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Conservation and community : the opportunities and constraints to community based planning for inner… Proft, Joanne 1997

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C O N S E R V A T I O N A N D C O M M U N I T Y : T H E O P P O R T U N I T I E S A N D C O N S T R A I N T S T O C O M M U N I T Y B A S E D P L A N N I N G F O R I N N E R C I T Y N E I G H B O U R H O O D C O N S E R V A T I O N A C A S E S T U D Y O F T H E M O L E H I L L P L A N N I N G P R O C E S S by JOANNE PROFT B. Music (Piano), McGill University, 1992 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL F U L F I L L M E N T OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF M A S T E R OF ARTS (Planning) in THE F A C U L T Y OF G R A D U A T E STUDIES (School of Community and Regional Planning) We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH C O L U M B I A October, 1997 © Joanne Proft, 1997 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia; I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this , thesis for scholariy purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. -Department' of (L-^nrr^y^-Ui^ &-^-Jc j f e g y s v i «_jP T^(<A- r\ st , —j The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada Date DE-6 (2/88) 11 Abstract This thesis explores the opportunities and constraints to community based planning for neighbourhood conservation in the context of an expanding urban core, using the Mole Hill planning process and draft Concept Plan as a case study. In response to previous public processes, and increasing community activism against top-down revitalization, City of Vancouver Planning Staff were directed in April 1996, to undertake a participatory planning process in order to develop conservation strategies for Mole Hill which balance physical, social, environmental and economic goals. Drawing from a broad range of literature on urban conservation and post-industrial urban change, this thesis begins by providing a rationale for area-based urban conservation within the context of post-war North American and European cities. Further, it outlines some of the conflicts arising from conservation, primarily those conflicts relating to post-war economic restructuring and corresponding socio-economic changes in inner cities specifically, gentrification. The thesis uses cases from inner city communities in Vancouver and New York to examine contemporary trends in neighbourhood conservation, and to explore those elements which contribute to a locally focused and sustainable conservation and revitalization strategy. Three characteristics of successful neighbourhood conservation schemes are abstracted by way of a literature review and are subsequently used as a framework to analyse the Mole Hill case study. These characteristics are: a focus on local involvement; multi-dimensional programs and policies; and an ongoing collaborative approach. The case study reveals the complex and contentious nature of planning for conservation within an expanding urban context. The multiplicity of players, the exigency of issues, the amount and Ul availability of resources, and the often adversarial positions demonstrate the fragmented and complex quality of planning in this context. The study found that in Mole Hill a reliance on top-down methods for conflict negotiation and decision making undermined the effectiveness of the community based model and ultimately led to a fractured set of policies and principles for the neighbourhood. Tensions which were created by a misapplication of power resulted in a polarization between a "Staff' position and a "Working Group" position, thus diluting the idea of a consensus based, collaborative process. Despite these setbacks, a multi-agency and multi-interest approach to the process achieved a number of positive principles and strategies which attempt to address the site as a comprehensive whole, bringing the goals of heritage conservation closer to those of housing and community needs. Finally, the case showed that by drawing on existing community knowledge and expertise the process was able to generate innovative ideas such as those which involve local reinvestment and community economic development initiatives which are directed at social and physical improvement. These ideas challenge traditional notions of conservation and revitalization — which often rely on outside capital investment and /or economic incentives to support conservation — and provide a foundation for more culturally appropriate and sustainable strategies for community based neighbourhood conservation. Table of Contents A B S T R A C T ii T A B L E OF CONTENTS iv LIST OF FIGURES vii C H A P T E R 1 I N T R O D U C T I O N 1 1.1 STATEMENT OF INTENT 2 1.2 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY 2 1.3 THE PROBLEM 2 1.4 DEFINITIONS AND SCOPE 5 1.4.1 Definitions 5 1.4.2 Scope 9 1.5 METHODOLOGY 10 1.6 ORGANIZATION 11 C H A P T E R 2 C O N T E M P O R A R Y U R B A N C O N S E R V A T I O N A N D E M E R G I N G C O N F L I C T S : A LITERATURE REVIEW 13 2.1 INTRODUCTION 13 2.2 THE DEVELOPMENT OF URBAN CONSERVATION 14 2.3 AREA-BASED CONSERVATION 17 2.3.1 TOWNSCAPE MOVEMENT 18 2.4 ARGUMENTS FOR CONSERVATION 19 2.4.1 Cultural Memory 20 2.4.2 Contextual Compatibility 21 2.4.3 Environmental Diversity 22 2.4.4 Antique Texture 22 2.5 CONFLICTS AND CONSERVATION 23 2.5.1 Economics, Politics and Urban Development 24 2.5.2 Conservation, Gentrification and the Post-Industrial City 24 2.5.3 The Implications of Gentrification on Existing Communities 28 2.6 SUMMARY 30 C H A P T E R 3 D E V E L O P I N G A F R A M E W O R K F O R S U C C E S S F U L N E I G H B O U R H O O D C O N S E R V A T I O N 32 V 3.1 INTRODUCTION 32 3.2 CASE STUDIES IN NEIGHBOURHOOD CONSERVATION: VANCOUVER AND NEW YORK CITY... 32 3.2.1 Strathcona 32 3.2.2 Banana Kelly 37 3.3 NORMATIVE CHARACTERISTICS OF SUCCESSFUL COMMUNITY BASED PLANNING 40 3.3.1 Focus on Involvement 41 3.3.1.1 Recognizing Community 41 3.3.1.2 Facilitating Empowerment 43 3.3.2 Multi-dimensional Approach 45 3.3.2.1 Physical conservation 46 3.3.2.2 Housing Retention and Re-supply 46 3.3.2.3 Community Education and Community Economic Development 47 3.3.3 Collaboration 48 3.4 SUMMARY 49 C H A P T E R 4 M O L E H I L L C A S E STUDY: DESCRIPTION 51 4.0 GEOGRAPHICAL CONTEXT 51 4.2 HISTORICAL CONTEXT 52 4.3 URBAN FORM AND LAND USES 54 4.4 SOCIAL CONTEXT 57 4.5 MOLE HILL PLANNING PROCESS 59 4.5.1 Policy Context 59 4.5.1.1 West End Residential Policy Plan 59 4.5.1.2 Central Area Plan 60 4.5.1.3 City Plan 61 4.5.1.4 Heritage Policies and Programs 61 4.5.2 Top-down Revitalization 62 4.5.3 Grassroots Organizing 63 4.5.3.1 The Political Resistance 63 4.5.3.2 Mole Hill Living Heritage Society 64 4.5.4 Initiation of Policy Development 68 4.5.4.1 Mole Hill Working Group 68 4.6 DRAFT PRINCIPLES AND POLICIES - THE MOLE HILL CONCEPT PLAN 71 4.6.1 Physical Conservation 71 4.6.1.1 Heritage 71 4.6.1.2 Parks and Open Space 74 4.6.2 Social Integrity 74 4.6.2.1 Housing Retention and Re-supply 74 4.6.2.2 Community Services 75 4.6.3 Economics 76 4.6.3.1 New Development 76 4.7 SUMMARY 77 V I C H A P T E R 5 M O L E H I L L C A S E STUDY: A N A L Y S I S 79 5.1 PURPOSE 81 5.2 MOLE HILL PLANNING PROCESS 81 5.2.1 Focus on Involvement 81 5.2.2 Recognizing Community 82 5.2.2 Facilitating Empowerment 86 5.3 PLANNING PRINCIPLES AND CONCEPT PLAN FOR MOLE HILL 90 5.3.1 Multi-dimensional Approach 91 5.3.1.1 Physical Conservation 91 5.3.1.2 Housing Retention and Re-supply 94 5.3.1.3 Community Economic Development and Community Education 94 5.3.2 Collaboration 98 5.4 SUMMARY 98 C H A P T E R 6 C O N C L U S I O N S A N D LESSONS L E A R N E D 99 6.1 INTRODUCTION 99 6.2 THE PROCESS 99 6.3 POLICY IMPLICATIONS 104 6.4 CONCLUSIONS: OPPRORTUNITIES AND CONSTRAINTS.. 106 6.4 Opportunities 106 6.4.2 Constraints 107 APPENDIX A 109 APPENDIX B 110 B I B L I O G R A P H Y I l l List of Figures Figure 1.1 City of Vancouver Map of Local Areas 6 Figure 3.1 Normative Characteristics of Successful Community Based Neighbourhood Conservation 40 Figure 4.1 Comox Streetscape 54 Figure 4.2 1157 Pendrell Street 55 Figure 4.3 1159 Pendrell Street 55 Figure 4.4 Mole Hill Site Plan 56 Figure 4.5 Mole Hill Draft Concept Plan: Working Group Option 70 Figure 4.6 Mole Hill Draft Concept Plan: Staff Option 71 Figure 4.7 1147 Pendrell Street 73 Figure 4.8 Mole Hill Lanescape 74 Figure 5.1 Dr. Peter Centre 93 Figure 5.2 Mole Hill Community Garden Plot 97 Figure 5.3 Historic Mole Hill Boulevards 97 Figure 5.4 proposed Day Care Facility 99 Figure5.5 Heritage Rehabilitation In Progress at 1129-1131 Pendrell Street 99 Chapter 1 Introduction After decades of decline and disinvestment, inner cities across North America are experiencing a revival, resulting in both opportunities and challenges for older inner city communities. The conservation of traditional downtowns and historic neighbourhoods feature prominently in this revival as a means to reap economic benefits through tourism or high-end residential conversion. However, recognizing that many historic neighbourhoods are frequently used or lived in by low-income residents, a challenge facing these cities is achieving a balance between the economic and cultural benefits of heritage preservation and its attendant social costs. In the case of vulnerable inner city communities, achieving such a balance requires new planning models and in many cases, a restructuring of governance systems so that the community becomes an active agent in — rather than the victim of— the conservation process. Historically, area-based conservation has been concerned with the preservation of neighbourhoods, whose value is primarily based upon physical forms, and the aesthetic and socio-cultural messages which these forms transmit. Within a post-industrial and post-modern framework, contemporary responses to inner city change and transformation require that area-based conservation be seen as a component within a larger strategy for community revitalization. Such responses, by their very nature, must be concerned with both the preservation and enhancement of the physical, socio-cultural, symbolic and functional qualities that contribute to a healthy, self-sustaining and empowered community. This requires integrated and multi-dimensional approaches which are resident focused, allow for incremental change, and involve the community in the development, implementation and monitoring of culturally appropriate conservation and revitalization strategies. 2 1.1 S ta tement o f I n t e n t The central goal of this thesis is to explore some of the opportunities and constraints of community based planning for neighbourhood conservation in the context of an expanding urban core, using Vancouver" s Mole H i l l neighbourhood as a case study. The Mole H i l l case wi l l be examined in terms of its integrated approach to preserve the physical and social fabric of an older inner city neighbourhood, and the potential it presents for more adaptive and empowering approaches to neighbourhood conservation planning. 1.2 Ob jec t i ves o f the S t u d y The primary objectives o f this study are: • using existing literature, to provide a rationale for area-based urban conservation within the context of post-war North American and European cities; • to outline some of the conflicts arising from conservation, emphasizing conflicts relating to post-war economic restructuring and corresponding socio-economic changes in inner cities; • to examine various contemporary approaches to neighbourhood revitalization; and • using Mole H i l l as an example, to draw lessons about the opportunities and constraints to developing a community based conservation program that is multi-dimensional, resident focused and empowering. 1.3 T h e P r o b l e m Ever since the failure of post-war urban renewal, inner city neighbourhood conservation has become an issue of intense interest to local communities. Proponents of conservation include those interested in preserving the last, precious vestiges of our collective urban heritage, as well as those struggling to maintain the social and economic functions that older communities provide. While in many cases the only shared ground between heritage conservationists and neighbourhod preservationists is physical conservation, the increasing role of local community activism and initiative has become a strong force in bringing about successful strategies for the maintenance and sustainability of historic inner city areas. Historically, the conservation of buildings has been justified on the basis of a number of positions, some of which include: historical value; architectural merit; socio-cultural significance: and more recently, contribution to the urban realm. Depending on the underlying values of a particular community or society, each of these positions has assumed different weights and priorities. In more recent decades aesthetic and cultural justifications for conservation are undermined by economic arguments that outweigh the benefits of conservation. Indeed, public intervention and economic incentives are increasingly needed to encourage conservation in market systems which do not accurately reflect the "external" benefits of conservation — be they social, cultural, environmental, or physical. Increasingly, the rise of community involvement in the identification, use and management of local heritage resources is challenging more selective and top-down approaches to conservation and revitalization, heralding a shift in the way both heritage is perceived and approached within a post-modern urban context. Neighbourhood conservation initiatives in Vancouver correspond roughly with phases of large population growth and metropolitan restructuring, and can be traced from the early 1960s with comprehensive renewal schemes in Strathcona, through the 1970s with restrictive zoning policies in Kitsilano, to the 1990s with pressure to revitalize inner city communities such as Victory Square and Mole Hill. Each of these efforts was borne either out of a strong citizen-led reaction to redevelopment, or was a City-led response to reduce the impacts of market-led revitalization. Although there are a number of important structural, socio-cultural and economic differences between Canadian and American inner cities, increasing population growth rates, coupled with residential intensification of metropolitan cores continues to place older inner city neighbourhoods at risk throughout North America. 4 Mole Hill is Vancouver's oldest intact block of Victorian and Edwardian houses, and represents an enormous public asset: for its architectural, historical, cultural and social significance within in the context of Vancouver's dense downtown core. The City of Vancouver, being the primary land owner of Mole Hill has had a specific interest in initiating neighbourhood revitalization, primarily- through an intensification of land use, conversion and restoration of houses, and a diversification of residential tenure. Opposing city-led revitalization has been an active and outspoken community, which represents the interests of low-income housing, heritage, seniors and health services, and spans across a broad geographic area. This resistance campaign was successful in defeating initial "top-down" revitalization plans which would have seen a number of houses demolished, and convinced Vancouver City Council that a community based process was necessary to address the issues in a locally sensitive way. Driving the resistance to top-down revitalization is The Mole Hill Living Heritage Society, which has structured its campaign around the premise that a comprehensive, community based approach to heritage conservation can be an extremely effective tool for the regeneration of low income inner city neighbourhoods, with advantages reaching far beyond just physical conservation. These include strategies — such as local economic and community development programs — which utilize existing human and social capital to generate on-going physical, economic and social benefits for the community. It is proposed that such strategies would promise greater self-reliance and empowerment for the community, and result in culturally appropriate physical conservation of the neighbourhood. As cities struggle with post-industrial expansion, restructuring, and spatial reconfiguration, neighbourhood conservation imperatives have been supplanted by the more broader reaching goals of revitalization, which, by their very nature, are concerned with issues of growth management, economic development and physical enhancement. Within this scenario, neighbourhood conservation will only succeed in so far as the attendant risks of displacement, social and physical fragmentation which accompany revitalization are minimized through a set of policies which ensure that both the functional and the physical aspects of the community remain intact. At the core of such a strategy lies the formation of an open, participatory and empowering process whereby the community becomes an active agent in developing, delivering and monitoring revitalization policies and programs. In the case of Mole Hill, a successful conservation strategy rests in channeling the enormous initiative and opportunity which already exists within the community towards innovation and collaborative solutions, as opposed to imposing a one-dimensional prescription for revitalization which ignores local needs. 1.4 Definitions and Scope 1.4.1 Definitions This thesis presents a broad overview of the issues facing the conservation of inner city neighbourhoods, suggests key elements for community based planning and policy response within the context of urban expansion, and examines a contemporary inner-city example (Mole Hill). Inner City Neighbourhoods This thesis considers the "inner city neighbourhoods" as older residential neighbourhoods adjacent to the Central Business District which have over the past four decades, experienced varying levels of residential conversion and transformation in response to complex market pressures and restructuring. In Vancouver, this definition corresponds to residential areas such as the West End, Kitsilano, Fairview Slopes, Strathcona, Mount Pleasant, Grandview Woodlands, and the Downtown Eastside. This study will draw on a number of examples from Vancouver in order to illustrate past responses to inner city neighbourhood conservation both in terms of process and policy. 6 Figure 1.1 City of Vancouver Local Areas Source: City of Vancouver Planning Department Community Based Planning For the purposes of this study, "community based planning" is defined as any municipally led effort to involve community members, in a meaningful way, in neighbourhood planning decisions. Increasingly, facilitating the meaningful invovlement of neighbourhood residents and coalitions has become a cornerstone of effective neighbourhood planning processes (Arias, 1996, 1831). The concept of community based planning has recurred in a number of manifestations over the past three decades in Vancouver, beginning with Local Area Planning in the 1970s and 1980s, and continuing with the CityPlan initiated concept of Neighbourhood Planning throughout the 1990s. As opposed to large-scale public consultation, community based planning models involve diverse community representation and facilitate direct input into local planning decisions. 7 Empowerment The strictest definition of the term empowerment refers to the transfer of power or authority from one individual or body to another. Using this definition, an empowering neighbourhood revitalization process would involve a significant amount of autonomy being devolved to the community level, effectively transferring most decision making authority to non-governmental or community organizations in the implementation and management of neighbourhood assets. Within the context of Mole Hill, and for the most part, within the context of most North American communities, this definition is inappropriate and unrealistic given a number of political, cultural and economic and factors which are beyond the scope of this discussion. However, using a broader concept, such as that provided by Sadam and Churchman, who define empowerment as "change processes that are experienced through efforts to gain control over one"s life, destiny and environment", it is possible to ground the term empowerment within community planning processes which are directed towards building new communities or strengthening or enhancing existing ones, either socially or physically or both through an empowering process, rather than an empowering outcome (Sadan and Churchman, 1997, 3). Thus, empowerment can be an iterative process which involves both personal and community development and empowerment to take place at different points within a process, without necessarily leading to an outright transfer of political power. Recognizing the existing political situation of Mole Hill and of the larger socio-political structure of Canadian inner city communities, this thesis embraces this broader concept of empowerment. Collaboration This thesis proposes that central to a successful neighbourhood revitalization process is the concept of collaboration. The use of this term is two fold. On the one hand, it refers to a collaborative process of decision making in which community representatives are involved in decision making, rather than being involved at the final stages of a process as consultants. Referring to Arnstein's Ladder of Participation, the notion of collaborative decision making exists when government and community representatives engage in a 8 partnership whereby decisions and tradeoffs between alternatives can be negotiated (Arnstein. 1965. 216). However, this recognizes that the effectiveness of this partnership relies on an appropriate distribution of power so that issues can be negotiated on an level plane. The second definition of collaboration utilized by this thesis concerns the involvement of various sectors in the development and implementation of neighbourhood strategies so that responsibility for the ongoing support of neighbourhood programs is disseminated among a wider group. This multi-sector involvement is important as it ensures a more robust and sustainable framework for funding and support at the same time as facilitating a forum for innovation and experimentation. The terms "empowerment" and "collaboration" will be explored in further depth in Chapter 3. The Language of Conservation In the field of heritage conservation there exists a great lexicon of terminology which is intended to give clarity to the processes whereby a built structure is both preserved and maintained. The language of conservation has been a subject of controversy since the middle of the 19th century when an ideological resistance was mounted — initially by John Ruskin, and later, by William Morris and his Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings — against acts of "restoration" which often involved the replacement or enhancement of original fabric to produce a finished project which epitomized the age and aesthetic ideology of the period of its original creation. In contrast, the processes associated with conservation and preservation were understood to involve measures to "sustain the existing form, integrity, and material of a building or structure" (Murtagh, 1988, 19). Within this context, there have subsequently evolved a number of terms which refer to the level or degree of preservation some of which include: "reconstruction", or the act of reproducing, by way of new 9 construction, the exact form and detail of a vanished building; "rehabilitation", or the process of returning a building to a useable state (either through continued re-use, or adaptive re-use) while preserving those aspects or details which are of historical, architectural, and cultural value; and "modernization", or the process of obscuring the original features of a building in an attempt to achieve a modernized appearance (British Columbia Heritage Trust, 1989). More recently, the term "revitalization" has replaced conservation, as a means of maintaining and/or enhancing the physical, cultural and social facets of a building or area which give it special significance while adapting to meet the changing needs of both present and future users. Recognizing that revitalization involves tradeoffs between "pure" conservation and continued and adaptive use, the remainder of this thesis will use the term revitalization and neighbourhood conservation interchangeably to refer to a locally focused and adaptive conservation program. 1.4.2 Scope The case study of Mole Hill has two important limitations. First, while the source of community activism in Mole Hill emerged from a wide-spread belief that efforts to revitalize the neighbourhood would ultimately result in the displacement of residents, it is worthy to note that the issue which galvanized broad-based public support was that of heritage conservation. That the block of houses which Mole Hill comprises are recognized in their entirety as a valuable heritage resource necessarily requires all other priorities to reflect this recognition. Thus, housing affordability, retention, conversion and new development will be discussed within the context of a heritage revitalization strategy. Second, as the draft Concept Plan for Mole Hill will not have had the opportunity for wider public feedback until the end of 1997 or the beginning of 1998, it is impossible for this study to provide an analysis of the final product. Rather, discussion will be based on elements of the Concept Plan which have 10 occurred to date, recognizing that this is a first phase of the process and future phases may involve revisions and changes. Despite these limitations, it is legitimate to examine the evolution of the Concept Plan from both a procedural and substantive perspective, and to compare its overall philosophy and approach with contemporary planning and conservation theory in order to further understand issues facing inner city neighbourhoods. 1.5 Methodology The Mole Hill case is presented as an example of a community based approach to inner city neighbourhood conservation planning. The conceptual framework for this case is provided by way of a literature review of urban conservation, primarily within a post-war North American and European context. The basis for the analysis of the Mole Hill planning process and proposed strategies for conservation is derived from contemporary planning theory which identifies a number of attributes which are characteristic of successful community based revitalization and conservation initiatives (Chapter 3). The analysis of the Mole Hill planning process and draft Concept Plan is further supported by a number of primary research components. The first is through direct observation of the Mole Hill Working Group meetings. Over the course of the nine month process, 15 Working Group meetings took place, approximately one third of which the author attended as an observer. During this time, informal contact was made with community representatives as well as with staff members from up to six departments. In addition, the author conducted eight formal interviews with Working Group members with the intention of achieving a diverse representation of interests from both a staff and community perspective. The method of interviewing involved pre-defined questions which were intended to provide a loose framework for discussions. While the questions varied for each interview according to the area of expertise of the 11 individual being interviewed, a number of questions were similar throughout all interviews. These questions pertained to the structure and internal dynamics of the Working Group and the perceived role of both the individual within the Working Group, and similarly, the perceived role of others in the Working Group. Other questions which remained similar throughout the interviews focused on the role of participatory planning in developing and sustaining a locally focused conservation program. Given the scope and format of the interviews, the analysis attempts to synthesize informant feedback, personal observations and other primary research through qualitative, rather than quantitative methods. For a list of interviews conducted please consult Appendix B. In addition to personal interviews, the author uses the Mole Hill Working Group meeting minutes as a primary research tool. These provided valuable insight into the nature, scope, and often tone, of discussion. Finally, as a participant of the Mole Hill Community Gardens Project, the author draws conclusions based on extensive site visits and informal contact with Mole Hill residents. 1.6 O r g a n i z a t i o n This thesis is organized into six chapters. Chapter 2 examines the evolution of area-based conservation as it evolved within Europe and North America during the post-war years. Further, it outlines a number of conflicts which conservation engenders within a framework of post-industrial urban change, and discusses implications for inner-city communities. Chapter 3 provides an overview of two responses to neighbourhood conservation and revitalization in Vancouver and New York City. This is followed by the development of a framework for analyzing the Mole Hill community planning process and draft Concept Plan. Chapter 4 begins the case study portion of the paper. It includes a brief history of Mole Hill, follows with a discussion of its urban form and land uses as well as current social and economic realities, and concludes with an overview of the community planning process and the various strategies proposed for revitalization. 12 Chapter 5 analyzes the community based planning process and proposed strategies for Mole Hill, based on the extent to which the case meets or lacks the criteria outlined by way of a theoretical overview in Chapter 3. Finally, Chapter 6 discusses the lessons to be learned from the case and includes a discussion of planning and policy implications for further phases of the Mole Hill process as well as for future community based planning efforts in similar contexts. Chapter 2 Contemporary Urban Conservation and Emerging Conflicts: A Literature Review The preservation movement sees history not as a continuity but as a dramatic discontinuity, a kind of cosmic drama. First there is that golden age, the time of harmonious beginnings. Then ensues a period when the old days are forgotten and the golden age falls into neglect. Finally, comes a time when we rediscover and seek to restore the world around us to something of its former beauty.. Ruins provide the incentive for restoration, and for a return to origins. There has to be (in our new concept of history) an interim of death or rejection before there can be renewal and reform. John Brinckerhoff Jackson, The Necessity for Ruins 2.1 Introduction Jackson's quote poetically illustrates the organic nature of urban processes — that development, decay and renewal are stages of a continuous and evolving life-cycle. Ruins, suggests Jackson, are necessary in order for a society to understand its past, feel rooted in its present, and construct its course for the future. Within a contemporary urban context Jackson's arguments give rise to several compelling questions: in whose interests, to what degree, and at what cost is preservation to be achieved? Such questions have fueled the polemic between preservationists, planners, developers, architects, and community leaders about the role of conservation within contemporary urban society. An examination of the development of urban conservation reveals that processes of decay and revival do not exist in a vacuum but are influenced by complex socio-political, economic and cultural shifts which have occurred at both a metropolitan and neighbourhood level over the past 150 years. It is through the dynamic interaction of political, economic, cultural and societal forces over time that urban space is 14 perceived, constructed and reconstructed. Within the context of inner city communities, neighbourhood conservation involves the protection and management of socially constructed space against the forces of change and renewal. In order to understand the links between neighbourhood conservation, inner city revitalization and community-based planning, this chapter examines the evolution of area-based urban conservation, its theoretical underpinnings and corresponding shifts in legislative action with respect to dealing with post-war changes in inner city neighbourhoods. The first portion provides a brief overview of the evolution of urban conservation and highlights a number of theoretical and policy arguments central to its development. It then investigates the relationship between conservation and urban restructuring with a goal to exposing the underlying socio-cultural and political conflicts which exist between physical conservation, neighbourhood preservation, and post-industrial urban regeneration. 2 . 2 T h e D e v e l o p m e n t o f U r b a n C o n s e r v a t i o n Most early conservation efforts were privately funded and concentrated on buildings and sites associated with military and political figures of historic importance. Buildings were conserved on the basis of their transcendent symbolic value rather than for their intrinsic architectural merit and their selection reflected a narrow perception of heritage at the same time as showcasing the cultural and social values of the economic elite who were "motivated by a brand of chauvinistic fervor...or by social and cultural impulses of which they themselves were not always fully aware" (Murtagh, 1988, 30). This elitist perception of heritage mirrors the rational values held by 18th and early 19th century bourgeois society, and has been identified with the "dominant ideology" thesis first posited by Marx and Engels (1864) which predicts that the dominant ideas of any given epoch are those of its ruling class (as cited in Larkham, 1996, 31). It was in Britain during the middle of the 19th century — when romantic expressionism began to supplant classical rationalism as an aesthetic tenet — that the ideological basis for heritage preservation began to shift so that historic architecture gained intrinsic aesthetic and psychological value in its own right (Murtagh, 1988, 31). Such a shift corresponded with wide-spread resistance from architectural and social theorists to the rapid industrialization of European cities, a result of which was the comprehensive destruction of many medieval towns and city-centres. Baron Haussman"s redesign of Second Empire Paris was one such example of radical urban intervention which engendered the "dehumanization and the fraying effects of social bonds [and] the sacrifice of urban values to speculative profit and to efficient traffic" (Kostoff, 1991, 82). German urban theorist, Camillo Sitte (1843-1903) was instrumental in establishing an aesthetic foundation for understanding and analyzing the physical and functional relationship of old towns, associating the "vital irregularities of these city-forms not only with visual interest, but also with wholesome social use"' (Kostoff, 1991. 83). In his book of 1889, Der Staedte Bau nach Seinen Kuenstlerischen Gnmdsaetzen (The Art of City Building,), Sitte discusses the importance of relationships between buildings and their physical and social settings and in doing so, lays the groundwork for modern urbanism and a contextual approach to urban conservation. In Britain, opponents to industrialization looked to medieval or Gothic architecture as the embodiment of socialist ideology both in its adherence to social organization through the guild structure and in its appreciation for vernacular forms. Moreover the medieval style was seen to exemplify the Romantic aesthetic which favoured the organic complexity and asymmetry of the Picturesque over the rational order of Classical design (Larkham, 1996, 34). Supporters of medieval architecture spoke of its qualities with a kind of religious fervor, suggesting that in form and craftsmanship it was an expression of sublime beauty (Ruskin, 1905, 360). William Morris, a leading proponent of the preservation movement, advocated for a more holistic and humanist approach to conservation which would not only include single monuments such as churches, public buildings and estates, but also vernacular architecture which, in its form and craftsmanship, was embued with the values and spirit of the society in which it was created. Morris also sought to value all periods of history when considering the conservation and restoration of buildings, an approach in direct conflict with a number of his contemporaries whose goal it was to restore a building to a state that may never have existed in an attempt to achieve a "purity" or "unity" of style (Larkham, 1996, 37). Morris"s "leave-as is approach" to conservation became the approach of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB), an organization Morris formed in 1877 to address the proper restoration of historic structures, and has subsequently become the theoretical basis for heritage conservation in the Twentieth Century (Oberlander et al., 1989, 8). Early preservation policies were concerned primarily with cataloguing and acquiring historic sites of national importance and those with intrinsic architectural merit, and in regulating the impacts of surrounding development through legal protection of buildings. (Larkham, 1996, 109: Tiesdell et. al, 1996. 4). And while legislation such as the British series of Ancient Monuments Acts (1900, 1913, 1931) and similar efforts in the United States such as the Historic Sites Act (1935) represented an "important extension of the principle that restrictions could be imposed in the public interest on the free use of private ' land" (Larkham, 1996, 38) these policies did not address the wider social and physical implications such restrictions would entail, nor did they attempt to address issues of financial support for ongoing protection and maintenance of urban heritage (39). The above provides a cursory overview of early heritage conservation activity in both North America and Europe, and highlights some of the social and cultural arguments which were central to its evolution during the latter part of the 19th Century. Of specific significance was its relatively selective approach to 17 conservation which included only the identification and protection of individual buildings and monuments. Despite the increase in theoretical arguments occurring in reaction to industrialization within Britain and Europe during the final years of the 19th Century, and a corresponding appreciation for medieval and vernacular architectural forms, the emergence of a widely accepted and contextual approach to urban conservation planning was yet to appear until after the second World War. 2.3 A r e a - b a s e d C o n s e r v a t i o n The following sections document the evolution of area-based heritage conservation, a movement which developed during the late 1950s and early 1960s in response to the rapid obliteration of urban fabrics in North America (under the guise of urban renewal) and the rebuilding of war-torn Europe, both which adhered to the tenets of modernism. Like its predecessor, this new, more sophisticated phase of conservation was not formed in a vacuum but was a product of complex social, political, cultural and economic forces associated with the rise of a post-industrial economy as well as the formation of a post-modern architectural aesthetic. The evolution of neighbourhood conservation is tied to various social and political challenges. These include a grass roots resistance to comprehensive renewal, as well as a corresponding "legitimacy crisis" taking place within the design and planning professions which arose from the inability of top-down planning to address the attendant problems of comprehensive renewal — a crisis which ultimately resulted in a fundamental restructuring of authoritarian planning regimes (Ellin, 1996. 14). At the same time, intellectual critiques of post-war planning were influencing developments in the fields of social and physical geography (Park, 1952), urban sociology (Gans, 1968; Jacobs, 1961), and environmental psychology (Newman, 1972), all of which used empirical research to espouse the conservation of urban neighbourhoods as a solution to rising urban malaise (Reichl, 1997, 516). 18 The force of conservation was supported on two fronts: physical preservationists on the one hand; and social activists on the other. The fact that many communities being destroyed were rich in architectural and historic significance placed the aims of the heritage movement, at least superficially, along side those of neighbourhood preservation activists, whose goals included not only physical, but also social and economic imperatives. This alignment has more recently become tenuous within the context of urban regeneration in that conservation has tended to result in the rapid social and cultural transformation of older neighbourhoods. 2.3.1 Townscape Movement Originating in Britain, the townscape movement left deep imprints on both urban design theory and practice. It had implications for the physical and social construction of urban space and took its inspiration from social theory, architecture, urban design, and planning. In the process of arguing for the aesthetic, physiological, didactic, socio-cultural and economic value of historic neighbourhoods, this movement and its related American off-spring, furthered the cause of area-based heritage conservation in North American and European cities. The result was that a flood of legislation developed in the mid-60s and 70s in North America which was directed at more comprehensive approaches to the designation and planning of historic areas (Larkham, 1996, 114). The townscape movement was posited as an alternative to the modernist vision of the "city in the park", an approach to urban design which objectified architecture within vast undefined open spaces, separating it in form from historical, cultural or political associations (Kostoff, 1991, 90; Ellin, 1996, 45). Used as a model for low-income social housing, modernism resulted in the ghettoization of social classes by constructing monolithic towers which alienated residents from each other and from a wider social sphere. In contrast, the townscape movement emphasized the organic relationship between buildings and the spaces 19 in between, and sought to redefine public space through the concept of enclosure, human scale design and historic continuity. Borrowing from the past, the townscape movement was inspired by the Romantic notion of the picturesque: its love of organic disorder and asymmetry, its desire for the irrational, and its humanist predilections. It was also influenced by parallel contributions from the 19th century such as the Arts and Crafts movement and the contextual theories of Camillo Sitte and Frederick Law Olmstead (Ellin. 1996, 45). 2.4 A r g u m e n t s f o r C o n s e r v a t i o n A strong expressive element permeated the townscape school which sought to distill elements of historic town plans and architecture into a coherent methodology for contemporary urban design. It was extremely influential in providing both an analytical framework for determining the value of historic buildings and their surroundings, as well as a cogent rationale for conservation as a valid activity in itself. In advocating for a contextualist approach to urban design, townscape theorists, and their American contemporaries illuminated several recurring themes or arguments which support heritage conservation. These have been variously summarized as: cultural memory; contextual compatibility (Larkham, 1996, 26); human scale design; environmental diversity; antique texture; economic development (Lewis, 1975; Teisdell et. al. 1996), and more recently, sustainability (Lewis, 1975; Maxman, 1994). It is within a broader conceptual framework that selective approaches to physical conservation give way to more holistic and comprehensive applications of conservation which include not only aesthetic but also functional and environmental arguments. 20 2.4.1 Cultural Memory This argument asserts that any healthy society needs links to its past in order to feel rooted in its present. Visual reminders of a society's past help to establish this link and, it is argued, provide a sense of architectural coherency which enables communities to identify with their surroundings. This idea was posited by the leaders of the Townscape movement, and proponents of organic design, both of whom emphasized the experiential qualities of historic townscapes and their ability to reinforce a "spirit of place" or "genus loci" which could not be associated with comprehensive modern developments (Cullen, 1961; Conzen, 1966; Lynch, 1972). The ability of an historic area to objectify the "spirit of a society" is considered a fundamental element in enabling individuals and groups to take root in a place and acquire a sense of the historical dimension of human existence, understanding what has come before and providing clues to the future. The genus loci is formed through a combination of optimal qualities of townscape design which include the "architectural, the painterly, the poetic, and the practical" (Ellin, 1996, 45). Townscape analysis is based on the "art of relationships", the meaning of which are perceived through "serial vision" or an impression of events as they unfold from a moving experience of a neighbourhood (45). It also focuses on the accretion of past forms, relationships, and uses as they evolve over time so that the townscape forms a palimpsest which embodies social, cultural and political paradigms of past societies and forms a framework or model for understanding contemporary society (Whitehand, 1990, 372). It is believed that this experience of older neighbourhoods fulfills broader moral and didactic objectives as it "stimulates comparison, encourages less time-bound attitudes, and provides a basis for a more integrated approaches to contemporary problems" (371). 21 2.4.2 Contextual Compatibility Contextual compatibility focuses on the relationship between the human scale elements of historic neighbourhoods and the larger context in which they are situated. Success rests in the inter-weaving of the social, functional, and physical dimensions of urban society both at a neighbourhood level, and at the larger metropolitan scale. Jane Jacobs identifies the neighbourhood unit as the most appropriate scale for self-governing, and sees the street, rich in formal and functional diversity, as the most coherent expression of a neighbourhood's cultural and political identity. Jacobs further argues that the success of "street-neighbourhoods" depends on the overlapping of activities, making them capable of "economic and visual variation for their users" (Jacobs, 1961, 120). Similarly, Kevin Lynch, in his taxonomy of the constituent parts of the urban landscape (i.e. paths, nodes, districts, edges, and landmarks) sees the city as a text which reveals the physical and functional dimensions of a neighbourhood and its relationship to the larger urban fabric (Lynch, 1960, 47). The contextual appreciation of the urban environment was also embraced by urban designers such as Serge Chermayeff and Christopher Alexander who, in writing Community and Privacy: Towards an Architecture of Humanism, bemoaned the loss of public space and the corresponding decline of urban communities. Their solution was based upon the notion that the functions of buildings as well as the spaces in between these buildings were as important to neighbourhood livability as the buildings themselves (Chermayeff and Alexander, 1963, 66; Alexander, 1987, 66). In later works, Alexander developed a methodology for approaching organic urban design which drew on medieval architectural idioms, as well as an intuitive and experiential design approaches, in the creation of a "pattern language". When applied to new settings, these patterns are intended to evoke a sense of historical identity and organic wholeness in the urban environment (Alexander, 1977, 8). 22 2.4.3 Environmental Diversity The principal of environmental diversity asserts that healthy communities are those which have a multiplicity of functions and architectural styles. Jacobs cites four principles which are needed for environmental diversity: multiple functions must co-exist to allow a constant flow of activity and to generate opportunities for interaction; short street blocks are necessary to enhance perceptual interest; variations of architectural styles, periods and conditions "including a good proportion of old ones so that they vary in the economic yield they must produce"; and dense concentrations of people, including residents (Jacobs, 1961, 150-51). Here Jacobs conveys in every sense of the phrase, a complete community, the richness of which is dependent upon heterogeneity of social, cultural, physical, and economic elements. Others see environmental diversity as having an educational component which provide "insight into changing economics and cultural values" (Ford, 1994, 81). 2.4.4 Antique Texture The concept of antique texture is often couched in terms of architectural style and urban design guidelines. This position is often advocated by "purists" who hold historic architecture as intrinsically more beautiful and aesthetically worthier than modern architecture. The detail, fineness of texture and patina of older buildings are associated with a degree of craftsmanship and care for building processes that have been lost during the age of modernism. Strict adherence to this principle begets the most authentic kind of preservation. However, in cases of adaptive re-use and building rehabilitation, antique texture is often sacrificed for more utility of space, and economic feasibility. 23 2.5 Con f l i c t s a n d C o n s e r v a t i o n 2.5.1 Economics, Politics and Urban Development The economic argument has persisted in varying degrees throughout the evolution of heritage conservation, and has gained particular strength in North America where state intervention in preservation is not as prevalent as in Europe. In North America's free-enterprise system, most justifications for preservation are underpinned by economic and commercial arguments. This excludes publicly owned buildings whose preservation is often justified on the grounds of achieving greater public welfare and benefit than would occur if redevelopment were to occur. The continued rise of conservation policies as a component of land use planning attests to the fact that public intervention is increasingly necessary to regulate development, quell rising land use conflicts, and to provide the necessary economic incentives to warrant conservation. Tools such as tax incentives, density transfers, and regulatory relaxations are employed in exchange for the protection of heritage buildings. Thus, in order for conservation to be a valid activity, an historic building must have greater economic value than the next best alternative (Teisdell et. al. 1996, 17). Reichl argues that economics is not an independent force driving urban development, but rather, that development strategies are constructed in such a way as to generate the necessary political support and minimize opposition. Consequently, historic preservation has become a "means by which widespread support for redevelopment efforts can be politically constructed. The interaction of politics and economics, not abstract economics alone, best explains the apparently consensual nature of contemporary urban development" (Reichl, 1997, 515). In the context of the post-industrial urban economy, this political support is being driven by both an emerging professional class of urban residents, and a globally driven tourist market. Equipped with cultural and social sensibilities which favour the attributes associated with historic architecture, these new urban pioneers are creating a demand for buildings for which, during previous decades, there was little economic incentive to preserve. This can be seen in the revitalization of 24 many previously abandoned industrial areas which are being retro-fitted for expensive "loft-style" apartments and studios, and in the commodification of urban spaces for tourist consumption. While the rise of adaptive re-use and infill as an alternative to redevelopment has increased broad-based support for the heritage movement, it has engendered a number of theoretical conflicts between heritage practitioners, urban developers, architects, planners, and community activists. Several areas of tension revolve around the degree of alteration imposed upon a building in the name of conservation, and the impacts such alterations have on the integrity of those features which contribute to its heritage status. One source of tension arises from the interplay between market pressures to develop large-scale projects, and more holistic, incremental approaches to urban development which consider historic context, formal complexity and integrity of social fabric as integral elements for sensitive urban revitalization. Often, extreme physical interventions taken to preserve a structure (such as reconstruction and relocation) are so inappropriate and insensitive to the context and original intent of the structure that conservation in itself becomes a self-defeating exercise. Similarly, the current and/or future uses of a structure or neighbourhood are often sacrificed in the name of pure conservation, which, in its dogmatism, can impose a set of subjective values and cultural beliefs incompatible to those of the society in which it is situated. 2.5.2 Conservation, Gentrification and the Post-Industrial City The concept of "post-industrialism" is particularly relevant to the study of inner city neighbourhood conservation because of related socio-economic and spatial processes — namely, that of gentrification — that have occurred in response to a restructuring economy. First identified in the mid 1970's, post-industrialism is characterized by a number of factors including: a change from a production to a service oriented economy; an increase in white collar professions with an emphasis on tertiary and quaternary sectors; an increasing role for scientific research and development; and a renewed interest in "quality of 25 life" which is reflected in increased demand for social amenities, and leisure goods (Filion and Bunting, 1990, 79). In Canadian Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs) during the 1970s and 80s, the relative socio-economic status of inner city residents declined at the same time as there was an absolute increase in better educated residents (Ley, 1981, 189). By 1971, over 70% of occupations in downtown Vancouver were white collar (190), and by 1981, Vancouver had the fastest quaternary sector growth in Canada (Ley, 1992, 234). This increase in a white-collar work-force, coupled with an intensification of office development in Central Business Districts (CBDs) has resulted in both social '"restructuring" and spatial "reconfiguration" (Hutton, 1994, 219) which has changed the demographics of inner cities and the status of its older housing stock. Closely linked with area-based heritage conservation is the concept of revitalization which involves "the economic and physical improvement of an urban area or significant portion thereof (Vaisbord, 1995, 26). While the process of revitalization is typically linked to the process of gentrification, a definitive causal relationship between the processes of gentrification and heritage conservation has been questioned by some (Gale, 1991; Larkham, 1996, 12). However, other empirical studies show gentrification to occur most prominently in historic residential areas (Schuler et a l , 1992). Gentrification involves the in-migration of middle- and upper-income households into existing lower-income urban neighbourhoods and the upgrading or conversion of the existing housing stock therein (Griffith, 1995, 241). The term "gentrification" originates from the social stratification occurring in Britain during the 1950s and 1960s, and refers to the displacement of a lower-class by an upper-status "gentry" class (London and Palen, 1984, 6). Recent research indicates that the process of gentrification is far more complex than previously perceived and that the classical two-class model has become an inadequate explanation of the complex gentrification process (Smith, 1987, 162; Ley, 1992, 246). Rose proposes that gentrification has become increasingly "chaotic"; that a "multiplicity of processes, rather 26 than a single causal process, produce changes in the occupation of inner city neighbourhoods from lower to higher income residents" (Rose, 1984, 62). Academic and popular literature is replete with terms such as "urban pioneers", "new middle class", and "yuppies", each of which attempt to characterize gentrifiers on the basis of not only income strata, but also life-style choices and demographic composition. Demographic characteristics include: postponement of marriage and childbirth, declining birthrates, and a predominance of two income families, all factors which contribute to greater purchasing power and discretionary income. Research also suggests households composed of professionals are more apt to live closer to downtown employment and value proximity to amenities such as schools, parks and entertainment (Griffith, 1995, 242). The four primary dimensions of gentrification are identified as being demographic, ecological, socio-cultural and political-economic in scope (London et. al, 1986). An examination of these categories reveals that they are both a product of post-industrial structural transformation as well as socio-economic forces which interact at a local as well as metropolitan level. The ecological argument asserts that de-industrialization, coupled with rising tertiary and quaternary sector employment in the CBD, has given rise to an urban rebirth, whereby the inner city has become associated with a cosmopolitan and "chic" lifestyle, symbolic of cultural affluence and wealth. Households with higher education levels and incomes desire a full range of access to cultural and social amenities in and around the CBD. In Vancouver, this includes natural amenities such as Stanley Park, the North Shore Mountains and the waterfront, as well as increasing cultural and entertainment amenities. Also contributing to this pro-urban sensibility is the rise of a post-modern aesthetic, which values historic over modern architecture for its perceived cultural associations as well as its increasing market appeal (Akoi, 1993, 753). In downtown Vancouver, historic areas such as Yaletown, Gastown and more recently, 27 Victory Square, have undergone revitalization processes and have become susceptible to gentrification: the residential conversion of warehouses together with up-scale commercial development has become the social and cultural landscape of a new class of professionals, residents, and tourists. It should be noted that the above phenomena are more characteristic of Canadian as opposed to American inner cities. This is due to a more pronounced incidence of inner city abandonment and blight in American cities which is a consequence of intense racial and social conflicts occurring at a local and nation-wide scale. Citing structural change as an influence, Smith sees the replacement of a ''production landscape" with a "consumption landscape" as a significant force in the repopulating of the city as new social classes search for the "urban" — as opposed to suburban —- dream (Smith, 1987, 151). The consumption of older inner city housing by a higher income class has also been seen as a way in which gentrifyers secure their soeio-cultural and economic status, thereby differentiating themselves from others of less economic means. More important are political-economic arguments for gentrification which consider the historical patterns of capital investment and dis-invesment (pubic and private) in the creation of available, "gentrifiable" land. Smith's "rent-gap" theory sees the process of gentrification as the natural outcome of dis-invesment and neglect in inner city areas. Deindustrialization and continued suburban development had, up until the mid-1970s fostered dis-investment in inner cities creating an over supply of low rent land. The gap between the deflated value of this land, and that which it would otherwise capture from its highest and best use, creates the opportunity for gentrification (Smith, 1987, 165; Griffiths, 1995. 243). This theory is heavily dependent upon the presence of the gentrifying groups who, for reasons already mentioned, are willing and able to take advantage of this rent-gap. 28 2.5.3 The Implications of Gentrification on Existing Communities Smith's rent-gap argument is more relevant to American cities where inner city blight and extensive decay are pervasive reminders of government funded freeway expansion, suburban development, downtown restructuring and continued racial conflicts. The evolution of Canadian inner cities is less marked by blight and partial abandonment, but is characterized by "continuous phases of redevelopment with each phase leading to a more intensive land use type" (Ley, 1981, 187). Thus, despite mushrooming suburban expansion during the 1950s and 60s, many Canadian inner cities have managed to maintain a proportion of higher income neighbourhoods, and therefore have remained economically, socially and physically viable. (Fillion and Bunting, 1990, 77). Once the process of redevelopment and revitalization sets in, lower income households are faced with fewer housing opportunities as compared to higher income earners who have the ability to choose inner city housing over expensive suburban dwellings (Fillion and Bunting 1990, 80). In this scenario, lower income populations are drawn farther away from the downtown core to "zones of discard" which are often inner city communities, and where economic forces have yet to make redevelopment economically viable (Ford, 1994, 73). In Vancouver, the zone of discard corresponds to the "Downtown Eastside" which contains a number of transitional areas currently vulnerable to revitalization, the most recent of which is Victory Square ( see Vaisbord, 1995). In contrast to the zone of discard is the "zone of assimilation", identified by Ford as a transitional area (often residential and mixed-use) situated adjacent to the CBD, which is designated for more intensive land-uses through either conversion or redevelopment (Ford, 1994, 87). Originally developed at the turn of the century as single family residential areas accessible to the downtown, during the 1950s and 1960s, zones of assimilation became medium density mixed use areas characterized by uneven commercial and office 29 development. As a consequence, moderate filtering-down cycles often occurred in housing stock, and resulted in the conversion of single family homes and new higher density development (88). Development in the zone of assimilation has often been encouraged by municipal policy as a means of attracting more residents to the inner city, or as a means of encouraging neighbourhood renewal through gentrification. Vancouver's West End is an example of a zone of assimilation where permissive zoning policies during the 1960s and 1970s resulted in the transformation of the area from one of primarily single family and low-rise apartments, to a dense community of high-rises. Other zones of assimilation in Vancouver include Kitsilano and Fairview Slopes, which began experiencing residential conversion during the 1970s. Municipal policies were used to protect these communities from redevelopment pressures which inadvertently resulted in gentrification and up-filtering of housing stock. In addition, senior government sponsored initiatives such as the Neighbourhood Improvement Program (NIP) and its companion, the Residential Rehabilitation Assistance Program (RRAP), provided incentives for many first time home owners to invest in physical upgrading and restoration, without the prospect of redevelopment and drastic neighbourhood change threatening the security of their investment. NIP and RRAP were programs used under the mandate of Vancouver's new Local Area Planning program (1973). Under LAP, both Kitsilano and Fairview Slopes were downzoned as a means of providing incentives for retention of existing buildings through infill and conversions. The objectives of the new by-laws were to maintain the architectural character of the community, while addressing certain social goals which included encouraging a diverse social fabric, and retaining or increasing opportunities for family housing (Hlavach, 1983, 40). Ironically, the social ends envisioned through downzoning were thwarted in light of the market conditions which were created. By improving amenities, regulating development (through down-zoning), and enforcing code restrictions and design guidelines on new development, the new zoning by-laws made these communities more attractive to those with superior purchasing power, accelerating the demand for housing and pushing land values beyond the reach of lower income earners (Ley. 1980. 255). With the threat of redevelopment and land speculation removed, many first-time buyers were suddenly able to afford to purchase a home. In addition, the heritage character of both communities had become a significant draw for new residents who were able to invest higher disposable incomes, as well as RRAP funding, into building renovation and conservation, thus increasing the cachet of the neighbourhood and further accelerating demand (Vaisbord, 1995, 17). 2.6 Summary The above discussion provides a theoretical overview of urban heritage conservation, and its increasing role within contemporary urban revitalization. In response to post-war renewal and the failures of modernism, traditional, more selective approaches to heritage conservation were supplanted with area-based strategies, albeit with a primary focus on physical preservation. The final section of the chapter explores a number of challenges and conflicts arising from a post-industrial economy, and highlights the inadequacies of one-dimensional policies which address only the physical dimensions of neighbourhood conservation. The examples from Vancouver show that a number of policies initially intended to provide overall community benefit were ineffective at dealing with more complex social and economic problems. Many-local neighbourhood conservation programs failed because "trickle-down" benefits of improved amenities, infrastructure and housing, were never realized by those at the bottom of the social and economic ladder. Tools such as restrictive zoning, code enforcement and financial incentives (i.e. RRAP subsidies), unintentionally created support pockets for more affluent residents to settle in these older neighbourhoods. Indeed, as a result of municipal policy, gentrification has often been welcomed as a '"free-market solution to urban decay" (Aoki, 1993, 825). Improving the city's tax base by increasing property values, gentrification has been viewed as a means of improving and restoring historic areas, creating more attractive urban neighbourhoods, and encouraging new commercial development (Griffiths. 1995 247). However, more enlightened critiques reveal that the costs of social displacement outweigh the economic benefits derived from one dimensional approaches to neighbourhood conservation. Chapter 3 Developing a Framework for Successful Neighbourhood Conservation 3.1 I n t r o d u c t i o n The last decade has seen a significant growth in the number of examples where grass roots community involvement has influenced the sensitive and sustainable conservation of inner city neighbourhoods. While considerable debate still exists around the question of how best to structure and resource community involvement in urban revitalization schemes, existing models provide a template from which community groups and local governments can begin to draft the most effective arrangements for neighbourhood conservation. This chapter briefly presents two examples of inner city revitalization — one from Vancouver, and one from New York City — and focuses on the role of integrated and participatory processes in developing positive and pro-active responses to neighbourhood revitalization. Emerging from a discussion of these successful examples, will be a number of key characteristics from which to analyze the Mole Hill case. 3.2 Case Studies i n N e i g h b o u r h o o d C o n s e r v a t i o n : V a n c o u v e r a n d N e w Y o r k C i t y 3.2.1 Strathcona Government sponsored renewal projects have been less prevalent in Vancouver than other large Canadian and American cities. The one exception occurred in Strathcona, an inner city neighbourhood located east of Vancouver's downtown core. By the late 1940s, a number of historic Vancouver neighbourhoods had succumbed to the forces of "blight", a condition which became a concern both to its residents and City officials. At the same time, Vancouver was experiencing an unprecedented shortage of affordable housing. In 1950, Leonard Marsh, professor at the University of British Columbia Department of Social Work published the influential Rebuilding a Neighbourhood: Report on a Demonstration in Slum Clearance and Urban Rehabilitation Project in a Key Central Area of Vancouver. Based on research undertaken by masters students, the report spotlighted Strathcona as a neighbourhood in dire need of modern, affordable housing and improved amenities. The report embraced modernism as the vehicle through which safe, human and democratic housing would be provided. It also echoed the sentiments of both federal and local housing authorities which criticized the "lack of affordable housing, need for government financed slum clearance and land assembly" and saw a "potential for speedier construction afforded by aluminum, standardization, prefabrication, and other new materials and techniques" (Windsor Liscomb, 1996, 62). In 1957, the City of Vancouver produced its own "Redevelopment Study", a twenty year plan which identified a number of inner city neighbourhoods for redevelopment. Under the federally coordinated Redevelopment Project I, Strathcona was selected as the first neighbourhood for renewal (Windsor Liscomb, 1996, 67). The physical perameters of the Strathcona Redevelopment Project corresponded to a larger scheme to develop an eight lane freeway along the routes occupied by Union and Prior Streets, into the downtown core. One of Vancouver's original residential neighbourhoods, the architecture of Strathcona was and remains a reminder of an early Edwardian vernacular style. Residents were led to believe renewal would provide better amenities, improved infrastructure (i.e. sidewalks and streetlighting) and housing (Atkin, 1994, 76). However, once Strathcona was slated for redevelopment, regular public works maintenance was not undertaken by the City and improvements on housing were being actively discouraged (Hurwitz and Levitan, 1977, 5). Due to the threat of redevelopment, property values were frozen, thus quickening the cycle of disinvestment and deterioration of the neighborhood. The first two phases of renewal were initiated between 1958 and 1967 with the construction of three public housing projects: MacLean Park and Skeena Terrace (1958-1963), and Raymur Place (1963-1967). In total, over 67 acres of land and 15 blocks of houses were cleared, resulting in the displacement of over 1000 Strathcona residents. Phase I and II were met with strong opposition by residents of Strathcona and Chinatown leaders. Physical destruction of the community meant extreme emotional, physical and financial hardship for many of Strathcona's residents: the financial loss due to inadequate compensation for properties acquired; the lack of moving costs or relocation assistance (the new accommodation often not being an improvement over the old for the people displaced); the overall reduction in the low income housing stock; and the trauma for residents being forcibly uprooted from a familiar environment. With phase III slated to demolish the last remains of the neighbourhood, 600 members of the Strathcona and Chinatown community formed the Strathcona Property Owners and Tenants Association (SPOTA) which became a powerful force in derailing future redevelopment plans for Strathcona, and ultimately, in transforming neighbourhood revitalization policy from an approach of clearance to one which emphasized conservation and stabilization. At the same time, confidence in comprehensive, top-down planning models was waning and the architecture of economic rationalism had by now become associated with social ghettoization. In response, the federal government discontinued its support of urban renewal in 1969. Replacing the renewal strategy was the Neighbourhood Improvement Program (NIP), a program intended to ameliorate the damage done by previous policies by "formalizing a role for resident participation, placing an emphasis on selective clearance and repair of existing structures, providing funds for social and community purposes and improvement to public infrastructure, and providing protection for displaced persons" (Carter, 1991, 11). The accompanying Residential Rehabilitation Assistance Program (RRAP) was intended to provide funding and loan guarantees for the conservation and rehabilitation of existing housing stock, to add or rehabilitate social and community amenities, and to "remove blighted land use" (11). While considered by most of its active participants as a success "that led the way in sensitive revitalization and conservation of older neighbourhoods" (Carter, 1991, 19), critics of NIP claim that its focus was narrow and inconsistent, addressing community infrastructure and physical rehabilitation, rather than incorporating a multidimensional approach to revitalization which should encompass employment, community economic development, and social support programs (20). As discussed in the previous chapter, in some cases the program, which was initially targeted to low-income neighbourhoods, had become a vehicle for newcomers to subsidize physical upgrades to older housing stock and fund improved community services (Fillion and Bunting, 1990, 80). Nevertheless, during its six year mandate, the NIP was successful in transforming government-led revitalization policy from a top-down, centralized approach, to one which integrated a tri-govenernment funding and delivery structure within a framework attempting to target local needs. Despite their shortcomings, NIP and RRAP were used to fund a $5 million neighbourhood revitalization project for Stratchona, which involved participation from the community and resulted in new parks, sidewalks and a community centre (Atkin, 1994, 83). In the mid-1970s, as a response to Strathcona's increasing need for affordable housing, SPOTA and its new arm, the Strathcona Area Housing Society, undertook a partnership with the City of Vancouver and the provincial government to acquire land and develop the Mau Dan Co-op, Strathcona's largest co-operative housing project. The late 1980s saw the retreat of senior government from affordable housing programs, a change which affected all lower income communities in Vancouver. In light of this restructuring, and having won many 36 battles already, SPOTA gradually disbanded, leaving the community with a legacy which fueled continued grass roots involvement in the conservation and revitalization of the neighbourhood. In 1989; the City initiated a three year Neighbourhood Planning Program, which included extensive participation from the Strathcona community. The three priorities driving the program were the protection of heritage buildings, a strategy to deal with its many social problems, and the impacts of traffic. Programs included the development of a distinct zoning by-law and detailed design guidelines designed to preserve Strathcona's unique heritage while providing opportunities for sensitive conversion and infill in order to facilitate incremental increases in density where appropriate. Today, the spirit of conservation permeates the social, physical and environmental fabric of Strathchona. It is seen in its historic architectural forms, its varied uses, its diverse socio-cultural landscapes, and its vibrant open spaces. A number of projects are worth noting which reflect a grassroots ethic of conservation. First is the Stratchona Community Gardens, which, since its inception in 1985, has become a vehicle for conservation and community development. Its flourishing apple orchard, vegetable plots and herb gardens serve as an appropriate symbol for the resilient and enterprising spirit of the Strathcona community. Second is The Front Porch Project, which through a Samuel and Saidye Bronfman Family-Foundation grant, has provided partial funding to homeowners for the restoration of architecturally significant porches (Atkin, 1994, 88). A third project is the Strathcona Gardens Pavilion, an ecological resource and education centre located within the Strathcona Community Gardens. Designed according to principles of ecological sustainablity, the centre utilizes solar power, natural composting and groundwater filtration in order to demonstrate the potential for sustainable urban agriculture. Completed in the summer of 1997, the centre is a product of a unique partnership between the Stratchona Community Gardeners Society, the Environmental Youth 37 Alliance and the Canadian Women's Foundation, and has the financial support of the province of British Columbia, the Vancouver Foundation, VanCity Credit Union, Canada Trust Friends of the Environment, and several other non-profit organizations. The case study of Strathcona emphasizes the effectiveness of citizen involvement in creating conservation and revitalization strategies which are community focused and locally relevant. An ethic of conservation and self-sufficiency emerged out of years of resistance to top-down planning programs which ignored the social and physical realities of the community. SPOTA and its offspring played a key role in advocating for a more incremental, multi-dimensional, and participatory approach to community planning which resulted in programs such as Local Area Planning (1970s) and the Neighborhood Planning Program (1980s and 90s). The case study demonstrates the value of government initiatives which provide community focused programming, resources and the appropriate regulatory tools for encouraging sensitive conservation. However, it also illustrates that these government-led initiatives can benefit from being integrated with existing grassroots efforts in order to develop and sustain a neighbourhood vision, as well as create new foci of energy and initiative. 3.2.2 Banana Kelly The Banana Kelly Community Improvement Association (Banana Kelly) was formed in response to New York City's policy of demolishing buildings in the deteriorating areas of the South Bronx, an area commonly known for being one of the most devastated areas in the United States. Named for the crescent-shaped street of turn of the century brick row-houses which had fallen prey to disinvestment and abandonment, Banana Kelly has become a model for sustainable and empowering neighbourhood 3 8 revitalization. In 1977, several neighbourhood residents demonstrated in opposition to the demolition of their homes along Kelly Street. With extensive support from media and other community organizations, Banana Kelly was able to claim victory over the City's demolition plans. Upon their success, residents proceeded to rehabilitate three buildings to create 21 units of high-quality affordable housing. Mobilized towards further action and positive change, 30 residents formed Banana Kelly and incorporated as a nonprofit organization in 1978. Banana Kelly's success is attributable to a number of factors and is to some degree, dependent upon its unique circumstances. Over decades of landlord neglect and increasing racial conflict, the neighbourhood succumbed to physical deterioration, abandonment and a plethora of social problems. The degree of devastation made this area unattractive to the rising waves of middle-class urban pioneers and developers who were beginning to gentrify inner city communities in less unstable areas of the city. Instead of outsiders, Kelly Street residents took advantage of the deflated land values and rehabilitated the first of a number of historic tenement buildings. This success provided Banana Kelly with the opportunity to leverage support from the City of New York who then began turning abandoned buildings over to the community and provided loans for their rehabilitation. Currently, Banana Kelly owns and manages over 1200 units in 53 buildings and has rehabilitated (by way of local skills and labour) over 2500 units of affordable housing. Long term sustainability of Banana Kelly rests primarily on its multi-dimensional, community-focused and entrepreneurial approach. Its overall philosophy focuses on the promotion of experiential learning and capacity building. Building maintenance and renovations are partially carried out by its "Youth Build Program" which provides training and experience to local unemployed youth. Other capacity building initiatives include the "Family and Community Enrichment Program" (FACE) and the "Home Instruction program for Preschool Youngsters" (HIPPY), both of which are targeted at building self-reliance in 39 personal health, welfare and education through the involvement of community trainers and volunteers, who are equipped to respond to local needs (School of Community and Regional Planning [SCARP], 1996, 25). Recognizing that in order for their organization to be comprehensive in creating a viable community, opportunities for generating economic self-reliance have become part of Banana Kelly's framework. With $200,000 of seed money from the state of New York, Banana Kelly established its Economic Development Unit which administers a revolving loan fund. This self-sustaining fund provides loans to Bronx-based businesses who may not have the credit rating necessary for traditional bank loans. Currently Banana Kelly administers $300,000 in loan funds which have so far maintained 23 jobs and created 25 new ones (SCARP, 1996, 26). Today Banana Kelly is a multi-million dollar operation, with its core programs continuing to link community needs with the tools necessary to ensure a socially stable, economically viable and historically rich community. The above case studies present two very distinct examples of community based neighbourhood conservation and revitalization within an evolving and restructuring urban context, each of which are relevant to Mole Hill. In both examples, the locus for community action was a crisis which threatened the physical and social well being of the neighbourhood. Distinguishing each example is the role local government played in facilitating conservation and revitalization. In Strathcona, top-down approaches to neighbourhood planning have been tempered by pro-active grassroots efforts, resulting in policies and programs which are sensitive to local needs. In the Bronx, the presence of undervalued land, coupled with an atmosphere of neglect and decay, provided Banana Kelly with the opportunity to develop a comprehensive and sustainable strategy for neighbourhood conservation. Local government acted as both partner and facilitator in providing initial support for Banana Kelly, however, the success of the first building rehabilitations indicated the effectiveness of grassroots community organizing in providing locally managed and comprehensive programs for neighbourhood revitalization. 40 3.3 N o r m a t i v e Charac te r i s t i cs o f Successful N e i g h b o u r h o o d C o n s e r v a t i o n The above illustrates that attempts at neighbourhood conservation were successful because they were sensitive to existing physical and social needs and at the same time were adaptive to future change. Each of the cases contained, to varying degrees, the following normative characteristics: a focus on community involvement, multi-dimensional programs and policies and a collaborative stmcture. The premise upon which these normative characteristics are presented is that community involvement in conservation, while often initiated out of a resistance to official proposals, can generate alternative and cooperative schemes which revitalize and empower communities if they: involve the community in a meaningful way, develop multi-dimensional programs for addressing community needs, and are collaborative (see Figure 3.1). Figure 3.1 shows two-way arrows between the three elements, suggesting that integrated approaches are not a fixed procedure but rather a continuos and iterative process of planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation, and involve the active involvement of both local government and the community. Figure 3.1 Diagram of Normative Characteristics The following elaborates the above characteristics in order to construct a theoretical framework from which to discuss the Mole Hill case in Chapter 5. 41 3.3.1 Focus on Involvement This concept asserts that by actively involving the community, better quality decisions, and programs more closely tied to local need will result. As active participants in a revitalization strategy, communities will take greater responsibility for the care and maintenance of their neighbourhood than if revitalization was imposed with minimal local involvement (McArthur, 1993, 308). By employing a participatory planning approach, leadership emerges from community organizations who facilitate resident involvement who are then able to contribute ideas towards the design, operation, evaluation and refinement of various projects. The process of developing community, identifying needs and developing innovative and responsive programs is an organic process which necessarily arises from within. Embedded in this approach is the capacity to be self-reflective, which allows there to be a continuous and iterative process of experiential learning and responsive action to take place. This ensures that development occurs incrementally over time, thereby allowing the community to feel an appropriate degree of comfort with and control over physical changes. From a planning perspective there are a number of elements distinguishing a community focused process, two of which include: recognizing community; and facilitating empowerment. 3.3.1.1 Recognizing Community Identifying the community/ies who are to participate is a crucial first step in establishing an open and participatory process. Drawing boundaries around a geographic area works for administrative purposes, but is ineffective at representing the complex realities of a heterogeneous community. The construction of careless or inappropriate community boundaries can undermine a planning process, leading to feelings of distrust and manipulation. An understanding of the community should recognize that the terms of reference 42 for participation rest with the community itself and not with outside agencies. Accordingly, community leaders need to be directly involved in stakeholder identification so that, from the outset, the process establishes validity. Increasingly, the emphasis of local planning policy is on bringing the range of public, private and voluntary sector interests more closely together, while at the same time recognizing that multiple interest representation will create complex internal dynamics (McArthur, 1993, 306). Thus, the notion of a coherent, homogenous community is a myth, and increasingly, communities are made up of an "agglomeration of factions and interest groups often locked in competitive relationships" (Smith, as quoted in Abbott, 1995, 164). In such instances where community fragmentation and internal conflict are endemic, it may be necessary to source community involvement through an umbrella organization which is open to all groups, and which acts on behalf of community constituencies. In both Strathcona and Banana Kelly, a strong and vigilant community organization was the conduit through which the various community interests could be channeled into productive and pro-active discussion. A thorough understanding of the community highlights existing social linkages and interest groups which may already have an established voice in the community, while at the same time, identifies those individuals who are most vulnerable and, therefore, most in need of a voice. Participatory processes for inner city communities must recognize the physical, economic and social limitations of residents, and devise strategies for reaching these members of the community. One way to achieve this, suggests McArthur, is to organize resident- or community-led surveys of local households and community groups (McArthur, 1993, 312). Surveys undertaken by community members are based on an "insider" knowledge of the community and often elicit better results as resident familiarity creates an atmosphere which is unthreatening and one in which local residents are potentially more comfortable to discuss their situations. This approach is also valuable as it highlights key issues and priority areas, indicates the extent of community involvement in other groups, and provides an information loop for residents to access what is happening with respect to the ongoing process. Recognizing community also involves an appreciation for locally developed values and beliefs which contribute to the community's "social reality" and are intimately connected to the way in which members of a community approach conflict, and arrive at decisions. Fussell states that the social reality of a community "is the net effect of the way the community applies its beliefs and values, which are a product of the collective experience-knowledge of its members" (Fussell, 1996, 46). Here, "experience-knowledge" refers to the circular transfer of experience into knowledge. Fussell goes on to state that "[a]s new information becomes available it is interpreted in light of the existing perspectives, and will be assimilated into a revised set of beliefs and values if doing so provides a better explanation of the observers world...It is an iterative process whereby old beliefs and values give way to new ones". However, this type of transformation is only possible within the context of a process which facilitates mutual learning to take place. Top-down processes rooted in a paradigm of instrumental rationalism, whereby problem definition, objectives and solutions are determined in a linear fashion, are inappropriate at dealing with complex issues and multi-interest processes. 3.3.1.2 Facilitating Empowerment The concept of community empowerment is defined as any process "directed towards overcoming powerlessness...[and] as change processes that are experienced through efforts to gain control over one's life" (Sadan and Churchman, 1997, 3). It becomes particularly relevant in the context of inner city revitalization where residents are often seen as victims of change rather than active agents controlling change. 44 Community participation has become a ubiquitous term within contemporary planning theory and practice in that it is seen as a way to achieve consensus on complex, controversial public issues where multiple interests are at stake (Innes, 1996, 461). However, as Sadan and Churham point out, "'participatory techniques are not intrinsically empowering...[it] can be a manipulative exercise used by experts to dominate and silence resistance." The degrees of citizen involvement have been described as a linear process, beginning with consultation and education, through partnership and joint decision-making arrangements, and finally to the highest and most effective level, delegated power (Arnstein, 1969, 216). Normative theory suggests that the partnership model is often the most appropriate in reaching consensus on complex planning issues. A partnership implies equal decision-making power and equal access to information order to being to identify a common goal, create options, develop criteria for choice, and make consensus based decisions. The partnership model is elaborated by Sadan and Churham who see an empowering community planning process as one in which facilitators and community members pass through a number of transformative levels in the process of gaining consensus on a joint decision (Sadan and Churcham. 1997, 6). Often, the role of the planner in participatory processes is that of mediator or facilitator, seeking consensus through conflict resolution. However, when local government has a vested interest in the outcome, the planners role takes on the added dimension of negotiator. This duality places the planner in an awkward position as each function appears to be in direct conflict with the other. Assuming both roles, suggests Forester, often defeats both purposes simultaneously for two reasons. First, "the interestedness of a negotiating role threatens the independence and presumed neutrality of a mediating role" and second, " although a negotiating role might allow planners to protect powerful interests, a mediating role threatens to undercut this possibility and thus to leave existing inequalities of power all too intact" (Forester, 1989, 82). 45 Therefore, facilitating empowerment requires that the planner is aware of the level at which s/he is empowered as a professional and that there is a consciousness of the role s/he plays in the decision-making framework of the larger system (Forester, 1898, 9). Moreover, the role of the planner must be communicated clearly to those participating in the process in order to achieve a clear frame of reference within which decisions can be made. Finally, if the process is to be an empowering one, in which decisions are made jointly, equal access to information must be a prerequisite. Powerlessness is a function of the physical and technical constraints of the community, which include limited core funding, vulnerability to crisis, and a reliance on volunteer time. The ability to access resources at the right time and in an appropriate and accessible form increases the capacity of the community to be an informed and active agent of change (Armstrong, 1993, 357). 3.3.2 Multi-dimensional Approach Approaching neighbourhood revitalization within a multi-dimensional framework avoids the "ad hoc approach to policy", whereby a given policy is not informed by a thorough understanding of the community, but rather is an isolated response to a single issue (Suchman, 1994, 15). Such an approach results in issues being balkanized, or separated from other issues resulting in treating only a portion of the problem. Informed by new planning paradigms such as communicative action and interactive practice, multi-dimensional approaches are founded upon the assertion that better decisions occur when all players are equally informed and can prescribe solutions based upon a collective understanding of all the issues (Innes, 1997, 185). Typically in the past, responses to inner city problems were initiated through a single program or service addressing employment, education or housing, whereas more contemporary models are attempting to integrate skills, techniques, technologies and methods. 46 For Banana Kelly, a multi-dimensional approach is the cornerstone of its long-term success. The physical conservation of the housing stock has been achieved in conjunction with creating training and employment opportunities for youth and management skills for resident care-takers. Each of these objectives resulted in building greater self-reliance, fostering a sense of stewardship and community ownership, and contributed to the community's stock of human and cultural capital. 3.3.2.1 Physical conservation Recognizing both the social and cultural value of older neighbourhoods, policies directed at physical conservation should be comprehensive in scope, rather than selective. As discussed in the previous chapter, area-based conservation has become a common tool in legally protecting entire districts from physical change. However, as a result of complex economic forces, coupled with cultural and demographic patterns, a consequence of imposing protective tools is social fragmentation. Therefore, a successful and sensitive conservation program should include regulatory tools which are culturally appropriate to the host community, comprehensive, and involve strategies for direct community input into the planning, implementation, and ongoing maintenance of a local conservation strategy. 3.3.2.2 Housing Retention and Re-supply Existing literature cites the importance of maintaining low income housing stocks in existing inner city neighbourhoods through a set of pro-active housing policies which focus on tenant protection, physical preservation, and rehabilitation and/or re-supply of housing stock (Hulchanski, 1989, 14). Establishing a specific "heritage zoning", would meet the objective of physical preservation, however, in order to fulfill the other two would involve setting a targets for low-income housing, establishing a monitoring process, 47 and setting policies which ensure a one-for one replacement of low-income units in the event of redevelopment (12). Citing a recent Vancouver example, the Victory Square Draft Concept Plan recommends a number of pro-active housing policies which focus on retention of existing building stock and a one-for one replacement of low-income housing as provided by the area's SRO hotels. The first is to implement a "downzoning", which places restrictions on height, and offering density bonuses, transfers and relaxations for the retention of heritage buildings and/or those buildings providing SRO units. Coupled with policies which allow the development of more residential floor space in existing buildings, the housing strategy is focused on shifting investment away from demolition and redevelopment towards rehabilitation and adaptive reuse (Vaisbord. 1995, 70). 3.3.2.3 Community Education and Community Economic Development Community education and community economic development are inter-related concepts in that they focus on building community capacity, self-awareness, confidence, and knowledge as a means of fostering self-reliance. The general objective of community education is to build awareness of needs, risks and opportunities primarily by placing the experiences of community people in the centre, and to use this knowledge as a means of adapting to changing social, technological and economic conditions (Kruger, 1993, 344). This, suggests Armstrong, requires the development of both "reflection and action, so that action is well-informed by analysis and vice versa, thereby creating a virtuous circle" (Armstrong, 1993, 357). Within this framework, economic development is the process whereby the development of local skills and knowledge are used to take some measure of control of the local economy back from the market and the 48 state (Boothroyd and Davis, 1993, 230). In the context of neighbourhood revitalization, an approach founded in community economic development and community education principles requires making planning processes more participatory, promoting and encouraging individual initiative and community enterprise, creating local institutions to favour those most in need, and promoting equity and social justice (Boothroyd and Davis, 1993, 236; Kruger, 1993, 344). Small, locally based initiatives are of enormous value in developing the skill base and capacity levels of community members. Training programs geared at housing renovation and restoration, landscaping, food production, and project coordination directly benefit the physical and social health of the community, at the same time as providing a base from which the community can engage in more ambitious projects (Armstrong, 1993, 358). Finally, community involvement in housing provision and housing related services has become an extremely effective means of generating local economic benefits, giving communities ''control over real assets (i.e. the housing stock) as opposed to other community economic development programs which may be relatively peripheral." (Vaisbord, 1995, 40). Community management in housing can be used as a catalyst to leverage more substantial support for future projects. This becomes increasingly relevant in light of shrinking allocations of senior government support for low-cost housing, as well as the tenuousness of public efforts, which by their nature, are temporary and can only be expected to provide a "seed" for longer term neighbourhood stability. (Fordham, 1993, 304). 3.3.3 Collaboration While local government support is essential in facilitating community involvement and fostering local initiative, it is hindered by constrained budgets as well as fluctuating political and economic agendas. 49 Increasingly, the funding, management, and/or delivery of revitalization initiatives is undertaken or aided by private and non-profit sectors, with community members having a direct voice in the implementation of such initiatives. In the Bronx, Banana Kelly joined with the Natural Resources Defense Council in the creation of the Bronx Community Paper Company in an attempt to meet the •community's desire for more industrial jobs without more pollution. In a number of European cities local government facilitates the collaboration of various private, non-profit and community organizations in order to solicit and generate innovative proposals for economic or social regeneration (McArthur, 1993, 307). Similarly, in North America, Community Development Corporations (CDCs) have developed over the last three decades as a grass roots co-operative alternative to top-down redevelopment with a general mandate to "empower whole communities through comprehensive treatment of social and physical conditions" and measuring success in terms of "physical redevelopment and community regeneration, participation, and empowerment" (Stocker, 1997, 4). Securing investments to achieve housing, rehabilitate buildings, or provide community facilities can be mutually beneficial for organizations and communities as it can provide a solid bedrock on top of which processes for continued community development and self-sufficiency are nurtured and sustained, which ultimately translates into a healthier social and economic climate throughout the whole city. However, as Donnison points out, non-governmental sectors will only become involved at the stage when sufficient public sector action has been taken to reduce the risks of investment in the areas which most need help (Donnison, 1993, 296). 3.4 Summary The purpose of this chapter has been to develop a normative framework from which to analyze the Mole Hill planning process. This framework was derived using two small case studies of inner city revitalization 50 — one from Vancouver, and one from New York City. The examples illustrated that each neighbourhood revitalization process is marked by unique socio-cultural, historical and economic circumstances, and therefore, different levels of government involvement. However, a common feature of each community's success was the involvement of community organizations in the planning, implementation, and monitoring of culturally appropriate and socially sustainable revitalization/conservation strategies. From these case studies, a number of characteristics were derived which were then explored further through a theoretical review. These characteristics and their sub-components are: • a focus on involvement, which includes the principles of recognizing community and facilitating empowerment; • multi-dimensional programs and policies, which includes sensitive conservation and housing retention and re-supply; and • a collaborative structure, which involves multi-sectoral partnerships in the planning and development of revitalization strategies. The following chapter presents a physical, social and political context of Mole Hill and includes a description of the community based planning process and draft strategies. Chapter 5 then analyses the Mole Hill process, using the above characteristics as a normative framework. 51 Chapter 4 Mole Hill Case Study: Description 4.0 G e o g r a p h i c a l C o n t e x t The area of land between Comox and Pendrell Streets, and between Bute and Thurlow Streets was officially recognized as "Mole Hill" by Vancouver City Council in April 1996. Previously, this area was unofficially identified as the Nelson Parksite (Petrie, 1995, 14), a name reflecting the long-held intention of the City to ultimately re-claim this portion of land for the purposes of increasing the area of Nelson Park (located between Comox and Nelson Streets). Mole Hill lies at the eastern edge of the West End, the most densely populated community in Vancouver. The West End stretches from Stanley Park to Burrard Street, and from English Bay to Georgia Street. These boundaries are defined by the City for planning and administrative purposes, and do not necessarily correspond to a single community identification. In fact, the West End is composed of a number of smaller communities, each with distinct social and cultural pre-dispositions, which often overlap and intertwine with adjacent neighbourhoods. For example, residents living to the west of Denman Street do not necessarily identify with those residing further east, who may access shops and services on Davie Street. Similarly, the cultural ambiance of Robson Street is entirely different from that of Davie Street, the former catering to a much more affluent consumer than the latter, whose small scale shops reflect the tastes and needs of the surrounding lower income, and to a large degree, alternative population. The large cross-section of socio-economic strata in the West End is also an important component of its neighbourhood diversity. However, while the bulk of the West End's population is in the low to middle-income earners, the disparity between upper and lower income groups is increasing; between the years 1986-1991, there was a 28% increase in upper income households, the largest increase of any income group during this time period (City of Vancouver, 1994b/ 52 4.2 Historical Context The History of European (non-aboriginal) settlement at Mole Hill dates back to the 1880s when working-class laborers and trades people took advantage of inexpensive land prices to build modest two and three storey houses on subdivided plots of land. The name "Mole Hill" is derived from Elizabeth and Henry Mole, thought to be the first to settle in this area. Being the highest point in the City, this "hill" was one of the first to develop as it was in relatively close proximity to the downtown core (originally located around Cordova Street), and allowed access to English Bay to the south (Petrie, 1995, 12). In contrast to the "lower" West End (area west of Mole Hill, closer to Stanley Park), which was developed as an exclusive residential area for the emerging middle- and upper-classes, Mole Hill remained a predominantly working class neighbourhood throughout its life. The 1920s and 30s were years of transition and conversion for the West End, as they were for a number of inner city neighbourhoods. As Canadian Pacific Railway began developing Shaugnessy as an up-scale residential "suburb", the West End's more affluent residents began to move away, leaving large homes to be converted and/or enlarged in order to accommodate a growing middle-class population. All over North America, inner city neighbourhoods were experiencing similar socio-spatial reorganization (Ford. 1994, 85). Mole Hill was not exempt from this trend, as in the wake of middle-class flight, many of the single family homes were converted to tenements. During the inter- and post-war years, additions were built onto many Mole Hill and West End homes in order to accommodate workers and families arriving in Vancouver to fill the demand for employment needed for war industries (Kluckner, 1991. 33). Under the influence of modernism, the character of the West End continued to change throughout the immediate post-war years as parcels of ground oriented homes were being slowly replaced by concrete medium density apartment buildings. Indeed, the social, economic and technological elements central to the modernist agenda suited the post-war climate of a city so urgently in need of housing and infrastructure (Windsor Liscomb, 1996, 22). Being at the eastern edge of the community, Mole Hill was exempt from such early development pressures. Because of its status as a low-income rooming house community, there was little effort to invest in physical improvements either through upgrading or redevelopment (Petrie, 1995, 14). In 1951, the Park Board began purchasing properties in Mole Hill in order to increase park space and decrease congestion in the rapidly densifying West End. Had the Park Board not started acquiring property at this time, it is certain that Mole Hill would have fallen prey to the forces of redevelopment that beset the rest of the West End. By the 1960s, City Council had adopted permissive zoning policies in the downtown core which resulted in the West End being converted, in an astonishingly short time frame, from an area of primarily single family homes and low-rise apartments, to a dense community of high-rises. Over the next 30 years, the Park Board purchased most of the properties at Mole Hill with the intention of expanding Nelson Park, which had, by the mid 1970s, assumed the area of one entire city block. The tradeoff between park space and single family homes in an area where open space was becoming increasingly scarce, may have been supported at the outset of the Park Board's development plans. However, given the pace and scale of redevelopment occurring in the West End, together with the public's nascent and growing distrust in comprehensive renewal attempts such as those partially implemented decades earlier in Strathcona, continued development of Nelson Park became a locus for community activism throughout the 1980s. 54 Figure 4.1 Comox Streetscape The conservation of Mole Hill's intact streetscape is a consequence of both indecision and neglect by local government. 4.3 U r b a n F o r m a n d L a n d Uses The urban form of Mole Hill is typical of many North American inner city residential neighbourhoods which have, at one time or another, experienced some form of transition. From the 1920s to the 1950s, conversions and additions were a relatively easy means of increasing a property owner's revenue, and until the 1960s high rise boom, the West End was replete with large wood frame homes which had been incrementally added to in order to accommodate new and intensified use. The majority of Mole Hill houses were built between the years 1888 and 1910 and are considered good examples of Edwardian vernacular architecture, exemplifying the tastes and socio-economic status of their original working-class occupants. Houses built in the late 1880s and early 1890s show elaborate decorative elements such as multiple gables, gingerbread or fishscale shingles, full height bay window s. and carved brackets, all which are associated with the Queen Anne style. Later houses are built in a less ornate Edwardian style, a common feature of which are columned front porches or verandahs and "box" dormer windows. The types of changes and stylistic accretions that have occurred over time include: the enclosing of verandahs: the addition of gables and dormers; and the construction of front, side and rear extensions. A number of houses have undergone unsympathetic exterior alterations, obscuring their original design elements with such features as modernized window treatments, roof shingles, stucco, and filled or concealed doors and /or windows. Figure 4.2 1157 Pendrell Street Figure 4.3 1159 Pendrell Street The original house, sandwiched between front and rear additions, is similar in style to 1159 Pendrell. This house, and 1157 Pendrell are considered to have been built as a pair. The delicate features, such as porch columns and lacy brackets are characteristic of the Victorian Style. Of the 28 city-owned houses, 20 are listed in the Vancouver Heritage Register. Houses excluded form the Register are those with extensive alterations - a consequence which is considered to have compromised their heritage value. In addition to individual houses being listed, Mole Hill has been recognized in its entirety, in the Register as a "Heritage Character Area" (City of Vancouver, 1986). Its significance as a character area is attested to by its strong consistency and unity of architectural form and style, being one of the last remaining intact blocks of Queen Anne and Edwardian builder houses in the City. The variations in 56 massing, proportions, as well as formal and decorative elements are living records of the speculative boom that took place during the final years of the nineteenth century. Reflecting its transitional nature, Mole Hill has, over the years, absorbed non-residential land uses, including a daycare facility, Watson House (a Special Needs Residential Facility for youth) and a bed and breakfast. At the western edge of Mole Hill is Strathmore Lodge, a 192 unit apartment building dating from 1909. Excluding Strathmore Lodge, there are 36 single family and multiple-family converted houses on Mole Hill, containing 188 housing units; the 28 City owned houses accommodate approximately 165 units. For the most part, Mole Hill's historic street pattern has not changed a great deal since the West End grid was first laid, although traffic diverters, installed as part of the Local Area Planning program in the mid-Figure 4.4 Mole Hill Site Plan Mole H i l l t i L -— Nel ton P i rk JJ, u L. U _ J I f r«n«lr«ll Si. v ' • . _ _ . - _ T _ _ i • , -i r TO „ Privatel^ Ovvned Houses/lot© ! ©©1© Heritige illsting ! " I I City-Owned Housee/lots Source: City of Vancouver Planning Department 57 1970s, have reduced through-flow traffic along Pendrell Street. A characteristic feature of older inner city residential neighbourhoods is the presence of a rear lane, which in Mole Hill is considered a valuable source of open space. Currently used for resident as well area-wide parking, the lane and the adjacent rear yards, provide an informal arena in which residents can interact. 4.4 Social C o n t e x t There are between 250 and 300 people currently living in Mole Hill. This includes those living in private residences, City owned houses, and Strathmore Lodge. There are between 110 - 130 tenants living in the area identified for redevelopment, 83 of which currently live in City owned houses (Graves, 1997, 1). In addition, Mole Hill has a significant transient population which is not captured in the above figures. This is comprised of youth, who live for varying periods of time at Watson House, tourists and visitors staying at the bed and breakfast, and children attending the pre-school. In a recent residents survey, Mole Hill is described as a "rooming house community"' (Graves, 1996. 1), a characterization which reveals a great deal about the socio-economic status of the residents living in City owned housing, as well as the physical condition of the building stock. Primarily a low-income community, over half of the tenants surveyed have incomes under $15,000 annually and approximately one quarter have incomes below $7200 annually (Graves, 1997,1). Most Mole Hill residents are between the ages of 40-60 years of age with seniors making up approximately 25% of the population. In addition, many struggle with progressive disabilities; some are mentally ill, and many cannot work due to back injuries from physical labour (1). The city owned houses feature a variety of unit-types, ranging from one and two bedroom self-contained units to unequipped bachelor units and sleeping rooms; the units are often only equipped with a hotplate, 5 8 and tenants have to share a bathroom. This housing typology is similar to that found in SRO (single room occupancy) hotels, which are typical of older inner-city neighbourhoods, and which house some of the city's most disadvantaged residents. SRO units (also called housekeeping units) are often no larger than 10 X 12 feet and typically have a bed, sink and a hotplate. Mole Hill has 23 housekeeping units and a number of one bedroom units with shared facilities. The average monthly rent for such units is approximately $325, a figure which corresponds to the current GAIN (Guaranteed Annual Income for Need) maximum shelter allowance (City of Vancouver, 1995a). A major concern of the tenants is both a real and perceived lack of safety and security around the neighbourhood (Graves, 1997, 3). This stems from both a lack of investment in physical upgrading, as well as an "imposed" de-population of the neighbourhood which has taken place over the last five years. Pending the outcome of revitalization studies undertaken in the early 1990s, in 1992 the City imposed a rental-freeze which has resulted in a number of partially vacant buildings. In February, 1997, approximately 69 of the 165 available units were left vacant, representing a vacancy rate of 42% (MHWG meeting notes, Feb. 4, 1997). Without a rigorous maintenance strategy, these buildings have become potential lures for squatters, and have been prey to increasing break-ins, thefts and vandalism. Moreover, as the population of the neighbourhood has decreased, so too has the amount of social control tenants feel they have over their immediate surroundings. Without a critical mass of "eyes on the street", the cycle of dis-investment and its attendant problems threaten to erode the physical and social condition of the neighbourhood. Mole Hill provides much needed affordable housing for both medium- to low-income, and "hard-to-house" population (i.e. seniors, disabled). There are few other alternatives for many of the residents without imposing significant emotional and financial distress. Excluding Mole Hill, there are less than 20 rooming houses remaining in the West End and vacancies are rare (Graves, 1997. 3). Seniors housing, residential 59 hotels and subsidized housing in other communities are problematic options for relocation given long waiting lists and often competitive placement practices which favour local residents. 4.5 M o l e H i l l P l a n n i n g Process 4.5.1 Policy Context Discussions between the Park Board and the City during the early 1990s marked a renewed attempt at revitalizing the Nelson Park area, the significance of which can be better understood within the larger context of restructuring and corresponding policy changes occurring in Vancouver. 4.5.1.1 West End Residential Policy Plan In 1987, City Council adopted the "West End Residential Areas Policy Plan" (City of Vancouver, 1987) which contains strategies designed to maintain the West End as a "livable, higher density, inner-city community accommodating a diverse range of people" (City of Vancouver, 1994a, 7). Out of the plan came the R M zoning which permits multiple-dwelling residential development with restrictions regulating maximum building height, minimum site size, as well as physical design. Zoning and design guidelines also encourage the renovation and rehabilitation of existing heritage structures in order to accommodate a variety of housing types. Mole Hill is located in the RM-5B zoning district of the West End which permits a maximum floor space ratio (FSR) of 2.75, a much higher density than is currently being utilized in Mole Hill where the average house size is approximately 3,000 - 4,000 square feet, with an average FSR of 0.8 (City of Vancouver, 1997c). 4.5.1.2 Central Area Plan Between the period 1986 and 1991, the population of Vancouver increased by just over 16% — almost double that of the previous decade (Hutton, 1994, 224). Moreover, labour force change in metropolitan Vancouver showed a significant increase in tertiary and quaternary sector employment, a trend which translates into an expanded demand for downtown core housing. Responding to these trends was a clear policy direction for increased residential growth downtown which has been outlined in the Central Area Plan (CAP) (City of Vancouver, 1991). One of the central objectives of the CAP is to reduce the size of the CBD in order to accommodate more housing downtown. The CAP also includes "choice of use" areas which are intended to accommodate mixed use development compatible with the scale and character of the area. The "choice of use" areas are contemplated for historic areas adjacent to the CBD as a means of regulating new development and • encouraging revitalization (City of Vancouver, 1991, 8). The CAP projects an additional 20,000 units of housing for 30,000 residents on the downtown peninsula, an increase of 40% from its 1991 population of 45,000 (City of Vancouver, 1991, 18). The Plan also indicates most new housing in the downtown core will be assimilated into areas east of Burrard Street and south of Cambie Street (19). While not directly targeted at established West End neighbourhoods such as Mole Hill, the policy directives outlined in the CAP, together with emerging socio-economic trends undoubtedly play a role in driving the City's renewed interest in Mole Hill and will continue to be instrumental in shaping residential development trends throughout the downtown core. 4.5 .13 CityPlan Concurrent to Mole Hill discussions was the ongoing CityPlan process, which, through extensive public consultation, identified key objectives for inner city neighbourhoods. Referencing the CAP, CityPlan recommends a greater diversity of housing forms and tenures for a variety of household types, with an emphasis on increasing affordable family housing in the downtown core, together with increased community services (City of Vancouver, 1995a, 18). Such objectives would be met through the retention, conversion and/or adaptive re-use of buildings, as well as innovative infill projects which integrate sensitively with existing heritage. Other specific CityPlan goals pertinent to Mole Hill include creating a mixed-use community, and increasing open space opportunities through greenway links and/or community-gardens. 4.5.1.4 Heritage Policies and Programs In 1986, City Council adopted the Vancouver Heritage Inventory (now called Register), a list of over 2200 buildings, monuments, streetscapes, landscapes, and archeological sites (City of Vancouver, 1986). The Register was the first step in the creation of the Heritage Management Plan (1987), which consists of a number of incentives such as zoning and development by-law relaxations, parking by-law relaxations, density bonuses and transfers, and permit fast tracking to encourage the restoration and continued use of heritage buildings, especially those included on the inventory. The Register lists buildings according to the following criteria: architectural significance; historical significance; extent to which the original context of the building and its surroundings remains; and degree of alteration to the exterior of the building. Listed buildings are then ranked according to the following three categories: "A" are those thought to be the best examples of an architectural style or type, or those associated with a person or event of historical importance; "B" are good examples of a style or type and 62 may have some historical or cultural significance to a neighbourhood; and "C" are those comprising part of a notable group of buildings and contribute to the historic streetscape of an area (City of Vancouver. February 1997). While the Register recognizes the entire block as one of the West End's most valuable heritage resources"' (City of Vancouver, 1986, 54), regulatory incentives for retention and rehabilitation, as outlined in the Heritage Management Plan, primarily apply to those buildings listed individually in the Register, rather than offering incentives for the protection of the block as an intact streetscape or group of buildings. 4.5.2 Top-down Revitalization Discussions of redevelopment resumed in the early 1990s at the same time as the Park Board was acquiring space in the South Fraser lands and the False Creek Flats with money borrowed from the City's Property Endowment Fund (PEF). When these funds were borrowed, Council was advised that Nelson Park could be leveraged as a potential means of repaying all or part of this debt back to the PEF. This exchange would effectively transfer the ownership of Mole Hill from the Park Board to the City . but more importantly, would steer the direction of development potential for the site away from park expansion strategies to ones which would optimize the PEF's investment. 1 In 1994, a Land Use Study was commissioned by the Park Board in order to assess the redevelopment potential of Mole Hill at the same time as balancing "park, heritage and market objectives" (City of Vancouver, 1995a, 2). The proposed outcome of the Land Use Study was to be three separate options, each of which focused on maximizing the potential of the three respective objectives. A public consultation 63 process, consisting of public meetings, questionnaires and a telephone survey, was undertaken in order to determine the values of the community with respect to the various objectives. While the validity of the process was questioned by some members of the community in terms of its methodology, and the leading nature of some of the questions, the process illuminated issues which were not previously included as objectives, such as the need to address low-income housing in the West End (Mole Hill Living Heritage Society, Dec. 11, 1995, 26). As a result, the terms of reference for developing revitalization options were amended to include affordable housing (Petrie, 1995, 15). 4.5.3 Grassroots Organizing 4.5.3.1 The Political Resistance Emerging out of the 1970s was an organized resistance to the kind of pro-development politics which were threatening the transformation of inner city neighbourhoods such as Kitsilano, Fairview Slopes and the West End. Led by low-income groups as well as professional advocates representing the interests of both heritage and housing, this resistance brought attention to the plight of displacees and to the disappearance of old neighbourhoods, gaining support from a populace increasingly unsure of the desirability of an ever-growing downtown. The political resistance to redevelopment of Mole Hill was led in the early stages by a compendium of groups such as Heritage Vancouver and various other community organizations, each of which lobbied separately for the preservation of the Mole Hill houses. Driving the Mole Hill preservation campaign were a number of complex factors, most notably a deep seated resentment towards the lack of public input into 1 The Property Endowment Fund (PEF) was established as a city asset in the early 1960s from industrial land acquired on the south shore of the False Creek Flats. Its central objectives are to make a reasonable economic return and to invest in the social well-being of Vancouver's residents (Maitland, interview, June, 1997). 64 City-led redevelopment plans for Mole Hill. At the root of this resentment was the pervasive sentiment that municipal planning efforts had, in the past, been apathetic towards public opinion, leaving communities paralyzed in the face of drastic and irreversible change. It was in response to such public disenchantment that the political agenda shifted, in the late 1970s and 80s, towards greater public input into planning, and efforts such as CityPlan were mounted. Indeed, the political climate during the Mole Hill revitalization study was ripe with respect to issues regarding community livability, public access to decision making, and social equity. With the 1995 political campaign imminent, such issues became the platform upon which Council sought re-election, and Mole Hill provided a living example of the kind of community Vancouver residents valued. Additionally, the fact that Mole Hill was featured frequently in the popular press strengthened its public visibility. 4.5.3.2 Mole Hill Living Heritage Society A key element in strengthening the existing grass-roots political resistance was the formation of the Mole Hill Living Heritage Society (MHLHS) concurrent to the preparation of the 1994 Land Use Study. Led by two active members of the neighbourhood, the formation of the MHLHS represented a strategic effort to create a unified front through which the interests of various advocacy groups could be channeled and activated towards neighbourhood preservation. Moreover, as a legally incorporated entity the MHLHS was better equipped to wage battles with City Council, at the same time as becoming a legitimate spokes-group for the cause of neighbourhood preservation. A significant element in garnering a broad-base of grass roots support for Mole Hill's preservation was the Mole Hill Living Heritage Society's strategy to concentrate on the heritage attributes of the block and its contribution to the City's ever decreasing stock of heritage resources. West Enders and heritage advocates alike were familiar with the City's past efforts to preserve the remaining vestiges of downtown Vancouver's 65 past. The conservation of Parksite 19 (now Barklay Heritage Square), housing rehabilitation and development at Pacific Heights Housing Co-op, as well as various heritage infill projects around the community, showed a variety of approaches to heritage conservation, each of which sacrificed, to varying degrees, the functional and physical integrity of the existing heritage and community attributes. In promoting Mole Hill as a "Living Heritage" community, the MHLHS was making a clear statement about the nature of the community and its approach to neighbourhood conservation which considered heritage preservation and affordable housing retention mutually reinforcing principles. In order to achieve its vision, the M H L H S recognized that a sustainable strategy for Mole Hill required a multi-dimensional approach to conservation through community development, community education, outreach and vigilant activism. Prior to a public review of the Land Use Study, the MHLHS launched a large and visible public information and education campaign, which was successful in gaining wider community support for the preservation of Mole Hill. Over 5000 signatures from residents of Mole Hill, the greater West End community as well as other local communities, NGOs, and visitors were collected in support of the MHLHS. Emerging from this effort was the formation of the "Friends of Mole Hill", an umbrella coalition of over 30 organizations, representing both local, as well as City-wide interests including those of tenants, heritage advocates, homeowners, AIDS organizations, and neighbourhood advocates. The intent of the "Friends of Mole Hill" is to support, through advocacy and shared knowledge, the preservation of Mole Hill, and to work "together to construct a vision for the celebration and development of the 'Mole Hill Living Heritage Community'" (Mole Hill Living Heritage Society, Dec. 11, 1995, 4). 66 4.5.4 Initiation of Policy Development The evolution of a clear and well-orchestrated political resistance was sufficient to influence Council's rejection of all proposed options for the redevelopment of Mole Hil l at the City Council meeting held April 2, 1996. Aware of the need to placate community resentment and eager to achieve a politically palatable solution to redevelopment, City Council passed 10 resolutions with the intent of providing a framework to guide future land-use planning in Mole Hil l . In these resolutions, a commitment was made to retain all houses listed on the Vancouver Heritage Register, and to accommodate all existing residents on site during renovation. Recognizing the social strata of the community, and in consideration of existing policies supporting mixed communities, City Council recommended that housing priority be given to low end of market rental, with additional housing for families to be considered. CityPlan Policies are cited with respect to exploring new forms of housing and community services through infill. A complete list of Council's resolutions is found in Appendix A. In addition, City Planning staff were instructed to conduct a public planning process which was to include the preparation of a Concept Plan. In September 1996, the Mole Hill Working Group was formed with the express purpose of preparing the Mole Hil l Concept Plan which would be presented to council in the Summer of 1997. 4.5.4.1 Mole Hill Working Group The Mole Hill Working Group (the Working Group) was initiated by Planning staff in September 1996 in response to Council's April 2 recommendation to proceed with a "public planning process" regarding future development potential for Mole Hil l . The Working Group was not intended as a forum for extensive public consultation, but rather consisted of individuals and groups who had a direct interest in the 67 community. The intent was to keep the group to a size small enough to facilitate quick progress, while ensuring that all interests were represented in discussion. The mandate of the Working Group was to "meet regularly... in order to develop a community based concept plan for Mole Hill" and to "seek consensus on all issues related to the planning program and [to] abide by Council resolutions adopted on April 2, 1996" (Mole Hill Working Group. 1996). Members of the Working Group included representation from the Mole Hill Living Heritage Society, the Friends of Mole Hill (i.e. Heritage Vancouver, McLaren Housing Society, West End Seniors Network, Architectural Institute of British Columbia, West End Seniors Network, and the Dr. Peter Foundation), as well as other representatives considered to have a stake in Mole Hill's future (i.e. Y M C A daycare, family housing advocates, and private property owners). In addition, staff representatives from Central Area, Heritage Planning, Social Planning, Real Estate, and the Housing Centre participated in the Working Group process to provide advice based on specific expertise and within the context of City policy. While the primary goal of the Working Group was to develop consensus on a single concept plan for the area, there were a number of factors with respect to group process, structural organization and power distribution which created barriers to achieving consensus. For this reason, there was not a single Concept Plan which was endorsed by both community representatives and staff members of the Working Group, but rather, the report submitted for Council approval contained three separate options: 1) Working Group Option; 2) Development Option; and 3) High Return Option, each of which presents varying approaches to physical and social conservation. In its report to Council Central Area Planning staff recommended the Development Option (Staff Option) for approval, (City of Vancouver, July 21, 1997). 68 The process highlighted a number of issues which, within the context of neighbourhood revitalization, fall into three general categories: physical conservation, social stability and economic development. These issues are summarized as follows: Physical Conservation • Heritage rehabilitation • Parks and open space • New development Social Integrity • Housing retention and re-supply • Community services Economic Development •Housing tenure •Heritage density The most significant points of departure between the Staff Option and the Working Group option existed in the areas of housing retention and re-supply, tenure diversity, and level of conservation, each of which is related to differing perceptions about the amount of physical and social change the site should absorb. Underpinning these departures are fundamentally different ideas about the role economic development should play in conservation and the degree to which the site should generate a profit beyond the funds required for physical and social sustainability. The following provides an overview of the Mole Hill Concept Plan, outlining the principle strategies presented in both the Working Group and the Staff options with respect to addressing the physical, social and economic dimensions of neighbourhood revitalization. The overview is meant to be relatively general in scope and will not address in detail all the principles and policies adopted by each group. Rather, reference will be made to individual principles where it serves to highlight key differences between the two options. The following pages show a graphic representation of both the Working Group and Staff Options. 69 F i g u r e 4.5 D r a f t M o l e H i l l C o n c e p t P lan - W o r k i n g G r o u p O p t i o n Source: City of Vancouver Planning Department F i g u r e 4.6 D r a f t M o l e H i l l C o n c e p t P lan - S ta f f O p t i o n Source: City of Vancouver Planning Department 71 4.6 Draft Principles and Policies - The Mole Hill Concept Plan 4.6.1 Physical Conservation 4.6.1.1 Heritage Both the Working Group and Staff options place a high premium on preserving the intactness of the block for a number of reasons: its architectural unity and streetscape merit; its heritage landscapes; and its functional role within the West End. In principle, all were agreed that moving or demolishing buildings would seriously harm the heritage integrity of the block. The existing council policy for Mole Hill states that "all the City-owned heritage-listed buildings...be retained". It is significant to note that both options surpasses this objective: the Working Group by proposing to keep all existing houses; and the staff by proposing retention of all but two houses. The Staff Option proposes the demolition of two houses and the movement of at least one house in order to provide room for two non-market infill developments. The physical condition of three houses (1147 and 1157 Pendrell Street, and 1154 Comox Street) is under question due to either extensive additions and/or interior conversions. Aided by studies undertaken by independent engineering consultants and the City"s Permits and Licenses Department, City Staff concluded it would be necessary to demolish the houses at 1157 Pendrell Street and 1154 Comox Street because of "extremely high costs of renovation, the inability to upgrade to building code and the inability to provide acceptable living accommodation" (City of Vancouver, July. 1997b, 10). Studies also revealed renovation costs for these two structures could be approximately double that for the average house on the block (11). 72 The Working Group's strategy for Figure 4.7 1157 Pendrell Street conservation reflects similar concerns for those houses with additions, and support demolition of additions only "if they are unable to provide safe and adequate accommodation, they do not enhance the heritage character, it is At one time one of the grandest houses on the block. Extensive additions too expensive or not possible to and interior conversions have compromised its heritage status. bring the addition up to fire and building codes, and if the renovation would require further upgrades within a 20-30 year period" (City of Vancouver, 1997b, Appendix C, 1). This principle recognizes that while some additions may have compromised the livability of the houses, the fundamental goal is to retain the physical intactness of the block. Protection of the block would require either legal designation of individual houses, or a comprehensive re-zoning of the area to one which prohibits demolition and regulates new development through design guidelines. Both options propose a level of conservation which is sensitive to the heritage character, and improves the functional and safety aspects of the units (i.e. provides self-contained units: and upgrades plumbing, electricity, sprinklers, flooring, and gyproc). The Staff option proposes renovations at $110 per square foot, over a five year time frame, which would allow a moderate level of conservation and would restore the building to a level where only minor interventions would be needed over the next 30 plus years (11). The Working Group option takes a more 73 conservative, long-term approach to rehabilitation. This would require undertaking renovations at $65 per square foot, and proceeding with exterior maintenance and interior repairs as funds became available over a twenty year period. Funds for the rehabilitation of houses would be generated through the various forms of tenure as proposed by each group, as well as through a heritage density bank that would be created from the approximately 225,000 square feet of excess density not currently being utilized on site (which is estimated at approximately $6-8 million, if sold under present market conditions).2 Both options strongly support Figure 4.7 Mole Hill Lane the formation of heritage sensitive design guidelines—such as those used for the RT-7 and RT-8 zones — for infill development. Using these guidelines as a framework, all new development would be required to respect the scale and The "lanescapes" are as important to the heritage fabric as the streetscapes and also provide valuable open space opportunities for character of existing houses and pedestrian circulation and community gardens. streetscape, and that open space design give priority to heritage and community gardens. This would 2 Density transfers, as a component of the City's Heritage Management Plan have become an accepted means to provide developer incentives for conservation of heritage structures. The general concept is that a heritage property's development potential (i.e. the difference between the density allowed under the zoning and the actual built density) may be separated from the land and transferred somewhere else in order to attain a specific objective. While heritage density transfers have achieved the conservation of buildings which may have otherwise been demolished, there are a number of constraints which limit their effectiveness, namely: the value of transferred density is dependent on land values and the availability of land which has been zoned to accept transferred density; and there is a difficulty in regulating the impacts of increased density once it is transferred to another area (Richard, 1981, 24). 74 include provisions for the consideration of all Heritage landscapes in new development designs (i.e. boulevards and plantings around houses), specifically, requiring that damaged species be replaced with indigenous or heritage species. 4.6.1.2 Parks and Open Space Consensus was achieved with respect to giving priority to pedestrians in the lane. Recommendations to meet this objective include: narrowing the lane to restrict through traffic (this means reducing the paved area to 6.1 meters [20 feet]); using speed tables and a variety of paving to traffic calm the lane and provide a "safe link" between the day care and Nelson park through the green link; using heritage relaxations to minimize per unit parking requirements; and ensuring that a minimum of 50% of open space behind houses be retained for public open space. In addition, as part of the City's Greenway Plan, the "City Greenway"' would be incorporated along Comox Street, thereby providing a wider pedestrian link to the site. 4.6 .2 Social Integrity 4.6.2.1 Housing Retention and Re-supply The existing Council Resolutions provide a rough framework for addressing housing retention and re-supply on Mole Hill by stating "that the City's existing policy of mixed communities will be maintained. Further, that priority be given to housing for low end of market rental." However, both group options are informed by a different interpretations of what constitutes both a "mixed community" and "low end of market rental". The Staff Option proposes that approximately 60% of existing units be reserved for both low end of market rental (i.e. units rented at approximately $1.00 to $1.25 per square foot) and non-market rental (i.e. units 75 tied to GAIN shelter allowance rates). The remainder of housing units would be a combination of existing single family houses and infill houses, both of which would be available for long-term lease(i.e. 99 year), and multiple conversion dwellings, which would capture market rents. The rationale behind this approach is that Mole Hill housing does not currently meet two criteria for achieving a mixed community: the first is to attract a variety of income levels; and the second is to provide for a diverse household size. Staff figures report that only 12% of existing Mole Hill units are suitable for families, almost half of the 25% family-housing requirement for new downtown developments (Ibid., 10). The Working Group consider Mole Hill's role as providing a needed stock of affordable rental housing in the West End as the overriding priority. Therefore, in consideration of maintaining social stability as well the integrity of heritage fabric, the Working Group Option proposes to retain a minimum of 165 affordable rental housing units in their existing form (i.e. in existing houses) with no infill housing to be accommodated on site.3 4.6.2.2 Community Services Recognizing the potential to utilize vacant land on Mole Hill for the provision of much needed community-services, the Working Group achieved consensus on expanding the existing Y M C A daycare (1133 Pendrell Street) and leasing the vacant parcel of land at the corner of Thurlow and Comox Streets for the development of the Dr. Peter Centre. Discussions began in early 1995 between City staff and the Dr. Peter Foundation regarding the potential of developing an AIDS Day Centre on the vacant corner parcel at Thurlow and Comox Streets. The location 3 The Working Group defines "affodable rental" as a "combination of suites rented at $1.00/square foot to existing tenants and other wuites rented at $1.25/ square foot to new tenants. 76 was considered ideal due to easy and direct access to St. Paul's Hospital across Thurlow Street, which currently provides most of the province's AIDS care. Moreover, as the West End community is home to a high percentage of the Vancouver's AIDS residents and general practitioners specializing in AIDS, it was appropriate to develop such a facility in close proximity of those who would be using it the most (City of Vancouver, November 1995a, 2). Responding to the need for increased day care in the West End, building on existing infrastructure, and increasing opportunities for family housing, were three primary reasons for developing new and expanded day facilities care on Mole Hill. The new day care development will consist of four buildings in total, all of which will be consolidated onto one lot: two existing houses and one new house (all facing Pendrell Street); and a new infill building (accessed via the lane). The daycare proposal increases childcare capacity to 53 spaces and will be undertaken in two phases. The first involves the construction of a new infill house at 1133 Pendrell which will accommodate 7 spaces of licensed family childcare, and the construction of a new childcare facility at the rear of the lot which will accommodate 25 spaces. The second phase involves the conversions of the two houses adjacent 1133 Pendrell into five dwelling units, three of which would be suitable for 7 licensed family childcare spaces each.4 4.6.3 Economics 4.6.3.1 New Development The Staff Option includes up to ten residential, ground oriented infill developments which would provide 36 additional market housing units. Eight of these would be single family coach houses, built either at side or 4 Family daycare is an alternative approach to childcare which involves building new, or retro-fitting existing family dwelling units to accommodate childcare space. The advantage of providing family daycare is that allows it for a more flexible application of building code, licensing and child care requirements in order to meet childcare and family housing needs. 77 the rear of existing houses, and two would be multiple unit dwellings built on the previous site of 1157 Pendrell Street. Developing infill responds to the Council Resolution which states in part: "That the policies of CityPlan will be used as the basis for demonstrations options, including innovative infill, new forms of housing, community gardens, greenways, etc....". Staff also indicate that providing substantial market infill on the site would generate approximately $4 million in net revenue for the site (i.e. total revenue captured from rental and leasehold tenure arrangements minus heritage rehabilitation of rental units). In consideration for the integrity of the heritage street and lanescapes, the value of maintaining open space, and protecting the existing social fabric, the Working Group Option includes no residential infill development with the exception of one new house situated at the front of the new daycare facility. 4.7 Summary The central objective of this chapter has been to expose the numerous issues involved in planning for sensitive neighbourhood revitalization, and to highlight the tradeoffs that exist between the economic, physical and social aspects thereof. The chapter first provides an overview of the physical, historical, social and policy context for the Mole Hill Planning Process. Following this is a brief discussion of the process itself and an outline of the various issues it raised, many of which proved to be in direct conflict. For example, a higher level of conservation would necessarily involve greater revenue to be generated from the site, a decision which would impact the ability of many existing residents to remain in the community. Similarly, providing little or no housing diversity would be unresponsive to the increasing need for family housing in the downtown core. Resolving these conflicts is an ongoing and iterative process and involves continued negotiation between Working Group members and city staff. 78 The following chapter will examine the Mole Hill Planning Process and Concept Plan from a critical perspective using the framework established in Chapter 3 with a view to exposing both the opportunities and constraints of developing an empowering, multi-dimensional and collaborative approach to neighbourhood revitalization. 79 Chapter 5 Mole H i l l Case Study: Analysis 5.1 Purpose This chapter will analyze the Mole Hill case study using the framework outlined in chapter 3 . The main objective of this chapter is to highlight existing, opportunities and identify potential barriers to developing a community-based neighbourhood conservation program using the following normative characteristics as a framework: focus on involvement; multi-dimensional policies and program structures; and a collaborative approach. The chapter has two principle components: 1) a review of the Mole Hill Community Planning Process; and 2) a review of the Planning Principles as contained in the draft Mole Hill Concept'Plan. 5.2 M o l e H i l l P l a n n i n g Process 5.2.1 Focus on Involvement A number of issues were highlighted as having undermined the effectiveness of the Working Group in achieving consensus on a single concept plan for Mole Hill, many of which emerged from an ineffective organizational structure, predetermined goals and objectives, an incomplete understanding of the social realities of the community, and complex internal dynamics. By initiating a community planning process, there is a responsibility on the part of local government to facilitate a process that accurately reflects the social and physical realities of the community. The following section reviews how and through what means the Mole Hill community based planning process recognized community, and to what extent the process was empowering. 8 0 5.1.2 Recognizing Community The theoretical literature outlined in chapter 3 suggested that revitalization initiatives which involve the community from the outset in the identification of the geographical boundaries of the community, as well as in the formulation of initial objectives, are those most likely to gain broad support and foster empowerment. However, even initiatives that are conceived in the spirit of changing conventional decision making models stand to be met with suspicion and distrust if they are initiated in a top-down fashion. The literature suggests that a recognition of the community involves building an awareness of both the social and physical realities therein and in developing a shared meaning of goals and objectives through an appropriate (i.e. bottom-up) organizational and decision making structure. (Fussell, 1996, 45). Working Group Structure The Working Group structure was conceived as the first phase of a two-phase process, the first of which would involve the Working Group in identifying issue areas and developing recommendations for the draft Concept Plan. The second phase would involve the wider public in a more consultative fashion in order to refine details contained in the draft Plan (MHWG Meeting Minutes, November 12, 1997). The intent was to keep the Working Group to a size small enough to facilitate quick progress, while ensuring a broad range of interests were represented. Determining representation on the Working Group was coordinated by Central Area staff who, prior to the process, initiated informal meetings with potential stakeholders such as property owners, the Dr. Peter Centre, and community service providers. At the same time, groups already extensively involved in the ongoing process, such as the Mole Hill Living Heritage Society, and the Friends of Mole Hill, began preparing for the process, as well as identifying other potential Working Group members (i.e. tenants and community service providers). Ultimately, approximately 15 community interests were represented on the 81 Working Group. Staff participated as non-voting members and were required to provide advice based on specific expertise and within the context of City policy. Some criticism was expressed from members of the Working Group with respect to the method and scope of selection for community representation. It was felt that the process of selection should have been more inclusive and participatory. On the other hand, there was also concern that some individuals were invited to participate without a clear justification for their involvement. These concerns reflect the inherent difficulty of initiating participatory processes in communities where there are multiple interests, existing networks, as well as a deeply entrenched distrust of top-down approaches. Staff s need to expedite an efficient product-oriented process was likely the motivation behind the identification of specific participants. While open to criticism, this approach recognized the problems of creating too large a forum for participation. Allowing unlimited representation could potentially lead to a unwieldy organizational structure with heightened prospects for internal tension and conflict between community organizations, thereby threatening group cohesion and productivity. The mechanism for reaching decisions was a quasi-consensus voting structure whereby each non-staff representative of the Working Group received one vote, and issues would be resolved by a 70% majority vote. In situations resulting in less than 70% agreement, staff could seek Council resolution of the issue. The terms of reference for the Working Group were provided by the April 2nd Council Resolutions. While both the Working Group structure and terms of reference were adopted unanimously by the Working Group early in the process, faith in these structural perameters soon eroded because of a lack of commitment to. and feeling of ownership over these perameters. A number of community representatives perceived that adopting Council's Resolutions as the objectives of the Working Group essentially usurped the group's ability to define its own objectives, and amounted to a predetermination of the project outcome on the part of staff. This perception resulted in an underlying climate of distrust and frustration which involved not only community representatives, but also some staff members, who were required to act within Council's Resolutions and were therefore unable to provide the degree of flexibility that the community wanted. In the eyes of some members of staff, resistance to accept the terms of reference was indicative of a myopic and parochial approach to the process; in the eyes of some community representatives, the resistance to the terms of reference indicated a deeper seated belief that the foundation upon which the process was constructed was both bankrupt and incapable of reflecting their needs. It is within this context that a motion was raised by a community representative of the Working Group to adopt the following overarching goal: "As part of the planning process, the Working Group will come to a common understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of Mole Hill so that any decisions made only enhance the site" (MHWG Meeting Minutes, December 9, 1996). While this neither supports nor refutes the Council Resolutions, it represented an attempt to define, in more general terms, working principles which the Working Group could embrace. Similarly, throughout the process, other motions were adopted by the Working Group which attempted to provide a more cohesive foundation for the process. Ironically, a number of objectives set by Council worked in favour of Working Group members as it legitimized their concerns for affordable housing and family housing, as well as preservation of listed buildings. This not-withstanding, the fact that the objectives were pre-determined made it difficult to negotiate divergent views between Working Group members, such as the interests of private property owners and low-income housing advocates. A final issue with respect to the organizational and procedural structure of the Working Group, was the location and time of meetings. Initially, meetings were held at City Hall during after dinner hours. This placed a burden on a number of community representatives who lived either in the West End, a few of 83 whom were elderly and had limited access to City Hall. Moreover, by locating meetings away from the site served to isolate the community from the process, and further exaggerated an already perceived top-down bias. Staff did make efforts to move the meetings, first to a nearby school annex, then to a basement in one of the on-site houses which had been renovated for this purpose. The Program As mentioned, the Mole Hill planning process was conceived as a primarily product-oriented exercise. As such, staff developed a time line and work program which would facilitate the desired output. The program that was outlined at the first Working Group meeting proposed to establish criteria for approaching the renovation of initially two or three houses. The context for this work program was the availability of '"seed money" totaling $500,000, which Council had allotted in order to: a) build confidence in the process; and b) to provide a few prototype models for future maintenance efforts (Smith, interview, July 1997). Identification of houses depended upon achieving a consensus on criteria for selecting houses for renovation, and it was explained that the progress of the Working Group was dependent upon reaching this consensus in a timely fashion. The meeting minutes for October 15 state: '"it is advisable to identify the houses early in the process so that the rest of the planning process can continue" (MHWG Meeting Minutes. October 15, 1996, 3). However, such an objective proved pre-mature due to a number of gaps in the amount of information staff had concerning the social and physical realities of the site, differences in the knowledge base of various community representatives with respect to technical issues, as well as resistance to physical change so early in the process. To many members of the Working Group, establishing criteria for the renovation and maintenance of individual houses was antithetical to the concept of developing a unified and comprehensive vision for the neighbourhood. Additionally, without accurate and comprehensive site information (outlining both social and physical perameters of the site), it was impossible to define meaningful selection criteria. Moreover, the 84 expertise of the Working Group in such areas as low income and special needs housing, architecture, heritage preservation, and Mole Hill history, had not been sufficiently tapped as a means of addressing the host of other issues relevant to undertaking physical interventions. Initially viewed as an olive branch, a gesture of good will on the part of Council, staffs ambitious efforts to begin physical improvements at this early stage were met with suspicion and distrust by Working Group members. Within such a climate, the ongoing efforts of the community representatives to clarify objectives as well as modify the program of the Working Group can be seen as attempts to construct a frame of reference which corresponded to their own experiential and empirical knowledge of Mole Hill. As Fussell states: "If.. new information is outside the social reality of the host community, then its introduction may fail because it does not interface easily with the existing knowledge" (Fussell, 1996, 48). If, on the other hand, there is a mutually held awareness of the community both from an experiential and empirical perspective, the community may undergo a transformative process which "challenges existing concepts of reality but finally leads to integration of new perceptions into the community's' world vision... [and] that will engender new insights" (Ibid). In this light, not only was staffs initial information inadequate at addressing the complexity of issues, it did not accurately reflect the needs nor the reality of community. 5.2.2 Facilitating Empowerment The above reviews a number of aspects of the Mole Hill Planning process for the perspective of the community, specifically how representation, structure and program were designed to either reflect, or in some cases, negate the needs of the community. The following section deals with the role of staff in facilitating an empowering process and will focus on first, to what extent, and through what means resources were disseminated, and second, the roles of staff in facilitating the transfer of information, as well as in facilitating effective communication. Resources A number of measures were taken to identify the physical and social perameters of the site and involved the input of both staff and community representatives. A resident survey, undertaken by the City of Vancouver Housing Centre, revealed the social profile of the residents of Mole Hill (Graves, 1997; also see Chapter 4). It provided compelling information for making decisions about the timing and scope of renovations, as well as for exploring appropriate strategies for the relocation of vulnerable residents. Another significant function the survey provided was the identification of residents who were eligible for, but not receiving disability benefits. As a result, advocacy for these tenants will be provided in order for them to receive their rightful benefits. In addition, staff prepared a housing profile which outlined the site dimensions, physical condition and projected renovation costs for each of the city owned houses. This study, coupled with a more historical and anthropological study undertaken by Mole Hill activist-resident, Blaire Petrie, provided a basis from which a common understanding of the site could begin to inform decisions. Finally, a number of Working Group members made presentations based on their professional expertise and areas of interest. That the working group represented a range of interests and recognized a number of areas of professional expertise, afforded enormous opportunity for information exchange and resource sharing. Moreover, the multi-departmental, multi-agency approach by staff represented an effort to approach the process comprehensively. However, comments from both Working Group Representatives and staff indicated information was not always readily available from a particular department. Delays in information transmission, as well as the communication of inappropriate or incomplete information, rendered the process frustrating for many members of the Working Group. 86 The Role of the Planners The Working Group Intent Statement, adopted at the November 12 meeting, states: City staff will manage and coordinate the working group and provide professional advice based on specific expertise and City-policy. Representation from Central Area Planning, Heritage Planning, Social Planning, Real Estate, and the Housing Centre was provided on an ongoing basis over the course of the process. In addition, representatives from the Parks Board, Greenways, and Engineering, were called upon as issues which required specific expertise arose. Perhaps the issue which most contributed to group frustration and stagnation was the role of staff as facilitators of the process. Very early in the process, community representatives became concerned with an inherent conflict of interest between the role of staff as mediators and facilitators in a process where they were also, de facto, negotiators in their own interest. The role of the City as the primary land owner already contributed to a structural imbalance of power; having City staff facilitate the process exaggerated this imbalance and created a adversarial environment whereby Working Group members became frustrated, inflexible, and resistant to building group consensus. This frustration was heightened by the presence of a conditional clause within the Working Group statement of intent which allowed City Staff to develop a separate concept plan should the Working Group decide to pursue a principles and strategies which were opposed to Council policy (as articulated by the Resolutions). Eventually the climate of the Working Group meetings had deteriorated to a point where issues of process and organizational structure dominated the discussion, ultimately threatening the ability of the Group to meet its goal. Staff's reasons for approaching Working Group meetings in this way centre around the initial conception of the Working Group process as product-focused, as indicated by the work plan outlined in the first meetings. A number of assumptions regarding the Working Group's ability to reach consensus, and of staffs ability to coalesce conflicting viewpoints between various interests, contributed to the staff s 87 decision to act as facilitators. Upon realizing the failure of this strategy, and in response to continued pronouncements from Working Group members to provide an outside facilitator. Central Area staff, under the advise of a Working Group sub-committee, hired an independent facilitator from the Justice Institute of British Columbia. Once hired, the facilitator provided clear perameters and principles for group process, including meeting procedure, decision making process and access to information (MHWG Meeting Minutes, February 25. 1995). This structure provided more clearly articulated roles for both community representatives and staff, and provided staff with the opportunity to engage in the discussion as a negotiator without a conflict of interest. While unable to achieve total consensus on a single concept plan, the facilitator was able to repair, to some degree, a fractured group spirit, and restore commitment to future phases of the process. The above reviews a number of aspects of the Mole Hill community based planning process using criteria derived from theoretical literature and case study examples outlined in Chapter 3. It suggests a number of areas where the process failed to meet the prescribed characteristics and describes the means through which this occurred. These include an adherence to top-down procedures of organizing, facilitation, and information control, and its use of pre-determined objectives and work plan, each of which affected the extent to which community felt empowered by the process. The analysis also highlighted a number of areas where the process was successful in reflecting the characteristics. In reacting to frustration and crisis, staff and community representatives began adjusting expectations and over time, developed an understating of opposing viewpoints. Moreover, the process also engendered a spirit of leadership on the part of some members of the Working Group, resulting in a number of innovative solutions to both procedural as well as strategic planning issues. Moreover, because of the multi-departmental structure, staff members often emerged as advocates for particular issues, one example 88 being day care. Finally, in building an awareness of the social and physical realities of the site, both members of staff and community representatives were able to undergo a transformative process whereby each group could gain a better understanding of the other's position, and ultimately, embrace a number of collective principles for the future of Mole Hill. Thus, while not a resounding success, individual factors of the process make it a potentially effective forum in which to further negotiate outstanding items. 5.3 P l a n n i n g Pr inc ip les a n d C o n c e p t P lan f o r M o l e H i l l This section reviews the strategies contained in the document "Planning principles and Concept Plan for Mole Hill" (The Plan). The Plan attempts to reconcile a number of challenges with respect to meeting short and long-term goals of physical maintenance and rehabilitation, providing security of tenure for existing residents, and providing housing opportunities for new residents. This section has two components. First, it examines the extent to which the Plan is multi-dimensional —• that is how successfully it integrates and fosters strategies for physical conservation, housing retention and re-supply, and community economic development and community education. Secondly, it highlights existing and potential opportunities for multi-sector collaboration and partnerships in brining about creative and sustainable conservation. 5.3.1 Multi-dimensional Approach 5.3.1.1 Physical Conservation Achieving a successful conservation strategy requires a comprehensive appreciation of the site, including its architectural forms, its streetscapes, lanescapes, and heritage landscapes. Strategies for conservation must reflect user needs and be culturally appropriate without sacrificing those aspects which give the site its unique significance. There are a range of approaches to conservation, the purest of which may involve stabilization but no physical alteration. The approaches emphasized in The Plan can be classified as forms 89 of "rehabilitation", whereby moderate interventions would provide continued use of the houses while preserving those elements which are important to the property's historic, architectural and cultural merit. The approach proposed by the Working Group is perhaps closer to pure preservation in the sense that demolition or removal of all or parts of structures is discouraged, except where the livability of units is compromised and where renovations would impose excessive costs. While structural additions to buildings may be considered unworthy from an architectural perspective, members of the community consider these physical forms as a valid expression of the block's historical and cultural development, and should therefore be preserved. Of course, any level of conservation requires significant economic investment. The degree to which funds for rehabilitation are generated from the block and/or through other measures depends upon establishing a comprehensive set of policies which incorporate long term legal protection with strategies for economic development. Ensuring Protection and Regulating Change There are several tools available which can achieve long term protection of Mole Hill, some of which are more comprehensive than others. For example, while legal designation of each individual house would prohibit the property owner (in this case the City) from demolishing the structure, and would require heritage staff approval on any physical changes, it would be difficult to regulate the form and design of new development on the block. The most appropriate tool for protection is one which recognizes the unique character of the block, and one which is able to regulate the form and scale of new development throughout the block. 90 Under the Heritage Conservation Statute Amendment Act (1994), Municipalities can designate entire sites as Heritage Conservation Areas, which legally ensures long term protection of an area deemed to have distinctive heritage merit (Province of British Columbia, 1994). However, this tool was not included in amendments to the Vancouver Charter and is therefore not an option for providing long term protection for Mole Hill. The tool being contemplated by staff is a re-zoning of the block either to a Comprehensive Development District (CD-I), or to one which specifically identifies the block as a heritage character area, such as Yaletown (HA-3) and that proposed for Victory Square (City of Vancouver, 1995). A re-zoning would provide a regulatory framework within which appropriate policies and guidelines for area conservation could be developed at the same time as ensuring carefully monitored incremental change. This would include developing design guidelines which regulate the height, form, scale, material and color of proposed rehabilitation projects with respect to maintaining the integrity of existing houses and the surrounding context (i.e. streetscapes and lanescapes). An appropriate framework would also outline a process which facilitates local input into design decisions. Using existing examples such as the First Shaugnessy Design Panel, Mole Hill could develop a similar model, such as a "Heritage Area Planning Committee", which could involve preservation professionals, architects, designers, landscape architects and community representatives in the review of heritage rehabilitation projects. Such a model would allow an incremental and culturally appropriate level of change to occur. The preliminary concept drawings for the Doctor Peter Centre illustrate the importance of establishing compatible and sensitive design in introducing a new use and form into an existing residential urban fabric. A key challenge is designing a structure which addresses both the functional requirements of the building's users (e.g. accessibility, layout and spatial functions, light, etc.) and the physical requirements of its surrounding context. Issues such as height, massing, materials, scale, and color must be considered within the existing heritage streetscape. In this design, elements such as rooflines and fenestration echo, rather 91 than imitate those of existing houses. In addition, the design draws its influence from historic photos which show the original building to have been of a similar scale and massing. Figure 5.1 Dr. Peter Centre Preliminary Drawing of the Dr. Peter Centre - Drawn by Neale Staniszkis, Doll, Adams Architects 5.3.1.2 Housing Retention and Re-supply The issue of housing is a complex one, requiring more negotiation between community representatives, staff, and Council, as well as a more integrated and multi-dimensional approach. The overall approach to housing is mostly consistent with the criteria outlined in chapter 3, that is, protection, replacement and rehabilitation of housing. In the Staff option, there is one-for-one replacement of low income (SRO) units: however most units currently being rented to higher income earners (i.e. tenants not currently on some form of income assistance), will be rehabilitated and undergo a rent increase. Important factors to consider are the degree to which existing tenants are displaced and the implications of putting all low income units in one or two structures on the site, effectively stigmatizing them from the rest of the community. 92 The housing strategy should also recognize the role Mole Hill plays in providing a valuable stock of rental housing in the West End. The Working Group asserts that Mole Hill's current '"seamless" social mix be appreciated as one component of the larger social diversity existing in the West End and therefore should not be required to meet all criteria for a complete, self-contained community, including diversity of income levels and diversity of housing tenure. Indeed, the proportion of family units provided by the privately owned houses was not included in the calculations of unit diversity. Issues such as unit size, tenure and cost are those which profoundly affect the existing character and viability of the block and need to be balanced with more short term economic objectives such as leasehold arrangements and infill. A more thorough exploration of funding options and collaborative arrangements is needed before any consensus is reached on this complex issue. 5.3.1.3 Community Economic Development and Community Education Mole Hill has number of elements which make it particularly suitable for locally generated economic development initiatives. First, the Mole Hill Living Heritage Society and Friends of Mole Hill organization has provided a kind of community infrastructure from which a base level of energy, resources and creativity continue to be generated. Secondly, the fact that Mole Hill is situated within the larger West End community means that it can draw upon resources and models which currently exist within the community, without having to "re-invent the wheel". Thirdly, as a historic community within a rapidly expanding urban core, there is increasing potential for developing a local strategy for tourism. Labour Training for Housing Rehabilitation Typically, heritage rehabilitations are 20% more costly than non-heritage renovations, ranging from approximately $125-$ 145 per square foot. However, both the Working Group and Staff options propose a more modest level of rehabilitation in order to keep unit costs low ($0.65 - $1.00 per square foot). The central difference between each of the options is the time span proposed for undertaking renovations: the Working Group would prefer more incremental upgrades over a twenty year time frame, and Staff would prefer expedite renovations over a five year period in order to save on management costs, and prevent further deterioration. A potential means of decreasing renovation costs, allow for more incremental change, and contribute to the skill base of the community, is to develop options for a community-based labour training program. Preliminary Working Group discussions indicate several challenges in implementing such a program, for example that the costs of supervision and management would outweigh economic benefits (Maitland. interveiw, June 16, 1997). Viewed from the perspective of any small-scale business venture, higher start-up costs are eventually absorbed within the context of other longer term benefits. Moreover, within a more holistic cost-benefit equation, labour training has more wider reaching benefits: for example, local construction wages will potentially be re-circulated back into the community, creating more indirect spin-off effects. Referring back to the Banana Kelly example, local youth were initially trained to undertake housing renovations. This program eventually spawned other programs geared at developing leadership, academic and business skills, and provided assistance in successfully applying this training and education. Utilizing local labor — either as sweat equity or paid labour — is also a means of fostering a reflective and incremental approach to change. Using a single contractor or developer to undertake renovations could result in changes occurring too quickly, and which are insensitive to the existing heritage fabric. Conversely, by using a component of local labour means that each project could be informed by local experience and knowledge. 94 Heritage Gardens and Tours as a Tool for Community Economic Development A project which has become a vehicle for community economic development is the Mole Hill Gardens and Tours Project. Funded through the Urban Issues Program of the Samuel and Saidye Bronfman Family Foundation, the objectives of the Gardens and Tours Project are to: develop a strong relationship with the tenants an neighbours of Mole Hill: to make Mole Hill a focal point for the neighbourhood by enhancing existing gardens and developing new gardens which include heritage plants; to develop gardening and group skills within the Mole Hill community; to demonstrate to the public the Mole Hill gardens and community through tours; to develop a community structure designed to empower its members" (Mole Hill Living Heritage Society 1997, Spring/Summer, .2). Underpinning each of the Projects objectives is the desire to develop community ownership through active involvement in the physical and social maintenance of the area. It is expected that residents and community members either actively or passively involved in the Project (i.e. through gardening; partaking in tours; donating plants; providing expertise, skills and knowledge) are more likely to advocate for neighbourhood preservation than if there were no opportunities for involvement. The gardening project consists of two components. The first is a group garden project, whereby members meet weekly and work collectively to enhance the existing heritage gardens and boulevards, or to create new gardens. The second is the community gardens project which, because there is no site large enough to accommodate a single garden, consists of individual plots on city-owned land which are then cultivated by members of the community (both from within Mole Hill, and from the wider community). A challenge facing the gardens project is to develop a long term vision for the area which is in keeping with the larger planning process, and to build a large enough member base from which this vision can be realized. Similarly, a challenge facing staff and the Working Group in the following phases is to coordinate all future land use planning and housing rehabilitations with the long-term vision for the gardens. 95 While the focus of the Gardens and Tours Project is primarily on community development, as opposed to generating specifically economic outcomes, such a project is a potential springboard for more direct economic development initiatives, such as food production, composting, recycling programs, and community education programs. Moreover, its focus on developing local knowledge of history and natural processes enhances the capacity and knowledge base of community members, which can ultimately be channeled into more tangible economic outputs, tourism being one example. 5.3.2 Collaboration As the case studies and literature suggested in Chapter 3, a key role for local government is to act as an agent in establishing cooperative partnerships between public, private and non-governmental sectors in order to achieve long term stability of neighbourhood programs and projects. Indeed, the sooner a community organization can diversify its funding base through collaborative partnerships, the less vulnerable it will be to the kinds of political and administrative changes that make government support inconsistent. At the core of a collaborative strategy is a multi-agency and multi-professional process which utilizes a breadth of expertise and existing models to address complex problems and draft appropriate and innovative solutions. This type of collaborative strategy can be seen in a unique partnership between the City and the BC Wood Specialist Group. In exchange for constructing the new daycare building and the new infill house at 1133 Pendrell Street, BC Wood Specialist Group will be permitted to use the two buildings over a two year period as a display centre for wood value added products. Facilitated by the city staff from Central Area the project was further refined by a Social Planning staff member who saw the potential for an integrated daycare scheme to increase both the diversity of household types and childcare capacity of the block at the same time as providing sensitive new infill and adaptively reusing existing structures. Negotiations among 96 the Working Group, other departmental staff, and the BC Wood Specialties Group involved setting objectives for family housing, day care, and open space, and coordinating these with existing code requirements and regulatory restrictions. In order to facilitate the family daycare in the two existing houses adjacent to the daycare site a number of upgrades to meet life and safety requirements, including sprinklering. must be undertaken. At the same time, heritage rehabilitation and general maintenance work will be undertaken to the exteriors which include revealing the original wood siding, possible re-roofing with non-combustible wood shingles to be donated through the BC Wood Specialties Group. Similar to the Dr. Peter Centre, the form, scale and materials of the new daycare is to be sensitive to the surrounding context (See Figure 5.4). Here a distinct contemporary language uses roof lines, materials and window elements to provide a sensitive interface between old and new. Determining the functional arrangement of interior and exterior space involved extensive consultation among the architect, daycare and Social Planning staff. Moreover, as part of the process, a Working Group committee provided input into the design of both the daycare and the new infill house which will form part of the Pendrell streetscape. Figure 5.4 Proposed Daycare Facility While the Concept Plan does not outline specific opportunities for establishing other partnerships to achieve specific objectives, several areas are particularly suitable to collaborative arrangements, the most obvious being housing. There are currently two housing programs Model of new daycare and infill house (Pendrell Street . . perspective). Lyn Werker, Architect available through the British Columbia Housing Management Corporation. The first program is targeted to homeless-at-nsk (i.e. disabled, seniors) and the second program is targeted at non-profit housing for families. Because of the mixed social strata of the Mole Hill community, it would be difficult to secure extensive funding through either of these programs unless a case were made that a program area were specifically relevant to the Mole Hill community as a whole. In other words, applying under the homeless-at-risk program would preclude the possibility of more moderate income earners living in the community. Moreover, with an extremely competitive application process (BCHMC allocates funding to only 600 projects annually), proposals have to be cost effective and meet a significant social need; often the only way to meet these criteria is through new construction. These barriers notwithstanding, a community-based approach to housing management can still be possible In the Downtown Eastside, a number of SRO hotels which have been acquired by the City's Housing and Properties department, have devolved management to community-based non-profit groups (Vaisbord, 1995, 92). Further phases of planning should involve more thorough exploration of co-operative funding and management arrangements among existing community groups, public and private agencies. 5.4 Summary The above review focuses on several procedural and substantive aspects of the draft Mole Hill Concept Plan. The first section critiques several elements of the community planning process, namely the extent of and means through which there was a focus on the community, and the extent to which the process facilitated empowerment. The review illustrates that while the Working Group model presented a number of opportunities to address a number of diverse interests within a consensus-style decision making framework, the process was ultimately inadequate at representing the needs of the community. For the 98 most part, a reliance on top-down methods of organizing, structure, and programming informed the process, including a pre-determined set of objectives and workplan and an uneven distribution of power. The intent of this chapter review was not to evaluate the merits of each separate option as presented by the Working Group and Staff, but rather to emphasize those strategies which integrate sensitive physical conservation, housing retention and re-supply, and locally generated economic development. Finally, The Plan is reviewed according to the extent to which a collaborative approach to programming and project implementation will be encouraged or assisted. 99 Chapter 6 Conclusions and Lessons Learned There is...a politics to place construction ranging...across material, representational and symbolic activities which find their hallmark in the way individuals invest in places and thereby empower themselves collectively by virtue of that investment. David Harvey, From Space to Place and Back Again 6.1 I n t r o d u c t i o n The central goal of this thesis, as described in Chapter 1, has been to explore the opportunities and constraints of community based planning for inner city neighbourhood conservation, using the Mole Hill planning process and draft Concept Plan as a case study. The previous chapter focused on the extent to which the process and draft strategies reflected the normative characteristics outlined in Chapter 3. These included, community involvement, multi-dimensional programming, and a collaborative approach. The purpose of this chapter is draw lessons and general conclusions from the case study and highlight specific implications for future planning processes and policy development both for Mole Hill as well as other similar neighbourhood conservation and revitalization efforts. 6.2 T h e Process The case study reveals the complex and contentious nature of planning for conservation within an expanding urban context. The multiplicity of players, the exigency of issues, the amount and availability of resources, and the often adversarial positions demonstrate the fragmented and complex quality of planning in this context. The case study analysis illustrates that a predominance of top-down planning methods informed the Working Group process. This is revealed by an essentially product-focused and linear approach to group process, primary features of which were the use of pre-determined objectives and a pre-defined work program. Other features which undermined the effectiveness of the Working Group 100 concerned representation and identification of the community, the role of the planner as both a negotiator and a facilitator in the process, as well as the perceived control of the process by some Working Group members. As theory predicts, many of these factors resulted in distrust and frustration by community members and ultimately created a fragmented Concept Plan. Despite these limitations the Working Group structure demonstrates a new approach to participatory community planning which reflects more integrated and democratic models such as a quasi-consensus decision making structure, and multi-agency staff representation. Each of these elements signal a move towards collaborative approaches to neighbourhood planning which is reflected in the development of innovative strategies such as the new daycare facility and the integration of the Dr. Peter Centre. Involving Community Issues surrounding community representation often emerge because of a difficulty in defining the physical as well as social boundaries of a community. In Mole Hill, while the geographical boundaries are clear, its social and cultural links to the wider community are extensive and thus, more difficult to determine. Being primarily a publicly owned asset, the potential for the block to meet the needs of a number of interest groups was significant. During previous public processes, heritage, housing and park space were considered the primary interest areas; however, in the advent of a new process, and within the context of the Council Resolutions, additional interests such as the AIDS care, family housing, daycare, and neighbourhood open space sought a place at the decision making table. In addition, the interests of private property owners further complicated the sense of community because objectives embraced by community advocates were often in direct conflict with those of the property owners. For example, objectives which favoured outside investment as a means of encouraging revitalization (i.e. infill and leasehold agreements), while favoured by a private home owner, were opposed by both low-income housing and heritage advocates because of the attendant negative impact this would have on the both the social and historic fabric of the community. 101 Thus, while the Working Group structure was successful at involving a range of interests in the discussion, it was ineffective at coalescing conflicting agendas and achieving a win-win solution. This is due in part to a process which was developed without full Working Group participation. By constructing a draft work program prior to the first meeting, staff were following the classical rational comprehensive model of planning, the first stage of which is to identify problems and gather data in order to address the problems in a rational fashion. As theory suggests, prescribing problems and collecting data as the first step in a process leads almost inevitably to failure because there is no criteria against which the relevance of data can be measured. Within this context, the objective of starting renovations on houses at the outset of the process was impossible to achieve without all the relevant facts, for example: the physical condition of all houses; resident profiles; the external impacts of renovation. Moreover, without a clear idea of the priorities (i.e. goals) of each Working Group member, it was impossible to weigh the relevance of the information that was initially provided. Thus, the desire to focus on a substantive issue such as housing rehabilitation, while not problematic in itself, resulted in wasted time and resources as well as contributed to the erosion of group trust. The issue of pre-set objectives has interesting implications for empowerment. While theory predicts that an empowering process is one in which goals and objectives are defined by the community, the presence of the Council resolutions actually provided legitimacy to a number of separate arguments, and actually committed Council to action on these issues. These include those which addressed family housing, community services and heritage. However, for those interests not explicitly supported in the resolutions, the a priori acceptance of the resolutions as a set of objectives, presented a barrier to negotiating consensus on some of the more contentious issues among members of the group as well as with staff. Therefore, in one sense, the Council resolutions were an attempt to define an appropriate scope for public discussion and to ensure a variety of interests were considered; however, because of a perception that the resolutions may have given more weight to some interests over others, the appropriateness and effectiveness of the Council 102 resolutions is questionable. Therefore, Council support and guidance can be seen as both an opportunity and a constraint to effective planning. Without the prescribed objectives, and in the absence of a strong facilitator, the process risked being derailed by competing agendas and complex internal dynamics. Facilitating Empowerment If the Working Group model is to maximize its potential to be an effective instalment for community based planning, more consideration must be given to the role of the planner in facilitating a constructive and empowering process. As the literature illustrated, problems arise when planning staff assume both a facilitating and a negotiating role, as one is, by definition, in direct conflict with the other. While in other similar situations (e.g. Victory Square), it has been appropriate that city staff facilitate decision making, a number of factors threatened the feasibility of this option. As the principle land-owner, the City's interest was perceived by many members of the group, to be one driven by economic development through top-down revitalization. For this reason, it was considered a conflict of interest for Central Area planning staff to be self-appointed as a facilitator and mediator of discussion. Also, the process was not without its historical and political baggage. Years of community resistance and vigilant opposition to redevelopment, together with a deep seeded distrust of top-down planning approaches, contributed to a climate rife with tension and mistrust. Finally, the presence of a number of strong personalities on the Working Group was an indication that a neutral mediator was necessary to facilitate balanced and productive dialogue. With staff leading discussion, an adversarial relationship developed between the staff chair and community representatives to the extent that discussion between all group members was extremely difficult. Moreover, staff was also unable to facilitate a supportive environment in which the transfer of ideas and knowledge could generate alternatives and options, and ideas were often debated and challenged rather than explored. The decision to hire an outside facilitator emerged as a measure of last resort and represented an attempt by the Working Group to take ownership of the process. The presence of a non-staff facilitator helped quell 103 suspicions that the process was driven by a single interest and in this sense, contributed to a more balanced process. As discussed in the previous chapter, the presence of a neutral facilitator had a significant impact on the productivity and internal dynamics of the Working Group, a factor which highlights a number of important implications for facilitating an empowering planning process for both staff as well as community representatives. The facilitator was able to steer the group towards a collective understanding of issues and ultimately, reach consensus on a number of key issues. Because of her status as an "outsider" she was able to achieve balanced and productive discussion by allowing the less outspoken members of the group to contribute and by limiting the ability of other members of the group to dominate discussion. Prior to hiring of facilitator, individual personalities (both staff and community representatives) played a significant role in directing, and in some instances, manipulating group discussion. However, the facilitator succeeded in tempering the dominance of individual members which seemed to be beneficial to all group members. An inter-departmental team approach was considered an important component of the Mole Hill process in that it would allow a wide range of expertise and perspectives to inform the development of coordinated policies. Under the influence of outside mediation, it seemed that staff could more easily function as advisors and in some cases, emerged as advocates for particular interests (i.e. daycare, and resident issues). The above discussion illustrates that while one approach to facilitation may be appropriate for a particular process, it may be entirely inappropriate for another. Moreover, it shows that an appropriate and empowering decision making forum is achieved through a thorough knowledge of the social and political reality of a particular group or community. 104 6.3 Po l i cy I m p l i c a t i o n s The Mole Hill planning process resulted in the formation of strategies and principles which were contained in the draft Concept Plan presented to council. For reasons discussed above, the process was not successful in achieving a single vision for the neighbourhood which is evident in the two options presented by staff and the Working Group. This thesis began with the assertion that contemporary approaches to neighbourhood conservation benefit by focusing not only on preservation of the physical fabric but also on the conservation of valuable social and cultural elements which contribute to a viable community. As such, revitalization per se. is not opposed to the aims of conservation, however, as discussed in Chapter 2, top-down policies directed at securing the higher purchasing power of outside investors (e.g. homeowners) run the risk of disaipting the social fabric of a community through gentrification. Generally, both options present two fundamentally different conceptions of neighbourhood conservation. While sensitive conservation features prominently in the Staff Option, ensuring a reasonable level of physical rehabilitation relies heavily upon generating revenue through outside investment (as proposed by infill and new forms of tenure). While the extent of new development is relatively moderate and would be subject to strict design guidelines in order to ensure sensitive integration, the strategy shows a reliance on policies which encourage outside investment in the form of development capital (i.e. through higher income households and land development) to fuel revitalization. Applying a strict moratoria on new development would be unrealistic in the context of rapid inner city intensification. Rather, re-zoning the block would achieve physical protection at the same time as assuring sufficient revenue were generated for housing rehabilitation through the utilization of the City's heritage density policy. By considering the unused heritage density a long term asset, pressure to generate revenue through extensive development would be relieved, which would allow for a more incremental level of change to occur. Such change would be monitored through adherence to strict design guidelines which regulate form, scale, siting and design. Recognizing the potential for new development to attract higher income households, accompanying the rezoning should be housing policies which secure the tenure of existing low-income residents (either through housing retention, or on-site replacement), as well as a strategy to monitor the stock and distribution of housing on the block so that there is no net loss of rental housing. In contrast to top-down revitalization strategies is the concept of local economic development as a means of securing self-sufficiency. Community economic development (CED) models are commonly used as a means of re-generating local economies whose traditional means of production have collapsed. Within the context of Mole Hill, which is part of a larger urban economy, this concept of local economic development is inappropriate. However, as a means of increasing the cultural and economic assets of the community, C E D initiatives should be actively fostered and assisted through public sector involvement, demonstration projects, as well as private sector partnerships, a number of which were highlighted in the previous chapter. However, this requires that a significant amount of autonomy by devolved to the community either by using existing community groups as a conduit for this power, or by developing new governance institutions. Mole Hill is blessed with a number of advantages, many of which are a product of serendipitous circumstance. Through years of neglect and political turmoil, the block has remained almost entirely intact, securing a level of conservation which, while in some cases not optimal, is respectful to the historic integrity of many of the structures. The City, in its neglect has also contributed to the physical decay of several houses, a number of which require extensive interventions in order to achieve a maintainable level of repair. In addition, years of debate and indecision have given momentum to a well spring of community 106 activism which is fueled by a spirit of conservation and stewardship. It is within this context that the City has a unique opportunity to support sensitive neighbourhood conservation at the same time as fostering local initiative. The presence of the Mole Hill Living Heritage Society and its more broad-based arm. the Friends of Mole Hill, provides a positive framework within which community based co-management and development arrangements could potentially exist. Moreover, the initial success of the MHLHS in garnering outside support for its Gardens and Tours Project has established confidence and a base from which more ambitious projects could be developed. However, partnership arrangements can only occur with the initial involvement and assistance of local government in facilitating an open, democratic and empowering planning process. 6.4 C o n c l u s i o n : O p p o r t u n i t i e s a n d C o n s t r a i n t s The above highlights several issues which both hindered and supported the community based process for Mole Hill's revitalization. The following section distills these issues into a more general framework organized around the specific opportunities and constraints that such a process engenders, and provides a foundation from which to approach future processes aimed at achieving effective neighbourhood conservation. 6.4.1 Opportunities • The concept of community based planning for inner city conservation is an effective tool to negotiate complex issues which exist between community residents and representatives who may hold a interest in comprehensive and locally based conservation and revitalization. 107 Community based processes which have focused representation, a democratic structure, a multi-agency, collaborative approach have the potential to foster innovative and sustainable solutions to neighbourhood conservation through the exchange of knowledge, resources and expertise. Community based planning models which recognize local realities, knowledge, expertise provide a bedrock for more long term community development and empowerment through both the development of comprehensive, culturally appropriate conservation strategies, as well as through the formation of alliances between City Planning Staff, community organizations, and other sectors. 6.4.2 Constraints While processes aimed at involving community interests in order to arrive at better, more locally focused decisions are positive, they stand to be met with distrust if they are initiated without appropriate measures to reconstitute existing power imbalances. Community based processes may heighten existing political conflicts and disagreement if there is not a sufficient recognition of local realities, local knowledge and capacity for local self-determination. Processes which focus primarily on a product outcome, as opposed to building consensus and group trust, are susceptible to fragmentation and a lack of unified vision. In the absence of successful precedents for community based processes, it is difficult to move beyond internal conflict and short-sighted objectives. Often, a community's resistance to change and adherence 108 to the status quo has deeper roots in the inadequacies of past programs and processes, as well as the lack of positive models from which to draw on. In closing, the Mole Hill case demonstrates that planning for inner city neighbourhood conservation is fraught with complexities and conflicts. The goals of conservation and revitalization, while aimed at physical and social improvements, often sacrifice community stability, as well as environmental and historic integrity. Minimizing displacement and achieving culturally appropriate and sustainable conservation requires strategies which are comprehensive and focus on the internal strengths of the community, as opposed to those which rely on external capital investment and economic development. Urban conservation strategies can play an essential role in defining a city's history only if there are appropriately structured community processes that establish the context for both spatial and social memory. This requires policies and programs which are imaginative and flexible to evolving concepts of history and community as dynamic components in the construction and reconstruction of urban space. For planners and other practitioners, this means exchanging the security of established roles for the uncertainties of collaboration with others whose concepts of heritage conservation challenge traditional definitions. For community leaders and residents, this requires the willingness and patience to engage in the lengthy process of developing priorities and working through their meanings with a group to develop a long-range community vision. 109 A p p e n d i x A V a n c o u v e r C i t y C o u n c i l Reso lu t ions F o r Nelson P a r k A p r i l 2, 1996 • That the block between Comox and Pendrell Streets, from Bute to Thurlow Streets, be named "Mole Hill." • That the Mole Hill lands be recognized as a City resource ad that the land not be sold in whole or part. Further that leasehold arrangements can be considered. • That all existing residents will be accommodated on site as renovation takes place. • That the City's existing policy of mixed communities will be maintained. Further, that priority be given to housing for low end of market rental. • That all the City-owned heritage-listed buildings ("A", "B", and "C") be retained. Further, that the City's existing heritage policies will apply. And further that, in the event that buildings are moved or infill occurs, the existing scale and streetscape of Mole Hill should be respected. • That revenues for renovation of the housing will be generated from the site. Further, that the transfer of density policy may be used to achieve value from the unused development potential of the site. • That the policies of CityPlan will be used as the basis for demonstration options, including innovative infill, new forms of housing, community gardens, greenways, etc. Further, that lane and/or street closures may be considered. • That other options for use of the buildings and land will be considered, such as daycare, hospices, parks and other facilities that meet City needs. • That staff will be asked to develop options fro a labour training program as the site is renovated. • That staff report back on a public planning process. 110 A p p e n d i x B L i s t o f I n f o r m a n t s Working Group Participants Linda Diano, Mole Hill Living Heritage Society, Interview, July 22, 1997 Don Luxton, Heritage Vancouver, Interview, June 18, 1997. 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