after each zoning change.Although floor space ratios are lower before the 1974 zoning changes, thetotal floor area permitted was greater before 1974 because basements wereexcluded from floor space calculations. These floor areas can be matched tototal floor areas on page 222. With the exception of the first drawing and thedrawing accompanying the 1956 bylaw, the drawings illustrate typical formsof each zoning period built to maximum size.The first drawing (page 222, top left) shows how the 1938 zoning schedulewould have reduced the typical size (dotted line extension) of 1900s two-and-one-half storey houses if such dwellings had been built after the FirstWorld War. The second drawing (top right) shows a typical form after theFirst World War at maximum size. Most houses of the period, however, didnot achieve maximum size, but ranged from about 1800 to 2400 square feet(including basements) on 33-foot lots. The drawing acompanying the 1956by-law (centre left) shows the form of new construction during the 1950s and1960s at typical rather than maximum size. This form, the early VancouverSpecial, grew in size over the period, but houses built at maximum size werethe exception rather than the rule. After 1974, Specials were built at or nearthe maximums permitted by the zoning schedule.A copy of the RS-1 District Schedule prior to the 1986 changes and theproposed changes to the schedule in 1990 completes Appendix A.220Building Envelopes 1930 1988Pre-1986Pre4986 Pre-19861986 1988Figure 28. The building envelope remained essentially unchanged until 1986. This page can bereproduced on mylar to show more clearly the relationship between envelopes and typical forms.221TYPICAL FORM 1956TYPICAL SWF.1956 BYLAWVANCOUVER SPECIALUpper Floor 1775 sq. ft.Main Floor 1775 sq ft.TYPICAL FORM 1974MAXIMUM SIZE 1974 BYLAW*VANCOUVER SPECIALUpper Floor 1400 sq ft.Main Floor 976 sq. ft33'^Ibtal Area 3550 sq. ft^33'^'Fatal Area 23% sq. ft.1988 BYLAWNEW VERNACULARUpper Floor 776 sq ft.Main Floor 1000 sq. ft.Basement 600 sq ft.Ibtal Area 2376 sq. ft.TYPICAL FORM 1986 TYPICAL FORM 1988MAXIMUM SIZE^ MAXIMUM SIZE 1986 BYLAWVANCOUVER SPECIALUpper Floor 1100 sq ft.Main Floor 1276 sq ft 33'^Ibtal Area 2376 sq ft23'Plus19'Cumulative Results of Zoning ChangesFigure 29.The drawings show typical forms for each zoning period and calculations for maximumfloor areas permitted (except for 1956) for a 33 by 120 foot lot.222RS-1 DISTRICT SCHEDULE1^IntentThe intent of this Schedule is to maintain the single-familyresidential character of the District.2^Outright Approval Uses2.1^Subject to all other provisions of this By-law and to compliancewith the regulations of this Schedule, the uses listed in Section 2.2shall be permitted in this District and shall be issued a permit.2.2^USES2.2A^• Accessory Buildings and accessory uses customarily ancillaryto any of the uses listed in the section provided that:(a) no accessory building exceeds 12 feet in height;(b) all accessory buildings are located in the rear yard and in nocase are less than 5 feet from a flanking street, subject also tothe provisions of Section 11.1 of this By-law;(c) the total area of all accessory buildings is not greater than 35percent of the minimum rear yard prescribed in this Schedule,or 520 square feet. whichever is the greater;(d) not more than 80 percent of the width of the rear yard of anylot is occupied by accessory buildings.2.2.D^• One-family Dwelling.3^Conditional Approval Uses3.1^Subject to all other provisions of this By-law and the provisionsand regulations of this Schedule, the Director of Planning mayapprove any of the uses listed in Section 3.2 including suchconditions or additional regulations as he may decide, providedthat before making a decision he:(a) considers the intent of this Schedule and the recommenda-tions of any advisory groups, plan or guidelines approved byCouncil for the area; and (see Appendix G)75^ RS-1Author's Note: This schedule, effective before the 1986 zoning changes,illustrates the basis for the 1986, 1988 and 1990 amendments.Subsequent schedules grew in length and complexity.(223)(b) notifies such adjacent property owners and residents hedeems necessary.3.2^USES3.2.A^* Accessory Buildings and accessory uses customarily ancillaryto any of the uses listed in this section, subject to the sameprovisions of subsection 2.2.A.• Accessory Buildings and accessory uses not in compliancewith the provisions of subsection 2.2.A.• Aircraft Landing Place.3.2.B^• Boarding House or Rooming House resulting from the conver-sion of a building where the conversion took place prior to June18, 1956 and the use has been continual since that time, providedthat any development permit granted shall be limited in time.3.2.0^• Child Day Care Facility.• Church, subject to the provisions of Section 11.7 of this By-law.• Community Centre or Neighbourhood House.3.2.D^• Depositation or extraction of material so as to alter theconfiguration of the land.• Dwelling Unit or Housekeeping Unit which existed prior toand has been used continuously as such since June 18, 1956.provided that any development permit granted shall be limited intime.3.2.G^• Golf Course.3.2.H^• Hospital, but not including a conversion from an existingbuilding, a mental hospital or an animal hospital, subject to theprovisions of Section 11.9 of this By-law.3.2.1^• Institution of a religious, philanthropic or charitable character.3.2.L^• Local Area Office3.2.M^• Marina, but not including boat building and major repairs andoverhaul of boats.(224)RS - 1^ 76(225)3.2.P^• Park or Playground.• Parking Area ancillary to a principal use on an adjacent site.• Public Authority Building or use essential in this District.• Public Utility.3.2.S^• School (public or private), subject to the provisions of Section11.8 of this By-law.• Social Service Centre operated by a non-profit society.• Special Needs Residential Facility, subject to the provisions ofSection 11.9.• Stadium or any similar place of assembly.3.2.T^• Tourist Court, subject to the provisions of Section 11.12 of thisBy-law.• Truck Garden, Nursery or Greenhouse for propagating andcultivating.4^RegulationsAll uses approved under Sections 2 and 3 of this District Scheduleshall be subject to the following regulations:4.1^SITE AREA 4.1.1^The minimum site area for a one-family dwelling shall be 4,800square feet.4.1.2^Where the site is less than 32 feet in width or less than 3,600square feet in area, the design of any new dwelling shall first .require the approval of the Director of Planning.4.2^FRONTAGE — Not Applicable4.3^HEIGHT4.3.1^The maximum height of a building shall be the lesser of 35 feet or.2% storeys.4.4^FRONT YARD4.4.1^A front yard with a minimum depth of 24 feet shall be provided.4.4.2^In the case of a site having an average depth of less than 120 feet,77^ RS-1(a) balconies, cdnoPit's. sundecks and other features which theDirector of Planning considers similar, permitted to a ma\i-mum total area of 8 percent of the floor area:(b) patios and roof gardens, provided that the Director of Planningfirst approves the design of sunroofs and walls:(c) parking areas, the floors of which are at or below the highestpoint of the finished grade around the building:(d) child day care facilities to a maximum floor area of 10 percentof the permitted floor area, provided the Director of Planning,on the advice of the Director of Social Planning, is satisfiedthat there is a need fora day care facility in the immediateneighbourhood.4.7.4^For the purpose of calculating floor space ratio in this DistrictSchedule, the depth of a riparian site measured from the abutting'street shall be the lesser of:(a) 120 feet or(b) the depth thereof as determined from any plan or otherdocument of record in the Land Title Office as of the 15th dayof April 1978, and relating to the boundaries thereof.4.8^SITE COVERAGE4.8.1^The maximum site coverage for buildings shall be 45 percent of.the site area.4.8.2^For the purpose of this section, site coverage for buildings shall bebased on the projected area of the outside of the outermost wallsof all buildings and includes carports, but excludes steps, eaves,cantilevered balconies and sundecks.4.8.3^Except where the principal use of the site is a parking area, themaximum site coverage for any portion of the site used as palkingarea shall be,30 percent,.4.9^OFF-STREET PARKING AND LOADING SPACES4.9.1^Off-street parking and loading spaces shall be provided andmaintained in accordance with the provisions of Section 12 of thisBy-law.(226)79^ RS-1CITY OF VANCOUVERNOTICE OFPUBLIC HEARINGProposed Amendments to Zoning and DevelopmentBy-law, No. 3575.On THURSDAY MARCH 15, 1990, COMMENCING AT7:30 P.M. in the AUDITORIUM, SIR WINSTON CHUR-CHILL SECONDARY SCHOOL, AT 7055 HEATHERSTREET (HEATHER STREET AND 54TH AVENUE) theCouncil of the City of Vancouver will hold a PublicHearing pursuant to the provisions of the VancouverCharter, to consider the following proposed by-lawamendments:TEXT AMENDMENTS TO THE RS-1 AND RS-15 DIS-TRICTS SCHEDULECouncil will be considering two alternative by-laws:BY-LAW AThe proposed amendments, if approved, would:(1) increase the permitted height from 30 to 35 feetand refine the building envelope to reduce thewidth of upper floors to 50 percent of site width;(2) reduce the permitted above-ground floor spaceratio to 0.23 plus 1,250 square feet from the current0.30 plus 1,000 square feet;(3) encourage covered porches by excluding theirfloor area from above-ground floor space ratio;(4) establish design regulations for exerior finishingmaterials; and(5) any consequential amendments.BY-LAW BThe proposed amendments, if approved, would:(1) maintain the existing permitted height of 30 feetand refine the building envelope to reduce thewidth of upper floors to 60 percent of site width;(2) establish a sliding scale to require larger side" yards on wider sites:(3) reduce the permitted above-ground 'floor . spaceratio to 0.20 plus 1,400 square feet from the current0.30 plus 1,000 square feet;(4) encourage covered porches by excluding theirfloor area from above-ground floor space ratio;(5) establish design regulations for exterior finishingmaterials; and^.(6) any consequential amendments.At the Public Hearing, all persons who deem them-selves affected by the proposed by-laws shall beafforded an opportunity to be heard before Council onmatters contained therein. Copies of the draft by-lawsmay be seen on and after Monday, March 5, 1990, atthe City Clerk's Office and in the Planning Depart-ment, City Hall, 453 West 12th Avenue, from 8:30 5:30 p.m., Monday to Friday on regular workingdays.Maria KinsellaCITY CLERK227Appendix B: Plans, Elevations and PerspectivesVancouver Specials and Monster Homes1960s Specialbedroom11 X9-3bedroom11x 11-31 11111'1 11111111 1011111111111Figure 30. A Vancouver Special dating around 1968 shows its origins as a ranch bungalow on araised "basement". Courtesy of Select Homes Designs, Series 32, no. 40, 198.2281970s Vancouver SpecialFigure 31. A Vancouver Special dating around 1972 shows the use of brick cladding on the facadewhich was typical until the late 1980s. Courtesy Select Homes Designs, Series 32, no. 14, 193.2291985 Vancouver SpecialFigure 32. A Vancouver Specialapproved for construction justbefore the 1986 zoning amend-ments. The house is designed tofull floor space ratio and, withgarage, has a 42 percent sitecoverage. The house is 25 feetwide, 68 feet long, and typical inplan. Permit JP202277.2301988 VernacularFigure 33. This house, designed after the 1988 zoning amendments, has little in common withVancouver Specials. Permit JP204725.231Variants of Vancouver SpecialsPhoto 24. The similarity of Vancouver Specials can be seen in these photographs taken from thesurvey of homes constructed after the zoning changes.2321990 Monster House (Hypothetical)Figure 34. Plans and eleva-tions by Intarsia predict theresults of the 1990 zoningamendments on a 50' by 120'lot. The second-storey set-back results in a wall overfirst floor windows as shownin elevation and in plan (longsingle dashed line). This ex-pensive structural responseto the amendments occurredin many homes built after1990.233Variants of Monster HomesPhoto 25. Variants of large or "monster" homes built after the 1986 amendments.234Variants of Monster HomesrPhoto 26. Variants of large or "monster" homes built after the 1988 amendments.235Appendix C: Renovations and ConversionsA Storey-and-a-Half DwellingFigure 35. A renovation after the 1986 zoning amendments fits the context of the street. Thethree-dimensional drawing shows how the architect juxtaposed contextuality of the front facade(top) with dramatic design at the rear. The house required a height relaxation to fit the envelope(Board of Variance Appeal # 224025). Drawings courtesy of architect Franklin Allen.236■9IGUESTQUARTERS1*Al1111111111:17„A•111116..• BASEMENTMO=Storey-and-a-Half Dwelling: Site Plan and BasementFigure 36. Site plan and basement of renovation. The renovation has the maximum floor spacepermitted. Above-grade floor space increased from 0.31 to 0.39 and site coverage increased from25 to 29 percent. These figures are substantially lower than average floor space ratios and sitecoverages for the 1986 and 1988 samples.237UPPER FLOORDININGKITCHENDEN1•IIILIVINGStorey-and-a-Half Dwelling: Main and Second FloorMAIN FLOORFigure 37. Main and upper floor plans of the renovation. Renovation costs were substantially lessthan costs for new construction.238Renovation and Conversion: A Converted Davis HouseFigure 38. Plans of one of the Davis houses show the conversion to three suites. The possibleconversion to two suites (by removing the third floor kitchen) or to a single-family dwelling (byremoving kitchens in second and third suites) shows the flexibility of the large house.239Appendix D: TablesTable 14:-Housing Characteristics by Selected Local Areas 1971 - 1986Units/AcrePercent Owned1971^1986Percent Detached1971^1986Dunbar 3.1 89 85 95 88Kerrisdale 3.1 62 61 62 60Oakridge 4.1 70 63 70 59Shaughnessy 2.5 71 79 72 73S. Cambie 4.1 62 58 65 58Point Grey 5.2 66 60 75 60Hastings 3.8 77 69 86 73Kensington 6.6 72 61 79 63Renfrew 4.0 82 71 90 73Riley Park 5.5 63 58 67 59Sunset 5.0 72 68 81 76Fraserview 5.3 77 70 83 74West Side Areas 3.5 72 69 75 68East Side Areas 4.8 74 66 81 70Vancouver 6.4 47 42 50 38Source: Vancouver Local Areas 1971 and 1986. Units per acre for 1986.Table 15:- Mobility in Single-Family Zones 1971 - 1976Percentage of Individuals in Each Mobility StatusWithinCMAFromB.C.FromCanadaInter-Nat'lDon'tMoveDunbar 24.1 2.7 4.8 5.9 62.0Kerrisdale 28.2 2.2 4.2 3.6 60.8Oakridge 23.9 1.3 3.8 8.6 61.3Shaughnessy 27.3 1.9 5.6 6.7 57.6South Cambie 26.6 2.2 5.8 9.2 52.4Point Grey 27.9 3.1 7.3 7.2 53.0Hastings 25.4 1.6 3.4 7.7 60.9Kensington 27.0 2.9 4.4 11.7 52.9Renfrew 26.7 2.2 3.5 8.7 57.8Riley Park 27.3 2.7 4.9 11.0 52.8Sunset 27.2 2.5 3.7 12.8 53.0Fraserview 27.6 1.6 2.0 7.2 60.1Vancouver 31.1 3.2 6.2 9.8 47.7Vancouver CMA 36.0 4.1 7.2 7.0 45.7Source: Vancouver Local Areas 1976.240Table 16:-Percentage Changes in Age by Local Area 1971 - 19860 -14 15-24 25-44 45 plusSingle-Family WestDunbar -6.8 0 7.4 0Kerrisdale -4.5 -2.1 8.6 -2.0Oakridge -5.8 -3.0 2.3 6.6Shaughnessy -5.3 -1.8 5.2 1.9South Cambie -3.5 -3.0 9.3 -3.3W. Point Grey -5.0 -4.5 10.3 -0.9Single - Family EastHastings -11.6 -0.4 10.6 1.4Kensington -7.3 0.7 6.6 -0.1Renfrew -7.2 0.3 5.7 1.1Riley Park -11.8 -1.7 9.5 1.1Sunset -5.7 -0.2 5.3 0.6Fraserview -6.8 -3.1 4.9 3.8Multi - FamilyArbutus -4.5 -3.5 5.1 2.9CBD -1.7 1.4 11.7 -11.4Grandview -9.4 -2.1 11.6 -0.3Fairview 0 -10.0 22.4 -12.5Killarney -6.7 -2.1 7.0 1.6Kitsilano -4.8 -8.2 20.5 -7.5Marpole -4.4 -4.1 11.6 -3.3Mount Pleasant -5.9 -4.9 14.5 -3.7Strathcona -6.4 -0.3 6.2 0.5West End -2.3 -7.0 11.8 -2.5Vancouver -5.5 -2.7 9.8 -1.5Percentage changes in population by age groups show clustering of 25-44 agegroup in multi- family areas.241ReferencesBooks and JournalsAckroyd, Stephen and John Hughes. Data Collection in Context. London:Longman, 1981.Adams, Thomas. Outline of Town and City Planning: A Review of PastEf forts and Modern Aims. New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 1936.. The Design of Residential Areas: Basic Considerations, Principles andMethods. Harvard City Planning Series no. 6. 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Globe & Mail, 24 Oct. 1989."Race relations deemed unhealthy." Vancouver Sun, 18 Feb. 1989."Riley Park hearing a public mockery." Letter. Vancouver Sun, 2 Oct. 1989.Rutter, Frank. "Louisiana election shows new middle-class America eager tovote fascist." Vancouver Sun, 19 Nov. 1991.Scott, Andrew. "Be it Never So Humble." Vancouver, Dec. 1989.Seelig, Michael. "Packing 'em in: plan for it now." Vancouver Sun, 18 Oct.1989.Shaw, Gillian. "How Asian money fuels housing market." Vancouver Sun, 18Feb. 1989.. "Investment anger confuses Hong Kong." Vancouver Sun, 18 Mar. 1989.Shore, Randy. "City poll a subversion." Echo, 23 Aug. 1989.Storey, Marilyn "Surrey couple bursts with ecstacy over new Prince Georgelifestyle." Vancouver Sun, 17 Oct. 1991.Tierney, Ben. "Lam Advises Hong Kong on Canada." Vancouver Sun, Dec.13, 1989.249"Vancouver called hot spot for Hong Kong investors." Toronto Star, 25 Mar.1989.Ward, Robin. "Heritage conservation a matter of respect." 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Letter to Vancouver CityCouncil. 3 Mar. 1986.Vancouver Neighbourhoods Association, "The Vancouver Special." Brief toVancouver City Council. 27 July 1987.Unpublished SourcesAnderson, Kay, " 'East as West': Place, State and the Institutionalization ofMyth in Vancouver's Chinatown." Ph.D diss., University of BritishColumbia, 1986.Architectural Institute of British Columbia. Slide presentation to VancouverCity Council, Public Hearing, 15 Mar. 1990.Babcock, Richard. "The Egregious Invalidity of the Exclusive Single-FamilyZone." Paper delivered at Lincoln Institute of Land Policy and theUniversity of Southern California Law Centre Conference, LosAngeles, Feb. 1983.Bottomley, John. "Ideology, Planning and the Landscape: The BusinessCommunity, Urban Reform and the Establishment of Town Planningin Vancouver, British Columbia 1900-1940." Ph.D diss., Universityof British Columbia, 1977.Ho, Danny. "An Investigation of the Impact and Rationale for RentalApartment Demolitions in Vancouver's Kerrisdale Neighbourhood,1989." M. A. Thesis, University of British Columbia, 1989.Janet Mai-Lan Lee. "Responding to Future Housing Needs: ResidentialIntensification in Single-Family Neighbourhoods." M. A. Thesis,University of British Columbia, 1989.Kulash, Walter. "Examining the Quality of the Trip." Paper presented at TheEmerging City Conference, Bellingham, Washington, 25-27 Sept.1991.Majury, Niall Charles. "Identity, Place, Power and the 'Text': Kerry's Daleand the 'Monster' house." M. A. Thesis, University of BritishColumbia, 1990.Modarres, Ali. "Ethnic Community Development: A Theoretical andMethodological Re -examination." Paper delivered at the UrbanAffairs Association Annual Meeting. Vancouver, 17 Apr. 1991.Price, Gordon. TS. 6 May 1990.253InterviewsAldermen: Davies, Libby. 12 June 1990.Price, Gordon. 17 May 1990.Taylor, Carole. 5 June 1990.Architects: Cheng, James. 15 May 1990.Howard, Stuart. 3 May 1990.Lemon, Robert. 3 May 1990.Matsuzaki, Eva. 10 May 1990.Ohannesian, Paul. 10 May 1990.Palmquist, Brian. 12 June 1990.Builders: Frith, Ben. 12 Oct. 1990Hennessey, Michael (Secretary, Allied Builders). 1986 to 1990.Sandhu, Richard (President, Allied Builders). 1986 to 1990.Designers: Intarsia Design (Westside). 8 May 1990.Povey, Reg (Eastside). 1 May 1990.Thorn, Brian. 8 July 1992.Valter, Linda (Westside). 15 May 1990.Witso, Dave (Eastside). 14 June 1990.Planners: Duncan, Alan. 1988 to 1992.McAfee, Ann 1986 to 1992.Murfitt, Jacquie. 1986 to 1991.Thomsett, David. 22 May 1990.Realtors: Andrews, David (Vancouver West).Bousquet, Gary (Richmond—Delta).Brackett, Jerry (Sechelt).Chang, Michael (Vancouver East).Hasman, Malcolm (West Vancouver).Hennessey, David (Maple Ridge—Pitt Meadows).Holmes, Douglas. (White Rock).McCartney, Ronnie (Squamish).Parsons, William (North Delta—Surrey).Philip, Pamela (West Vancouver). 1988 to 1992.Rennie, Robert (Eastside). 1987 to 1990.Sutton, Alan (North Vancouver).Wong, Steven (Burnaby—Coquitlam).°Residents: Copp, Dr. D. H. (Westside). 14 June 1991.Nantel, Richard (Eastside). 17 May 1990.Roberts, Andrew (Eastside). 8 May 1990.Watt, Eric (Westside). 15 May 1990.254


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