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Placing identities: family, class and gender in Surrey, British Columbia Dowling, Robyn Margaret 1995

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PLACING IDENTITIES: FAMILY, CLASS AND GENDER INSURREY, BRITISH COLUMBIAbyROBYN MARGARET DOWLINGB.Ec. (Hons), The University of Sydney, 1988M.A., The University of British Columbia, 1991A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OFTHE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OFDOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHYinTHE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES(Department of Geography)We accept this thesis as conformingto the required standardTHE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIAMay 1995Robyn Margaret Dowling, 1995In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanceddegree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make itfreely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensivecopying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of mydepartment or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying orpublication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my writtenpermission.(Signature)__________________________Department of 9 1 31fThe University of British ColumbiaVancouver, CanadaDate cJ(jiQ O I 99SDE-6 (2/88)ABSTRACTThis thesis is an investigation of the gendered, classed and racializedidentities associated with living a traditional family life in a suburb ofVancouver, British Columbia in the 1 990s. It has two entry points. The firstis a focus on gendered identities that are the result of “old” ideals in a “new”cultural and geographical context: what identities result when traditionalideals of motherhood, fatherhood and homeownership are played out in acontext where the ideals are being questioned, the ability to live these idealslimited and the surrounding landscape does not seem to reflect thesenotions? I use the heuristics of “new traditionalism” and “declining fortunes”to understand this interpretation and reinscription of the “old” within the“new”. The second entry point is a concern with place: how, in the 1990s,are white, middle-class familial identities gendered and experienced in andthrough place, and specifically suburban environments? Building uponDoreen Massey’s rethinking of the notion of place, I define place as aconstellation of social and cultural relations in a particular site and examinesome of the ways that places and identities are articulated.The thesis is based on archival work and in-depth interviews withresidents in two neighbourhoods in the Municipality of Surrey, an outersuburb of Vancouver, British Columiba. Through an analysis of the planningof Surrey I show how the construction of Surrey as suburban set the limits ofpossibility and impossibility for identity there, deeming some identities“natural” and others peripheral. An examination of residential locationdecisions demonstrates that spatially demarcated neighbourhoods weredesired and reconstructed and that the meanings of places within Surrey(what I term symbolic geographies) and distancing from a familial and racialIIIother were important in the process. By exploring the multiple linkagesbetween gender, class and home I show how images of place, and especiallythe house and the neighbourhood, are part of situating the self. Through afocus on the tensions between new traditionalist ideals and practices, Isuggest that cultural meanings circulating within specific places influence theexperience of gendered subject positions and both exacerbate and smoothover tensions within new traditionalism. In an investigation of the linksbetween religion, gender difference, new traditionalist convictions, and place,I highlight how religious networks involve a different relation to placecompared to other residents.I conclude that traditional models of family and gender (newtraditionalism) remain pervasive signposts, and underlain by a relation tofeminism, but are modified in response to the pressures of homeownershipand different economic positionings (understood in terms of the discourse ofdeclining fortunes). This modification is also class and place specific; theability to live an idealized new traditionalist life is dependent upon the“possibility” of a male breadwinner wage and the meanings circulating withinthe residential neighbourhood.ivTABLE OF CONTENTSAbstract iiTable of Contents ivList of Tables ViiList of Figures ViiiAcknowledgement ixCHAPTER ONE. FAMILY LIVES, SUBURBAN PLACES:EXPLORING ARTICULATIONS OF PLACE AND IDENTITY 1I. Repositionings of the White, Middle-class, NuclearFamily in the 1990s 1II. “New Traditionalism”, “Declining Fortunes” and Suburbs 6a. New Traditionalism 7b. Declining Fortunes 9c. Suburbs 12Ill. Power, Culture and Identity 1 7IV. Articulations of Place and Identity 22a. DeparturesPlacing the Feminist Subject 23b. Rethinking Space and Place 28c. Articulations of Place and Identity 32IV. CONCLUSION 37CHAPTER TWO. SURREY AND ME: SITUATING THE RESEARCH 38I. Surrey and the Case Studies 39a. Surrey 40b. Glenwood, Berkshire and their Residents 44II. Representing and Interpreting the Interviews 48a. Me as an Outsider 51b. Interpreting and Writing about Interviews as Stories 55III. Summary 58CHAPTER THREE. PLANNING SUBURBAN SPACE, PLACING THE FAMILYSURREY, 1960-1993 59I. Surrey before 1 960 - A brief sketch 65II. Rationalizing Surrey Space, 1960-1970 70III. 1970s - Rampant Growth and Cheap Housing 82IV. Surrey goes “up-market”: Developing South Surrey 1972-1985 90V. House Price Inflation and a New Community PlanRedefining the Suburban Landscape, 1 980 - 1 990 95VI. Remaking and Re-imaging Surrey 1985 - 1993 105VII. Conclusions 109CHAPTER FOUR. BOUNDING THE MIDDLE-CLASS NUCLEAR FAMILY 112I. Suburbs and Boundaries in the 1 990s 11 2II. A Gated Community without Gates: Delimiting the Boundariesof the Affluent Middle-class Family in Glenwood 11 7a. Making Boundaries (1) Planners and Developers 117b. Making Boundaries (2) Residents 126c. Boundary Maintenance 132III. Berkshire Park. Fluid and Multiple Constructions of Difference 139a. The Making of an Ordinary Subdivision 140Vb. Making a (Bounded) Community of Familiesand Homeowners 151c. Boundary Maintenance 1 57d. Bounding Home 160IV. ConclusionThe Racialization and Intertwining of Declining Fortunes and NewTraditionalism 1 62CHAPTER FIVE. GENDER CLASS AND HOME: PLACING THECONNECTIONS 164I. Climbing the Ladder of Homeownership in Surrey 169II. The Alignment of Gender and Class Meanings of Homein Glenwood 1 72a. Glenwood as the Pinnacle of the Housing Ladder 1 72b. Aligning Gender, Class and Home in Glenwood 1 77c. Gender Divisions and Glenwood Homes 183d. Homemaking and the Gendering of Identity 187Ill. Home and Family in Berkshire 190a. Family, Ownership and Investment 1 94b. Gender Divisions in Berkshire Homes 200c. Contesting Home 204CHAPTER SIX. LIVING NEW TRADITIONALIST LIVES?IDEALS AND PRACTICES OF MOTHERHOOD IN BERKSHIRE ANDGLENWOOD 209I. Motherhood, Paid Employment and New Traditionalism 209II. Berkshire and the Tensions of Mothering 212a. New Traditionalism, Materialism, and Multiple Practices ofMothering 213i. At-Home Mothering as a Financial andFamilial Compromise 216ii. “Working Makes Me a Better Mother” 220iii. “I Need to Work but I would Prefer Not to” 221iv. “Part-time is Best” 223b. Berkshire as a Symbolic Context for the Interpretation ofMotherhood 226i. The Clashing of Different Practices of Motherhood 226ii. “The Neighbourhood doesn’t matter” - Parenting, Schooland Gender 230III. Supporting New Traditionalist Motherhood in Glenwood 234a. New Traditionalism in Glenwood 237b. Local Culture of At-Home Mothering 241c. Glenwood New Traditionalism as a Context of Interpretation ofMotherhood and Fatherhood 245IV. Conclusions 254CHAPTER SEVEN. RELIGION, NEW TRADITIONALIST FAMILIESAND PLACE IN BERKSHIRE AND GLENWOOD 255I. Religion and Linking New Traditionalism, Family, and Gender 257II. Four Stories of Faith, Family and Place 260a. Bruce and Linda 262b. Ingrid and Henry 267c. Julie and Brian 270d. Edward and Ruby 276Ill. Religion and New Traditionalism in Berkshire and Glenwood 282via. Place 282b. Family and Gender 284IV. Fragmented Gods? 286CHAPTER EIGHT. PLACING NEW TRADITIONALISM ANDSUBURBAN, GENDERED IDENTITIES 289I. Poststructuralist Articulations of Place and Identity 290II. “New” Traditionalism and Declining Fortunes 294Ill. Suburban Scholarship 299IV. Situating the Knowledges Produced in the Thesis 303BIBLIOGRAPHY 305a. Books and Articles 305b. Newspapers 319APPENDIX 1. SOCIAL PROFILES OF GLENWOOD ANDBERKSHIRE, 1991 CENSUS 323APPENDIX 2. INITIAL CONTACT LETTER 325APPENDIX 3. INTERVIEW GUIDE 326viiLIST OF TABLESTable Page2.1 Characteristics of Respondents, Berkshire and Glenwood 485.1 Housing Careers of Glenwood Families 1755.2 Housing Careers of Berkshire Families 1 926.1 Labour Force Activities of Berkshire Men and Women 2156.2 Labour Force Activities of Glenwood Men and Women 2357.1 Patterns of Religious Affiliation in Greater Vancouver 261vi”LIST OF FIGURESFigure Page2.1 Surrey’s Location in the Lower Mainland 412.2 Surrey and the Location of Glenwood and Berkshire 423.1 Early Map of Surrey Municipality, circa 1890 673.2 Pattern of Residential Development, Surrey, 1960 683.3 Apportioning Surrey Space in the 1 966 Official Community Plan 733.4 Residential Construction in Surrey, 1971-1979 853.5 Residential Construction in Surrey, 1980-1992 983.6 “Overall Concept”, 1 983 Official Community Plan 993.7 Boundary Park Plan 1044.1 Glenwood Advertising and the Erasure of Surrey 11 94.2 Glenwood and Surroundings 1224.3a Entrance to Glenwood 1 234.3b Park and Pond, Glenwood 1234.4 Glenwood Advertised as a “planned” community 1254.5 Berkshire Park and Surroundings 1444.6 Advertising Berkshire Park Houses 1454.7 Older Housing in Berkshire Park 1465.1 Display Home Plan, Glenwood 1795.2 Glenwood Homes 1805.3 Berkshire Homes 198ixACKNOWLEDGMENTThe cultural and academic practices of the Department of Geographyat UBC are imprinted on every page of this thesis. My supervisor, GeraldinePratt, has helped me shape the thesis from its inception. For this, and herencouragement and calming influence I am especially grateful. The membersof my committee - Isabel Dyck, David Ley and Derek Gregory- have beensimilarly supportive yet critical, and their careful readings of the thesis haveimproved it considerably. For reading previous drafts I also thank MichaelBrown and Alison Blunt; Alison has always been reassuring and ready tolisten to any of my ideas. Catherine Griffiths rescued me from mycatastrophic cartographic forays by expertly making the maps. The CanadianCommonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan supported me financially andalso provided travel money necessary to do the interviews - hopefully theCommonwealth will not become a thing of the past in these days of fiscalrestraint.Hallway conversations with residents of the 210 corridor, bothdistracting and clarifying, made the process of research and writing muchmore pleasurable. I would like to thank in this regard Anne-MarieBouthillette, Michael Brown, Martin Evans, Phil Kelly, Yvonne Martin, MattSparke, and Bruce Willems-Braun. For their many afternoon teas, criticaldiscussions, and friendship I am especially grateful to Alison Blunt, NatalieJamieson and Juliet Rowson. I can only hope that the three of us will findsimilar support in our home continents. Siwan Anderson, Patrick Francois,Monica Hess and Tony Sayers, kindred gardeners, travellers and hikers,helped me explore British Columbia and feel “at home” here. Most especiallyI thank Garry Barrett, who was there from the beginning, and also at the end,proof-reading the final draft. He knows what this thesis and his supportmean to me.Lastly and most importantly, I am deeply indebted to the many peoplein Surrey (who I cannot name) who selflessly and generously gave me theirtime.1CHAPTER ONEFAMILY LIVES, SUBURBAN PLACES: EXPLORINGARTICULATIONS OF PLACE AND IDENTITYI. Repositionings of the White, Middle-class, Nuclear Family in the 1990sFor much of the twentieth century in Canada and the United States,the white middle-class family has been assumed to be, and positioned as, thecentral and naturalized living arrangement and social category. Today this isno longer the case; the familial, racial and class aspects of the white middle-class family have been questioned and repositioned.With respect to family, attempts to live and create nuclear families inthe 1 990s take place in a different context; familial experiences are nowfractured. Unlike the singular “family” implied previously, the 1990s arecharacterized by multiple visions and realities of family living (what JudithStacey calls postmodern families1): blended families, single-parent families,lesbian and gay families.2 Family is a site of contestation3:whether thenuclear family (generally narrowly defined as a heterosexual married couplewith children, ideally with the woman not in the paid labour force) is the bestor most appropriate environment for children;4 the consequences of the1 Judith Stacey, 1 990, Brave New Families: Stories of Domestic Upheaval inLate Twentieth Century America, New York: Basic Books.2 See Kath Weston, 1 991, Families We Choose: Lesbians, Gays, Kinship,New York: Columbia University Press.Judith Stacey, 1993, “Good riddance to “the family”: a response to DavidPopenoe”, Journal of Marriage and the Family, 55, pp.545-47. See alsothe response by David Popenoe, 1993, “The national family wars”,Journal of Marriage and the Family, 55, pp.553-5.See David Popenoe, 1993, “American Family Decline, 1960-1990: areview and appraisal” Journal of Marriage and the Family, 55, pp.527-42.On the New Right, see Jennifer Somerville, 1 992, “The New Right andfamily politics”, Economy and Society, 21, 2, pp.93-i28.2proliferation of family arrangements,5whether we are witnessing the “demiseof the family”; and the implications of increasingly diverse forms of, andgender roles within, families.6 Gender relations are central throughout thesedebates.7 What men and women should and can do in families, and thegender of breadwinners, nurturers, caregivers and parents, are no longerfixed, but unstable and therefore contestable.As the family has been repositioned, so too has the middle class.Homeownership and an idealized suburban way of life, long the pivots inmiddle-class living, are both questioned and seen to be under threat.8Factors like declining living standards, omnipresent unemployment, risinghouse prices and the necessity of dual-earner families are seen to jeopardizethe once idyllic lifestyle of the suburban, middle-class, nuclear family. Beingmiddle class, according to some commentators, is now characterized byinsecurity and anxiety, a constant fear of a downward economic and socialslide.95 See Frances K.Goldsheider and Linda J. Waite, 1991, New Families, NoFamilies: The Transformation of the American Home, Berkeley: Universityof California Press.6 For a Canadian conservative analysis, see William D. Gairdner, 1 992, TheWar Against the Family: A Parent Speaks Out, Toronto: Stoddart; onpopular culture and media, see E.Ann Kaplan, 1 992, Motherhood andRepresentation: The Mother in Popular Culture and Melodrama, Londonand New York: Routledge, chapter nine. For feminist analyses seeMichele Barrett and Mary McIntosh, 1991, The Anti-Social Family, secondedition, London: Verso; and Barrie Thorne, 1992, “Feminism and thefamily: two decades of thought” in Barrie Thorne with Marilyn Yalom,eds. Rethinking the Family: Some Feminist Questions, revised edition,Boston: Northeastern University Press, pp.3-30.7 See Susan Cohen and Mary Fainsod Katzenstern, 1 988, “The war over thefamily is not over the family” in S.M.Dornbusch and M.H.Strober, eds.Feminism, Children and the New Families, New York and London:Guilford, pp.25-46.8 The most comprehensive statement of this position is Katherine S.Newman, 1 993, Declining Fortunes: The Withering of the AmericanDream, New York: Basic Books, based on in-depth interviews with NewJersey families.9 Barbara Ehrenreich, 1 989, Fear of Falling: The Inner Life of the MiddleClass, New York: Pantheon.3Race has also been an element in the repositioning of the white,middle-class, nuclear family in the 1 990s, for the racial underpinnings andexclusions associated with familial lives and understandings are increasinglyrecognized. Part of this is that the whiteness of readings of social life, howinvestigations and interpretations of middle-class families assume andconstruct whiteness, is being documented.10 More substantively, knowledgeof racial diversity and opinions on programs like affirmative action arebecoming part of white, middle-class, familial experience. Lillian Rubin hasdocumented, for instance, how working class men and women in the UnitedStates attribute economic recessions and competition for jobs to a “racialother”.11 Distancing from a racial “other” thus becomes part of their selfpositioning. Although Rubin is speaking of the working class in the UnitedStates, she has usefully identified the racialization of interpretations ofeveryday life, an identification that I build upon here.Despite these repositionings, a particular image of family, and middle-class material goals, continue to guide many people’s pursuits. According toArlene Skolnick:For better or worse, family life, and an idealized image ofwhat the family should be, remain the source of ourgreatest joys, our deepest worries, our most painfulhurts.12It was this continuing salience of more conventional ideals that motivated theresearch upon which this thesis is based. Contact with people who had“chosen” a traditional family model, and a belief that academics tended to10 Ruth Frankenberg, 1993, White Women, Race Matters: The SocialConstruction of Whiteness, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.11 Lillian Rubin, 1 994, Families on the Faultline: America’s Working ClassSpeaks About the Family, the Economy, Race and Ethnicity, New York:Harper Collins, p.175.12 Arlene Skolnick, 1991, Embattled Paradise: The American Family in anAge of Uncertainty, New York: Basic Books, p.220.4disregard people living these models, made me curious and initiated theresearch.My aim in this thesis is to engage with, and explore, the ideals andcontours of contemporary white, middle-class, family lives, in the context ofits repositioning in class, familial (especially in relation to gender) and racialterms. What interpretations, practices, identities and gendering areassociated with being white, middle-class and living in a nuclear family in the1 990s? How do the “new” - contemporary repositionings - and the “old” -traditional ideals - intermingle? I investigate, in other words, how white,middle-class individuals in nuclear families are living, experiencing andreworking these gendered, classed and racialized tensions around the family.My substantive focus is identity: what interpretations and expressions of selfare part of contemporary middle-class family life and how, if at all, do theydraw upon and evoke the changed cultural context of this life. Through aseries of interviews13 with residents in two subdivisions in a suburbanmunicipality of Vancouver - Surrey - I suggest that understandings(necessarily gendered) of being homeowners and parents are situated withrespect to other family types, the desirability of the nuclear family model, anda perception that a middle-class life is under threat.My examination of these repositionings is filtered through place: howare the class, gender and racial identities lived in, and negotiated through,particular places. The places I examine are suburbs, for they are commonlyseen as the “natural” homes of middle-class family life. A variety ofmotivations led me to this spatial focus. My experiences in a working-classsuburb of Sydney (mainly as a child, but also five years as an adult)highlighted the continuing power of familial and homeownership ideals in the13 Discussed in chapter two.5lives of many, and the salience of a “suburban”, occasionally “anti-urban”,way of life. I have thus long been intrigued as to why this was the case. Ona more academic note, I felt that many academics had been dismissive of thefamilial and middle-class aspects of suburban places and lives. Identifyingand focusing on changes in the built form of suburbs, like “urbanization” andincreasing social diversity, seemed to leave behind a more conventionalsuburban space - the subdivision of detached houses - and living- the whitemiddle-class family. I was and am interested, however, in what washappening in these places.My thesis therefore is r only about white middle-class family life, noris it solely about suburbs. It about the intersection of suburbs (place), withwhite, middle-class family life (identity). It is about the interpretation,experience and reproduction of familial-related identities in and throughsuburban environments. Through archival work, statistics and planningreports, I tell a story of the way familial social relations are enunciated andspatialized in a certain site. The stories I was told in in-depth interviewsallow me to tell other stories of the intrinsicality of place, placement, and achanging discursive and material context to the constitution of race, genderand class in middle-class nuclear families living in Surrey in the 1 990s. Inparticular, I show how: spatial boundaries around middle-class, nuclear familyidentities were constructed in response to the perceived diversity of suburbsand the threat to families this encompassed; experiences of self drew upon“common sense” notions of the association between particular places andidentities; and local cultures, consisting of rules of appropriate behaviour for aparticular place, were a material influence on gender and class formation,especially in relation to interpretations of maternal employment.6In this chapter, my aim is to introduce the empirical themes andtheoretical arguments that guide my analysis. In the next section I outlinetwo heuristics that connect more conventional familial and class ideals with acontemporary context: new traditionalism and declining fortunes. These twocategories usefully summarize the major ideals and struggles that were raisedin the empirical work, and also allow me to bring the analysis to bear onbroader academic debates. In the third section I outline the theoreticalperspective of the thesis, situating it as a contribution to, and extension of,recent theorizations of place, identity and their intersection. Drawing onpoststructuralist and culturally-oriented notions of identity and place, Idevelop articulations of place and identity that are investigated throughoutthe thesis. In the final section I introduce the rest of the thesis, situatingeach chapter as a consideration of some of the multiple articulations of placesand identities within the context of new traditionalism, declining fortunes,and Surrey.II. “New Traditionalism”, “Declining Fortunes” and SuburbsMy understandings of familial-related identities in Surrey are framed bytwo discourses that link the continuation of “old” ideals with a “new”context: new traditionalism and declining fortunes. Although emerging fromthe interviews, they also have wider academic and popular resonance. Assuch, I have two goals when speaking of them. The first is to use them asheuristic devices to understand the interview material. My second aim is tocontribute to academic discussions of the discourses, especially in relation totheir intersection, spatiality and complexity, points I come back to in theconcluding chapter. In this section I sketch the contours of the discourses,my use of them, and briefly explore their spatiality in order to contextualize7the empirical discussions in the rest of the thesis. I also introduce thesuburban scholarship relevant to the thesis, setting out how I reformulate it.a. New TraditionallsmNew traditionalism is an umbrella term coined to describe the alteredcultural context of families, class and gender in the 1 990s, and a particularreaction to that context. Cultural and sociological accounts have identifiednew traditionalist ideals and practices as important in constituting familialgendered identities.14 The term gained currency as the result of a series ofadvertisements in the American magazines Good Housekeeping and FamilyCircle,15 but has also been used by academics and policy makers.16 It ismost clearly evident in advertising, but has also been discussed in relation topolitics,17 popular culture, television,18 and the narratives of everyday life.19New traditionalism is a complex and contradictory set of ideas focusedaround gender relations within families and the problems women face aroundwork and motherhood. In some respects it is “post-feminist”, posingwomen’s career and parenting decisions as choices rather than duties.2° Inthe Good Housekeeping campaign, for instance, professional women weredepicted as choosing to remain at home.21 But new traditionalism is also a14 See Elspeth Probyn, 1990, “New traditionalism and post-feminism: TVdoes the home”, Screen, 31,2, pp.147-59.15 See D.A. Leslie, 1993, “Femininity, post-Fordism and the ‘newtraditionalism’, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 11,pp.689-708.16 See Judith Stacey, 1994, “Scents, scholars and stigmas: the revisionistcampaign for family values”, Social Text, 40, pp.51-75.17 Witness, for example, the rise of the Reform Party and their platform of“family values” in Canada.18 Elspeth Probyn, 1993, “Television’s unheimllch home” in Brian Massumi,ed. The Politics of Everyday Fear, Minneapolis: University of MinnesotaPress, pp.269-283.19 Katherine Newman, 1993, op.cit.20 Probyn, 1993, op.cit.21 Leslie, op.cit.8conservative, “anti-feminist” response to contestations of family, attempting“to resituate women in the home, with the home constituting the primarylocation of women’s identities”.22 In this respect, new traditionalism evokesand engenders the view that the conventional nuclear family is the best andonly environment in which to raise children, and that women should remain athome with their children.In many ways, the ideals espoused within new traditionalism - belief inthe institution of marriage, necessity of raising children in a two-parent,heterosexual home, and a distrust of daycare and “working mothers”23 - arenot new, but have been present throughout the twentieth century.24 Theterm “new” is appropriate, however, for it denotes the contemporaryreworking of these long-held ideals,25 a process that necessarily recaststhem. Specifically, regardless of the feminist ideals of individuals, feminism,as a set of popularly understood ideals, is present in most understandings ofcontemporary family life. “New” also refers to the different social landscape,which is characterized by a multiplicity of family arrangements. “New” thusdesignates the context of the ideals as much as the ideals themselves.New traditionalism is a theme that emerged from my interviews, andone of my aims in discussing it is to understand the interview material. Forboth the men and women I spoke with, their nuclear model of family life wasseen to be under threat by, among other elements, the tax system, theSurrey environment, and feminists. In articulating these fears they invoked22 ibid. p.690.23 For a description of these ideals see Judith Stacey, 1 994, op.cit.24 See, for instance, the contestations of maternal employment in the 1 950straced in Veronica Strong-Boag, 1 994, “Canada’s wage earning wivesand the construction of the middle class, 1945-60”, Journal of CanadianStudies, 29,3, pp.5-25.25 This reworking of the past is often nostalgic and romanticized. See, forinstance, Stephanie R. Coontz, 1 992, The Way We Never Were:American Families and the Nostalgia Trap, New York: Basic Books.9what I have designated new traditionalism. As an investigation of thepotency, negotiation and gendering of new traditionalist thinking in everydaylife, this thesis is a useful counterpart and contribution to other academicdiscussions of the discourse, where representation has been the sole focus.Moreover, current understandings of new traditionalism are relativelyunfractured, tending to depict it as monolithic and all-powerful. An exampleof this is the view that strong religious beliefs underlie new traditionalistideals. In focusing on the working and negotiation of new traditionalism, Ihope to convey some of the contestations and closures of the discourse. Forinstance, how class-specific is new traditionalism? What is the role offeminism? I also have a geographical aim, investigating how place-basedconstructions, local cultures and interpretations, impact upon and becomepart of, the reworking of new traditionalism. Does an acknowledgment ofthese place-based practices help convey the complexity of newtraditionalism?b. Dedilning FortunesI use Katherine Newman’s phrase “declining fortunes” to signal thecultural interpretations of the contemporary positioning of the middle class.26Like new traditionalism, it has both academic and substantive origins. Whatinitially alerted me to its existence was what I was hearing from interviews:the uncertain economic and employment context; the erosion of purchasingpower amidst the incessant “ratcheting up” of consumption needs; and,especially acute in Vancouver, problems surrounding house prices andaffordability, necessarily related, I was told, to immigration. Like newtraditionalism, declining fortunes also has wider currency. Micaela di26 Newman, op.cit.10Leonardo, for instance, has shown how deindustrialization operates as a “folkmodel”, promulgated by the American media.27 Declining fortunes, as I useit in this thesis, is a discursive context that frames everyday understanding ofbeing middle class.28A recent series of articles in the Vancouver Sun on the “death of themiddle class”,29 highlights the salient characteristics of declining fortunes. Afirst element is that recent economic restructuring has been so deep as toaffect middle-level managers and other middle class occupations. Thus thethreat of unemployment has become more widespread.3° Second, risingtaxes and stagnating wages have meant that remaining middle class is now aconstant battle, one that is often lost.31 This is especially the case infamilies with only one wage earner. Third, house prices have meant that thedream of homeownership is unattainable for many:Today Bruce and Kerry wonder if they will ever know thesimple luxuries of living in a paid for home with a roof thatdoesn’t leak. They worry about spiralling costs, particularlythe cost of housing. They don’t think they will ever be ableto live in a new, modern home, something that was withinreach of their parents.3227 Micaela di Leonardo, 1985, “Deindustrialization as a folk model”, UrbanAnthropology, 14,1-3, pp.237-57.28 I use the term middle-class to loosely refer to a social category focusedaround professional and adminstrative occupations and homeownership,which I address in more depth in chapter five. See Mike Savage, JamesBarlow, Peter Dickens and Tony Fielding, 1 992, Property, Bureaucracyand Culture: Middle-class Formation in Contemporary Britain, New Yorkand London: Routledge.29 A series of articles from November 1 4 to 20, 1 993; summarized inDaphne Bramham and Gordon Hamilton, 1 993, “Death of the middleclass: the story”, Vancouver Sun, November 14, p.A14.30 Gordon Hamilton and Daphne Bramham, 1 993, “Death of the middleclass: the dream dies hard” Vancouver Sun, November 14, p.A1.31 Daphne Bramham and Gordon Hamilton, 1 993, “Struggling to remainsmack dab in the middle”, Vancouver Sun, November 16, p.A10.32 Daphne Bramham and Gordon Hamilton, 1 993, “Death of the middleclass”, Vancouver Sun, November 1 6, p.A1.11On many fronts the discourse of declining fortunes is problematic andmythical. Most obviously, it is only relevant to a small portion of thepopulation, hardly describing the lives of many contemporary urban dwellers.Lillian Rubin, for instance, contests the class specificity of Newman’s claims,reminding us that working class women have always had to work, and thatchildren of working class parents have often lived at home well intoadulthood.33 Rubin also notes the racialization of the declining fortunesdiscourse, highlighting its immersion in a privileged, white consciousness.34Newman herself falls into a “nostalgia trap”, mythologizing and idealizing1 950s family living.35 The case studies that follow do not neatly fit thecharacterization of those with “declining fortunes”. I spoke only withhomeowners, most with relatively secure employment situations. Yet thismythical status of the declining fortunes discourse does not mitigate itsstrength as an interpretive tool, which is how I use it in the thesis. It isprecisely as myth that the discourse is most powerful, capturing theimagination of many middle class families today.I thus use declining fortunes as a scaffolding around which to build anunderstanding of the meaning of 1 990s middle-class life. Like my invocationof new traditionalism, I also aim to contribute to understandings of decliningfortunes. I am especially interested in its negotiation, gendering andspatialization. Specifically, what are the spatial practices associated with thisdiscourse and how do symbolic geographies, especially in light ofcontemporary social geographies, form part of the discourse? How is genderimplicated and what gender identities are part of the discourse? Additionally,33 Rubin, op.cit.34 ibid. ch.1O.35 Newman, op.cit.12how is declining fortunes intersected by familial and racial concerns,especially new traditionalism?Both these sets of understandings are racialized, underlain by, andexpressions of, constructions of racial difference.36 In particular, they areembedded in a white consciousness and are sometimes dependent upondistancing from a racial other. In what follows, I am alert to the racializationof both new traditionalism and declining fortunes and explore it whereverpossible.c. SuburbsMy primary focus is the spatiality of new traditionalism and decliningfortunes: what are their attendant spatial practices and how are they lived inand through place. A number of questions are relevant here. Are particularspatial practices (such as boundary making) necessary to the understandingsof the repositioned family? Do experiences in place exacerbate contemporarygendered tensions around the family? I examine these questions in andthrough a particular site: suburban Vancouver. This focus is part of a longtradition, for suburbs, especially in North America, are seen the “natural”environment for nuclear families,37 constructed by, and emblematic of,familial ideology throughout the twentieth century.38 More recently, suburbs36 Throughout the thesis, I am using the term race as a social construction.3 On the nineteenth century see Robert Fishman, 1 987, Bourgeois Utorias:The Rise and Fall of Suburbia, New York: Basic Books; the early twentiethcentury Margaret Marsh, 1 990, Suburban Lives, New Brunswick: RutgersUniversity Press; and the postwar period, Gwendolyn Wright, 1981,Building the Dream: A Social History of Housing in America, New York:Pantheon, chapter thirteen.38 On the 195Os see Lynn Spigel, 1992, “The suburban home companion:television and the neighbourhood ideal in postwar America” in BeatriceColomina, ed. Sexuality and Srace, Princeton: Princeton ArchitecturalPress, pp.185-217. On the contemporary period see Lyn Richards, 1990,Nobody’s Home: Dreams and Realities in a New Suburb, Melbourne:Oxford University Press.13as family places have been invoked in new traditionalist discourses aroundthe family and gender. In the Good Housekeering advertising campaign, it isa suburban home (detached house on large lot) to which women are resituated.39 Assumed suburban ways of life are also central to discussions ofdeclining fortunes. Homeownership, for instance, central to many suburbanexperiences, has motivated discussion of declining fortunes since it is seen tobe under threat. Family and class are also issues that have occupiedsuburban scholars, although the diverse social characteristics of suburbs isalso acknowledged.40 In this section, I outline more specifically how thegender, class and racial characteristics of suburbs have been understood andhow they are reformulated in this thesis.Since the late nineteenth century North American suburbs have beencreated by varying gendered ideologies and have therefore exhibitedparticular, gendered, characteristics. Heterosexuality is assumed, and genderis defined in the context of heterosexual, familial relations.41 Suburbs, andhomes within them, were feminine spaces in contrast to the masculine worldsof city and work. Margaret Marsh’s detailed analysis of late nineteenthcentury communities in the eastern United States shows that the architects,developers, planners and residents involved in building these communitiesascribed to the notion that men should work and women should raisechildren. Suburban communities were seen to be most appropriate to39 Leslie, op.cit.40 For a summary see Carol A. O’Connor, 1 985, “Sorting out the suburbs:patterns of land use, class, and culture”, American Quarterly, 37,3,pp.382-394.41 The heterosexism of suburban living and literature is not oftencommented upon. For exceptions see Gill Valentine, 1 993,“(Hetero)sexing space: lesbians and experiences of everyday spaces”,Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 11, pp.395-413; andLouise Johnson, 1 994, “Occupying the suburban frontier:accommodating difference on Melbourne’s urban fringe” in Alison Bluntand Gillian Rose, eds. Writing Women and Srace: Colonial andPostcolonial Geographies, London and New York: Guilford, pp. 141-68.14fulfilling these desires.42 This coincidence of constructions of genderdifference and suburbs continued through the 1950s, in different places andtimes. Veronica Strong-Boag’s research in Canada confirms the importanceof gender difference underlying the creation and image of suburbancommunities.43 Yet Strong-Boag paints a more complex portrait,acknowledging the presence of immigrant women in Canadian suburbs of thisera. In the late 1980s, Isabel Dyck added another layer to these analyses ofgender and suburbs, illustrating that suburbs were not only domestic spaces,but were also forums for negotiating the meaning of motherhood and thusidentity.44 Both contemporary and historical scholarship, therefore,illustrates the braiding of gendered constructions of difference with suburbiain terms of principles underlying the constructions of suburbs, theirsubsequent demographic characteristics and as contexts for the interpretationof gender difference.Suburbs in the United States, though to a lesser extent in Canada,45have also been the product, and emblematic, of a particular class fraction,namely the middle class. Based on ideas of the importance ofhomeownership to economic security and raising children, communities forand of homeowners have long been created; from Jamaica Plain in New42 Margaret Marsh, 1 990, Suburban Lives, New Brunswick and London:Rutgers University Press.Veronica Strong-Boag, 1 991, “Home dreams: women and the suburbanexperiment in Canada”, Canadian Historical Review, 72,4, pp.471-504.4 Isabel Dyck, 1990, “Space, time and re-negotiating motherhood: anexploration of the domestic workplace”, Environment and Planning D:Society and Srace, 8, pp.459-83.Richard Harris, 1 988, “American suburbs: a sketch of a newinterpretation”, Journal of Urban History, 15,1, pp. 98-103; RichardHarris and Matthew Sendbuehler, 1992, “Hamilton’s East End: The EarlyWorking Class Suburb” The Canadian Geographer, 36, 4, pp.381-86;Bennett Berger, 1 960, Working-Class Suburb, Berkeley:_University ofCalifornia Press.15England of the 1890s, to 1950s Don Mills in Ontario.46 As a result, theconstitution of middle class identity and experience has been a majorfocus.47 Although working class suburbs have always existed and havebecame more prevalent since the postwar boom, they are not the focushere.48Gender and class are not separate but are mutually constitutive; aprinciple that is readily apparent in the suburban experience. Multiplevariants of middle class femininity and masculinity are constructed andevident in suburban environments. For instance, Geraldine Pratt’s analysis ofthe class-based meanings of homeownership suggests that homeownership ismore central to definitions of middle-class masculinity than femininity.49Similarly, parenting practices and underlying notions of gender are quitevariable by class, as cursorily sketched by Barbara Ehrenreich.50 In thethesis I am explicitly attentive to the multiple overlaps of gender and class.Race and ethnicity are also important characteristics of suburbs,though often noted more for their absence than presence. Early suburbswere invariably white,51 as were later 1950s Canadian suburbs, although it isimportant to point out that ethnically Canadian suburbs have been somewhat46 Margaret Marsh, op.cit.; J.M.Bumstead, 1992, “From Don Mills toParadise Crescent, Home Sweet Suburb: the great postwar migration”,The Beaver, Oct-Nov1 pp.26-34. Lyn Richards, 1990, Nobody’s Home:Dreams and Realities in a New Suburb, Melbourne: Oxford UniversityPress.‘ Two studies of Levittown across different time periods - the 1 960s andthe 1 980s - demonstrate the continuing salience of middle class concernsin suburbs. See Herbert Gans, 1 967, The Levittowners: Ways of Life andPolitics in a New Suburban Community, New York: Random House, andBarbara M. Kelly, 1 993, Expanding the Dream: Building and RebuildinaLevittown, Albany: SUNY Press.48 Harris and Sendbuehler, op.cit.Geraldine Pratt, “On the reproduction of academic discourse: class andthe spatial structure of the city”, paper presented at the Annual Meetingsof the Association of American Geographers, Toronto, April.50 Barbara Ehrenreich, 1989, op.cit.51 See Marsh, op.cit.16more diverse.52 The place-specific constructions of gender and class I haveoutlined here are also racialized. They are often predicated on exclusions ofpeople of colour, both overtly and covertly through house prices andexclusionary zoning.53These previous understandings of the links between suburbs, gender,class and race provide insights which I draw upon. I also reformulate theseideas in two important ways. First, I attempt to provide a morecontemporary, Canadian, analysis of the intertwining of suburbs, genderclass, race and family in a specific historical and geographical context.Mirroring the changed cultural context of the middle-class nuclear family inthe 1 990s is a different setting, for suburbs have changed, being much moreheterogeneous. They now have downtowns and high density environmentsas well as low density housing.54 The social composition of suburbs is alsomore diverse, in terms of family types, race and income.55 Indeed, thetraditional nuclear family is no longer the primary occupant and producer ofsuburban space.56 Whilst maintaining a focus on neighbourhoods made for52 Richard Harris, 1992, “Canada’s all right” the lives and loyalties ofimmigrant families in a Toronto suburb”, Canadian Geographer, 36,1,pp.13-30; and Strong-Boag, op.cit.On exclusionary zoning, see Michael N. Danielson, 1976, The Politics ofExclusion, New York: Columbia University Press, and race in suburbs,O’Connor, op.cit. A Canadian example is provided by John C. Weaver,1 978, “From land assembly to social maturity: the suburban life ofWestdale (Hamilton) Ontario, 1 911-1 951 “, Histoire Sociale, SocialHistory, 11, pp.411-0.See Truman A. Hartshorn and Peter 0. Muller, 1 989, “Suburbandowntowns and the transformation of metropolitan Atlanta’s businesslandscape”, Urban Geography, 10,4, pp. 375-95.55 On Canada see L.J.Evenden and G.E.Walker, 1993, “The changinggeography of the suburbs” in Larry Bourne and David Ley, eds. TheChanging Social Geography of Canadian Cities, Montreal and Kingston:McGill-Queens University Press.56 Robin Law and Jennifer Wolch, 1 993, “Social reproduction in the city:restructuring in time and space” in Paul L. Knox, ed. The Restless UrbanLandscape, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, pp. 1 65-206.See also Kim V.L. England, 1993, “Changing gender relations, changingsuburbs”, Frontiers, 14,1, pp.24-43.17and by nuclear families, I want also to foreground this altered spatial context.Since suburbs have changed, then it may follow that the interpretation ofexperience and practices within those places have also changed.But my geographical aim and contribution to suburban scholarship isfar more than representing place as a container. I also take the idea ofsuburbia as a place and the construction of identities within and through thisplace as issues to be examined rather than assumed. Despite Herbert Gans’careful ethnographic scholarship, nearly thirty years ago, that refuted theclaim that suburbs automatically create certain types of people,57 the viewpersists that there is a direct relation between a place - suburb - and itspeople - suburbanites. I want to derive rather than assume the social andsymbolic characteristics of the suburbs I examine. In other words, how doparticular notions of class, gender and race (as circumscribed by decliningfortunes and new traditionalism) become connected to specific sites that wecall suburban. The conceptual shift offered here, therefore, facilitates a morefluid and nuanced understanding of suburbs as places and the identitiesassociated with, and contested through, them. Achieving this reformulationrequires a different theoretical vocabulary, which I introduce in the rest ofthis chapter.Ill. Power, Culture and IdentityMy concern in this thesis with experiences, practices and identities(especially in relation to gender) associated with living a white, middle-class,nuclear family life in Surrey, British Columbia, calls for an alertness to theimportance of culture and representation in the constitution of social57 Herbert Gans, 1 967, The Levittowners: Ways of Life and Politics in a NewSuburban Community, New York: Vintage.18relations, the materiality of discourse and the saturation of social life withpower relations. I briefly outline the guideposts of my theoretical perspectivein this section, drawn from contemporary feminist and cultural geography andpoststructuralism.58Important in what follows is a capillary rather than juridical notion ofpower, one that in geography has been clearly articulated in recent workusing the landscape as text metaphor.59 A capillary notion of powerrecognizes that power does not emanate from a single source like capitalismor the rule of a sovereign but from many sources. The social field issaturated with power relations, flowing in many directions among manydifferent actors. Following Michel Foucault, power is not an object, but arelation: the multiplicity of force relations (both domination and resistance)immanent to all spheres.60 All social relations are constituted by powerrelations and one’s position and identity are reflections and products ofrelations of power. Similarly, power is often transmitted and establishedthrough signifying practices. James Duncan’s work on Kandy or thediscussions on “selling places”,61 for instance, show how the builtenvironment, as a signifier, reflects and reconstitutes power relations.Alongside this notion of power is an acknowledgment that discourses, likenew traditionalism and declining fortunes, are not imposed by the “powerful”58 For general sketches of these positions see Michael Keith and Steve Pile,“Introduction Part 1: the politics of place” in Michael Keith and Steve Pile,eds. Place and the Politics of Identity, London and New York: Routledge,pp.1-21.59 For an overview see Trevor Barnes and James Duncan, 1 992,“Introduction: Writing Worlds” in Trevor Barnes and James Duncan, eds.Writing Worlds: Discourse, Text and Metaphor in the Representation ofLandscape, London and New York: Routledge, pp.1-17; James Duncan,1 990, The City as Text: The Politics of Landscape Interpretation in theKandyan Kingdom, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.60 Michel Foucault, 1 978, The History of Sexuality: Volume 1, Anintroduction, New York: Vintage, trans. Robert Hurley, p.92.61 Duncan, op.cit. See also Gerry Kearns and Chris Philo, eds. 1 993, SellingPlaces: The City as Cultural Capital, Past and Present, Oxford: Pergamon.19(like capital) and internalized by the “powerless” (consumers). Instead, theyemanate from many sources, and are negotiated with, reproduced, andreconstituted in myriad ways.Culture is also important, for it is a medium through which gender,class and other social relations are constructed, reproduced andunderstood.62 This sense of culture, as webs of meaning and significancethrough which people’s experience is made sense of socially,63 is insightfulbecause it locates culture as part of, rather than preceding or as an outcomeof, social processes.64 I build upon this conception of culture here, with therelation of symbolic and experiential elements to lines of power,subordination, and domination the key point to be borne in mind.In terms of identity, commensurate with the focus on multiple axes ofpower and difference in poststructuralism, conceptions of the subject andidentity are fluid, multiple and overdetermined. I use the terms subject andidentity interchangeably, following Paul Smith’s distinction between thesubject as the object of determinant forces and the individual as theperceived source and agent of conscious action.65 Identity is simultaneouslya process and an outcome. As a process, I work loosely with ChantalMouffe’s conception of identity formation here, nicely summarized byThomas Dunk as the:62 The important early work here is Paul Willis, 1 977, Learning to Labour:How Working Class Kids Get Working Class Jobs, London: Gower.63 Peter Jackson, 1989, Maps of Meaning: An introduction to culturalgeography, London: Unwin Hyman.64 Witness, for example, how the forest workers in Dunk’s study producethemselves as loggers through a story they tell themselves about their ownpractices in comparison to those of environmentalists and city dwellers.Thomas Dunk, 1 994, “Talking about trees: environment and society inforest workers’ culture”, Canadian Review of Sociology and Anthropology,31, 1, pp.14-34.; p.16.65 Paul Smith, 1 988, Discerning the Subiect, Minneapolis: University ofMinnesota Press, pp.xxxiii-xxxiv.20process of stitching together meaningful elements whichare already carriers of meaning and identity derived fromother contexts and uses.66This stitching together is not free in the sense that it is unencumbered byrelations of power. Instead, the individual is neither all-knowing norcentered, but subject to a number of competing discourses.67 In otherwords, the process of identity formation approximates limited choice:choosing from available identities constructed by dominant discourses.Just as there are many sources of oppression, identity is the result ofmultiple, overlapping relations of power. It is overdetermined. As Mouffeputs it:We can therefore conceive the social agent as constitutedby an ensemble of “subject positions” that can never betotally fixed in a closed system of differences, constructedby a diversity of discourses among which there is nonecessary relation, but a constant movement ofoverdetermineds and displacement. The “identity” of sucha multiple and contradictory subject is therefore alwayscontingent and precarious, temporarily fixed at theintersection of those subject positions and dependent onspecific forms of identification.68The position of “wife”, for instance, is constituted by heterosexual genderdiscourses, personal biographies, state control and the education system, toname just a few elements. In trying to understand the position of wife,therefore, it is not possible to pinpoint one determinant, for there are many.Identity, as the outcome of these processes, is composed of a numberof different subject positions. An individual’s identity is never whole orcomplete, but is multiple and fractured, being comprised of many differentsubject positions that vary along lines such as gender, class and race. Not all66 Thomas Dunk, or.cit.67 Paul Smith, op.cit.68 Chantal Mouffe, 1992, “Feminism, citizenship and radical democraticpolitics” in Feminists Theorize the Political, eds. Judith Butler and Joan W.Scott, London and New York: Routledge, pp.369-84.; p.372.21subject positions, either within or between individuals, are equal. There arealways dominant and subordinate subject locations within discourses andone’s identity.69 For instance, within “femininity”, the identity of beingfemale in western cultures, certain positions like mother, subservient andwife are dominant.Many discussions of identity are abstract, rarely grounded inethnographic material.70 Examinations of the multiplicity and complexity ofidentity are more often made on the basis of purely textual material. Keithand Pile, for instance, situate their account of the partiality of identity inSalman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses rather than the experience ofimmigrants.71 Part of the problem is conceptual, for moving from abstractunderstandings of identities to concrete situations is difficult. Linkingexperience, power and discourse is even more problematic, for how is it thatdominant discourses are manifested in subjects and hence reproduced andrecreated in everyday life? I use the term “doing gender” here to partiallybridge this divide. The term is an amalgam of Candace West’s and DonZimmerman’s sociology,72 and Judith Butler’s notion of genderperformativity.73 Gender identity can be thought of as the acting out of ascript that prescribes certain forms of behaviour. The theatre analogy signalsthe constructed nature of the performance, but also recognizes the possibilityof individual interpretation and refashioning of the script. In addition, doinggender emphasizes the embeddedness of these performances in everyday life:supposedly routine tasks like feeding the family and domestic chores draw69 Mouffe, op.cit.70 For instance Paul Smith, o.cit. For exemplary exceptions, see Dunk,op.cit. and Frankenberg, o.cit.71 Keith and Pile, o.cit.72 Cand ace West and Don Zimmerman, 1 987, “Doing gender” Gender andSociety, 1,2, pp.125-51.Judith Butler, 1 990, Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion ofIdentity, London and New York: Routledge.22upon and reproduce gendered identities and experiences.74 Linkingexperience, ideology and practice is embedded in the thesis as a way ofelaborating the relation between gendered practices and gendered discourseslike the family. The notion is not only confined to gender, we can similarlythink of doing or performing class, race and sexuality.75IV. Articulations of Place and IdentityAs I suggested in the introduction to this chapter, this thesis is aninvestigation of the living of new traditionalism and declining fortunes andtheir attendant identities, in and through place. An understanding of theinter-relations of place with identity is therefore required, a task not withoutprecedent in human geography. Humanistic geography, for instance,foregrounded both place in a cultural sense, and self-perception.76According to Edward Reiph, “to be human is to have and know yourplace”,77 suggesting that identity is always spatially situated. Similarly, inenvironmental psychology, the importance of “place identity”, or “aninterpretation of self that uses environmental meaning to symbolize or situateidentity”,78 is acknowledged. Such perspectives are problematic, however,in terms of their conceptions of both place and identity. Humanism, forinstance, has been critiqued for an essentialist sense of both place and‘ Marjorie L.Devault, 1991, Feeding the Family: The Social Organization ofCaring as Gendered Work, Chicago and London: University of ChicagoPress; Scott Coltrane, 1 989 “Household labour and the routine productionof gender”, Social Problems, 36,5, pp.473-89.5 On sexuality see, for instance, David Bell, Jon Binnie, Julia Cream and GillValentine, 1994, “All hyped up and no place to go”, Gender, Place andCulture, 1,1, pp.31-48.76 See David Ley and Marwyn Samuels, eds. 1 978, Humanistic Geography:Prospects and Problems, London: Croom Helm.7 Edward Relph, 1976, Place and Placelessness, London: Pion, p.1.78 Lee Cuba and David Hummon, 1993, “A place to call home: identificationwith dwelling, community and region”, Sociological Quarterly, 34,1,pp.111-31, p.112.23identity,79 a critique similarly pertinent to environmental psychology.“Locality studies” also attempted an examination of the spatiality of sociallife,80 though with a poorly theorized conception of culture.81 My aim is notto comprehensively review such perspectives, for I feel they have beenadequately dealt with elsewhere.82 I also do not wish to rehearse thetraditional geographic arguments about whether space and place matter orthe spatiality of social life; these are well worn and hopefully now selfevident.83 Rather, I wish to situate the thesis as a response to, andextension of, contemporary discussions of place and identity, especiallyfeminist claims about the geography of subjectivity and non-essentialistconceptions of place. In the first part of this section I outline how feministtheorists have thought about the linkages between identity and place, usingtheir work as an important point of departure. In the second part I presentand develop Doreen Massey’s recent reconceptualization of place and space,and use it in the third part to present four articulations of place and identitythat I examine in the thesis.a. Departures: Placing the Feminist SubjectLocation, situation, placement, home, travel, mobility, exile, margin,and center are just a few of the spatial concepts and metaphors permeatingGillian Rose, 1 993, Feminism and Geography: The Limits of GeographicalKnowledge, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, chapter three.80 For a summary see Doreen Massey, 1991, “The political place of localitystudies”, Environment and Planning A, 23, pp.267-81.81 See Peter Jackson, 1991, “Mapping meanings: a cultural critique oflocality studies”, Environment and Planning A, 23, pp.21 5-28.82 See, for instance, Derek Gregory, 1 993, Geographical Imaginations,London: Blackwell, ch.2.83 See Derek Gregory and John Urry, eds. 1985, Social Relations and SpatialStructures, London: Macmillan; John Agnew and James Duncan, 1 989,eds. The Power of Place: Bringing Together Geographical and SociologicalImaginations, Boston and London: Unwin Hyman; Gregory, op.cit.24current feminist and postcolonial theory.84 Geography appears to be centralto the search for a non-oppressive subjectivity.85 Feminist critiques of themasculinism and oppressiveness of traditional modes of thought andknowledge claims are often expressed through spatial metaphors.Recognizing that the “view from nowhere”, or the Archimedean vantagepoint, is both masculinist and central to colonizing impulses,86 it is suggestedthat the place from which we know, mainly in the sense of position orrelative location, is central to theory and politics.87 Donna Haraway’s“situated knowledges” similarly acknowledges the partiality of allperspectives and the importance of embodied knowledge.88 The view fromsomewhere is seen as politically progressive because it entails a recognitionof the knower’s embeddedness in processes of domination and subordination.These searches for a non-essentialist subject link place and identity ininsightful but metaphorical ways. My aim in the thesis, however, is toexamine the simultaneous metaphorical and material coupling of place andidentity. Such a focus on the material is a useful adjunct to feministtheorizing. Many spatial metaphors are used,89 but to demonstrate my84 For overviews see Geraldine Pratt, 1 992, “Spatial metaphors andspeaking positions”, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 10,pp.24.1-44; Janet Wolff, 1993, “on the road again: metaphors of travel incultural criticism”, Cultural Studies, 7, pp.224-39.85 It should be noted that these are theoretical formulations, referring to theposition of the knower. However, they are useful and suggestive to myanalysis, as I show in this section.86 Susan Bordo, 1986, “The Cartesian masculinization of thought”, Signs,11 ,3, pp.439-56.87 See Elspeth Probyn, 1 990, “Travels in the postmodern: making sense ofthe local” in Linda J. Nicholson, ed. Feminism/Postmodernism, New Yorkand London: Routledge, pp.176-89; Adrienne Rich, 1986, “Notes towarda politics of location” in her Blood, Bread and Poetry: Selected Prose1979-1985, Virago: London, pp. 210-31.88 Donna Haraway, 1991, “Situated knowledges: the science question infeminism and the privilege of partial perspective” in her Simians, Cyborgsand Women: The Reinvention of Nature, New York: Routledge, pp. 1 83-201.89 Pratt, 1 992, op.cit.25points about the benefits of a material linking of place and identity I will usetwo specific examples.Movement and mobility have been important tropes in the rethinking offeminist subjectivity,90 based on the idea that a subject constantly on themove would be more aware of its instability and exclusions.91 Recognizingthat movement is often neither possible nor desirable,92 recent work hasseen living in a particular place - the city - as a substitute for movement, lainChambers, for instance, agrees that there is a need “for a mode of thinkingthat is neither fixed nor stable”,93 and he sees the contemporary city,especially one transformed by migration, as a precondition for seeing thelimits and partiality of subjectivity. In the city, one is constantly confrontedby strangers that test and stretch the limits of subjectivity, forcing us torecognize our complicities.94 More explicitly,it is our dwelling in this mutable space inhabiting itslanguages, cultivating and building on them and therebytransforming them into particular places, that engenders ourvery sense of existence and discloses its possibilities.95And:The city suggests an implosive disorder, sometimesliberating, often bewildering, that results in an interpolationin which the imagination carries you in every direction,even towards the previously unthought.9690 Wolff, on.cit.91 On exclusions, see Minnie Bruce Pratt “Identity: Skin Blood Heart” in EllyBurkin, Minnie Bruce Pratt and Barbara Smith, eds. 1 984, Yours inStruggle, Brooklyn, New York: Long Haul Press.92 For a critique of the metaphor of travel, see bell hooks, 1 992,“Representing whiteness in the black imagination” in LawrenceGrossberg, Cary Nelson and Paula A. Treichler, eds. Cultural Studies,New York and London: Routledge, pp.338-46.93 lain Chambers, 1 994, Migrancy, Culture, Identity, London and New York:Routledge; p.3.94 ibid. p.25.95 ibid. p.16.96 d. p.93.26In other words, the city pushes the limits of subjectivity and disrupts thecertainty upon which oppressive knowledge and action is based.Kathy Ferguson has recently made a similar point, though in relation toplace more generally.97 Ferguson attempts to think of mobile subjectivitiesthat “trouble fixed boundaries, antagonize true believers, create newpossibilities for themselves”;98 an endeavour that is necessarily spatial. Thissubject is necessarily mobile, not in the sense of being constantly on the go,but in having a constantly changing relation to places, different types ofanchoring in and to place.99 It is the resources offered by, and experienceswithin, particular places (Ferguson calls them “temporal and spatialpossibilities offered by specific locales”100) that facilitate a non-essentialist,non-hegemonic feminist subject. Location is something to be used byfeminist subjects, enabling different knowledges and politics to emerge.Here, different types of anchoring to place are suggestive of different formsof identity.Conceptualizations of space and place within these metaphors areproblematic, ignoring the social construction of both space and place. Asargued by Neil Smith and Cindi Katz:The spaces and spatial practices that serve currentmetaphors in social, cultural and political theory are neitherso fixed nor so unproblematic as their employment asmetaphor would suggest.101Since space and place are seen as pre-existing then it invariably follows, saySmith and Katz, that space can unproblematically ground identity: “the9 Kathy Ferguson, 1 993, The Man Question: Visions of Subiectivity inFeminist Theory, Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press.98 ibid. p. 1 54.99 d. p. 163.100 ibid.101 NeN Smith and Cindi Katz, 1993, “Grounding metaphor: towards aspatialized politics”, in Michael Keith and Steve Pile, eds. Place and thePolitics of Identity, New York and London: Routledge, pp.67-83; p.71.27subject moves but space stands still, fixed, unproduced”.102 Similarly, CarenKaplan has argued for an historicizing of these references to place, on thebasis that places (and therefore theory) are historically variable.103 InChambers’ narrative, for instance, the city grounds identity, but the citynever changes. Similarly, Geraldine Pratt argues that Ferguson notes that“understanding how subjectivities get anchored and disrupted requires carefulattention to the specifics of geography and particular locales”, but fails toaddress the issue.104 I am not advocating that the material take precedenceover the metaphorical; I recognize the intertwining of the material and themetaphorical.105 What I am suggesting is that attention to the specifics ofthe places in which identity gets anchored and produced is a necessaryenhancement of searches for a non-essentialist subject. Not only can it curbattempts to literally translate these metaphorical references, but it can alsohelp complicate the relations envisioned between place and identity.More importantly, I would like to take issue with the relation betweenthe subject and place evident in the narratives of Ferguson and Chambers, forboth proceed as if relations to places were unfettered and unidirectional. Thesense I get from Chambers’ prose, for example, is of a subject that dips intoand out of the city (and different cities, judging by Chambers’ internationalwanderings documented in his acknowledgements) at will, a disembodied,non-specific, subject. Similarly, Ferguson’s discussion of anchoring implies102 ibid. p.79.103 Caren Kaplan, 1994, “The politics of location as transnational feministcritical practice”, in Inderpal Grewal and Caren Kaplan, eds. ScatteredHegemonies: Postmodernity and Transnational Feminist Practices,Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, pp.137-52.104 Geraldine Pratt, 1993, “Geographic metaphors in feminist theory”, paperpresented to the Making Worlds: MetaDhor and Materiality in theProduction of Feminist Texts conference, Tucson Arizona, October.105 Michael Keith and Steve Pile, 1993, “Introduction Part 2: The Place ofPolitics” in Michael Keith and Steve Pile, eds. Place and the Politics ofIdentity, New York and London: Routledge, pp.22-40; p.23.28that the subject initiates the anchoring. Connections to place, it seems tofollow, are constructed by the subject, rather than structured more broadlyand part of relations of power. But this is a one-way understanding of therelations between place and identity. Relations to place are also sociallyconstructed, as I attempt to show throughout the thesis. Places can also setlimits on identity, and also reflexivity, and a recognition of these limits canhopefully lead to a more nuanced understanding of a feminist subjectivity.In summary, what I wish to take from this discussion is the limitations“real” geographies place on feminist attempts to theorize a progressivepolitical and theoretical subject. Unidirectional lines of causation are drawnbetween social process, subjectivity and place and the specific characteristicsof sites are often ignored. But relations between places and identities are justas constructed as identity itself, a point I demonstrate throughout thefollowing chapters. Moreover, because of this constructed relationshipbetween place and identity, specific situations and sites often structure,enable and constrain specific identities. Thus I consider more explicitly theinter-relations of place and identity in an attempt to highlight the limitationslocation often places on identity. My purpose is not to refute the claims offeminist theory. Rather, by presenting a multiply constructed and spatializedpicture of the social world, I hope to provide fodder for thinking about a morecomplex and situated theoretical subject.b. Rethinking Space and P/acewhile the notion of personal identity has beenproblematized and rendered increasingly complex by recentdebates, the notion of place has remained relativelyunexamined.106106 Doreen Massey, 1992, “A place called home?”, New Formations, 17,pp.3-15; p.11.29In recognition of the problematic concepts of place and space infeminist theory, signalled in the above quotation from Massey, somegeographers have been trying to formulate poststructuralist and nonessentialist ideas of place and space. Gillian Rose’s concept of paradoxicalspace is one attempt to think explicitly about the spaces of the feministtheoretical subject formulated by Teresa de Lauretis.107 Rose explores thepossibility of a space that avoids the exclusions of the masculine mastersubject: “paradoxical space”, a space that is neither here nor there, centre ormargin. Paradoxical space is multidimensional, consisting of overlappingsocial relations. However, I find Rose’s concept a difficult one to work withempirically, partly because Rose’s discussion of paradoxical space recreatesthe idealism of the other accounts I have just outlined. As Geraldine Prattnotes, Rose’s more concrete descriptions only encompass one axis ofdifference at a time.108 It is also difficult to envision paradoxical space in amaterial and multi-dimensional sense. Because of these difficulties, I preferto build upon Doreen Massey’s reformulation of place, as I outline in thissection.In her more recent writings,109 Doreen Massey has suggested that inorder to understand the “double articulation” of place and identity, theconcepts of place and space need to be rethought. Rather than seeing spacein terms of geometry, a simple pattern of heres and theres, “the spatial issocial relations ‘stretched out”.110 What this means is that space, in thesense of distance and geographical differentiation, is the pattern that socialrelations form since they operate within and constitute a geographically107 Gillian Rose, op.cit., esp. chapter 7; Teresa de Lauretis, 1990,“Eccentric subjects: feminist theory and historical consciousness”,Feminist Studies, 1 6, pp. 11 5-50.108 Geraldine Pratt, 1993, op.cit.109 Collected in Massey, 1994, o.cit.110 d. p.3.30differentiated field. As Massey further points out, space is in constant flux;we only fix it in order to understand. But space is also fixed (or at least fixityis attempted) through social process, and it is here that the concept of placebecomes relevant.In reconceptualizing place, Massey is critical of views that characterizeplace as bounded, and as a site of authenticity and fixity.111 Problematic inthat they essentialize place, such views are also evident in contemporarymovements, like reactionary nationalism.112 Instead, Massey suggests weconceptualize places as “open and porous”,113 taking her cues fromfeminism’s anti-essentialist, political and multi-dimensional evocation ofidentity. Places are constituted by multiple social relations that cometogether in a particular pattern at a site: “a particular articulation of those[social] relations, a particular moment in those networks of social relationsand understandings”.114 As constellations of social relations change, so toodo the places that they constitute; there is no essential or ahistoricalcharacter of a place or the people who live in and through it.Massey’s work is important to a number of strands within geography.She has been instrumental, for instance, in thinking about theinterconnections of the local and the global. What I wish to focus on hereare the consequences of conceiving of places as multiple, shifting and fluid,albeit socially constructed and interconnected with global networks of power,for thinking about the inter-relations of place and identity. Inacknowledgement of the indebtedness of her formulation of place to111 ibid. p.5. Massey is especially critical of humanism here, although hercritique is also relevant to the recent work of Sharon Zukin, who seesplace as the grounding of identity. See Sharon Zukin, 1 991, Landscapesof Power: From Detroit to Disney World, Berkeley: University of CaliforniaPress.112 Massey, 1994, op.cit. p.5.114 ibid.31poststructuralist conceptions of identity, Massey briefly refers to the “doublearticulation” of place:if places are conceptualized in this way [outlined above],and if their definition is amplified to take account of theconstruction of subjects within them, which are part andparcel of what it is to talk about place, then the identity ofplace is a double articulation.115I “amplify” Massey’s discussion of place in the next part. In short, I suggestthat, contra feminist spatial metaphors, it is not just that subjects createplaces and draw meaning from them, but that identities are embedded within,and constructed through, places.Before outlining these articulations of place and identity, I would like tosignal where I depart from Massey’s work. Her approach is no panacea; Ithink she also privileges the construction of places from the outside. In herconcern to refute localized, unconnected conceptions of place (since theseconceptions are more likely to see place as bounded and fixed), Masseyemphasizes that the global is part of the local, but at the expense of the localbeing part of the global. In her example of her home place of Kilburn,Massey ably situates Kilburn within global circuits of capital, information andpeople.116 But she fails to evoke any sense of attachment to, or influenceof, place in the sense of local networks or cultures, nor the impact of eitherof these on identity and social relations. I am not denying that places areinternationally situated. But places (both relations within them and sense ofplace) are also the product of “internal” processes; of people’s constructionsand understandings of these sites and their actions within them. Byforegrounding places as interrelations of social relations at all scales, Masseyloses sight of the imbrication of place-specific and place-engendered social115 id,p.8.116 Doreen Massey, 1991, “A global sense of place”, Marxism Today, June,pp.24-29.32relations and the importance of the local.117 In what follows, my emphasis ison “internal” processes.c. Articulations of P/ace and IdentityWhen place is understood as a site-specific constellation of socialrelations, then the necessary and myriad linkages between places andidentities becomes clearer. For both identity and place are products andcomponents of discursive practices, constructed simultaneously and inrelation to each other. They are dialectically inter-related in the sense thatactions and social processes are at once constitutive of, and constituted by,both place and identity. Recall that for Mouffe identity formation is theprocess of stitching together meaningful elements out of the availablediscourses.118 A geographer could add that discourses are spatially confinedand specific; what is available in one place may be unavailable in another. Tothis extent, place has to be constitutive of identity because specific sites, asconstellations of social relations and discourses, set the limits of possibilityfor identity formation. In other words, since processes of identityconstruction also create places and vice versa, then places contain withinthem particular notions of identity and, correspondingly, identity is most oftenassociated with, and bound to, a particular site. My aim here is to add to thisgeneral understanding of why place and identity are related; offering ananalysis of four specific articulations. They undoubtedly overlap; I separatethem in an attempt to unpack the multiple inter-relations of place and11 To be fair, Massey does accede this point in a footnote in Massey,1994, or.cit. p.14. She acknowledges that she is pushing places asbecoming, as processes as well as things, to the background, but thinksthis is a necessary strategy to combat static conceptions of place. I amemphasizing here the other side of the articulation.118 Mouffe, op.cit.33identity. I introduce the four articulations below, and also signal their relationto the theme of new traditionalism with which I began.The first articulation Is that discourses and places contain within them,by definition, the conditions of possibility for certain identities and not others.The making and design of a suburban landscape, for instance, privilegesheterosexuality and a particular family form, with other identities deemed tobe “unnatural” in such places. It is important to point out, however, thatthese possibilities are set by both the intersection of local social relationswith global social relations, and the reconstruction of everyday life withinplaces and the circulation of meaning. Further, they are neither unchangingnor pre-determined, but subject to constant redefinition.Chapter three is an attempt to illustrate the intertwining andcontestation of place, identity and family in the municipality of Surrey.Through an examination of planning documents, newspaper reports andresidential development activity since 1 960, I show how nuclear familiescame to be seen as the “natural” inhabitants of Surrey and allotted their ownplace. By using newspaper accounts I show how notions of families in theirproper place were also invoked by residents. Finally, I suggest in chapterthree that the place in which these social processes operated - Surrey -affected, like Massey’s geological metaphor,119 those processes.The second articulation is that the construction and experience ofidentity is spatiafized: identity formation and resultant subject positions havespatial manifestations. In the context of relations of power, attempts aremade to create and bound place in the image of a particular identity.Delimiting a place of one’s own is part of the process of identity formation;boundary making is the spatialization of this process. In this respect place is119 Doreen Massey, 1984, Spatial Divisions of Labour, London: Macmillan.34used to fix a fragile and fluid identity. The spatialization of identity,manifested in boundary making, is the focus of chapter four. There, Isuggest that the use of place, and spatial metaphors, to fix fluid and fragileidentities is part of the residential location decisions and daily activities ofsuburban residents. In the context of a general understanding that situatedthe traditional nuclear family as under threat both socially and spatially, andin a place - Surrey - that was socially heterogeneous, residents interviewed inthe two communities sought to demarcate places for middle-class nuclearfamilies, places they could feel at home. Chapter four also demonstrates onespatiality of new traditionalism, showing how attempts to live out aconventional family life involving the carving out of particular spaces.Third, experiences within place form the basis for articulations of self,and may become mechanisms of change. Place can do more than set limitson identity, just like power it can be productive as well as repressive, It ishere that culture and symbol become evident, for webs of meaningconstituting and contained within sites represent available identities. Withinthis framework places provide a repertoire of meanings that can be drawnupon in the constitution of the self, and affiliation with specific places cangenerate ties among people and foster certain sorts of social relations.Place-based repertoires of meaning were part of the process ofdelineating places for the nuclear family in chapter four, but they, and theassociated “place identity”, are most developed in chapters five and six. Inchapter five, building upon the understanding that new traditionalist familiesshould also be homeowners, I develop a notion of a local culture of propertyto capture the ways the intertwined symbolic and material resources withinplace are used to situate the self in class terms. Gender and perceptions offamily disrupt these processes, but these too are place based. I also suggest35in chapter five that these local cultures of property are also underlain by thedeclining fortunes thesis. The salience of the repertoire of meaningsdeveloped within the two subdivisions for gender relations in the context ofnew traditionalism is examined in chapter six. New traditionalism was verymuch a guiding factor in both neighbourhoods, with residents striving to livea particular family life. But their material circumstances and location(especially the cultures of gender and mothering within these locations),meant that a number of different gender identities were experienced, andinterpreted in different ways. The argument here, then, is that place,especially at a symbolic level, can produce (through processes of eithersupport or disruption) identity and its fracturing.The fourth articulation is that just as social processes are placespecific, so too are the webs of meaning through which we make sense ofour world. They are geographical in the sense that references to particularplaces are used as short hand for social relations. Spatial metaphors aretherefore part of cultural understanding and the constitution of identity.David Hummon’s earlier work nicely illustrates this, where he shows how thebuilt environment generally, and the meanings of places like suburban, rural,and city-dweller, are used to situate people in the social structure.12°Understanding of both oneself and others is predicated on their geographicalplacement. Returning to Mouffe, the construction of chains of equivalenceand difference that occurs as part of identity formation is geographical:places are used to identify similarities and differences between people. Thisnotion, which I term, symbolic geographies, cuts across the previous threearticulations and appears throughout the thesis. In chapter three, symbolicgeographies involving Surrey and Vancouver were important, whereas in120 David Hummon, 1990, Commonplaces: community ideology and identityin American culture, New York: State University of New York Press.36chapter four I document how knowledge and interpretation of the symbolicand social geography of Surrey was an integral component of thedemarcation of new traditionalist families. The concept is deployed moresubtly in chapters five and six, but appears through the understanding ofappropriate and “natural” social relations in the two subdivisions.Although these four articulations give insight into both the linkagesbetween places and identities and the lives and identities of the people Iinterviewed, they do not exhaust the spatiality of middle-class familialidentities in the two case studies. Places are not only constituted by one setof social relations (like familialism, for example), nor are inhabitants of a placepositioned similarly in relation to these discourses and social relations. Iapproach this issue in chapter seven by considering the different spatialityand place-based practices associated with strong religious affiliation.Religious affiliation has been identified as underlying some new traditionalistthought, often being associated with a conservative attitude towards gender.In chapter seven I examine the imbrication of religious affiliation, gender,class and family with place. Through in-depth consideration of a handful ofhouseholds I suggest that church-based networks simultaneously invoke adifferent relationship to the neighbourhood and articulate a differentspatiality.In the concluding chapter I return to the themes of new traditionalism,declining fortunes, suburbs and understandings of place and identity, drawingout the implications of the case studies for these issues. In relation topoststructuralist notions of place, identity and their articulation, I discuss theprevalence of boundary making practices and prospects for a progressivesense of place. I also critique my account of new traditionalism and decliningfortunes in terms of two absent presences: feminism and race.37IV. CONCLUSIONIn this chapter my main purpose has been to delineate the theoreticaland empirical contours of the thesis. Rather than comprehensively reviewingall literature, geographic or otherwise, on place and identity, I have focusedon the immediate context and contributions of the thesis, namelypoststructuralist approaches to place and identity. Feminist concerns with“placing” a progressive subject are insightful for their explicit consideration ofthe imbrication of place with identity. Guiding the thesis is an attempt toinject these claims with a more material and spatial content. Beginning withMassey’s reformulation of the concept of place, one objective of the thesis isto develop and work with a poststructuralist notion of place that does notdeny at the outset its efficacy in identity formation. Second, and relatedly,one of the aims is to focus specifically upon and delineate how place andidentity are inter-related; how it is that they are constitutive of each other.How is place constitutive of identity? How is identity spatialized and tied tospecific places?I have also introduced the major empirical focus of the thesis: newtraditionalist understandings of family and gender, the contextualization ofclass within declining fortunes, and the increasing heterogeneity of suburbs.In the following chapter I extend the introduction and contextualization of thethesis, outlining my empirical work. There, I attempt to situate myself in theresearch process and in relation to the place (Surrey) and the people Iinterviewed.38CHAPTER TWOSURREY AND ME: SITUATING THE RESEARCHThe claims I make in this thesis about place-related familial and classidentities associated with new traditionalism and declining fortunes are basedprimarily on in-depth interviews with men and women living in twosubdivisions in Surrey.1 Qualitative research like this is far fromunproblematic, a point that has long been recognized.2 Most recently,feminists and poststructuralists have been critical of the ethics of conductingand reporting such empirical work, especially in relation to inequalities inpower relations between the researcher and those he/she researches.3Judith Stacey, for instance, questions the feminist embracing of ethnographyas a method, suggesting that it may be more intrusive and exploitative thanquantitative methods.4 Writing about, and “speaking for others” have alsobeen problematized.5 The point made is that social “gaps” betweenacademics and those they research lead not only to distorted understandingsbut also to appropriation and exploitation of “others”. Responses to thesemore recent interventions have been both positive and insightful. GeraldinePratt for instance, suggests that empirical work can counter some tendenciestoward theoretical over-generalization and aid in recognizing the fluidity and1 In chapter three I use archival, not interview, material.2 See, for instance, Cohn Bell and Helen Roberts, eds., Social Researching:Politics, Problems, Practice, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, pp.70-87; and Pamela Cotteril, 1992, “Interviewing women: issues offriendship, vulnerability and power”, Women’s Studies InternationalForum, 15, 5/6, pp. 593-606.3 For overviews see the contributions in Heidi Nast, 1 994, ed., “Women inthe field” The Professional Geographer, 46,1, pp.54--l02; and LindaMcDowell, 1 992, “Doing gender: feminism, feminists and researchmethods in human geography”, Transactions, lnstitue of BritishGeographers, NS 17, pp.399-41 6.Judith Stacey, 1 988, “Can there be a feminist ethnography”, Women’sStudies International Forum, 11, pp.21-27.5 Linda Alcoff, 1991/92, “The problem of speaking for others”, CulturalCritique, pp.5-32.39multiple meanings of conventional categories like family.6 Similarly, IsabelDyck sees ethnographic methods as “potentially powerful in allowing us toboth describe women’s action and reveal the meaning of these actions forthem”.7Critiques of qualitative work force a procedural and politicalaccountability of such research and its knowledge claims. Good scholarshipis “situated”, acknowledging how and from where its knowledge wasproduced.8 In this light, my aim in this chapter is to contextualize myresearch and the knowledge derived from it. In particular, I want to outlinehow the research proceeded and attempt to situate myself in it and thechapters that follow. In the first section of the chapter I introduce the placeswhere I did the research: Surrey, Berkshire and Glenwood. In the secondsection I sketch how the research was conducted and my position within it.Here, I attempt to contextualize my claims through talking about theinterviewing process, my analysis of the interview material, and the principlesguiding the presentation of my informants’ words and worlds in the text. Inso doing, I hope to show not only the constructed nature of my claims, butalso their limitations and possibilities.I. Surrey and the Case StudiesI chose the Municipality of Surrey as the focus of my research for acombination of academic and personal reasons. Surrey is a “well known”6 Geraldine Pratt, 1993, “Reflections on poststructuralism and feministempirics, theory and practice”, AntiDode, 25, 1, pp.51-63.Isabel Dyck, 1 993, “Ethnography: a feminist method?”, The CanadianGeograDher, 37,1, pp.53-57; p.54.8 Donna Haraway, 1991, “Situated knowledges: the science question infeminism and the privilege of partial perspective” in her Simians, Cyborgs,and Women: The Reinvention of Nature, New York: Routledge, pp.183-201.40Vancouver suburb, in the sense that it is often discussed in the media andcomes up in conversation as Vancouver suburb. As a newcomer toVancouver, it was one of the few suburbs I knew much about, and I wasinterested in knowing more. In other ways the characteristics of Surrey wereappropriate to, and guided, the analysis, as I illustrate below.a. SurreyIn 1993, the Municipality of Surrey officially became a “City”. Despitethis designation, which is a legal one based on population size, Surreyremains a stereotypical suburb of Greater Vancouver. It is a fair distancefrom the ‘centre’ (downtown Vancouver),9and is separated from it by a largebody of water - the Fraser River (see Figure 2.1). Residential land usespredominate, a situation that for some immediately evokes images of sprawland monotony.10 According to the 1991 Census, 254,000 people lived inSurrey, of whom 66 percent were part of the conventional nuclear family;and single-detached houses represented 52 percent of dwellings. As I outlinein chapter three, young families in search of a home they could afford to ownare largely responsible for Surrey’s settlement pattern over the past thirtyyears. Such desires continue to propel discussions about short and long termplanning, amidst an ever-decreasing amount of land and increasing houseprices. The important issue of 1993, for instance, was the rezoning ofpreviously rural land across the municipality to urban residential use inresponse to housing shortages.9 The word ‘Vancouver’ is used to describe a number of geographical scales.To avoid confusion, I use Vancouver to describe the City of Vancouver.When referring to the entire Vancouver metropolitan area (see Figure2.1), I use the phrases ‘Greater Vancouver’ or ‘Lower Mainland’.‘Surrey’ refers to the Surrey municipality, also shown on Figure 2.1.10 See for instance, Eric Dolphin, 1993, “Somewhere over the river”,Vancouver Magazine, December, pp.50-66.41Figure 2.1 Surrey’s Location in the Lower MainlandjB -South SurreyFigure 2.2 Surrey and the Location of Glenwood and Berkshire42\FGnWOOcI..i.lO4tbAvelGuildfdrdNewtonI-’..I -FIeetwoc’.64th Ave.No.loHighway :143Surrey also fits the characterization of late twentieth century suburbs.It is home to a significant Indo-Canadian community,11 and pockets ofpoverty have developed, mainly in Whalley, in line with contemporaryeconomic restructuring. Townhouses and condominiums dot the residentiallandscape. Seniors living in the “retirement communities” of South Surreyand also throughout the municipality, are clearly present. Further, Surreycouncil is currently pursuing a mandate to create a “downtown”, attemptingto bring the designation “city” closer to reality.12 These characteristics,which I return to in the concluding chapter, formed an interpretive context forthe people I interviewed. In this respect, much of what I have to say isderived from experiences in Surrey.Surrey is also a powerful signifier: mention of the word invariablyconjures up a social image. As such, Surrey is an especially fertile place inwhich to conduct research on symbolic geographies. Although the signifiedsof Surrey have varied historically, they have been united by a focus onSurrey’s “reputation” as a blue-collar, uncultured, crime-ridden andhomogeneous place.13 Throughout the Lower Mainland, and among theSurrey residents I interviewed, “Surrey jokes” circulate widely and frequently,referring to, amongst other topics, the propensity of residents to be burglars,lack of “culture” and distance from everywhere.14 Recent newspaper articleshave called into question this image of Surrey, commenting on its11 The locations of communities within Surrey, like Newton, Whalley andSouth Surrey, are shown on Figure 2.2.12 Barton Reid, 1993, “Suburbs in transition: the urbanization and greeningof Surrey, City Magazine, 11 ,4, pp.38-41.13 I do not attempt an analysis of these signifieds - by whom, from whereand how they are produced - here. My aim is to introduce the generalways Surrey has been thought about.14 For a sample see Denny Boyd, 1984, “Surrey’s idea of a good joke inVandercouver”, Vancouver Sun, October 25, p.A3.44multicultural and “urban” aspects.15 The terrain of discussion remains,however, that of image and symbol. The above reassessments of Surrey, forinstance, start from the image of Surrey and proceed to either debunk orreinforce it. In recognition of this, a public affairs (or image management)coordinator for Surrey was appointed in 1993.16 In this respect, as a casestudy, Surrey may turn out to be a fruitful site for the examination ofsymbolic geographies. Indeed, as I demonstrate in subsequent chapters, theimage of Surrey is an important component of the self-definition of someresidents, and forms part of the discourse of declining fortunes. At the sametime, my analysis shows that this image of Surrey is insufficient. Images ofthe many places within Surrey also have wide currency.The preceding description of Surrey is a starting point intended tocontextualize the research. In chapter three, I explicitly examine the creationof Surrey as a place constellation of power/social relations constituting andbounding it.b. Glen wood, Berkshire and their ResidentsThe conclusions I reach in this thesis about the multiple articulations ofplace and identity rest upon two case studies of specific places, orneighbourhoods, within Surrey. My focus is the residential subdivision since,up to the present at least, it has been the most common site of housing forfamilies. Subdivisions also have other advantages in terms of the ideas I amworking with. Increasingly, subdivisions, loosely defined as groups of houses15 Ben Parfitt, 1993, “City’s potential remains untapped”, Georgia Straight,Sept. 10-17, pp.7-9; Harold Munro, 1993, “City of Surrey”, Vancouver, September 8, p.B4; Harold Munro, 1993, “Surrey: There’s a worldof difference between the image and the reality”, Vancouver Sun,January 12, p.B1-B2.16 Harold Munro, 1993, “It’s no joke: Council to hire spin doctor”,Vancouver Sun, January 12, p.B1.45generally built by one developer or builder according to a particular design,have a clear place identity or image. Made and marketed on the basis oftheir geographical and symbolic characteristics, their clear place identity maymake it easier to speak of symbolic geographies.17 Residents also createsubdivisions as meaningful and significant places in everyday life,18 investingthem with meanings that extend and disrupt developer’s intentions, as I showthroughout the thesis.To say that the two subdivisions were chosen carefully according tothe application of strict criteria would be a misrepresentation. Serendipitycoupled with some loose guiding principles is a more accurate description.Such flexibility is not necessarily a problem, for in this research at least, itallowed the themes and theories to emerge from, rather than be imposed on,the case studies. Given my interest in familial gendered relations, I wanted tofocus on traditional suburban neighbourhoods, consisting of single-familydetached houses. These principles allowed considerable leeway, since therewere many subdivisions within Surrey from which to choose. I was mostinterested in families with young children, for whom the pressures ofchildraising (and hence gender roles) and homeownership would be mostimmediate. I felt that I was most likely to find a higher concentration of suchfamilies in a newer (less than 8 years old) subdivision, thus I began byperusing the real estate sections of the Vancouver Sun and the Surrey Leaderof the past ten years.1917 For an overview see Paul Knox, 1 993, “The postmodern urban matrix” inPaul L. Knox, ed. The Restless Urban Landscape, Englewood Cliffs, NewJersey: Prentice HaIl, pp. 207-36.18 Lyn Richards Nobody’s Home: Dreams and Realities in a New Suburb,Melbourne: Oxford University Press.19 Newness also came to have other significances, as I show in chapterfour.46I essentially proceeded by a process of elimination in combination withforays into many residential communities. Since I perceived I would haveproblems of access to the Indo-Canadian community, most of the Newtonarea of Surrey was ruled out. South Surrey was eliminated on the grounds ofaffluence, with average house prices there much higher than the rest ofSurrey. This left the areas of Fleetwood, Guildford, Fraser Heights andCloverdale, about two thirds of the residential development in Surrey. In thiscontext, Glenwood (see Figure 2.2), the first subdivision, was chosen partlyby chance; I stumbled across it in one of my excursions into Surrey. Itappeared to be of manageable size, had visible signs of children’s presence,and the City Directory information indicated that it was typically middle class.Berkshire (see Figure 2.2), the other case study, was selected six monthsafter Glenwood. As a result, I wanted it to differ on some grounds thatemerged from the Glenwood interviews. Given the spatial and socialcoherence and relative affluence of Glenwood (themes that came to direct myanalysis of white, middle-class family life there), I decided my next casestudy should be amorphous spatially and lower middle class.20 Wanderingsaround Guildford and Fleetwood led me to Berkshire, which I likedimmediately because of its smaller houses and old cars that reminded me of“home”. My reconstruction of the process may make it seem more definitethan it was, but the general point is that the choice of case studies was theproduct of a recursiveness between guiding principles, intuition or senseabout a place, and themes that emerged in the first case study.20 A preliminary note on the way I speak of class is necessary here,although it is given fuller treatment in chapter five. For me, class is ahybrid category, consisting of occupation, upbringing, education, selfidentification and experience. This amalgam of characteristics is bondedin the form of class identity - what one is perceived as by others and byoneself.47I discuss the characteristics of Glenwood and Berkshire, as places, inmore depth in chapter four and provide more detail on the residents inchapters five and six. In Appendix 1 I present selected characteristics ofGlenwood and Berkshire based on the 1991 Census, where the predominanceof homeowning, white, middle-class nuclear families is apparent. Moreimportant, however, are the characteristics of the people with whom I spoke,for it is their words and concerns that guide the analysis. Most intervieweescould be described as middle class in terms of both self-definition andoccupational structure. Most residents described themselves as middle class,although often they would use the additional adjectives of upper or lower.The occupations listed in Table 2.1 also in the City Directory confirm this:manual occupations are rare. The traditional nuclear family is alsopredominant in both these neighbourhoods. Some retired people lived inGlenwood, whilst Berkshire had an increasing number of single-parentfamilies renting their dwelling. In both places the majority of residents werewhite. The most noticeable differences between the two neighbourhoods arewith respect to income, house prices, occupational structure and the labourforce participation of women with children, themes I address in subsequentchapters.It is also necessary to point out that the names of all respondents havebeen changed in the analysis to protect anonymity. Because of my desire totalk about these places specifically, and their small populations, I have alsodisguised other characteristics of interviewees. Occupation has beenchanged (whilst maintaining the social class category), as have previousresidential locations (although the general location has been preserved), andthe sex of children has been randomly changed. In sum, I have tried toreproduce an accurate irofile of an individual, whilst altering the details.48Table 2.1: Summary Characteristics of Respondents, Glenwood and BerkshireGLENWOOD BERKSHIRECharacteristic (families) Number Percent Number PercentAverage Time livedin Neighbourhood 5.1 years 5 yearsPrevious house:Surrey 9 60 6 40east of Surrey 1 7 1 7west of Surrey 3 20 2 1 3Outside Lower Mainland 2 1 3 6 40Owned previous house 14 93 8 54Rented previous house 1 7 7 47Average # of Children 2 2.5Age of children:preschoolers only 0 0 3 20elementary school 6 40 6 40Pre-school and elementary 6 40 1 7elementary and high school 1 7 3 20high school 2 13 2 13Male Occupation:health care, teaching 3 20 0 0self-employed 6 40 1 7professional, managerial 3 20 2 1 3skilled manual 2 13 5 34sales 2 13 4 27clerical 0 0 2 13Female Occupation:health care, teaching 4 27 2 1 3clerical 2 13 4 27athome 9 60 5 34sales 0 0 3 20II. Representing and Interpreting the InterviewsChapters four, five, six and seven are based on interviews I did with60 residents (from 30 households) in the two neighbourhoods. I focused on49residents as a way of getting at “insider” constructions of place, although inboth places I also did some archival research and interviewed builders anddevelopers. Residents of the two neighbourhoods were identified from theCity Directory. Using this information and eliminating those who hadidentified themselves as retired and those without phone numbers, letterswere then sent to prospective interviewees. This letter (in Appendix 2)outlined my research, its concern with families with school-age children, andwhat I would require of them. It was followed a week later by a phone call,where a firm refusal or acceptance was most often given, althoughsometimes I was asked to call back. Some interviews were obtained throughreferrals.21 Interviews were hard to get, not surprising given the timedemands I was placing on young families. However, those who participatedwere very forthcoming. It seemed that making the decision to talk to me wasthe most difficult part. Once they were committed, and I was in their livingroom, residents would actively engage my questions. Most interviews wentway beyond the hour I had originally scheduled; the average was one and ahalf hours.Because of my desire to speak about men’s experiences andmasculinity as well as women and femininity, I spoke to both men andwomen in the households I visited.22 Since it is recognized that in interviewswomen are often silenced, however subtly, by men,23 within each householdI visited men and women were interviewed separately. Men and women21 In both neighbourhoods, I obtained three interviews through referrals.22 Lorna McKee and Margaret O’Brien, 1983, “Interviewing men: ‘takinggender seriously”, in Eva Gamarnikow, David Morgan, June Purvis andDaphne Taylorson, eds. The Public and the Private, London, Heinemann,pp. 147-159.23 Hilary Graham, 1983, “Do her answers fit his questions? Women and thesurvey method” in Eva Gamarnikow, David Morgan, June Purvis andDaphne Taylorson, eds. The Public and the Private, London, Heinemann,pp.132-46.50were also interviewed separately in the hope that both partners would feelmore comfortable in talking with me about issues that may have beensources of conflict in their households. Generally, the strategy appeared tobe successful in this respect, although most thought it strange that I wantedto speak to both of them separately. The method itself often became a topicof discussion: why did I want to do it, did I get different answers in general;and what did their partner say in response to this question? The genderdynamic introduced to each interview also made the differences betweeninterviews more apparent. Where the couple preferred to be interviewedtogether I did so. This too had its advantages and drawbacks. Often a moreflowing conversation would result, although invariably one of the partnerswould dominate the discussion, though not necessarily the man. I try todraw on the strengths of both these situations in what follows.The interviews with both men and women were semi-structured, basedloosely around the issues outlined in Appendix 3. Questions and thesubsequent discussion fell into four major categories: housing history;descriptions of place; domestic practices and gender attitudes; and views ofhome. The first category captures background information and the housingcareers of each respondent; the second images of the current neighbourhoodas well symbolic as geographies; the third the negotiation and reproduction ofgender ideologies; and the fourth the gender and class meanings of a specificplace - the house. Discussions often veered from this path, and issues ofplace, gender and class were raised throughout the interviews. For instance,gender and family were invariably raised as issues in the context of housingmoves, neighbourhood descriptions and divisions of labour in the home.Similarly, spatial constructions of difference in terms of the supposed51“natural” allocation of certain family types to particular places were everpresent.As I outlined in the introduction to this chapter, feminist andpoststructuralist critiques of research problematize descriptions like the oneabove, on the basis that they ignore my position in constructing the “facts”collected from the interviews. Interviews are more than informationgathering exercises. They involve a relationship between the researcher andthe person interviewed, and the “data” collected are not simple presentationsof facts. Instead, how the information was gathered, the power relationsinvolved and the way stories are told affect what we know. A crucialcomponent of contextualizing this research therefore, and acknowledging thepartiality of its knowledge, is critical reflection on the interview process,24my position in relation to the places and people I studied, and myinterpretation and representation of their words and lives. I discuss theseissues below, addressing, in turn, my relation to those I interviewed and howI re-present their words.a. Me as an OutsiderMy position in relation to those I spoke with is an issue because itbears on how I collected and represent their thoughts and experiences. Insome respects I was both spatially and socially outside my “field site”. I didnot live in either of the neighbourhoods, I am not a homeowner and I do nothave children. Being an outsider problematizes the research and impacts theknowledge I produce here. My “outsider” charactertistics - young, educated(some interviewees thought I was “over”-educated), foreign, without24 See Kum-Kum Bhavnani, 1 993, “Tracing the contours: feminist researchand feminist objectivity”, Women’s Studies International Forum, 1 6,2,pp.95-104.52children, for instance - made it difficult for me to “hear” things. Asexamples, I was halfway through the interviews in Glenwood before I realizedthat the omnipresent discussion about architectural controls was also aboutsocial control and exclusion. Similarly, the discourses of declining fortunesand new traditionalism did not really become clear until after the first fewinterviews in Berkshire, when I was able to connect some of the things I hadbeen hearing. I am still able to “read” the earlier interviews in these newlights, but obviously I also missed opportunities to explore the issues further.Through careful and multiple attempts to listen to what was being said to me(often more than once) I hope to represent the interviews adequately, whilstacknowedging that the words of the interviews are themselvesrepresentations of self. More directly, my position affected what I was told,for the stories I was told were certainly a response to people’s perception ofme, as much as my questions. For instance, and this is a point I come backto in the concluding chapter, my gender and assumed feminist inclinationsseemed to provoke a certain defensiveness in relation to gender relations. Itis therefore important to be aware of the impact of the interpretation of myposition, which I try to do in the following chapters.Although problematic, being an outsider is not entirelydisadvantageous.25 According to Cindi Katz:One goes to the field as a kind of “stranger”, and draws onthat status to see difference and ask questions that underother circumstances might seem (even more) intrusive,ignorant, or inane to those who answer them.2625 See Michael Brown, 1 995, “Ironies of distance: an ongoing critique of thegeographies of AIDS”, Environment and Planning D: Society and SDace,13, in press.26 Cindi Katz, 1 994, “Playing the field: questions of fieldwork in geography”,The Professional Geographer, 46, 1, pp.67-72; p.68.53In other words, distance is both enabling and disabling. In my research,being an “outsider” was a point of discussion - especially as a foreigner - andhelped establish rapport. It also made it easier for me to ask people to clarifythings I didn’t understand.Framing myself purely as an outsider is incomplete. I feel I am in anambivalent position in relation to the people I interviewed: I grew up in aplace and family much like those that I describe in this thesis; it is a lifecourse and residential location decision that was “naturally” taken by allthose around me; and it forms the context in which my interactions withfamily and close friends from that place occurs. This partly explains myfascination with the topic: why are homeownership and family living insuburban environments such powerful forces? I am now at least partiallyoutside the realms of meaning of which I speak, but I was produced fromwithin and by it, both inside and outside.Similarly, the position of the researcher varies through the researchprocess. In her comparison of two research projects, one in which she wasan “insider” and another an “outsider”, Zavella notes that being inside is nohomogeneous, utopian position for the researcher.27 Power relations, pointsof connection between researcher and researched and levels of empathy andunderstanding vary within and between interviews.28 Indeed, this should beself evident given the current understandings of identity and power asmultiple and situated that I outlined in chapter one. As a result, there is nosuch position as inside or outside, but the researcher has multiplepositionings during and whilst reflecting upon the research. For instance, Iwas not always in a more “powerful” position in relation to those I27 Patricia Zavella, 1 993, “Feminist insider dilemmas: constructing ethnicidentity with “Chicana” informants”, Frontiers, 13, 3, pp.43-76.28 Pamela Cotteril, o1.cit.54interviewed. A number of times my interviews turned into occasions for theinterviewee to show their moral superiority to both me and others in Surreyand Vancouver. Typically these tales were told by men, but also by somewomen in Glenwood, though not Berkshire.Given these points it is more useful to think of interviews as situatedaccounts constituted by overlapping relations of domination andsubordination.29 They are not searches for “the truth”, nor are they capableof producing “the truth”, as Kamala Visweswaran demonstrates. She relaysthe story of two “betrayals” in her ethnography, where informants withheldfrom her what she thought was significant information.30 The issue here isnot the researchers’ ability to get at “the truth”, she reminds us, but theability of informants, through their narratives in the interview/ethnographycontext, to produce situated knowledges or partial accounts of themselves.31One of my interviews brought this home to me. I had visited Sid’s home formore than three hours, listening to what I thought were reflexive accounts ofhis and his wife’s lives. During the tour of the house immediately before mydeparture, Sid started talking about the time he was unemployed - he hadbeen out of work for three of the past five years - which he had not told metill then. I was startled and upset, and began to question the completenessof what Sid had told me. Upon reflection, however, it was Sid’s right to keepthis from me, and also reveals much about his identity as a worker andprovider. What is important, therefore, is to recognize this situatedness. In29 For discussion of interviews as situated accounts, see Bill Jordan, SimonJames, Helen Kay and Marcus Redley, 1 993, Trarped in Poverty? LabourMarket Decisions in Low-income Households, London and New York:Routledge, chapter one, and on power see Bhavnani, op.cit.30 Kamala Visweswaran, 1994, “Betrayal: an analysis in three acts” inInderpal Grewal and Caren Kaplan, eds., Scattered Hegemonies:Postmodernity and Transnational Feminist Practice, Minneapolis:University of Minnesota Press, pp.90-109.31 ibid. p.99.55my case, it appears that I was given the “public” story of people’s lives, toldmainly in the “public” space of the living room.In this discussion I have not been trying to justify conventionalresearch methods. Instead, I have been arguing that issues of power, accessand distance in the research process are complex and contradictory. Assuch, they require an ambivalent, or “in-between” positioning of theresearcher. I have portrayed these issues in the abstract here, signalling theimportance of distance, partial knowledge and exploitation. I try toincorporate consideration of these issues into discussion of the interviews insubsequent chapters, using the principles presented in the next section.b. Interpreting and Writing about IntervIews as StoriesRecognizing the partiality and situatedness of the interviews and myposition is insufficient. The problem of “textual appropriation” remains.32According to Anne Opie, textual appropriation is the representation ofinterview/ethnographic material driven by academic concerns: questions inthe literature frame the analysis; internally contradictory statements,hesitancy and sometimes counter examples are ignored. Academic concernscertainly framed my analysis of the interviews, since I focused onconstructions of place in terms of intersecting relations of power, sense ofplace in relation to identity, and the spatial manifestations of identity inpractices like boundary making. At the same time, however, I was open tothemes emerging from the interviews. I detail the analytical process here inan attempt to further contextualize the research.Immediately after each interview (either speaking into the tape recorderon the way home in the car, or when I got home), I recorded my reaction to32 Anne Opie, 1 992, “Qualitative research, appropriation of the “other” andempowerment”, Feminist Review, 40, pp.52-69.56each interview (did it go well? were there many silences? was there anythingnoticeable about body language/mannerisms? what was the house like?), myrecollection of what was said after the tape had been switched off (often alot), and what I felt were the prevalent themes of the interview. Within thenext week I transcribed the recording. I transcribed carefully, noting silences,pauses, and repetition of statements. I think taping and transcribing isnecessary in scholarship that focuses on accounts of everyday life. AsMarjorie Devault summarizes her experience:I doubt that I could have reproduced the delightfullyindividual accounts built around the significance ofparticular brands of breakfast cereal or particular cuts ofmeat - these stories contained too much detail about itemstoo ordinary to remember with confidence.33My skills of recollection would also have missed many components of the“ordinary” people spoke about: the daily routine, the chance encounters withneighbours or the seemingly insignificant remarks that when heard againbecome quite telling comments. Taping and transcribing, then, are central tothis thesis.34It is almost impossible to completely reconstruct the analytical process,and I also want to resist the closure of such an account, for it belies the roleof intuition in conducting research. However, I can sketch in broad strokeshow I did the analysis. Once all interviews were transcribed, I sat down withMarjorie L. Devault, 1990, “Talking and listening from women’sstandpoint: feminist strategies for interviewing and analysis”, SocialProblems, 37, 1, pp. 96-116; p.108.3 Transcribing creates its own problems, for it produces reams of paper andmountains of unsorted words. Transcripts have to be sifted intocategories in order to make some analytic sense, but also have to be keptwhole to be interpreted contextually. The computer software, “TheEthnograph” was an important aid, enabling me to shuffle and reshuffle(metaphorically since it was all on disk) interviews and themes as theydeveloped, whilst maintaining the integrity of each interview. As a toolrather than driving force of the analysis, The Ethnograph wasindispensable.57the transcripts and my notes and began to sort through the interviews. Myfirst coding scheme was loose, delineating broad categories such as thedifferent reasons people gave for moving to the neighbourhood, their housinghistories, or their relationships with school and neighbours. I then developedfiner categories based on what was being said in these broader areas, basedon repetition of phrases, or themes I had identified as emerging from manyinterviews. Thus chapter four, initially intended to discuss residential locationdecisions and maybe the creation of “family places”, became an analysis ofboundary construction because of the repetition of “this isn’t Surrey” and“north of the freeway” and “we wanted a new subdivision”. Throughout thecoding process, and the writing of the thesis, I kept returning to theinterviews (both as a whole and as coded bits) in order to refine my analysis.In sum, I “read” the transcripts in light of three pre-determined categories -perceptions of neighbourhood, perception of identities associated with thehome, and contemporary family life. What I write about in relation to thesethemes came from the interviews. The themes of declining fortunes and newtraditionalism, around which I focus the thesis, emerged from anamalgamation of the detailed themes I had identified in relation to each of thebroader categories I started with.35 They thus became umbrella categoriesthat helped me understand the linkages between the specific elements.In terms of the way I present the interview material, Anne Opieadvocates close examination of interviews, especially their internalcontradictions, as a way of addressing the problem of textualappropriation.36 A similarly close reading is conducted by Ruth Frankenberg,35 Prompted by critical readings of chapter drafts by Geraldine Pratt, forcingme to think about the forest as well as the trees.36 Opie, o.cit.58using psychoanalysis to inspire her interpretations of interviews.37 Both, inturn, suggest the use of lengthy quotations in the text. I use comparativelylengthy extracts from the interviews, in the hope of contextualizing them. Iam alert to the importance of pauses, repetitions, and contradictions, and Ihope to present accounts that are situated in both everyday life and academicconcerns. As a way of legitimating my readings of the transcripts, and theirsurrounding social and spatial situations, I have tried to give more than oneexample of a point. I have also tried to present the conflicting interpretationsand experiences within each place.Ill. SummaryThe length of this chapter indicates some of the complexitysurrounding the conduct and representation of empirical work today andreflects my belief in the necessity of contextualizing knowledge claims. Tothis end, I outlined where and how the research was conducted and situatedmyself within it. In particular, I have attempted to draw attention to theways my position may have affected the information I gathered, suggestingthat we acknowledge the interviews to be public accounts of gender, classand family. By describing the way I analyzed and present the interviewmaterial, I also hope to have let the reader understand the position fromwhich, and through which, the thesis is filtered. In the next chapter Icontinue the contextualization of the case studies whilst simultaneouslybeginning to develop the articulations of place and identity, via newtraditionalism and declining fortunes, that I developed in chapter one.3 Ruth Frankenberg, 1 993, White Women, Race Matters: The SocialConstruction of Whiteness, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.59CHAPTER THREEPLANNING SUBURBAN SPACE, PLACING THE FAMILY:SURREY, 1960-1993The City of Surrey, encompassing 371 square kilometres of land, is adiverse place. A traverse of the municipality takes one through manydifferent land uses and social formations. Coming in from Vancouver overthe Port Mann bridge and heading south on 152nd Street,1 for instance, aCanadian flag flying high (off the tallest flagpole in British Columbia) guidesyou to the Guildford Mall, a retail magnet occupying more than two blocks.The mall is bounded by townhouses and apartments, and oozes into itssurroundings as 1 52nd becomes a lengthy commercial strip. The new highrise towers of Guildford and Whalley begin to recede as one heads south,moving through endless single-family subdivisions, punctuated by theoccasional mall, car dealer or “urban forest”. If it is lunchtime, hordes ofschool children walk purposively from school to their favourite lunch spot;otherwise the Street seems largely empty except for those in cars. After76th Avenue it all seems to change. Heading downhill into the river valley,the houses become bigger and surrounded by more land, until large fieldsstretch out before you. According to another description:The mostly empty area ... is protected agricultural land, aflat, lightly treed valley of market gardens and grazing landthat accommodates the Serpentine, Nicomekl and Campbellrivers and accounts for about a third of Surrey’s 371square kilometres. Sikhs in turbans and Chinese in wide-brimmed hats can be seen tending the peaty fields ofblueberries, potatoes and corn - as they have since the lastof the fir, hemlock and cedar stumps were plowed underearly in the century.21 The location of roads, bridges and neighbourhoods is shown on Figure 2.2.2 Eric Dolphin, 1 993, “Somewhere over the river”, Vancouver Magazine,December, pp.50-66.60Continuing southward, the landscape gradually becomes residential again,dominated by even larger houses on even larger lots in Panorama Ridge (whatsome call Surrey’s Shaughnessy3)and the newer developments in Elgin andSouth Surrey. The journey along 1 52nd ends at Southmere Mall, where thepresence of seniors marks a further shift in social composition and the City ofWhite Rock lies just across the road.This chapter is an investigation of the processes producing thelandscape I have just partially described. Over the past thirty years, whathave been the major changes in Surrey? Specifically, how did residentialdevelopment proceed? What have been the primary forces governing thisdevelopment? One of my aims is to provide a context for the case studiesthat follow, outlining in general terms the place - Surrey - in which the white,middle-class, nuclear families are situated. To this end, I provide achronology of residential development in Surrey, sketching where, when andwithin what framework houses were built. I thus focus primarily onoccurrences within Surrey, relying on planning documents, local newspapersand housing statistics.4 In focusing on Surrey, my assumption is not thatprocesses “outside” Surrey were irrelevant; the City was and is situated inwider housing markets, political events and planning ideologies. The massivepopulation growth of the Lower Mainland, for instance, propelled the growthof Surrey, which in turn was influenced by the Canadian economy andimmigration policies. Similarly, the planning ideals I discuss here are notconfined to Surrey. My strategy, rather, is to examine the imprint of these3 Shaughnessy is an elite residential landscape in the City of Vancouver.4 Specifically, I use research reports, discussion papers and official plans ofthe Surrey Planning Department, a comprehensive reading of the localnewspaper - The Surrey Leader - for the period 1960-1993;representations of Surrey in The Vancouver Sun, The Province, andreports of the Greater Vancouver Regional District (GVRD) and itspredecessor, the Lower Mainland Regional Planning Board; housingstatistics; and interviews with key residential developers.61processes in Surrey. My examination of the recent transformation of Surreyfrom an agricultural to residential space, built primarily for the homeowningnuclear family, is filtered through three lenses which I outline beforebeginning the analysis.The first is a focus on the preponderance of what is called “singlefamily residential” in both the Surrey landscape and the discourses producingit. How and where does the homeowning nuclear family “fit” in Surrey?What visions of family lay behind the suburbanization of Surrey? Which oneswere hegemonic? Was family a contested category? My purpose here is tosituate the single-family subdivisions that are the focus of the rest of thethesis. In particular, I want to show how a space for and of the homeowningnuclear family has been imagined and positioned within Surrey.Second, my narrative is filtered through the planning of Surrey.Imaginings of Surrey inscribed in planning documents and policies lay thegroundwork for when, what type, where, and how houses could be built;they set the limits of possibility and impossibility for residential developmentin which builders, developers and residents worked. In other words, land useplanning is:an ideological discourse on the nature of the builtenvironment and a system of negotiation which sets therules of access and institutional purchase afforded todifferent agents.5By focusing on the planning of Surrey, I am thus attempting to demonstratethe understandings governing residential development there.Since planning discussions in Surrey were far from unique, this chapteralso connects with, elaborates upon, and extends, understandings of5 John R. Short, Stephen Fleming and Stephen J.G. Witt, 1 986,Housebuilding, Planning and Community Action: The Production andNegotiation of the Built Environment, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul,p.13.62twentieth century planning discourses. In particular, I flesh out the ideals,goals and methods of what has been called “modernist planning” as theyoperated in Surrey. As summarized by Robert Beauregard, the modernistplanning project seeks to bring reason to bear on capitalist urbanization andguide decision making with a technical, rather than political, rationality.6Guided by a belief in emancipation and progress, planning is to:triumph over both politics and nature with its basicprinciples and knowledges: the authority/knower/planner,possessed of immaculate objectivity, is to conquer, shape,and control environments, guiding society toward its“vision of the future”, its “established targets”.7The application of scientific principles reverberate throughout mydiscussion of Surrey.8 Abstract representations of space and a belief inspatial and social order are also important in my narrative. The spaces ofboth city and suburb are seen as uniform, coherent, devoid of difference,9and disembodied.1°As I illustrate here, governing the development of Surreywas the view that the land of Surrey was an abstract plane to be controlled,ordered and dominated. I also pay particular attention to the spatial orderingimplicit in modern planning. As Christine Boyer points out, the quest to orderand discipline space was also cellular, a process of spatial demarcation. The6 Robert A.Beauregard, 1 989, “Between modernity and postmodernity: theambiguous position of US planning”, Environment and Planning D: Societyand Space, 7, pp. 381-95; p.381.Barbara Hooper, 1992, “Split at the roots”: a critique of the philosophicaland political sources of modern planning doctrine”, Frontiers, 13,1,pp.4.5-80; p.56. She is paraphrasing Harvey Perloff, 1957, Education forPlanning: City, State and Regional, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UniversityPress.8 For overviews see M. Christine Boyer, 1 983, Dreaming the Rational City:The Myth of American City Planning, Cambridge MA: MIT Press; andPeter Hall, 1 988, Cities of Tomorrow, Oxford: Blackwell.9 John Allen and Michael Pryke, 1 994, “The production of service space”,Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 1 2, pp.453-75.10 Victor Burgin, 1993, “The city in pieces”, New Formations, 20, pp.33-4763purpose is to be able to separate or break up confusingoverlaps, to fix peripatetic land uses.11Urban and suburban space are to be spatially ordered, divided into separateland uses.12 Zoning, for instance, originally introduced to control“nuisances”, became crucial in controlling and spatially demarcating urbandevelopment.13It is important to point out that ordering urban space was also acultural ideal.14 The principle of “everything in its place” which underlayrationality and order was a moral issue, specifying:not only how land uses should be arranged, but how landuses, as social categories, are to be related to oneanother.15In other words, the city was guided by, and subsequently expressed, theprinciple that there was a “natural” place for every activity and person.Ordering Surrey for both social and economic purposes was the dominanttheme of the 1 960s, as I illustrate below. This chapter, then, provides anillustration of twentieth century planning and its importance in framingresidential development in Surrey.I also wish to contribute to understandings of twentieth centuryplanning by arguing that these planning ideologies are understood, and arecontested through place-based motifs. My point is that these more generalthemes were understood and articulated in what were seen to be Surrey11 Boyer, op.cit. p.71.12 See also Margo Huxley, 1994, “Panoptica: utilitarianism and land usecontrol” in Katherine Gibson and Sophie Watson, eds. Metropolis Now:Planning and the Urban in Contemporary Australia, Sydney: Pluto Press,pp.148-60.13 Boyer, op.cit. p.156.14 On the dominance of economic imperatives in urban and suburbandevelopment, see Sam Bass Warner, 1968, The Private City: Philadelphiain Three Periods of its Growth, Philadelphia: University of PennsylvaniaPress.15 Constance Penn, 1977, Everything in its Place: Social Order and Land Usein America, Princeton: Princeton University Press, p.3.64specific terms. Not only was the scientific ordering of Surrey emphasized forits ability to ensure a prosperous future, it was seen to be most appropriateto the specific concerns of Surrey. The meaning and history of Surreysubsequently modified the ideals somewhat. By focusing on the place-specific articulation of these ideals, I hope to demonstrate their modificationand open up a space for their contestation.The third filter of my suburbanization story is the notion of a suburbitself. It is now widely acknowledged that suburbanization broadly involvesthe transformation of agricultural space into residential space, influenced byfactors such as transport networks,16 crises of accumulation,17 populationgrowth, profit motives18 and anti-urban sentiment.19 It is furtheracknowledged that there are many different types of suburbs, with variationcommonly being illustrated between places.20 Through the followingnarrative I explore the many meanings of suburb within Surrey. The questionhere is what notions of suburb and suburban living guided residentialdevelopment within Surrey.In the rest of the chapter I tell a story of the making and planning ofSurrey as suburban in the period since 1 960 through the lenses of family,planning and notions of suburb. The chapter is divided into sections thatcorrespond to a different time period in the recent history of Surrey. Theseperiods are: the 1 960s where taming the landscape and rationality were the16 Sam Bass Warner, 1962, Streetcar Suburbs: The Process of Growth inBoston, 1870-1900, Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press.17 Richard Walker, 1981, “A theory of suburbanization: capitalism and theconstruction of space in the United States” in Michael Dear and AllanScott, eds. Urbanization and Urban Planning in Capitalist Society, London:Methuen, pp.384-429.18 For a Canadian analysis, see James Lorimer, 1978, The Developers,Toronto: James Lorimer.19 Kenneth T.Jackson, 1 985, Crabgrass Frontier: The Suburbanization of theUnited States, New York: Oxford University Press.20 For instance, Margaret Marsh, 1990, Suburban Lives, New Brunswick:Rutgers University Press.65governing motifs; the 1 970s revolving around the issues of growth and cheaphousing; the emergence of South Surrey as different in the 1 970s and early1 980s; the Official Community Plan of the mid 1 980s; and contemporaryattempts to become a city. The concluding portion of the chapter draws outthe import of the analysis to the case studies that follow; in terms of theideological, economic and suburban context in which the neighbourhoodswere developed, the hegemony of the nuclear family in the Surrey discoursesof difference, and as an orientation map of the widely circulating symbolicand material geographies of Surrey.I. Surrey before 1960 - A brief sketchIncorporated as a municipality in 1 879, white settlement began inSurrey in the 1860s.21 These settlers had been immediately preceded by theRoyal Engineers, who surveyed the land and carved the municipality into aseries of grid lines and half mile square parcels, shown in Figure 3.1. Thisperception and organization of space structured the original pattern ofsettlement, for when the pre-emption proclamation was issued in 1 860, theflood of settlers, mainly farmers, were pushed into this grid. Within this pre1 890 agricultural space, settlers farmed and established small settlements,often with community halls. These settlements, such as Hall’s Prairie, SurreyCentre, Hazelmere, Clover Valley and Elgin, remain in the contemporarySurrey geographic vocabulary. The physical landscape was also transformed,with parts of the upland logged. By 1890, these attempts to tame’ aperceived wild landscape had transformed the land, and brought it into thedominant concerns of agriculture, white settlement and rationalization.21 Most of the information in this section is from G.E. Treleaven, 1 992, TheSurrey Story, second edition, Cloverdale: Surrey Historical Society.66During the first four decades of the twentieth century Surrey continuedto be settled by waves of migrants, predominantly from the Prairies.22 Itremained primarily agricultural, with an economic and cultural orientationtoward New Westminster rather than Vancouver. With the opening of thePattullo Bridge in 1937 and the growth of Vancouver, its orientation andcharacter gradually changed. The first significant “suburban” or nonagricultural settlement occurred during the Depression of the 1 930s, whenpeople from Vancouver migrated to Surrey in order to live cheaply and beself-sufficient through gardening. Further groups of residential settlersfollowed, primarily for cheap housing, which meant that by the 1 940s Surreywas being called Vancouver’s bedroom, with residential developmentconcentrated in the widely separated nodes of Whalley and Crescent Beach.The class composition of this settlement was mixed, with South Surreypeopled by affluent homeowners on large lots and North Surrey a mixture ofblue collar and white collar workers.23 Zoning regulations were introducedby the Municipality in 1954, and new suburban residents also beganpetitioning for more facilities explicitly on the basis of being suburbandwellers, not farmers.2422 Treleaven, o.cit. p. 98.23 WaIter Hardwick, 1974, Vancouver, Don Mills: Collier Macmillan, pp.138-39.24 Treleaven, op.cit. p.117.‘0F.A o&Figure 3.1. Early Map of Surrey Municipality, circa 1890i %Set6Sk.41J S3E± Ht’Source: G.Fern Treleaven, 1 992, The Surrey Story, second edition,Cloverdale: Surrey Historical Society.7‘1‘7—0D .1 L,. ‘00 JL.0Lo. :I’S4I 4 i1j3k.6722.L.lq *‘ €1JA\20 v’- 22.Jo32.7. LAlZ5 3° I V 2.7 J1I_ 5M2.3 J— • . JNH- -.200 fl02.y:M. D.--ID D0I ‘ -‘ . 00LJtO,&D20O3, \ eW. M0i0J •oI6J 96I RIsl0. co.Lp•_! ÷TL ‘WA.Oii. b,:$-’J’-• IWAlI:F4of i’. z-°1 n’. I. ‘.1 j . Co, ./04D C.11 ‘L4 V --°: ----.;- -j-S MZ%4 :A jg. t F 5 f ‘ c to it. •‘. I——-.gMO 1 JCY\L7o2.JL t05f’f,Jr, J.0Ii.:r—..o--. ,I2.I ee !coJ o’cW1p... - --—.-.i • --—___J A 3.. c.,e. 6.m0L,JZEi1I a i(—%\l’,.000’. \ ) •I •7/ WA2.D ‘.——-II M’60______‘LL-WL:-Rifl12.0Iw I0020y bZ IS0ca2.r -T°ifIrnoo,f J—2.2.3C —I_&—°k• : 1’N i4c1POIG:H32.4 -- -j4 ooDzJJZ\i\‘S— J — .2.84 LISE M A H M O680 0CD112i L’U i._..........._j—I —-P. f1’ 969_,_ t.a I--aJ -hI F4—-IJj I—.J.104egend[0 COMMERCIALINDUSTRIALI SINGLE GMILYRESIDENTIAL[F 1/2—IACREU.— RESIDENTIALARGICULTURAL 7280IiII“i—P 1 .64• ,‘L--•561--i-:—II . I—tt —kI V’. i• ‘a248Figure 3.2. Pattern of Residential Development, Surrey, 1960Source: Corporation of the District of Surrey, 1 983, OfficialCommunity Plan, Surrey, p.33.069From 5,800 in 1 921 (less than three percent of the Greater Vancouverpopulation), the population in Surrey had risen to 71,000 by 1961,representing nine percent of the Greater Vancouver population.25 The purelyresidential, as opposed to agricultural, character of this population growthcan be seen in the ratio of number of parcels of land to number built on. In1 955, of the 55,000 lots in Surrey, less than half had dwellings on them.Just six years later, the number of lots had increased by a third, and morethan twothirds of the total had been built on.26 Spatial concentration was ahallmark of this process, as shown in Figure 3.2. Most residentialdevelopment was to be found in Whalley, and to a lesser extent Guildford.South Surrey remained agricultural, as did most of Newton, Fleetwood andCloverdale, although Cloverdale also housed the centre of government.White Rock and Crescent Beach were primarily residential, being bothretirement and holiday communities. As a place with more affluent residentsand no vacant land for urban expansion, White Rock formally seceded fromSurrey in 1 957, because of its perceived differences from Surrey.27In 1 960, although Surrey had come a long way from being anagricultural settlement, it had no large shopping centres nor high rises, butconsisted of a number of scattered settlements. Until then, residentialdevelopment had been sporadic, scattered around the municipality and theresult of numerous small holders subdividing and selling portions of their land.In this respect, Surrey appears to have been characterized by nineteenthcentury land development processes until well into the twentieth century.2825 The Corporation of the District of Surrey, Planning Division, 1 963,Planning for Surrey: a renort on the basic aims for rlanning the District ofSurrey, Surrey: Community Plan Series Report I, p.6.26 Planning for Surrey, or.cit. p.10.27 Treleaven, oi.cit. p.1 1 6. On the different characteristics of White Rockat this time see Walter Hardwick, or.cit. p. 1 39.28 On early Canadian land development see Harris and Sendbuehler, op.cit,and Ross Paterson, 1 989, “Creating the packaged suburb: the evolution70Many lived on lots in the north of the municipality that were not connected toservices like sewage and water. Transport connections to Vancouverremained limited, with only the Pattullo Bridge and George Massey tunnelopen. The seeds of change were present, however. The Port Mann bridgewas about to open (1960), and since the opening of water crossings inVancouver operated much like streetcars elsewhere, change was expected.29Grosvenor-Laing, an international property developer, was about to developthe Guildford Town Centre, the first community plan was being discussed,and medium and high density housing were on the agenda. Although not aclear break with the past, the 1 960s represent a turning point in thesuburbanization of Surrey: from a rural past to a suburban future.II. Rationalizing Surrey Slace, 1960-1970Ordering Surrey for both social and economic purposes was thedominant theme of the 1 960s, although it was expressed and understoodthrough what were seen to be Surrey-specific concerns. The early 1 960s inSurrey were characterized by scrutiny of the haphazard process ofdevelopment I described above. In an attempt to become “modern”, Surreycouncil instigated a review of development, planning and the future ofSurrey, culminating in a series of reports to council. The primary point of thereports was criticism of the uncoordinated subdivision and occupation of landwhich was seen to leave the until now bright future of Surrey to chance.30of planning and business practices in the early Canadian landdevelopment industry, 1900-1914” in Barbara M. Kelly, ed. Suburbia Reexamined, New York: Greenwood Press, pp.1 1 9-32.29 On streetcars, see Sam Bass Warner, or.cit. On bridges and tunnels inVancouver suburbanization, see L.J. Evenden, 1 978, “Shaping theVancouver suburbs” in L.J. Evenden, ed. Vancouver: Western MetroDolis,Western Geographical Series volume 1 6, University of VictoriaDepartment of Geography, pp.179-99.30 Planning for Surrey, on.cit. p.3.71Growth, according to the reports, was ruining the Surrey landscape and thewelfare and livelihood of its residents, for two reasons. First, the costs ofurban developments were spiralling out of control. Land was beingsubdivided and built on at a great rate across the municipality, placingdemands to provide sewers, water, schools and other facilities. Yet since themunicipality was so large and population and housing so scattered, the costsof servicing were too great. Substandard and varying qualities of liferesulted, which, according to planners, threatened to undermine one of thedefining characteristics of Surrey - its livability. As stated in one of thereports:Since it will not happen overnight the trying experiences ofgrowth must be limited by careful control overdevelopment. Urban residential development must bedirected into an orderly contiguous pattern to keep downcosts of services.31A second criticism of haphazard growth emanated from those whowanted Surrey to be a place for the investment in, and development of,residential land. The present pattern of land ownership, particularly thenumber of small holders and also the lack of a central hand guidingdevelopment, mitigated the potential for profit creation, for it was difficult forcorporations to subdivide and develop larger parcels of land.3231 The Corporation of the District of Surrey, Planning Division, 1 964,Preface to a Community Plan: A report on the survey and analysis leadingto a Surrey Community Plan, Surrey: Community Plan Series Report 8,p.79.32 See The Corporation of the District of Surrey, Planning Division, 1 964,Perspective ‘81: A proposal for a comprehensive general plan for Surrey,Surrey: Community Plan Series Report 9, p.81. These criticisms were farfrom unique to Surrey. On the increasing influence of developers and realestate agents in American urban areas of the twentieth century, see MarcA. Weiss, 1 987, The Rise of the Community Builders: The American RealEstate Industry and Urban Land Planning, New York: Columbia UniversityPress.72The response to these pressures was to control, tame and order thisrampaging Surrey: “a sense of order should pervade the whole”;33 “orderlygrowth is the aim”;34 and “the trying experiences of growth must be limitedby careful control over development”.35 Order was realized spatially: wheredevelopment could occur would be directly controlled, which would thereforeindirectly control the amount of development.36One expression of this spatially manifested rationality was that theplanning reports further compartmentalized the land of Surrey within theparameters set by the original surveyor’s grid lines: growth, residentialdevelopment, commerce, industry and agriculture were all to have their ownplace in the municipality, and each piece of land, in turn, was to have its ownmeaning and appropriate social relations. In effect, the land of Surrey wasimagined solely in terms of spatially separate land uses. Two specific policieswere advocated with respect to developers and suburban growth: “urbanresidential development must be directed into an orderly contiguous patternto keep down costs of services”37 and “what is needed . . . is the sort offramework within which a land assembler can comfortably andadvantageously operate, serving the Municipality’s purpose no less than hisown”.38 The result is depicted in Figure 3.3, showing the allocation of landto specific uses.33 Preface , or.cit. p.30.34 ibid, p.32.35 Perspective ‘81, o.cit. p.79.36 This rationalizing of the landscape had begun five years earlier with thechanging of street names. Previously named after local people, places,and events, roads became numbered avenues and streets in 1 957, on thegrounds of efficiency - see Treleaven, op.cit. p.1 1 7.3 Preface to a Community Plan, op.cit. p.30.38 Perspective ‘81, o.cit. p.10.73Figure 3.3. Apportioning Surrey Space in the 1966 Official Community PlanSource: Corporation of the District of Surrey, 1 966, Official Community Plan,Surrey.74Yet the vision promulgated was far more complex than just rationality;it was modified according to the history and meaning of Surrey. Surrey’sadvantages as a place to live were seen to lie in its ability “to retain many ofthe advantages of the rural setting, [and] combine them with the advantagesof urbanism”.39 Surrey was therefore to be a mixture of urban and rural:certain areas were to be reserved for agricultural and rural living, shown inFigure 3.3, and residential development was to be concentrated and confinedto designated urban areas in order to save on servicing costs.4° Instead ofone urban area, five “nodal” points of growth, based on the originalsettlements, were designated. The rational ordering of space, although thedominant goal, was thus modified in accordance with the history andgeography of Surrey.The actual land use pattern envisaged and subsequently acted upon inthe 1 960s was also underlain by familial assumptions. Each of the fivedesignated “urban” areas consisted of neighbourhoods, villages and towns,providing a gradation between urban and rural living that satisfied the spatialconstraints on servicing whilst maintaining a proximity that facilitated thesocial mixing of rural and urban life. Moreover, this urban differentiationallowed the spatial separation of separate family types. Neighbourhoods, thesmallest element of this “urban hierarchy”, were to be:the everyday world of the elementary school child, thefocus of daily living for the homemaker, and the placewhere the father may relax in privacy with his family.41Villages, comprising two or three neighbourhoods, were to be more “urban”,but small-scale, emphasizing local activities. Completing the hierarchy wouldbe town centres, creating a feeling of urbanity, but still no more than threePreface to a Community Plan, op.cit. p.9.40 Planning for Surrey, op.cit. p.31.41 Perspective ‘81, or.cit. p.26.75miles from rural life.42 At the neighbourhood scale the nuclear family waspredominant, whereas villages were more diverse:Age group mix is to be achieved in the village byencouraging the forms of housing suited to each particularage group - apartments for single and married peoplewithout children, and for the elderly; town houses andgarden apartments for young families in the pre-homepurchasing stage; and single family homes with children ofschool age.43“Difference” was not only to be spatially ordered, but was conceptualizednarrowly, in terms of family (and even then only with respect to singles andcouples with and without children), age, life cycle and house type, with noreference made to class, sexuality or ethnicity. Moreover, the above quotealmost exactly replicates the hierarchical “ladder of life” that Constance Pennidentifies; a life cycle transition that had corresponding places and moves.44In the production and mapping of Surrey achieved in these documents,family is the pivotal point of all discussions of social differentiation.45 Insome ways, the traditional nuclear family is the absent presence, theassumed given, that structures these reports. It is surprising how littlediscussion of families there is, but somehow it just seems to be there. At themost obvious level, none of the planning theories and demarcations of spacewould “work” in the context of other conceptions of difference. Consider,for instance, the neighbourhood and its focus around the elementary school.The assumed homogeneity and boundedness of this scale becomenonsensical if it is recognized, for example, that women may not be at home42 ibid. p.15.The Corporation of the District of Surrey, 1 966, Official Community Plan,Surrey, p.10.4 Penn, op.cit.45 A discussion not unique to Surrey. See Gwendolyn Wright, 1981,Building the Dream: A Social History of Housing in America, New York:Pantheon.76to make these places cohere.46 Definitions of families and lifestyles wererigidly drawn: underlying the series of planning reports was the assumptionthat “the family remain the basic social unit”, “the single family dwelling willremain the prevalent model of housing” and “home ownership will remain adesired social and economic goal”.47 As I will detail throughout thisdiscussion, the traditionally defined nuclear family remained hegemonicthroughout the process of making Surrey suburban.Although an accommodation between the specifics of Surrey and thediscourse of rationality can be identified in the 1 960s planning reports, theextent of compromise was seen to favour modernist planning principles. Inparticular, the way space was apportioned between urban and agricultural inthe original Surrey Official Community Plan (OCP) was seen to be anomalousin terms of local definitions and current patterns of suburban land use inSurrey. Generations of Surrey residents had been living at the interstices ofurban and rural ways of life, living on areas of one to five acres, and definingthemselves as neither urban nor rural. These land uses and ways of life weredefined as “suburban” in Surrey, but had been overlooked, even obliterated,in the plans. The editor of The Leader for instance, alleged that “suburban”was seen as a residual category, a product of an urban and “highest and bestuse” ideology.48 Explicitly:Unfortunately, we seem to follow the trend of negativethinking in regard to suburban communities. We call itsuburban residential but it isn’t really. In Surrey we have“urban residential” and various categories of zoning toprevent them from being urban residential just now. Thethinking in regard to suburban zoning seems to be negative.The professional planners in their literature and theirlectures are oriented towards apartments and row housesas the “highest and best use” of land. But suburban46 For a critique of the “single family neighbourhood” see Dolores Hayden,1 984, Redesigning the American Dream: The Future of Housing, Workand Family Life, New York: WW Norton.Planning for Surrey, op.cit. p.33.77residential can be much more than non-urban... The peopleof North America have amply proven over the past thirtyyears that they want suburban living. Surrey is admirablylocated to supply that desire for suburban living. But wewon’t get suburban communities unless Council andmunicipal officials widen their viewpoint, which at presentconcentrates on urban and non-urban. With a positiveapproach we can have communities which are selfsupporting in total tax revenue and expenditure, and whichcan provide a better way of life than either rural or urbancommunities.49An alternative vision of “suburban” was recognized only in principle bycouncil:Ideally, areas should be provided in which true suburbanliving can be experienced, if suburban living can be definedas the pursuit of activities such as hobby farming or themere enjoyment of open space on one’s own property,which are not particularly appropriate for purely urban orfarming areas.5°The placement of the “suburban” in Surrey was contested; not throughchallenges to modernist planning, but through discussions of secession. Anumber of secession movements dominated the political scene throughoutthe 1960s and 1970s,51 a product partially of dissatisfaction with currentrepresentations of suburban space in Surrey. To many, Surrey was amunicipality too disparate to remain as one:Surrey’s local government, try as it may, never can satisfyall the sprawling communities within its boundaries.Surrey’s got populated Whalley and Guildford, which haveattracted many of the new suburbanites. The rural PortKells area in the northeast, Newton towards the centre,Cloverdale, home of the “cowboys” out east towardsLangley. The South Surrey peninsula with the expensivehomes of Crescent Beach. Plus a dozen other places andmiles of farmland - or sprawl.5248 Editorial, Surrey Leader, April 2, 1964, p.2.49 ibid.50 Perspective ‘81, op.cit. p.54.51 McKinnon notes that between 1 955 and 1 970 six different secessionmovements existed in Surrey: “Changes shaped Surrey” Surrey Leader,August 1, 1 979, p.1 9 supplement.52 Vancouver Sun, December 8, 1971, p.17.78The vision promulgated by Surrey Council that I have just outlined was seento be a spatially specific one, expressive of the “northern” bias of council anddisregarding of the more rural lifestyles and concerns of those living in SouthSurrey. Part of the problem was money: too many resources, it was alleged,were being fed into the urbanized areas of Whalley and Guildford.53 Anotherissue was representation, for those on council’s “Surrey horizon rarely strayseast of Johnston Road nor south of 72nd Avenue.”54 Even those living inurban areas in South Surrey were dissatisfied. According to one resident, hishome area of Ocean Park was seen as “second cousins and poor cousins ofthe rest of Surrey ... with the representation we have on Surrey counciltoday, everything is going north”.55 The rationalizing impulse itself was notthe subject of criticism. Instead, the landscape created in its image - in thiscase North Surrey - was identified as the cause of the problems.Consequently, a spatial solution that distanced “suburban” Surreyitesfrom the other meanings and influences of Surrey was advocated: secession.For instance, in 1966 an organization calling itself the Surrey Re-AlignmentAssociation proposed a three way division of Surrey. The first area would beWhalley-Guildford-Newton, which would be a separate city; the secondwould be an expansion of White Rock to include Crescent Beach, Elgin andSunnyside; and the rest - suburban and farm communities - would be SurreyMunicipality.56 It was implied that a truly suburban community, and the53“Request plebiscite on secession scheme” Surrey Leader, April 21, 1966.Interestingly, financial motives were also central when White Rockseceded from Surrey in 1957. As a predominantly urban space, propertytaxes in White Rock would be lower if they didn’t have to help financethe construction of services in the rest of Surrey.McKinnon, “Keeping tab” Surrey Leader, November 28, 1963, p.3. Seealso “Sunnyside cautious concerning secession “, Surrey Leader, April 7,1966, p.1.Resident J.Kapalka in “Secession is urged for South Surrey area”, SurreyLeader, February 17, 1966, p.1.56“Three way division proposed for Surrey” Surrey Leader, July 7, 1966,p.1.79authentic Surrey, was to be found halfway between urban and rural,incorporating much of north and central Surrey and excluding the urbanizednorth and south sectors. These urban communities of Whalley and WhiteRock were to be separate entities, since they deviated from the “true”Surrey. The history of Surrey, and its already existing pattern of land useand its cultural meaning, thus led to the contestation not of the theme ofrationality, but to the places created in its image, which were seen to deviatefrom the “true” Surrey.These debates over Surrey and suburb, however, had limited purchaseon the way residential development in Surrey proceeded. Not allrepresentations of space are equal, their force depends on theirinterconnections with other lines of power. In Surrey in the 1960s the gridimposed by council and the desires of developers to maximize profits fused toproduce a particular type of landscape.57 Following the formal delineation ofurban growth areas, many new houses were built, concentrated in Whalley.The urban landscape produced at this time continued to be one ofpredominantly single family dwellings. These houses were small by today’sstandards, averaging twelve hundred square feet and costing thirteenthousand dollars to build.58 Commensurate with the spatial channeling andencouragement of urban development, an increasing number of apartmentswere being built in Whalley and Guildford. In 1969, for instance, of the 1400apartment units in Surrey, 1200 were in Whalley and along the WhalleyGuildford border. Again, however, we can see fissures in rational-scientificdiscourse, since it encompassed a number of possibly competing ideals.Apartments fulfilled the rational spatial plans of the municipality, but57 Secession movements were not directly played out at local elections sinceSurrey’s council members were elected “at-large” rather than accordingto where they lived - there was no ward system.58 See “Construction zooms high” Surrey Leader, April 28, 1966.80challenged its basis in familial ideology. In particular, it was becomingevident that apartments housed children as well as adults. This violated theprinciples outlined above, namely that families should live in detacheddwellings. Some were angry at this, especially Mayor Ed McKitka, whoargued that “we will never get development of homes, if all we encourage isthis type [apartments] of development”.59 He favoured limiting apartmentsto one or two bedrooms, on the assumption that then children wouldn’t livethere.Council and planners were not the only makers of suburban Surrey,for, true to the principles espoused in Perspective ‘81, developmentcorporations became more active in developing Surrey’s land.6° In terms ofdevelopers and development sites, Guildford Town Centre and its surroundingresidential areas were the prime shapers of the Surrey landscape at thistime.61 Proposed by Grosvenor Laing, who began assembling land after thePort Mann bridge opened in 1963,62 a city, Guildford Garden City, wasplanned, with a commercial heart anchored by the two major departmentstores of Eaton’s and Woodward’s. It was designed to halt the sprawlingdevelopment of Surrey by providing the downtown magnet that Surrey neverhad. The Guildford development, it was hoped, would concentrate servicesand housing in a small area. To achieve this concentration the spatialdivision of Surrey marked by the Official Community Plan, and in particular“Drown the kids to live in Surrey”, Surrey Leader, December 21, 1967,p.1.60 See also “Big builders scout Surrey”, Surrey Leader, July 14, 1 966, p.1.61 For an overview of the effect of Guildford on residential development, seeJ.Everitt, 1981, “Recent land conversion on the urban fringe of Surrey,BC” in K.B.Beesley and L.H.Russwurm, eds. The Rural-Urban Fringe:Canadian Perspectives, Geographical Monograph no.10, AtkinsonCollege: York University, pp.292-313.62 E.M.Gibson, 1976, “The Urbanization of the Strait of Georgia Region: AStudy of the Impact of urbanization on the Natural Resources ofSouthwestern British Columbia” Lands Directorate: Environment Canada,Ottawa, p.4.1.81the principle of one use to one piece of land, was to be violated. Instead, anew type of zoning was suggested by the planning department, a“comprehensive development permit” where a parcel of land would betreated as one and many types of zoning allowed within it.63 Despiteobjections from councillors who thought the new principle was a backwardstep - “we have been creating separate zones for commercial, industry,recreation etc. and now we are talking about lumping them all together” - itwas soon approved.64 According to Grosvenor Laing, mixed uses, andespecially the row housing disliked by councillors was necessary to create an“urban townscape”.65What later became known as the Guildford town centre disrupted theSurrey landscape and the planners’ vision in many ways. Foremost amongthese was the arrival of big developers in Surrey who planned Surrey space invery different ways from small holder subdividers.66 Relatedly, Guildford alsoheralded different perceptions of space. In order to make both money and anew type of town for Surrey, perceptions of space and the materialorganization of space had to be altered by Grosvenor Laing. The land was“replotted”:67 lot sizes and configurations were altered so that the land couldbe sold and developed in different parcels than the original survey.To summarize, the early period of consolidated urban growth in Surreywas characterized by attempts to impose a rational, spatialized, order on the63 “Council studies style for zoning”, Surrey Leader, August 3, 1967, p.1.64“Council endorses new type of zoning”, Surrey Leader, August 10, 1967,p.8.65“Guildford gets ok for housing”, Surrey Leader, August 17, 1967, p.1.66 In the British context, Michael Ball notes that different forms of buildingenterprise build very different landscapes because of access to finance,land, and level of risk aversion. See Michael BalI, 1 983, Housing Policyand Economic Power: The Political Economy of Owner Occupation,London and New York: Methuen.67 Replotting had long been an issue for larger corporations, for “these long,skinny lots create bottlenecks in area development”. See “Editorial:replotting of property”, Surrey Leader, July 28, 1966, p.2.82pattern of land use created by decades of haphazard subdivision and building.Council and planners presented a unitary vision of Surrey, consisting ofdiscrete neighbourhoods and towns, populated by families and providingmodel communities in which to raise children. The resultant map (Figure 3.3)of Surrey reflected these socio-spatial visions, modified slightly in line withthe historical geography of Surrey. Importantly, however, different notions ofsuburb were already evident in the landscape: truly suburban areas, thetraditional single-family zone, and the nascent town centre of Guildford. TheSurrey definition of suburban as a rural-urban interface, however, wasobliterated by these plans. Although contested by those who had more“rural” visions, this remained the framework that guided much of the urbangrowth between 1965 and 1972. Residents, in search of space and cheaphousing, continued to move to Surrey. If residents were concerned about thepace of growth in the late 1 960s, a crescendo of concern was to be heardthroughout the 1 970s, as the legislative, economic, ideological and spatialclimate of suburban Surrey changed dramatically.Ill. 1970s- Rampant Growth and Cheap HousingDuring the 1 970s the pattern established by the 1 966 OfficialCommunity Plan was firmly entrenched. Residential development wasconcentrated in the designated urban centres, with denser developmentnodally distributed in the centres of Whalley, Guildford, Cloverdale and thedistrict created by Southmere. The production and meaning of suburbanspace in Surrey, was gradually changing, however. Two important motifscan be identified: growth pressure and the varied responses to it thatchanged the character of Surrey; and the changing legislative and planningframework. Together, they redefined Surrey as a place of cheap and,83arguably, substandard and homogeneous housing. It is in the 1970s thatSurrey most closely resembles the tract development seen to characterizepost second world war suburbanization.68 Indeed, Surrey as the epitome ofsuburban monotony was popularized by a discussion in a widely citedCanadian urban textbook.69 Again, however, these processes operated inplace-specific terms.The institution of a new legislative framework governing thedevelopment of land in British Columbia in 1 972 dramatically changed theshape of Surrey. Previously, development occurred in the context of rigidzoning laws that did not allow a mixture of uses side-by-side.70 More to thepoint, the municipality alone governed property and land development. Boththese practices were changed under 1972 provincial legislation. Alldevelopment had to occur under the auspices of a land use contract (LUC)between a developer and council that stipulated the agreed upon uses of apiece of land, and the amount of money the developer was to pay themunicipality. With LUCs the burden of paying for subdivision servicingshifted from council to the developer/subdivider. Surrey Municipality freelyused LUCs, to the extent that some alleged that council extractedunreasonable amounts from developers.71The advent of LUCs meant that the pace of growth quickened, from500 dwellings in 1970 to over 2000 in 1975 (see Figure 3.4), with singlefamily dwellings remaining most common. The effects of this boom were felt68 Herbert Gans, 1 967, The Levittowners: Ways of Life and Politics in a NewSuburban Community, New York: Random House.69 See John N. Jackson, 1973, The Canadian City: Space, Form, Quality,New York: McGraw Hill, p.202.70 Guildford Town Centre was the exception.71 David Dale-Johnson, 1 981, Greater Vancouver Regional District Land UseRegulation Study: An Evaluation of the Land Use Approval Process inCoguitlam, Surrey and Vancouver, Working paper # 1 5, Economic Councilof Canada, p.56.84long after the demise of LUCs in 1 978, as previously approved projects werebuilt. In the month before LUCs were repealed in 1 978, council met oftenand approved an unprecedented number of development proposals.Examples are a small-lot subdivision of 1 21 single-family lots in Fleetwood,72approval for 576 housing units built by Marathon Realty in Ocean Park, and a11 3 lot subdivision by Wolstencroft in Newton.73 As such, LUCs spawned anumber of different types (mixed versus single use) and sizes (from ten lotsto 600 lots) of residential development. Residential growth continued to bespatially differentiated, as seen in Figure 3.4. The dominance of Whalley as asite of new construction peaked in 1971, and by the end of the decadeNewton was attracting increasing development. South Surrey was also risingin prominence, a trend I consider explicitly in the next section.72“Small-lot project okay for Fleetwood”, Surrey Leader, November 1 5,1978, p.7.73“Awesome rezoning changes”, Surrey Leader, October 25, 1978, p.1.NEW APARTMENTS 851971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 19796005004003002O0}lo:j•Wb11ey Guildfotd • Newton : Cloverdale S.SuneyNEW TOWNHOUSES2500200015001000500Whailey Gu6dford Newton Cloverdale — S.SurreyNEW SINGLE FAMILY DWELLINGS1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979Whalley Guildford Newton CIov.le • S.SurreyFigure 3.4. Residential Construction in Surrey, 1971-197914001200 ....1000- .•: -800 - ... -600400.... - -200-.. .iIii1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979iEIiiI0Source: Surrey Planning Department Files.86Despite diversity, the dominant spatial formation envisioned andproduced within LUCs was Surrey as a place of cheap housing. Within theregional planning discourses promulgated in the Greater Vancouver RegionalDistrict’s (GVRD) 1 975 Livable Region Plan, Surrey was envisaged as anurban growth area.74 As expressed by then Mayor, Ed McKitka, the LivableRegion Plan was a tool for Vancouver and Burnaby to secure industry andcommercial development, “with the outer ring of the municipality providingthe low cost housing, the parks and green space”.75 In effect, it was theGVRD’s intention that Surrey was to provide housing for those who couldn’tafford to live elsewhere in the Lower Mainland. Within public discourse,those governing Surrey attempted to contest this view. They wanted Surreyto become more than a repository of urban growth, to no longer beVancouver’s bedroom.76 To them, Surrey should also have industry,commerce and a diversity of lifestyles: “Surrey is a community looking for aheart of its own as it tries to change its image of being just another bedroomsuburb of Vancouver”.77 As put by Deputy Planner Lee Tan:We are trying to establish a self-sufficient community, withnot only homes but jobs, commercial centres, recreationalfacilities and the other facilities that are essential to createa total community.78The confluence of regional (GVRD), provincial (LUCs), and Federal(Assisted Home Ownership Plan- AHOP) government policies producedSurrey as a place for cheap housing by facilitating large-scale development.Greater Vancouver Regional District, 1 975, The Livable Region: From the70s to the 80s, Vancouver: GVRD Planning Department.75“$60,000 houses Surrey minimum”, Surrey Leader, July 29, 1976, p.1.76 Letter to editor by Aid. J. O’Brien-Bell, “Surrey doesn’t wish to bedormitory”, Province, March 22, 1976, p.4.“Strong heart vital to quicken suburbs pulse”, Vancouver Sun, 13/10/79,p.A7.78 ibid.87AHOP was instituted in 1 973 and ran until 1 978. Its aim was to help lowincome families purchase their own home, but contained strict limits on thesize and cost of the home bought. Over a third of AHOP housing built in theLower Mainland was built in Surrey, primarily because land prices were solow, keeping the total cost of the house well within the limits set by theCMHC.Defining Surrey as a repository of urban growth worried both plannersand council: they were concerned that the cost of the houses would not besufficient to provide services such as schools and recreational facilities. Inresponse to this, in 1 976 Surrey council passed a by-law stating that all newhomes must be at least twelve hundred square feet, and therefore cost aboutsixty thousand dollars. Two justifications were made for this move. The firstwas to ensure that property taxes on homes were enough to cover the costsof services, and the second was to give more “breathing space to Surrey,where residential construction has been climbing fantastically this year”.8°This ban sparked debate that can be understood in terms of competingdefinitions of Surrey and suburban.The Vancouver media, labelling the ban “the Surrey problem” wasquick to denounce it: “the route Surrey council is taking alone is politicallyand socially unacceptable. The impression is one of unacceptable, shabbydiscrimination”.81 The Sun seems to be implying here that it was Surrey’sjob to maintain growth and provide cheap housing. It is also indicative of anaturalization of real estate processes: a market imposed ban that madeAHOP housing impossible in the middle-class West Side of Vancouver was79 See the appendix in J. Miron, ed. 1993, House Home and Community:Progress in Housing Canadians, 1 945-86, Montreal: McGill-QueensUniversity Press.80“$60,000 houses Surrey minimum”, Surrey Leader, July 29, 1976, p.1.81“The Surrey problem”, Vancouver Sun, August 25, 1976, p.4.88not commented upon. The CMHC also disagreed with the ban, althoughaddressed the debate on Surrey’s terms. They thought that the ban wouldcompound, not fix, Surrey’s tax problems.82In a climate of concern for property values, local property owners sawAHOP housing as problematic in terms of homogeneity and lifestyle. Allthese sentiments were expressed in one discussion of a subdivision plannedfor 1 28th Street and 1 04th Avenue. Residents thought that smaller lots (acorollary of AHOP housing) would devalue their property and threaten theirsingle family lifestyle. “We came here to get away from that kind ofhousing”,83 they argued, and “the single family atmosphere here is beingeroded”.84 AHOP housing seemed to threaten the natural relation betweenhouse type and familial social relations, conflicting with residents’constructions of Surrey as a family and “quiet” place.85 At the same time,however, opposition to the minimum house size regulation alleged thatincreasing the minimum house size put home ownership beyond the reach of“young couples” who wanted to “start out in Surrey”.86 The ban thereforethreatened Surrey’s identity as a place for young families. Developersresponded to these claims on similar terms, saying that AHOP purchaserswere different, but only in that they were younger and had fewer children.87It was also thought that small lots and small houses necessarily speltsameness. In addition to the size restriction council also passed a by-law82“Small home ban to boomerang, Surrey told”, Province, July 30, 1 976,p.29.83 “Protestors force council to pause”, Surrey Leader, March 1, 1978, p.1.84“Compact housing gets single family opposition”, Surrey Leader, June 17,1981, p.A10.85 “Green Timbers folk battle development”, Surrey Leader, April 21, 1977,p.1.86“Surrey homes non-conforming”, Surrey Leader, August 26, 1976, p.1.The quotes are from the president of Qualico Developments.87“Surrey to decide on house layout” Surrey Leader, July 22, 1 976, p.1.89requiring that a house exterior not be repeated within 200 feet,88 emblematicof a view that “a mixed community is more natural, more livable”.89 A photoessay in the Surrey Leader clearly articulated these concerns, viewing AHOPhousing as a “threat to individuality”:rows and rows of the darn things squeezed out as if fromsome giant toothpaste tube gone mad. Like so manycabbages growing on a field squeezed together, irrigated,fertilized, distributed, advertised, graded and consumed.90Design critiques were also combatted on the basis of cost and historicalevolution:There are several “look-alike” subdivisions in Surrey thatwe were all upset about ten, fifteen years ago. Now thisfamily has added a carport, that one redesigned thewindows. The shrubs and trees have softened the overallimpression and added individuality.91The AHOP debate in Surrey, stimulated by the convergence of anumber of elements producing Surrey as a repository of urban growth, alsodemonstrates the copresence and contestation of different conceptions ofSurrey and suburb. Where, for instance, the definition of Surrey as arepository of urban growth conflicted with its identity as a family place,contestation, invariably through spatial motifs, ensued. Simultaneously,homogeneous, tract-like development was seen to be inappropriate forSurrey.88“Council passes housing controls”, Surrey Leader, March 8, 1976, p.3.89“Editorial: changes need in Surrey planning”, Surrey Leader, July 28,1977, p.4..90 Dan Propp, “Housing a threat to individuality” Surrey Leader, July 22,1976, p.5.91“Editorial: new housing policies needed”, Surrey Leader, June 3, 1976,p.2.90IV. Surrey goes “up-market”: Developing South Surrey 1972- 1985Changes in South Surrey during the 1970s are also indicative of thespatial differentiation of Surrey and different visions of it. Although AHOPhousing and industry were earmarked for north, not south, Surrey,92 thetowns within South Surrey were also the destination of substantial residentialdevelopment during this period, seen in Figure 3.4 above. The South Surreystory of the 1 970s consists of an accommodation between place-specific andmore general visions.South Surrey is and has been positioned as “different” within Surreyalong a number of axes. One of these is class, and its related lifestyle traits.As summarized by one recent description:South Surrey is arts and crafts heaven. Residents there saythey have such different lifestyles from those in northSurrey that they identify more with the separate, borderingcity of White Rock, which models itself after the cliff-hugging artist town of Sausalito, California. “There aremore self-published poets and craft types per square inch inSouth Surrey than any other place I know”, says SamRoddan, a retired Crescent Beach teacher.93As home to many of the founding agricultural families, and as site of an eliteacreage and equestrian-based residential lifestyle, the residents of SouthSurrey and Panorama Ridge have often laid claim to being the “original” and“authentic” Surreyites. More importantly, the mixture of rural and urbanliving seen to prevail in South Surrey was represented as ideal for raisingchildren:92 Although this was primarily because land values in South Surrey were toohigh, it was also partially cultural to the extent that land values were highbecause of its cultural meaning, as I explain in this section.Douglas Todd, 1 984, “Surrey may yet have the last laugh”, VancouverSun, December 4, p. Bi.91Here was a pastoral, uncluttered community in which thechildren could grow up surrounded with the last remains ofnature and yet near the city.94Such pastoral living was threatened, however, in a series of studiesand recommendations on South Surrey presented to council in the early1 970s. Ostensibly advocating residential development of the South Surreypeninsula to its “maximum capacity”, these reports exhibit the rationalizingand modern, abstracting approach to suburbanization that I discussed above.Little regard was paid to the existing uses of the land, its topography, landownership or the role of developers. Instead, South Surrey was mappedsolely in terms of its potential for residential development and thereforepopulation growth.95The lack of local content and specificity in the South Surrey plans werequickly pointed out by politically active and articulate South Surreyresidents.96 They vehemently opposed the plan on the basis that the type ofresidential development and density of population proposed was inappropriateto the history, geography, and identity of South Surrey.97 As a unique place,South Surrey did not accord with the traditional meaning of either urban orsuburban: “most of the residents are “refugees” from cities and urbanizedsuburbs and they are not happy to find that the city is following them out toSouth Surrey”.98 These understandings were both spatialized and framedwithin definitions of Surrey and suburb. Growth pressures were seen tooriginate in north Surrey:Letter to editor by C.R.Maclean, Surrey Leader, February 11, 1 971, p.2.95 The Corporation of the District of Surrey, Planning Department, 1 974,The South Surrey Plan, October.96 “Grassroots suggestions on Surrey plan wanted” Province, February 29,1972, p.21; and “South Surrey residents fight plan” Province March 23,1972, p.21.‘“Elgin seeks local input” Surrey Leader, February 17, 1972, p.1; and“Vote on secession refused by council”, Surrey Leader, February 1 7,1972, p.1.98 “Zoning protest from Ocean Park”, Surrey Leader, October 25, 1978, p.1.92We’re constantly wondering down here what council isgoing to dream up next to satisfy the appetite of the northPeople in the north aren’t attuned to the south.99It was as though South Surrey was under attack from the north, whichrepresented growth. Attempts were hence made to ideologically and sociallydistance South Surrey from the rest of Surrey. In particular, the designation“Surrey” became problematic. Instead of the secession earlier advocated, theearly 1 980s witnessed calls for changing the name of South Surrey toSemiahmoo.10° In this way, South Surrey could retain the tax and amenityadvantages of being part of Surrey, but could also distance itself from theSurrey image. The class differences between north and south Surrey werealso magnified. South Surrey, and especially isolated developments within it,were compared to the rest of Surrey in a particular way:Montreal has its Westmount; Toronto has its Rosedale;Vancouver its Shaughnessy, Dunbar and West VancouverOn a much smaller scale here in Surrey, Panorama Ridgehas developed in that pattern.101This debate could not ignore, however, pressure for residentialdevelopment emanating from development corporations. As anaccommodation, these images were harnessed to attract a certain sort ofresidential development to Surrey. The different class character of SouthSurrey was highlighted and promoted in a number of developments like Elgin,Ocean Park and Southmere. These were explicitly designed as affluent, non-Surrey, residential communities. I detail the development of Southmerebelow as a way of showing the embeddedness of images in thesuburbanization process.9 “Surrey’s fringe ragged” The Province, February 11, 1 977, p.10.100“Identity problem for South Surrey” Surrey Leader, July 21, 1982, p.A1.“Semiahmoo suggested identity for South Surrey” Surrey Leader, May12, 1982, p.B5.101 Editorial: a touch of envy” Surrey Leader, June 3, 1981, p.A2.93“Southmere Village”, a 155 acre development of the GenstarDevelopment Company completed between 1978 and 1981 is indicative ofthis process of appropriation and the creation of place in the making ofresidential environments. The dissatisfaction with the Surrey image,particularly in South Surrey, was re-created. According to the marketingbrochure’s description of the location of Southmere:Southmere Village is a 1 55 acre site in South Surreyadjacent to the City of White Rock. White Rock is aseaside town which has its origins as a small summer resortand retirement community. Transportation improvements inthe Vancouver area over the years have resulted inincreasing urbanization of the Semiahmoo Peninsula, whichcomprises White Rock and South Surrey. The area isbecoming more of a residential suburb of GreaterVancouver.102The association with Surrey and what is thought of as suburban developmentis actively downplayed here. “Surrey” is only mentioned twice, and onlywhen coupled with “South”, suggesting that even the location of Southmereis different, since it is part of Semiahmoo, a designation that transcendsmunicipal boundaries. Socially, Southmere is more related to the “seasidetown” of White Rock than suburban Surrey. Both techniques serve todistance and distinguish the Southmere development, as well as consolidatethe self-representations of generations of South Surrey residents.At the same time, however, Southmere was the product of the type ofthinking that had dominated Surrey council throughout the 1 970s that Ioutlined above. Built under the auspices of a land use contract that“provides more flexibility for innovation than a typical zoning bylaw”,103 thedevelopment is notable for its demarcation of space and concordant social102 The following discussion is based on an interview with the developers ofSouthmere, Genstar Corporation, as well as advertising material for thedevelopment.103 Marketing pamphlet: Southmere Village94relations. A prime objective of the project was to “create a viable towncentre for White Rock/South Surrey” by mixing commercial, residential andrecreational facilities. This mix was explicitly spatial, consisting of:a commercial hub comprising some 30 acres, at thesoutheast corner of the site. The residential land uses arearranged in rings of decreasing density as one moves awayfrom the town centre. Two major park sites form focalpoints in the plan, one of which contains the twostormwater lakes.104Social mix and heterogeneity were built into the plan, not because of anydesire to create a more equal society, but because different uses wouldspread the risk of the investment, and the commercial areas were needed inthe area. However, different spaces were not to have a variety of uses, butonly one, conforming to the dominant vision promulgated by council.Finally, a sense of place was crucial in the development, a policyevident in the Genstar slogan of “Bringing land to life!”. Using the entireparcel of land with its “natural boundaries”, Genstar were trying to create a“distinctive community” with a coherent identity. Each residential “enclave”was to have its own image and sense of place, as was the commercialdevelopment, forming a focus for White Rock and South Surrey. Design, andparticularly the lakes and entrances were part of this, communicating thefeeling that Southmere was independent and different. Design guidelines,selection of a few builders and covenants restricting use of stucco and other“lower class” building materials were used to “ensure quality” and maintain aparticular, class-based sense of place.A familiarity with developments like Southmere helps demonstrate theimportance of imbuing a space with meaning as part of the process ofresidential development, meaning that often builds upon and re-creates104 Marketing pamphlet: Southmere Village95indigenous images. In the Southmere case, discontent within South Surreyand its ideological distance from North Surrey were drawn upon to produce alandscape whose general form and the process of development had been ananathema to residents, but whose particulars were accepted, even embraced.This brings me to my final point in relation to Southmere, how thecoalescence of a number of factors in South Surrey in the 1 970s and 1 980sproduced a particular type of landscape. Both Surrey and suburb weredefined in narrow and local ways that distanced them from the perceivedhomogeneity and working class basis of the rest of Surrey. As a result, anew form of suburban development, peculiar to South Surrey, was created.V. House Price Inflation and a New Community Plan: Redefining the SuburbanLandscape, 1980 - 1990The early 1 980s were a period of instability in the history of Surreyand a time of flux in terms of defining the suburban landscape. The visionarticulated by the 1966 OCP was being challenged on many fronts, the LandUse Contract legislation had been repealed in 1 978, and development wasoccurring in an uncoordinated way and at a great pace in many localities,particularly Fleetwood and Newton. Growth continued to be a concern ofboth council and residents, so much so that council wanted to impose a twomonth freeze on all rezoning applications.105 Residents felt growth wasimpeding improvements in their quality of life and was not attuned to theirneeds.106 Further, the municipality remained under pressure from both theregional and provincial governments to shape development along distinctive105 “Freeze on development rejected by aldermen”, Surrey Leader, December17, 1980, p.A1.106 “Not a vintage night for Surrey developers”, Surrey Leader, Nov. 12,1980, p.A1; and “Editorial: why we’re subdividing”, Surrey Leader,September 3, 1 980, p.A4.96lines and come up with a new community plan. A further impetus forrethinking Surrey’s spaces and development path was provided by thevolatility of the Lower Mainland housing market. The building boom propelledby the end of the LUC era dissipated, to be replaced by a shortage of buildinglots and new houses. Figure 3.5, for instance, shows the minute number ofhouses built in the early 1980s.07 A massive increase in house pricesfollowed: a two storey, four bedroom house that cost $94,000 in 1980would cost $170,000 in 1981.108 Yet the spectre and materiality of highinterest rates (with some homeowners forced to renegotiate their mortgagesat twenty two percent) and the opening up of land for development in othermunicipalities led to prices plummeting in July of 1 982: average house pricesfell from a high of $120,000 in 1981 to $80,000 in 1982. It was in thiscontext that council attempted to articulate a new community plan and newvisions of space and Surrey.Promised since 1 978, a new community plan was finally unveiled in1 983 and revised again in 1 986. The modernist tenet that any planning isbetter than no planning remained: “Without a plan, Surrey could be like anunorchestrated symphony - with a plan, many individual actions cancontribute to overall harmony”.109 The means by which this harmony wasachieved were different from the 1 966 OCP. Aesthetic and social concernsassumed greater significance. In determining residential land use, forinstance, the major factor was “the desired pattern for a community and thetype of lifestyle the community prefers”.110 In effect, rational planningguidelines remained, but as a template. They were (more obviously than in107 Data for housing other than single family is not available.108“Surrey house prices soaring”, Surrey Leader, February 25, 1981, p.B3.109 Surrey Official Community Plan tabloid.110 Corporation of the District of Surrey, 1983, Official Community Plan,Surrey; p.131.97the 1 960s) expressed through and modified by a concern with the specificsocial and physical context of Surrey. This can be seen in the “overallconcept” and the plans for individual towns.The hallmark of the 1983 Official Community Plan was its “overallconcept” that called for nodal development in the form of “identifiable andconcentrated urban communities separated by suburban communities”,shown in Figure 3.6.111 Unlike 1966 the impetus for these nodes was notservicing costs, but the perceived aesthetic problems of sprawl:It has been a long-standing policy in Surrey to developdistinct towns. This is a policy which distinguishes Surreyfrom many other municipalities in the GVRD which haveopted for an even spread of suburban subdivision instead.In those communities the suburban pattern stretcheswithout much relief from one end to the other. This resultsin urban developments abutting the ALR [Agricultural LandReserve] without transition, and yet the overall density is solow that the conveniences of urban life can only be reachedby automobiles.112However, the urban, and by implication agricultural areas were seen to havetheir basis not in rational planning but in nature:distinct urban communities have developed on thehighlands of Surrey, most of them have clearly definednatural boundaries in the form of ridges, creeks and ravineswhich provide a natural transition between the urbancommunities and the rural land around the rivers.113111 Official Community Plan, or.cit. p.129.112 Official Community Plan, on.cit. p.129.113 Official Community Plan, on.cit. p.32.NEW APARTMENTS 981000750------—-—---- 99*:-4n50025:I I I1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991WIialley Gu*dford Fleetwood f Newton Cmv • S.SuneyNEW TOWNHOUSES15001250.---.....---....1000 .----.---... ....-750500 ...-.--.-- ....._-25:I1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991Whi1ey Goildford Fleetwood Newton Cmv • S.Sutrey35003000 -2500 -20001500 -100050001981NEW SINGLE FAMILY DWELLINGSWhalley ‘ Guildford Fleetwood Newton Cloy • S.SurreyFigure 3.5. Residential Construction in Surrey, 1980-1992E1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991Source: Surrey Planning Department Files.Figure 3.6. “Overall Concept”, 1983 Official Community Plan99Source: Corporation of the District of Surrey, 1 983, Official Community Plan,Surrey, p.279.CORE AREARtrjt ‘AMIjJ AREAAJRRN AREAAURUROAR AREAROAR ROtAJ GOCON APACEAO 0 IC ALT A P AL.RE CCL 0 RE0 REo 0CCL CCL100Although the view of land as a resource and as potential profitremained, these views melded with others that were seen to emanatespecifically from Surrey. Given that “each area in Surrey has grown anddeveloped in an individual fashion”,114 and that this individuality was valued,then it followed, according to the plan, that this individuality should be acomponent of subsequent development. In particular, community identityand image were to be actively fostered:The plan for Surrey intends to create communities.Communities should be identifiable and each should have afocus.115Consequently, each town was to have its own theme or image, within whichresidential development would occur. The space the plan envisioned andsubsequently produced was a patchwork, where:a great variety of environments is accessible to manypeople, where different landscapes are close at hand andcan be enjoyed even without living within them.116Urban, suburban and agricultural land uses were to be spatially contiguous,within a nodal pattern created around the five major centres. In this way, avariety of opportunities for suburban living in Surrey were offered. Not onlywere social relations stretched across the municipality, but so too were theconcepts of Surrey and suburb. They embodied a number of differentmeanings, and signified diversity, encapsulating a set of possible lifestyles,identities, social relations and spatial formations. Five town plans thencebecame part of the Surrey plan. Each town had its own character drawingon this heritage: Cloverdale as agricultural, South Surrey “suburban”, FraserHeight’s separation from Surrey, Whalley as a downtown.114 Official Community Plan, or.cit. p.75.115 Official Community Plan, op.cit. p.131.116 Official Community Plan, op.cit. p.129.101It is important to point out that this concept of diversity was narrowlyconceived. The primacy of family and the assumed relation between housetype and family form persisted. The stated desire for social heterogeneitywas not enforced through zoning. Instead:Surrey will continue to consider the indicators of a freehousing market as a suitable expression of the socialpreferences of its present and future residents.117Diversity, by both council and developers, however, was considerednarrowly:ground-oriented townhouses with minimal property shouldbe incorporated in neighbourhoods to allow older people tostay. Younger singles could stay if apartments wereprovided. In a strictly single family neighbourhood,however, apartment buildings are, at this stage in Surrey’sdevelopment, a disruptive element.118Note that first, the single family neighbourhood is the baseline, the assumedgiven, and that second, diversity is conceived only in terms of stage in thelife course. Race, class and sexuality were absent, as was the possibility thatfamilies would live in townhouses or the elderly in detached dwellings.Although broader than the 1 966 OCP, a limited conception of differenceprevailed.This Official Community Plan also drew set boundaries within Surrey,unlike the 1 966 OCP whose boundaries were subject to continualnegotiation. The categories were hardened and fixed, setting strictboundaries for development in that land designated urban etc. was toformally remain that way unless an official amendment to the OCP was made.It also made development within these boundaries easier, for as long as theproposed use accorded with the zoning, it would be approved. The impact of117 Official Community Plan, o.cit. p. 225.118 Official Community Plan, op.cit. p. 225.102the plan was substantial. It was immediately followed by a building boom, asthe uncertainty surrounding its contents dissipated. In 1 989 the greatestnumber of dwellings in Surrey’s history were built, seen in Figure 3.5.Compared to the 1 960s, Whalley was no longer dominant, but the majority ofhousing was built in Guildford, Fleetwood and Newton.The Boundary Park development, officially part of Newton and begun in1985, was part of this post OCP boom. It demonstrates some of thesethemes of place identity, social mix and visions of space/Surrey/suburb. Thefate of the parcel of land upon which it was to be built was subject to muchdiscussion, a result partly of the more formal public approval processestablished by the OCP. West Newton residents were vocal in theiropposition, since they wanted the land to remain suburban.119 However, theOCP designated the land urban, facilitating the development. The proposalwas finally approved in 1985 “after years of battling for council approval”and consultation with West Newton residents.12° Consisting of 110 acresand 500 dwellings by the time it was completed in 1989, the creation of asense of place was central. However, this sense was drawn from itssurroundings. Consequently, existing community identity was integral to theproject in complex ways. Genstar tried to negate the image of West Newton,which at that time was known as a place of wet t-shirt competitions, bybuilding an “upscale” residential community. They also tried to create acoherent community, with a lake as a focal point. The spatial form of thiscommunity had to conform to the surrounding land uses. The projecttherefore had a gradation of density, high in the north to mirror thecommercial boundary there, and low in the south near Panorama Ridge (see119“Genstar proposals rouse controversy”, Surrey Leader, April 27, 1983,p.A3.120 “Genstar development crosses another hurdle after hearing”, SurreyLeader, May 30, 1984, p.A2.103Figure 3.7). This “density gradient” also illustrates the vision of differenceexpressed. The varying lot sizes provided were interpreted in terms ofdifferent family types and different demands for open space by families. Acomparison of Southmere and Boundary Park, both designed by the sameperson with similar goals but under different planning visions and in differentparts of Surrey, is instructive for showing the different spatial visions andformations resulting from the 1 983 OCR Although Southmere certainly drewon the specific image of South Surrey, the local, micro-geography was moreexplicitly part of the building of Boundary Park.Cl) 0 1 CD 0 C D 0 -‘ -o 0) -‘ > 0. CD C,) D Co -‘ 0 C) C CD-I CD 0 -I -v -I -v zlots:6000sq.ft.lots:710010000sq.ft.—DevelopmentBoundaryScale:0metres400Legend_______________________________________________________Multi-FamilyParklots:4000-5000sq.ft.NNorthparkCresentrMF•lots:14000sq.ft....MFMF..rPark0MFMFa,ParksidePlaceI I0105The 1 980s, then, were a period of changing meaning in Surrey. A newOCP continued the rational planning of the previous decades, albeit couchedin somewhat more aesthetic terms. As a result, the uniqueness of Surreywas supposed to be drawn upon in residential development, exemplified indevelopments like Boundary Park. Cemented during this period were themultiple meanings of the signifiers Surrey and suburb. Surrey came torepresent diversity (albeit limited socially), in terms of both the CommunityPlan and the residential environments constructed. In effect, the meaning ofspace in Surrey changed to take account of indigenous or local meanings.The resultant land use was therefore a compromise between the tworepresentations of space. Relatedly, enshrined by the late 1 980s was thespatial differentiation of different conceptions of suburbs within Surrey.Northern Surrey was, in Surrey parlance, urban, consisting of single-familyresidential communities with some high density concentrations. FraserHeights, in which the first case study is located, was to be solely singlefamily and South Surrey the more “up-market” variants of both of these. TheSurrey definition of suburban as in-between urban and rural was maintainedthrough its spatial allocation to particular parcels of land. The original whitesettlers’ meaning of Surrey as agricultural land was also preserved in theAgricultural Land Reserve. These trends, nascent in the late 1 980s, were toform the basis of the production of space in Surrey up to the present.VI. Remaking and Re-imaging Surrey 1985 - 1993A re-evaluation of the Surrey image, along the lines envisaged in theOCP, characterizes the period from the late 1 980s to the present. Imaginingsand material constructions of space were re-thought along at least threeaxes: media representations; residential constructions and images of place106and space; and the attempt to “citify” Surrey by making Whalley a highdensity, downtown core. All three motifs exhibit the modification ofsuburban ideals in Surrey and form an immediate context for the case studiesthat follow.In contrast to earlier, derogatory representations of Surrey, this was atime of flux in terms of images, with the diversity of Surrey beingacknowledged, even celebrated. In the Surrey Leader, for instance, Surreywas described as “colorful and unpredictable”,121 and its representation incrime statistics criticized.122 Surrey voices were increasingly heard in theVancouver-centred media, both officially- “Surrey is one big, beautifulmunicipality and we’re going to be acknowledged as such”123 - and byresidents:You will find the daisies and buttercups growing in wild,tangled masses on vacant lots reminiscent of a pre-housingVancouver landscape. You will find frogponds and otherearthly captivations mesmerizing your six year old longerthan any concrete amusements ever did.14These pioneering efforts shifted the terrain upon which Surrey wasrepresented. The diversity of Surrey, as a place, is now recognized and isbecoming part of Vancouver geographical imaginations. As it was put in flProvince:There are residential areas in South Surrey that are just likehigh-class areas of West Vancouver, and we have realworking-class neighbourhoods in the north end. We’ve gota cowtown out in Cloverdale, which is very much a farming121 “Reporter writes in defence of Surrey”, Surrey Leader, August 4, 1989,p.A4.122“Editorial: wild west mentality”, Surrey Leader, Mar 13, 1985, p.A6.123 Bonnie Schrenk in “Never having to say from Surrey”, Vancouver Sun,June 19, 1986, p. B4. See also Bob Bose in “Surrey and Langley”,Province, August 3, 1 989, special insert.124“You can leave your heart in San Francisco, abandon fresh cheesebagels in Vancouver, but your snobbery you can take anywhere”,Vancouver Sun, August 10, 1981, p.A5.107community with the second largest rodeo in westernCanada.125The process is not complete, however, for Surrey is still a negative signifier,evidenced in the still circulating Surrey jokes.126 Concomitantly, the imagesof places within Surrey are becoming more widely known and used, as Ishow throughout this thesis. Newton, for instance, has a particular meaning,as do smaller places like Sunshine Hills, a large suburban residentialsubdivision near Cloverdale. Ironically, then, just as “suburb” as a referenthas declined in importance, the signifier “Surrey” is also changing. In the1 990s Surrey signifies diversity - ethnically, age wise, job opportunities andhouse types. As a result, communities within Surrey take on meaning oftheir own in the geographic vocabulary of residents, as I show in subsequentchapters.The type of residential development that now dominates Surrey, andthe encouragement of diversity and uniqueness within the OCP, are partlyresponsible for this changing image. Unlike the 1 970s where AHOP andcompact lot housing in places like Newton were the norm and seemed toaffirm the reputation of Surrey, and also in contrast to the early 1 980s wheremost affluent residential development was destined for South Surrey, mostdevelopments from the late 1 980s on consisted of larger houses in whatwere termed controlled developments. A perusal of the Real Estate sectionsof both the Vancouver Sun and the Surrey Leader, for instance, substantiatesthis claim, with the selling of controlled subdivisions predominant.Throughout the summer of 1 986 the Surrey Leader, for instance, carried anadvertisement for Somerset Grove, “one of Guildford’s finest controlledresidential subdivisions”. Average house size is increasing, a result, some125“He’s Surrey for the joke”, Province, July 31, 1985, p.B1.126 On Surrey jokes see the column by Denny Boyd, “Surrey’s idea of agood joke in Vandercouver”, Vancouver Sun, October 25, 1 984, p.A3.108developers and builders allege, of it being uneconomical to build small,isolated houses anymore, since land prices are so high. As summarized inthe Surrey Leader:Builders claim that the system creates disincentives to buildsmaller, more affordable homes. Social agencies complainthat land is being gobbled up by speculators and developerswho then build enormous homes on lots to match. Theaffordable housing crunch has devoured the lower classand is now moving up to rip at the heels of the middleclass, dimming the dream of many to purchase a single-family house on a spacious urban lot.127Within the increasingly prevalent controlled subdivisions, micro-geographies of power, place and distancing from the term “Surrey” areprevalent. Morningside Estates, for instance, was a controlled subdivision inFleetwood, marketed on the basis of architectural and social homogeneity.Many developments in Fraser Heights were also planned and developed alongsimilar lines, where there was active disassociation from the traditional imageof Surrey. The first case study, Glenwood, is a good example of a controlledsubdivision, as I document in chapter four. Simultaneously, however, theimage of cheap housing is also being reworked by developers such asParkLane Homes. They are building a compact lot subdivision in Cloverdale,with the intention of bringing “a touch of Kitsilano to Surrey” and making thesmall houses desirable.128 The second case study, Berkshire Park, is also acompact lot subdivision that is distanced from the AHOP image.As of the beginning of 1994, the 1983 OCP was being officiallyreviewed, reflecting the diversifying process. Part of this diversification trendwere the plans for “Surrey City Centre”. Seizing an opportunity opened upby the extension of Skytrain into Surrey, the municipality is trying to create a127“High prices dim housing dreams”, Surrey Leader, April 11, 1 990, p.A1.128 Harold Munro, 1993, “Kitsilano atmosphere sought”, Vancouver Sun,October 13, p.B1.109downtown core. The current language- naming it Surrey City Centre inparticular - indicates that the signifier Surrey is a long way fromencompassing urban high-rise: “city” aspects of Surrey have to be directlysignalled. This suggests, nevertheless, that more, rather than less, instabilityin the meanings of Surrey and suburb are likely in the future.It would be misleading to end the “Surrey story” here. Rationalscientific representations of space are far from absent. They continue tounderlie the planning, spatial allocation and building of houses and residentialneighbourhoods, principally through the concept of “everything in its place”.Indeed, the sway of local, Surrey-specific representations of space haswaned over the past two years. The designation “suburban”, long the centreof a Surrey identity, has been threatened by increasing housing demand. Asa result of the subsequent “suburban lands review” in West Newton andCloverdale, a significant portion of suburban land has now been designatedurban. Not only does suburbanization need to be contextualized, but so toodo representations of space - their purchase is historically and geographicallyspecific. In these respects, the history of Surrey since 1 960 is not a linearpassage from rational, outsider, to more place-specific representations ofspace, Surrey and suburb. All three terms remain unstable and multifarious,intersecting in different ways in different places at different times.VII. ConclusionsIn this chapter I have tried to show how space and place are producedthrough, and drawn upon in, suburbanization, which in turn are underlain bythe privileging of a specific vision of family. Since 1 960, a rational scientificrepresentation of space guided residential development in Surrey, but thisprocess was expressed, worked through, and sometimes contested, in local,110Surrey terms. Rational visions were modified by the perceived specificity andhistory of Surrey. In the 1 960s the rational representation of space espousedby planners contained within it the meaning of suburb within Surrey and itsgeographical differentiation. Diversity within Surrey was explicitly recognizedin the planning discourses of the 1 980s. Historical and geographicalprocesses have meant that Surrey is many types of places rolled into one. Insome parts, Surrey is a city, in others, it assumes a more traditional suburbanform. Stretching across the landscape, however, is the primacy of family asa differentiating factor. There are two implications of the preceding analysisthat I would like to draw out in depth.The first is the position of this narrative within more conventionalsuburbanization stories. I have attempted to add another layer to othersuburbanization stories by emphasizing the planning framework in whichresidential development occurs. Notions of what a piece of land is andshould be, and what a suburb should be, become intertwined with social andeconomic processes (e.g. real estate development, construction industry,planning discourses, resident activism), and in turn make their mark on thelandscape.129 Through this, I have demonstrated that the broader context ofsuburbanization affects the outcome. I have also suggested that the place inwhich these processes occur also matters. Place - Surrey - was neitherempty nor meaningless. Its existing, and dynamic, meanings impactedsuburbanization.The second implication is the position of the two case studies in thisnarrative. The rest of this thesis focuses on two “single-family” subdivisions,129 Louise Johnson, 1994, “Occupying the suburban frontier:accommodating difference on Melbourne’s urban fringe” in Alison Bluntand Gillian Rose, eds. Writing Women and Space: Colonial andPostcolonial Geographies, London and New York: Guilford, pp.141 -66,has recently attempted a similar analysis..111built for the nuclear family and privileged within Surrey planning discourses.The first neighbourhood, Glenwood, is an affluent, controlled subdivision inFraser Heights. It is indicative of Surrey’s newer middle-class subdivisionsthat I mentioned in the last section, and is notable because it is located inNorth, not South Surrey, with the latter historically being the home of theaffluent in Surrey. Berkshire Park, the second neighbourhood, is a compactlot subdivision in Fleetwood. It therefore has different reference points in mysuburbanization narrative. Its general location - Fleetwood- is positioned asa site of urban growth, envisaged in the 1 983 and current planningdiscussions as a source of land to fulfill the demand by young families forhouses they can afford to buy. Berkshire therefore fits the characterization ofSurrey as a site of cheap housing. As a compact lot subdivision,130,Berkshire is also partially reminiscent of the debates over Assisted HomeOwnership Plan houses I discussed in section three. In the followingchapters I investigate further the different positioning and meaning of the twoneighbourhoods, and explore their commonalities as contexts for thenegotiation and constitution of gender, class and race.130 Which I explain in more detail in chapter four.112CHAPTER FOURBOUNDING THE MIDDLE-CLASS NUCLEAR FAMILYI. Suburbs and Boundaries in the 1990sBasically I think everybody finds this area is a very verycompact area, there’s sort of no outside influences on thissubdivision, it’s just a subdivision, it has definiteboundaries, you know, 108th, 160th, 164th, 104th. Andthere’s no outside influences other than just the singlefamily dwellings, that appear, you know, nicer houses, thepeople all really like it, everybody wants to protect this littlearea from the big world outside.1Reinforcing this pattern of income differentiation has beenthe widespread desire of urban dwellers to separatethemselves from lower income and minority groups. In thepast as in the present, most of those moving outward havebeen seeking social separation from the lower classes aswell as better housing and more spacious surroundings.Middle-class families commonly equate personal security,good schools, maintenance of property values, and thegeneral desirability of a residential area with the absence oflower-income groups.2These two quotes capture the two major contexts and starting pointsof this chapter: the spatialization of middle class, familial identities througherecting boundaries around neighbourhoods; and academic understandings ofthe urban geographies produced by such processes. The first quote, from aresident of Glenwood, suggests that a homology between place and identityexists there, and is actively defended by residents. In their everyday lives,the inhabitants of Glenwood carved out a place of their own, a “home” inwhich to feel comfortable and to which they felt they naturally belonged.Moreover, this “home” was spatially demarcated and expressed. My first aim1 Anne, Glenwood.2 Michael N. Danielson, 1976, The Politics of Exclusion, New York: ColumbiaUniversity Press; p.6.113in this chapter is to explore this homology between place and identity interms of the themes introduced in chapters one and two. Specifically, howare middle class family places made and remade, especially in the context ofthe discourses of declining fortunes and new traditionalism? How, if at all,are the associated identities spatialized? Finally, using the comparisonprovided by the two case studies, are there different types of middle classfamily places and identities?The second quote signals the nesting of the chapter in attempts tocomprehend the spatial, exclusionary, and familial practices associated withsuburban living. In particular, I want to bring together two different strandsof analysis. The first is the North American historical literature on suburbs,which has emphasized the importance of boundaries in suburban places andliving. Most often, as Danielson suggests, suburban living has been soughtand defined against urban living: a retreat from the perceived chaos, crime,poverty and anti-family characteristics of the city.3 In Richard Sennett’s latenineteenth-century Chicago, for instance, the economic world was rapidlychanging, the population diversifying, and chaos and fear dominantemotions.4 Then, lack of control was identified with the city, and suburbanliving and retreat into the nuclear family adopted as attempts to shieldindividuals from the disorder and diversity of the city.5 As well as thesymbolic boundaries identified by Sennett, other defence mechanisms havebeen used: restrictive covenants that maintain land values and often explicitlyFor an analogous British analysis see F.Thompson, 1 982, The Rise ofSuburbia, Leicester: Leicester University Press. In North America seeMargaret Marsh, 1 990, Suburban Lives, New Brunswick and London:Rutgers University Press and Richard Sennett, 1 970, Families Against theCity: Middle Class Homes of Industrial Chicago, 1872-1890, CambridgeMA: Harvard University Press.d. pp.88-96.ibjd.p.141.114deny minority groups access to particular places;6 more explicit exclusionaryzoning, common in the United States;7 land use planning to allocate“families” to their “proper place”;8 and reliance on the housing market as a“natural” filter.The second strand of analysis is more recent, purportedly“postmodern”,9adding another defense mechanism to this list: the buildingof physical walls around suburban neighbourhoods in an attempt to keepothers out. A monopolistic land development industry,10 in combination withan all-pervasive fear, have created residential landscapes where space isblatantly used as part of processes of exclusion. Communities of the (oftenwhite) wealthy are explicitly isolated and protected from the perceived chaosand crime of the rest of the city through walls and gates, creating what MikeDavis astutely terms “fortress LA”.11 “Master-planned communities”6 For a Canadian discussion see John C.Weaver, 1 978, “From land assemblyto social maturity: the suburban life of Westdale (Hamilton), Ontario,1911-1951”, Histoire Sociale, Social History, 11, pp.41 1-40.7 Danielson, op.cit.8 Constance Penn, 1 977, Everything in its Place: Social Order and Land Usein America, Princeton: Princeton University.9 I say purportedly because there is a confusion between postmodernism asan era and as a mode of analysis. For a sample of the two uses of“postmodern” in urban literature, see Michael Dear, 1 988,“Postmodernism and planning” Environment and Planning D: Society andSDace; Michael Peter Smith, 1 992, “Postmodernism, urban ethnographyand the new social space of ethnic identity”, Theory and Society, 21,pp.493-531; Elizabeth Wilson, 1991, The Srhinx in the City: Urban Life,the Control of Disorder, and Women, London: Virago, ch.9; and JanetWolff, 1 992, “The real city, the discursive city, the disappearing city:postmodernism and urban sociology”, Theory and Society, 21, pp.553-60.10 Martin J. Schiesl, 1991, “Designing the model community: the IrvineCompany and Suburban Development, 1950-88” in Rob Kling, SpencerOlin and Mark Poster, eds., Postsuburban California: The Transformationof Orange County since World War II, Berkeley and Los Angeles:University of California Press, pp.55-91’ Edward Soja, 1 991, “InsideExopolis: Scenes from Orange County” in Michael Sorkin, ed., Variationson a Theme Park: The New American City and the End of Public Space,New York: Noonday Press, pp.94-122.11 Mike Davis, 1990, “Fortress LA” in his City of Quartz: Excavating theFuture in Los Angeles, London and New York: Verso; Paul L. Knox, 1993,“The postmodern urban matrix” in Paul Knox, ed., The Restless Urban115surrounded by high walls that enclose social homogeneity are becomingincreasingly prevalent.12My aim in this chapter is to bring together these different approachesto suburban boundaries; demonstrating the benefits of thinking aboutboundaries symbolically (clearly evident in the historical literature), in tandemwith a recognition of the changed context of the 1 990s (highlighted byanalyses of “postmodern” urban form).Postmodern analyses of suburban exclusion assume that bordersbetween neighbourhoods have to be physical to be efficacious, therebyoverlooking the long history of symbolic boundaries in suburban life. A moreexplicitly cultural analysis would therefore extend the claims currently beingmade. In the two place-making stories that follow I show that symbollcboundaries are crucial in the formation and reproduction of both theseneighbourhoods and identities within them. Moreover, the negotiation andre-constitution of meaning, power and identity are absent in postmodernaccounts. In Edward Soja’s study of Orange County, California, for example,there is no suggestion that the meanings implanted into the landscape by theIrvine Company are negotiated or resisted in any way.13 Similarly, althoughKaren Till ends her examination of one “master planned community” with theclaim that “the Madronaville story reminds [us] that consumers are notpassive receivers of information but are real people with ideas”, thecontention is foreshadowed rather than explored.14 Middle-class, familial,Landscare, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, pp.207-236; K. Till, 1 993,“Neotraditional towns and urban villages: the cultural production of ageography of “otherness”, Environment and Planning D: Society andSpace, 11, pp.709-732.12 Paul L. Knox, 1993, “Capital, material culture and socio-spatialdifferentiation” in Paul Knox, ed., The Restless Urban Landscape, NewJersey: Prentice Hall, pp.1-34.13 Edward Soja, op.cit.14 Karen Till, op.cit., p.729.116residential communities are not only made by capital. They are givenmeaning and re-created by their inhabitants. Analysis should therefore takeaccount of the (re)creation of meaning by residents.As I outlined in the introductory chapter, the urban and suburbansituations of a place like Surrey in the 1 990s are far removed from those thatformed a backdrop to the historical literature. It is therefore fruitful toexamine the patterns of congregation and separation in Surrey. In the rest ofthis chapter I document two patterns that connect Sennett’s concerns withthose of contemporary urban analysts. First, it was not the city that wasfeared, but the suburbs. Surrey’s diversity meant that crime, poverty, familyarrangements other than the nuclear family, and unemployment were allclose, spatially and socially, to the residents of Berkshire and Glenwood. Itwas thus certain suburban lifestyles they were avoiding, not the city, but in asymbolic sense. Second, and related to the first, unlike Sennett’s retreat intothe family, the protection of, and retreat into, the residential neighbourhoodwas clear. A spatial strategy, bounding the neighbourhood and home, wasadopted.I demonstrate these points through an investigation of the multifacetedcreation of two suburban subdivisions in Surrey. The aim is not tocomprehensively document the histories of the two pieces of land, nor is it topresent an exhaustive inventory of residents’ reasons for locating there anddescriptions of their neighbourhood. Instead, I draw out the major themes ofthe interviews, and I pay particular attention to the establishment of anaffinity between the places and identities, as well as the role of symbolicgeographies in the creation of bounded, middle-class, familial places.117II. A Gated Community without Gates: Delimiting the Boundaries of theAffluent Middle-class Family in GlenwoodLocated on the periphery of Surrey’s single-family residential zone inFraser Heights, the Glenwood subdivision (whose location is shown on Figure2.2 in chapter two) is a bounded and coherent white, middle-class, nuclearfamily neighbourhood. Its physical separation from the rest of Surrey,established by the Trans Canada Highway, became a symbolic, relativelyimpermeable, boundary protecting Glenwood residents from the chaotic world“outside”. Two inter-related powers and practices produced this spatialformation. First, as part of a profit-maximizing strategy, Glenwood waspositioned as different and isolated by the residential development industry.Second, residents cemented this symbolic divide through practices and ideaswhich were a spatialization of their interpretations of, and identities within,the declining fortunes discourse.a. Making Boundaries (1) Planners and DevelopersThe planning and development history of Glenwood and itssurroundings evinces its physical and social isolation from the rest of Surrey.Glenwood’s general location is known as Fraser Heights, land north of theTrans Canada Highway and on bluffs overlooking the Fraser River. Farmingland for most of the time since white occupancy of Surrey began, FraserHeights had for a long time been forgotten in the Surrey planning discourses.It was not until 1 983, for instance, that it was recognized as a communitywithin Surrey, being previously known as a village of Guildford. Inanticipation of a growth spurt in the 1 970s, the land was “replotted” so thatconsistently sized and located urban lots could be created.15 While the15“Replot assists property owners”, Surrey Leader, May 17, 1970, section2, p. 1.118building boom did not materialize, disagreement over the future meaning ofthe land continued, even among residents. Those who owned large parcelsof land, like the Dominion Construction Company, sought an industrial zoningfor all Fraser Heights in order to extract maximum value from the land.Residents preferred housing to maintain their “hillside overlooking the river”as a “special” area.16 An innovative solution to this impasse was adopted,melding the visions of residents, council and Dominion Construction.Following its designation, amidst opposition, as an area of urban housing inthe 1983 OCP,17 Dominion Construction and other land owners engaged theservices of a professional planner to decide the future of Fraser Heights.18Together, they planned a mutually satisfactory urban community, which theythen presented to council.19This proposal and resultant neighbourhood were important since theyset the stage for Glenwood in a number of ways. First, they ensured themarking of Fraser Heights as residential space, both in practice (Fraser Glenwas built) and in planning policy. Second, the community and subdivision -Fraser Glen - envisioned in this proposal was a “self-contained community”that set it apart from the rest of Surrey.20 Moreover, Fraser Glen was acontrolled subdivision, with strict architectural guidelines.21 As the onlylarge scale residential development north of the highway, it set the tone forthe land that was drawn upon and reproduced in the design of Glenwood.16“New industry rejected for Fraser Heights area”, Surrey Leader, October22, 1980, p.A1O.17“Housing for Fraser Heights”, Surrey Leader, February 11, 1981, p.A2;“Fraser Heights owners tempted by development”, Surrey Leader, July 1,1981, p.B1.18“Fraser Heights assists planners”, Surrey Leader, February 24, 1982,p.A1O.19“Fraser Heights gets housing”, Surrey Leader, February 1, 1984, p.A20.20“Fraser Heights to jump by 2,000 residents”, Surrey Leader, June 10,1981, p.A1.21 “Even ‘for sale’ signs under strict controls”, Surrey Leader, January 11,1984, p.A22.Ii f(V (M l HI I1 I. II III \ tjI<InII hUhl(tliig lot in aI.iii.Iin.ti.I. pI.inii-.I ,IIiIIIiIIIIIi.IIi ii.tda• I1ie.senal1hscI IIIiilIiicLl\. LOtSrtoull $59,900.VI II I,fl II 41 IIIIIlIIIC% mInin..,.., II, “ocr,,.hi,.,,, I .0 II,’’II, hiOri &ro%%4,,cC tiltI,,. I,,, .n, t iI .41, Ao,,,i,. ii.ciic4 i.o.u IIIIa I ,,In. ,,,j,r, grn,iiw TOn gIlit,. ofSI,. ‘‘ ‘ tl.iity- I [I II T,4Ul)I Iii(1i%1.I ,,n nniiI,t-r iilturiii;itoifl call 683—1141Figure 4. 1. Glenwood Advertising and the Erasure of Surrey119Whenyou bullhome at Gk...—.J ca1’—’‘Vyou’re not free -to do asyoupl__(1q___ii uienwooci -- VS T A T E SAt (,tenwood I .t.itc-’.. we don tI cave the tot tire lii CII a necV(;k-nvicI is P”°°-’ iii he aCOfltTt1tifliOt (bully and listingproperty value IRC.uiisc \VCVChul It the gmu:ur:untees right in___________________ _________VIfltiov;ttie dcsiun and arctuiteittiral guidelines ensure that privaand a superior Iifcstylc VV. ill he sI t11((l h tvcrvm 1114 1)111 Idi (il. alt CXCCLIEIVC home _VV____V_.______________,tuuuood Lstites VI•hiatVs svhiv pcpk arent trec 10(10 COfllis 11144 j)lt.is4. I lii’. iliuM ,,Ii.iie with their neighboursa ,i—’i 1 I Ii iiV ii ii:‘i ‘i .I ( ;k i ,, ci and :t commitmentVI iii’ hi c’ itli ii c Iii —.1(iI VIA I ESV J1I 11n11I,./’,it.,t1 Ill C ‘‘‘‘‘‘n’!’’’IpSource: Vancouver Sun, June 10, 1987.120When Glenwood was being planned in the mid 1980s, a sharpsymbolic and physical boundary around it was part of its design anddevelopment. The image of Surrey as a place of cheap housing that prevailedinto the mid 1980s and the inactive and deteriorating housing market (seechapter three) propelled the developer, Grosvenor International, to positionGlenwood differently. The aim was to cater to the “move-up” rather thanstarter market to ensure a better financial return;22 an aim that had spatialconsequences. The first was the establishment of a symbolic differencebetween Glenwood and Surrey. Figure 4.1 is indicative of this boundary.There, the erasure of Surrey is obvious; it is only mentioned in the directionson how to get to Glenwood and is not even named on the map. According tothe advertisement, Glenwood is close to all other Vancouver centres except,ironically, Surrey. A clear boundary between Glenwood and the rest ofSurrey is being drawn. Glenwood was also designed so as to enhance itsphysical distinctiveness and isolation, evident in Figure 4.2. It is clearlyseparated from its surroundings, and especially other residentialdevelopments; enveloped by farmland and the highway and with anelementary school within walking distance. There is only one way of enteringGlenwood, and this entrance, with its wide brick-paved drive and trees,immediately announces that this place is different (Figure 4.3a). The parkand pond in the centre of the subdivision substantiate this distinction (Figure4.3b). This design and isolation sustain the claim implicit in Figure 4.1: ifFraser Heights is unique, then Glenwood is very special.22 Michael BaIl, 1 983, Housing Policy and Economic Power: The PoliticalEconomy of Owner Occupation, London and New York: Methuen, p.1 1 6notes that the increasing importance and profitability of the “move-up”market is a result of the increased market power of long term owneroccupiers.121The social distinction of Glenwood was also partially established byplanning and design, emphasized by the architect’s drawing underneath “anyplans this weekend?” in Figure 4.4. Advertised as an “inspired”neighbourhood, planning created order in the general chaos of Surrey. Assuch, it made Glenwood unique. Design and architectural guidelines werecentral to this planning framework, primarily because they would ensure thatGlenwood appeared different from the rest of Surrey. All roofs, for instance,had to be of cedar shake, houses were to have a minimum amount of brick,they were not to be basement entry, no clotheslines, and the same houseand/or colour was not to repeated within six houses.Part of this strategy was that originally only four specially selectedbuilders were allowed to build in Glenwood.23 The selection of these builderswas essential to creating the distinctiveness of Glenwood. They were knownas “quality” builders, having histories of building houses that appealed to theaffluent middle class. Cedar West, for instance, had previously developedand built Hazeiwood Grove in Guildford, and Norway and Chrisdale wereinvolved in Fraser Glen. Both Hazeiwood and Fraser Glen were controlledneighbourhoods. The selection process was also racialized to the extent thatnone of the builders were lndo-Canadian.24 It may have been the case thatwhite builders would be more likely to build houses to fit the desiredaesthetic.23 I interviewed two, with the other two no longer being in business.Neither of the firms is currently involved in housebuilding in Surrey. Onebuilds only custom homes and condominiums; the other has come fullcircle and builds small pre-fabricated homes for compact lot subdivisionson Vancouver Island. Chrisdale Homes had been involved in Fraser Glen,and had a lot of input into the design of Glenwood. Cedar West Homeswere a small family-run operation (now part of a steel company) noted forthe quality of its construction. It had developed and built in HazelwoodGrove, another controlled subdivision in Surrey.24 Indo-Canadian builders are common in the Surrey and Lower Mainlandhousing markets.Scattered UrbanDetached Houses0 metres 300122108th Avenue! Farm LandElementarVSchoolFraser GlenHousingSubdMsionLegendFigure 4.2. Glenwood and Surroundings1 23Figure 4.3a. Glenwood EntranceFigure 4.3b. Park and Pond, Glenwood124Combined, these strategies were making Glenwood a place for theaffluent middle-class. In the words of the advertising in Figure 4.4, it was tobe “one of the Lower Mainland’s most desirable residential addresses”. Themarket was explicitly those who wished to express their identity, andespecially their relative affluence, through their home and neighbourhood.This is most evident in the following text from a feature article in the SurreyLeader:Located on a plateau high above the Fraser Riverbetween Douglas and Barnston Islands, Glenwood Estatesoffers the best of town and country living in the heart ofSurrey.Nestled among the tall trees of Fraser Heights, thisdesirable community of executive homes is ideally situatednext to major transportation routes, regional shoppingcentres and most city amenities and has been planned toprovide 280 building sites for quality single familyresidences.Full height cedar hedges combine with low stonewalls and solid granite planters to mark the perimeter andmain entrance of this prestigious community. In the centreis an extensively landscaped garden park with duck pond,gazebo, a pedestrian bridge spanning man-made waterfallsand walkways which will tie into a series of nature trailsthroughout Fraser Heights.With typically only four lots to each acre, all lots aregenerous in size, fronting on quiet through streets orprivate cul-de-sacs.In this extract, class references dominate. Glenwood is described as“executive”, “quality”, “prestigious” and on a “plateau high above”. The textalso links class with the spatial form of Glenwood. The built environment isseen to mark out exclusivity through the main entrance, tall trees and quietcul-de-sacs.In the, reLowMainnd, there ononecommunity like F rHezght And in FraserHezght thereicjusl7e GlenwOodEstates.. .weplanned it that way!ThëbixuiyofChoi& , Custom Fitplann{ng j 1 The my best buy a horucthesL-isolGksiwtiid. IIa prvate setting spacious ‘‘. II :.. it built the wa you want. Itstate-lots-for executve-hatnes—-— --- I iildin7-and at—.tuatednap1ateauhighahosv, I, F. S T A T E S J Gletiwod Estates. we\t madetIj Fraser River betseevn scenic__________________it an easy and exciting processDouglas and Baroston lsland. and surprisingly affordable.With tnly four loIs to each acre. ltonwsites are of A numberolsekcted quality builders arc now woildnggenerous and gracious proportion, fronting on quiet on site. Then you arrive at Glemsood, drive aroundstreets and private cui-de-sacs u3tich encircle a beauti- and look at their work, Ask questions and let themfully landscaped garden park and reflecting pond. know the kind of home that would be perfect for yourWith roads and services just completed and (lisplar lifestyle. Theyll help you see that moving into yourhomes still under construction, now is the time to get dream home is as simple as dioosing a builder you feelthe pick of the prnpertics ensuring that your home comfortable with. You set the criteria: theyll lookis perfectly situated. after the details.h Ijust o minute’s froni ‘IA)U’flICCUfl tttfleOut’A’find ugihin10 minutes ofEurnaht’ ( quittam. ftc/Ia. New Westminsterand Lang/eu mr-n off llighuay I in Nurn’i’aI 140th Street.beau norli, 0, /0-/tb A,’,’,,ue, and Ireek for the’ ge-anile entry gates.1)er’elo/u’d Ii’Grosvenor International Canada Limited.For further information on building sites call- 683-It-ilFor further information on custom homes cal] our ieaturcd builders:Cedãrst Homes Lid. Owisdak Homes Ltd. Elite Homes Norway ttomes Lid.536-6783 585-i488 596-9974 590-6444- -,.. 125-If-nótcomeaiid--see.oursGLENWOODESTATES0* OVA-S’-’_VAlor!.Figure 4.4. Glenwood Advertised as a “Planned” NeighbourhoodSource: Surrey Leader Real Estate Section, Wednesday November 26, 1 986, p.3.126Glenwood - as the product of overlapping discourses and practices ofplanners, property owners, developers and builders - was thus created as aplace for the affluent, the homeowner who wanted to live in a placeexpressive of that identity. Advertising was selling the place and its image,the houses were secondary. Further, although family references were absentin Glenwood advertising, a certain family form was assumed. Both buildersand the developer presumed it would be families moving in, with somehouses - ranchers- set aside for retirees.25b. Making Boundaries (2) ResidentsGlenwood was also a place of the middle-class nuclear family. Formany who live there, it represents a spatial solution to the perceived socialproblems of crime and the feared death of the family. The social and spatialperimeter of Glenwood was therefore unmistakable; underlain by themotivations of those who moved there and their subsequent spatial practices.Reasons for moving to Glenwood and descriptions of the subdivision weremulti-layered, and often came out at different points in the interviews. Inwhat follows I talk about the common elements in these motivations anddescriptions: Glenwood as not Surrey, isolated from Surrey and controlledand ordered.For most Glenwood residents the home was more than a place to liveand raise children, it was an investment. There are many examples of this,including:So when we were going to make the move to Surrey thatwas our objective, we weren’t looking for a house, wewere looking for a piece of property to build and move into.[Glen]25 Moreover, builders, in designing the houses, assumed that the occupantswould be families and that house layout would only be an issue in termsof location of kitchen, number of bathrooms and choice of colours.127It’s an investment, that’s the main thing. If we moved upthe main thing would be for investment for the future.Because your money’s probably working better in a housethan it is in the bank [Debby]It’s a growing investment, to me it’s our investment for thefuture, we financially made some arrangements, we don’thave a lot of insurance anymore, but what we have is inour house [Anne]But they did not want a house just anywhere. It had to be in aparticular type of neighbourhood in an appropriate location. An uncontrolled,or chaotic neighbourhood was seen to be problematic since it represented allthe traits they feared: crime, renters, welfare, different ethnicities, and nonnuclear families, evident in the following extracts.I wouldn’t live in Whalley, not because I’m a snob, it’sterrible to say, but I would rather be in an area wherethere’s a solid family unit and most of the homes in thatarea are broken homes, a lot of condominiums, I havenothing against condominiums, I rented one too, but I knowmyself that there’s not enough time to go around when myhusband’s out of town to look after the kids andeverything. [Debby]Single parents have a greater chance of raising troubledkids than so-called normal families. Because every kidneeds a father and a mother and a mother can’t be both orhas a much harder time being both. ... Like thatsubdivision [Ruby] meant, it was all homes rammedtogether, a central playground where all the kidscongregate, and the parents can’t really see them and theycan do what they want, and the teenage kids have nothingto do but roam and look for trouble. [Edward]Two points are important here. First, the intersection of newtraditionalism and declining fortunes discourse is clear: it is not only povertythat is feared, but the poverty and family arrangements of, invariably female,single parents. They were seen as problematic (and to be avoided) becausethey were taken to imply a lack of care for children. Second, Edward’sthoughts, in the middle of a discussion about the relative influence of128economy and family values in his description of contemporary family decline,highlight how social problems are spatialized. Single parents and povertywere identified with particular neighbourhoods in Surrey. For some residents,the move to Glenwood was therefore an explicit attempt to extricatethemselves from what they saw as undesirable neighbourhoods:The little area where we were didn’t seem to be getting anybetter. It was kind of going downhill. A few of the peoplethat moved in moved in to very nice houses and we sawthem getting run down, becoming overgrown. So that kindof influenced us too, the writing was on the wall that thisarea wasn’t going to get much better. [David]But in Somerset [another subdivision in Surrey] we realizedwe’d built too grand for the area, and we knew enoughabout the market, knew that if we didn’t do our movequickly our value would go down. So we decided to movedown here. [Julie]Our concern when we moved was that the house was toosmall and also the neighbourhood was becoming very bad,of the seventeen homes in our area I don’t think there wasone that hadn’t been “visited” [burgled] at one time oranother. ... I think there was a feeling in that oldneighbourhood whereby people were moving out, and thepeople that stayed were the ones where the wife didn’twork and they didn’t have any money. ... We felt like we’doutgrown the neighbourhood. [Anne]Basically we wanted to move somewhere that had moresquare feet in the actual house. But it was also there wasa change in the neighbourhood - there were more renters.[Veronica]Here, neighbourhood change, and especially an influx of renters, wereperceived as threatening their lifestyle and values. As respectable,comfortably middle-class, family people, wishing to maximize the investmentvalue of their house, a planned, homogeneous and controlled space was seenas most appropriate, what Debby termed a “neighbourhood”:We had been looking for a couple of years, we don’t doanything on a whim, and we purposefully looked for a129neighbourhood this time because our other house, it was ina very unorganized neighbourhood and we were told that ifit was two blocks either way we probably would have gottwenty percent more when we sold because our next doorneighbour never mowed their lawn, and it was veryunorganized. So we purposefully bought in aneighbourhood for resale value and also for the fact that wewanted something for the kids.Ernie, whose children were older and who had lived in East Vancouver fortwenty years, also wanted a controlled space:We were looking for a particular type of neighbourhood Ithink. A quiet place to live, where there’s a park, just aquieter neighbourhood.Jennifer, moving from Kamloops because of her husband’s job, noted:With the real estate being as up ahd down as it was at thatpoint [we thought] that it would be safer to build, buy ahouse in a controlled area, where it’s all laid out what youcan do.These desires for a “neighbourhood” at once confirm the intentions of thedeveloper and underline the importance of boundaries in the residentiallocation decision. It appears that, a priori, a spatially bounded and sociallyhomogeneous location was desired, which led to locating in Glenwood.Glenwood, as the developers and builders hoped, fitted the bill in anumber of ways. First, the architectural guidelines did more than ensure aconsistent aesthetic; they were seen to ensure social homogeneity. InGlenwood, they meant that renters did not move in. When I asked Steve, thehusband of Debby who wanted to live in a “neighbourhood”, whether hewanted to live in a particular type of subdivision, he replied:No, probably just a newer area was our concern. Like Isaid, with controls on the houses. We were in aneighbourhood before that, we were the nicer house on theblock with a whole bunch of older houses that weredeteriorating quickly. In that kind of environment that wewere in before, we found that more people when they sold,they were going to turn around and rent it.130Second, the location and characteristics of Glenwood mitigatedsomewhat a general concern about the reputation of Surrey. Louise, fromBurnaby, had originally vowed “no way, we’re not going to move to Surrey”.However, after visiting Glenwood many times she was convinced it wasdifferent. Kathy, from Langley, had similar reservations:Surrey had always had, to both of us, a bad reputation, andsome friends of ours moved out to Surrey and said youshould come and look at some of the nicer areas out hereit’s beautiful. One of the areas that we looked at wasdown near Fleetwood, Hazelwood Grove, which was a verynice area, and they had bought there, lots were just beingsnapped up so fast, we couldn’t get one in that area. Andwe just happened to see an advertisement in the paper forlots in the Glenwood subdivision, so I phoned up.Anne and Pete originally only searched in South Surrey at similar controlledneighbourhoods since they perceived North Surrey to be too chaotic andundesirable. But as Anne recalls:For what we wanted to pay we couldn’t afford this type ofhouse in that area [South Surrey] and the real estate agentsaid he knew of an area in Surrey, the north part of Surrey,that would probably be very similar on the other side of thefreeway. In which case I said I wasn’t even gonna look. Ijust thought it wasn’t where we wanted to live and theother side of the freeway sounded awfully far away to me.In all three cases, the original dislike of Surrey was retained by redefiningSurrey to mean everywhere but north of the Trans Canada. Others alreadyknew that it was different from the rest of Surrey:We knew the area really well, we knew about Fraser Glen,and we just happened to be around here and a house cameup for sale.The important point here is that the differentiation in the respectivereputations or place identities of Glenwood and Surrey was even part of theresidential location decision. In residents’ reconstructions of why theymoved to Glenwood, its cultural, social and spatial difference was paramount.131Third, the aesthetic and image created by the architectural guidelinesappealed in class terms. The aesthetics were definitely desirable from aninvestment standpoint, as Edward points out:Like that entranceway, I think that adds dollars to ourhome. Maybe it’s a little glitzy, but it’s part of what makesthis subdivision nice, like the little lake in the park, not thatfunctional, but it adds ambience.The “look” of Glenwood also meshed with particular class visions.26 It wasattractive in the sense that the large houses, layout, and consistency werevalued. In some cases, Glenwood acted as a magnet in some couples’ housesearches. For instance, Louise and Doug kept coming back to Glenwood atthe end of each day they were househunting, as did Ernie and Monica, Karen,Greg and others. Veronica summarizes these experiences when she recallsthat “when all was said and done, we kept on coming back to this area, andwe grew to like it more and more”. Controls were also welcomed in classterms, symbolizing a particular taste and class position.27 The followingstory told by David is evocative in this regard:My wife’s brother built a house between here andFleetwood, ... and he wanted to be able to do what hewanted to do, and not have to have any guidelines. Whilehe could certainly afford to, he wanted to keep his pricesright down, so he wanted to have an asphalt roof, all vinylsiding, he wanted a more modern house, so I guess thisarea would be a little too pretentious to him.Like the advertising of Glenwood where not being free to do as youpleased was cast in a positive light, controls were seen as a sign of affluenceand status, marking residents as different from their socio-spatial26 Given what I say later in this chapter about the racialization of particulararchitectural styles, controls may also have had a racial element.However, I am unable to substantiate this point, which I discuss further inthe conclusion.27 The occupations of those I interviewed are listed in Tables 5.1 and 5.2 inchapter five, where I consider more explicitly the links between housingand class identity.132surroundings. In effect, the appeal of Glenwood sought by the developersand builders was recreated in the stories residents told about why theymoved to Glenwood. Individual, middle-class oriented interpretations of thediscourse of declining fortunes were spatialized through a desire to live in acontrolled subdivision that, like Glenwood, was part of, but separate from,Surrey. As Debby remarks:We like this side of the freeway because it’s so away fromeverything and it seems to be a little bit more shelteredfrom crime and stuff, there’s a lot of problems on the otherside of the freeway.Locating in Glenwood was also emblematic of middle-class housing values ofinvestment and self-expression via housing, a point I deal with in depth inchapter five. For the moment, however, I would like to substantiate thesepoints through reference to cultural practices and ideals within Glenwood.c. Boundary MaintenanceResidents’ activities and opinions fleshed out and gave meaning to theuniqueness and isolation of Glenwood and solidified the Walls that had beenbuilt. Primarily in an attempt to keep the perceived danger at bay, adistinction between inside and outside Glenwood permeated theunderstandings of residents. High, symbolic boundaries around Glenwoodresulted, maintaining it as a middle class family community. I focus in thissection on first how the coherence of the inside, or a particular sense ofcommunity, was created in Glenwood, and second on how this wasdifferentiated from the rest of Surrey, or how the inside-outside distinctionwas maintained.Architectural, landscaping and building controls were more than amotivating factor in the move to Glenwood. They were also the foundation133for an aesthetic and spatial coherence within the social life of the subdivision.According to some, it made Glenwood a “community”, gave it a uniquenessand identity that other (Surrey) neighbourhoods did not possess. Davidgenerally had liberal political values, and “the fact that you had to do certainthings rubbed me the wrong way a little bit”. ButIn retrospect, though, I see that as a very positive thing,because there’s, I think it provides some continuity to thearea and I think that helps provide that sense ofcommunity, that neighbourhood feeling. ... I don’t thinkthere’s a lot of repetition, there’s certainly not a greatvariety, but in retrospect it’s a positive thing. I think ithelps give it an identity.Indeed, as I show in chapter six, controls were the basis of a communitysolidarity that necessitated certain gender identities.More importantly from the perspective of boundaries of class andfamily, the original building covenants were valued and enforced through theopinions of residents. For instance, Glen thinks that to live in Glenwoodnecessarily and naturally means compliance:I just chuckle at it because I couldn’t care less, up to acertain point, they don’t allow gable end houses, and theodd one has been put in. And I think it looks so out ofplace, I don’t know why anybody would want to build herewhen it sticks out like a sore thumb.Ernie identifies a more overt pressure:I think if you look at the way that houses are built here, Ithink if you don’t build a house to conform here, I reallyfeel that you might get a little bit of pressure from theneighbours. Or you might even feel pressure to build ahouse to conform here because of what you see.Somebody might come and say well I want to build a walk-in basement home with another level, they might not do itafter they look around, especially if they’re going to livehere because they’ll be under a little bit of pressure fromtheir own mind.134Even though the controls were no longer in force, pressure to keeplandscaping immaculate remained:You know, keeping up with the Joneses type thing, but notreally, you don’t want to let your neighbours down in asense by having a really uncut lawn, unpainted house, youjust feel bad in a way for your neighbours. Everybody doesaround here. [Veronica]What Ernie, Glen and Veronica are identifying, I think, is a discourse linkingGlenwood to a particular orientation towards house maintenance and,implicitly, a specific class location and identity. Regardless of occupation,and, to a lesser extent, income, living in Glenwood involved an attitude abouthousing that differentiated its inhabitants from those living in other areas. Allwere proud of the covenants and respected them, living in a controlledneighbourhood was like a badge that only a select few could wear.The existence of controls was also a symbol of deeper socio-spatialconstructions of difference, for restrictions on house style were symptomaticof a broader concern with social homogeneity along the lines of class andfamily. They guaranteed that residents would live in a place populated bypeople similar to themselves. When speaking about Glenwood, mostresidents worked with definitions of who did and did not fit into theneighbourhood. Noise, different family arrangements and not looking afterthe yard were definitely out. This is Michael’s opinion of some of hisneighbours:They’re crazy! They actually don’t fit in this subdivision.[laughter] They’re a bit loud, they’re a bit obnoxious.Most people in here have a bit of a brain in their head.They actually lived over near where we would have beenbefore and then they built in here.In contrast, retired people did fit in. They were valued for the care they tookwith their gardens, and sometimes as surrogate grandparents. Debby135described her son’s relationship with the retired couple who were herneighbours in glowing terms. She especially valued the interaction betweengenerations that she felt was absent in many children’s lives.Controls, however, and valuing of housing meant that residing inGlenwood was the spatial expression of a desire to live with other like-minded heterosexual couples with children. This was explained in familialterms by Edward:It’s not just money, it’s family. There’s family in thisneighbourhood. When there’s a marriage break up themoney goes two ways and you can’t afford to buy, it takesa family what ever number of years, it’s taken us ten yearsto live in this home, being together and working togetherfor ten years, because our family has been together thatlong, and good fortune financially, that we were able tomove here and other people we see are in a similarposition, they’ve worked and are in their second or thirdhome, and the family is still hanging together and becauseof that they can afford it. If they split up the money is half,they’re renting or buying townhomes. I don’t know ofmany broken families here. ... You think this is a nicefamily neighbourhood, it’s because we’re nice families andwe can afford to live here and broken families can’t affordto live here because their finances are broken up.To Edward, and others, he surmised, being in Glenwood was theconsequence of families staying together. It is also the result of familiesliving in and maintaining large houses. According to Ernie:The thing is that these people have families. The housesare huge, right, and they don’t have the basement suite sothey’re not renting bottom and up. This [house opposite] isa family of four children and this [house down street] is afamily of, I think, three children. So it’s families, it’s notadults, or young adults who have to get together to pay therent. And I guess the rents are not as high as they are inVancouver. [Ernie]Whatever the reasons, Glenwood was universally defined as a family place.Veronica, active in the neighbourhood, summarizes these views:If you’re in this type of situation, and you value this type oflife, then I think this is the place to live for it. Because like136I said before, you hardly meet any other types of families,even though I’ve met lots of people who might not havethe same values or whatever, but the way it looks from theoutside is mom, dad and kids, and all that kind of stuff.And all parents turning up to all the games.As I show in chapter five, this perception of Glenwood as a familyplace had practical and emotional benefits, in addition to providing a base fora local culture of gender. The point I wish to focus on here is the way theseconceptions of Glenwood were sustained and exclusionary. It was madeclear to me that Glenwood was for residents only:Anne: The neighbours here are very particular about whatkind of neighbourhood they want to live in, so they want tomaintain it, there were people coming in and dropping carloads of kids off and having them running around theneighbourhood like races and stuff and the people in thisneighbourhood wanted to keep it for people that live here,they do not really wish to have a lot of outside peoplecoming in, parking, using the neighbourhood. ... So thepeople here think this is for us, we pay the taxes, we wantour nice little neighbourhood, to like it here you have to livehere, you can’t start capitalizing on this here little area.Although the defence of the boundaries of Glenwood was not anexplicit or coordinated strategy of residents, a number of activities, largelybased on word of mouth, served to bolster its borders. One social custom isworth noting in this regard. It was common among residents to say hellowhen passing each other on the Street, even if they did not know each other.Strangers could immediately be identified by this practice, including me SinceI did not say hello, increasing the likelihood of surveillance of outsiders.Similarly, there was general opposition to uses and meanings of theland (Fraser Heights) other than single-family residential. According to Ernie:I hate for this to get commercial. That mall is okay, butanything bigger than that would just bring in too muchtraffic.And Steve:137The only thing that I was a little nervous of, they weretalking about putting apartment blocks in this area, that’sanother area, type of housing, that I would like to see thatwe would be away from. ... so far, everything that’s goingup here is all single family, so I think we’re away from thatsort of.The Fraser Heights Residents’ Association had, in fact, previouslycoordinated a campaign to keep townhouses out of the area.A second example of boundary maintenance is a proposal by BCTransit for a bus route to run from Guildford along the main road ofGlenwood. As Anne recalls:They were gonna put the bus route right through theneighbourhood area, not past our house but through theneighbourhood, past Veronica’s house actually. I canremember the neighbours petitioning, threatening to blockthe road, so I spoke to my buddy at BC Transit and told herwhat would happen and she wasn’t terribly accommodatingbut the result of it was that they ended up getting the buswhere they wanted it on the outskirts. It’s probably notterribly safe for it to come through the neighbourhood whenyou’re raising children.The problem seemed to be noise, traffic and that the bus could potentiallytransport “undesirables” to Surrey. The principle of exclusion over-rodethose of convenience, accessibility and women’s safety, although asVeronica notes, most Glenwood residents owned two cars anyway. Veronicaalso explained opposition to the bus in planning terms:talk about something that was not planned, the way theyplanned that bus route. When we got it stopped that wasthe main thing. It now goes along the main arteries outsidethe subdivision, it was just totally opposite to whateveryone wanted. The people that lived on the main streetweren’t keen.The issue of a baseball diamond was similarly contested. The landnext to the elementary school had always been designated park land, butuntil 1990 had remained “bush”. Council proposed that a baseball diamondbe built, in light of the shortage of such fields in Surrey. Again, residents138protested, though for two different reasons. The retired person whoorganized a petition preferred the land to remain bush since it would then bemore attuned with the trails of the area. Opposition also emanated fromparents concerned about the isolation of Glenwood. The field was seen tobring “outsiders” and traffic into Glenwood; most parents were willing todrive their children elsewhere to play sport. Being articulate and vocal, theseresidents prevailed over the minority who wanted play space for theirchildren. Libby, who thought residents were being short-sighted and anti-family, noted that ironically baseball was played in the park, thoughinformally by neighbourhood children and not formally by outsiders. Themoat around Glenwood remained without a bridge.The accessibility of Glenwood to outsiders was limited, partly forgeographical reasons. According to Ruby:This is still sort of isolated, cause it’s out of the way, youhave to have a reason to come over here because there’snothing, it’s not a place to cruise or to shop, or go out todinner or anything, it’s just a place to live and not to go.These activities described above, however, point out that the wallsconstructed around Glenwood were also symbolic. The Trans CanadaHighway symbolized this separation. According to Veronica:It’s like having a moat around you. Psychologicallyespecially, people always talk about going out to the otherside of the freeway. It reminds me of when I lived in theYukon, and people would say they’re going to the outside,and that’s, it’s just like what it’s like here, people saythey’re going out, meaning the other side of the freeway.And Doug:You always say the north side of the freeway, you don’tsay you live in Surrey, you don’t say you live in Guildford,because you’re away from everything, everything thathappens seems to happen on the other side.139The gulf between Glenwood, its residents and the rest of Surrey wasthus understood spatially, signified by which side of the Trans CanadaHighway you lived on. To this extent, residential differentiation was quitesharp, both physically and symbolically. Further, residents’ decisions to livein Glenwood were the spatial expression of a class and familial identity. Inparticular, they were seeking a middle-class, socially homogeneousneighbourhood where they, and their children, could be isolated from thedangers perceived to be elsewhere in Surrey. Attempts were also made todefend these borders, both overtly and subtly.Ill. Berkshire Park. Fluid and Multiile Constructions of DifferenceWhether Berkshire Park is a clearly bounded neighbourhood dependson how you look at it. In conventional terms, it is an amorphous communitywith blurred boundaries. It is an ordinary or average Surrey subdivision:28house prices in early 1994 ranged from $180,000 to $220,000; it isnondescript in terms of house style, just one of many subdivisions springingup all over Fleetwood; and is populated by middle-income, generally dualearner, nuclear families. Upon further investigation, subtle walls wereconstructed around Berkshire through the spatialization of declining fortunesand middle-class identities. Within the context of financial constraints,moving to Berkshire was the spatial expression of an intent to be surroundedby middle-class, white families. I explore these fluid and multiple boundariesin this section.28 Technically, Berkshire Park is the name of the subdivision in the centre ofthe block I am dealing with, as I show below. Most residents, however,would say that they lived in Berkshire Park, so I use this term for thewhole area.140a. The Making of an Ordinary SubdivisionBerkshire’s position in Surrey and its planning discourses establishes itas unexceptional, resembling the many small-scale subdivisions built overSurrey in the 1 980s. A prime component of this is its geographical locationin the Fleetwood area of Surrey. Historically, Fleetwood was a smallcommunity within Surrey oriented toward New Westminster, not Vancouver.Until 1965 Fleetwood consisted of small farms and “rural-urban fringedwellers” and was a service centre for the Trans Canada Highway.29 Assuch, it consisted of a few small stores clustered around the highway. Withthe building of the Guildford Town Centre and the re-routing of the TransCanada Highway its service function was eclipsed. Planners then attemptedto create a new centre for Fleetwood by moving commercial businesses fromthe junction of 160th and the Fraser Highway to the corner of 1 52nd and theFraser Highway.Fleetwood’s present social and symbolic attributes are an extension ofthis history. Evenden provides a useful summary:On making enquiries one soon realizes that Fleetwood ishardly known outside the District Municipality of Surrey.Even within the District its identity is problematical. Localgovernment officials know it of course, and it appears inpublic documents as a spatial focus for communityplanning, albeit not of the first rank. It is known to those incommercial life who have conducted business in the area,especially if their dealings have occurred over a period oftime. But some know it only to denigrate it as a place ofany societal or social geographic consequence, preferring tothink of it only as a resource, whose commercial areas areripe for redevelopment, and whose legacy of small firmsand urban sprawl makes land available for newdevelopment.3029 ibid.30 p.225.141Evenden’s comments can be substantiated in a number of ways, of which theplanning context is most important. Current planning discourse seesFleetwood as exhibiting a “lack of identifiable entry” and “an indistinctidentity from Newton and Guildford”.31 In the 1983 Official Community Planand its subsequent amendments, Fleetwood is defined as one of the growthareas of Surrey. Fleetwood’s meaning, therefore, is primarily as a place fornew housing developments, a representation repeated by developers andbuilders. For instance, an advertisement for houses in Fleetwood in 1 987(the time Berkshire was being occupied), sold them solely on the basis ofprice and convenience.32The fluidity of Berkshire is most evident in the composition of its builtenvironment. Although focused around an elementary school, I interviewedhouseholds in three distinct but contiguous subdivisions, shown in Figure4.5. The first, called Westpark by the builder, is a compact lot subdivisionconsisting of ninety-one lots. A compact lot subdivision is where the lots aresmaller than usual, in this case the average lot size was 1 2 metres wide by24 metres deep. The developer is only allowed to build compact lots if thesmall lot size is compensated by park space, in this case walkways and apark in the centre of the subdivision. The aim of such developments is to tryand satisfy the demand for low cost housing while still providing a detachedhouse. The actual Berkshire Park subdivision was built by Father and Sonhomes and consists of 102 houses, with no fancy entrance. There weresome controls on the type of house one could build, but the only noticeableones were shake roofs and no identical houses side by side. They were notimportant to residents. Advertising was not widespread and local knowledge31 Planning Department, Surrey, 1 989 Annual Review of the UrbanResidential Lands of the Official Community Plan, Surrey, p.36.32 “Your choice: 53 new homes”, Surrey Leader, January 7, 1987, realestate section.142and show homes were deemed more important. Figure 4.6, from the SurreyLeader, demonstrates these points, advertising the house rather than theneighbourhood. Wedged between these two developments were lots onwhich builders would build speculatively and attempt to sell (a “spec” home)or residents would buy and build their own home. Pat and Ken, whom Iinterviewed, are representative of the first pattern. Although they weren’tlooking for a newer house, they ended up buying a spec house because itwas one of the few available in the area. Sherri and Lee adopted the othermodel: they bought a lot and then contracted a builder to construct the housethat they had designed.Together, these three factors - location in Surrey, place identity ofFleetwood and the amorphous character of residential development andhouse styles in Berkshire - suggest the permeability of its social and spatialboundaries. Berkshire was neither spatially nor socially different; its housesand residents seemed to gradually merge into their surroundings. This is alsoevident in Figure 4.5, depicting the variety of house styles and types thatcharacterize the immediate vicinity of Berkshire. Along the southern andeastern edges of Berkshire are older, ranch style homes built at least thirtyyears ago. Examples can be found in Figure 4.7. The western edges aresolidly townhouses, designed primarily for seniors but also occupied by somefamilies. The northern edge, on the other side of the Hydro right-of-way, isearly 1980s AHOP housing. Locationally, then, the boundaries aroundBerkshire are to some extent nonexistent, for it is located in the middle of aheterogeneous area. Indeed, the neighbourhood was often nameless. It wasgiven many names - Berkshire, Fleetwood, Guildford, “I don’t know”. Thedesignations Berkshire or Berkshire Park stuck because of the name of theelementary school. Further, the boundaries of the community were hard to143discern. In the end it appeared that the major roads - Fraser Highway, 1 52ndand 1 56th streets, and the Hydro right-of-way defined the boundary.The fluidity of Berkshire’s boundaries was confirmed in conversationswith residents. As a place or neighbourhood with distinctive attributes, itwas not a factor motivating residents’ decisions to move there. When Iasked why people had moved to Berkshire, the house rather than theneighbourhood was mentioned. Since most had not previously owned ahouse, townhouse or apartment, the attainment of ownership wasparamount. This desire for a house was expressed in a number of ways.For many, the stories they told about their house searching processcast Berkshire and their current house in a negative light. For them,Berkshire wasn’t their first choice, but was what they could afford. Tim andTraci just wanted to buy a house, stay near their family and get out of theirGuildford town house. Marie looked around North Delta where her familylived, but because of affordability she was “forced” to move to Berkshire.Those from out of the Lower Mainland spoke at length of the geographicallimitations on housing choice posed by the expensive Lower Mainlandhousing market. Interestingly, however, they usually had some specific localreason for choosing Surrey, like church contacts (Sherri, Bruce, Linda) orrelatives (Andrew, Fran).144Hydro Right-at-Way I Edge ofBerk\J______ElementarySchool—-——— _i_:_ .._z_ z:,ChristianHighSchool-Legend- IS CriCommerciatTownhousesDetached housesScattered urban metresFigure 4.5. Berkshire Park and Surroundings• L., Designer Homes torJ ihe Disàrim àting Buyer• fl:J. BERKSHIRE PARK.... .•—-.:.. . .•• :-•• • --______•-___•. i a...... —_—-_==1====21jj. = h t:jI•• : = =.•. : = : ==—-—-.—2 HMES TO CHOOSE FROM• cAsTLE.R!NEs:..,. 1692.Sq.Ft $119,900• TWO STOREY.... 2000 Sq.Ft..... $129,900• Vaulted cilings. Cdar shakes • Wood railings• Energy-efficient packages. • Full sized lot with front• lawn;. Decorative brass hardware • Oak cbiñets. Forced air heating • Dishwasher • Double garage• Soaker tubs. • 5-year limited home warrantyCALL NOW AND CHOOSE THE COLOURS IN YOUR NEWDESIGNER HOME AUGUST 1st POSSESSIONRon Heaver 594-3324 Marlin Van Heusen 588-5485Figure 4.6. Advertising Berkshire Park HousesSource: Surrey Leader Real Estate Section, Wednesday July 2, 1 986, p.2.145146Figure 4.7. Older Housing in Berkshire Park147Relatedly, house searches were not neighbourhood specific. Forinstance, according to Mark:It was more financial oriented as opposed to, I think wewere pretty much like all first time buyers, you tend to lookat finances and find affordability first and deal with what’savailable in that price range in terms of what you want foryour own personal type of house.Important here is that Mark ends with “your own personal type of house”,not neighbourhood, even after affordability was taken into account. Thissubstantial irrelevancy of the neighbourhood is also more starkly evident inthe following quote from Ingrid:We had initially intended to build a home, which is why wewanted to move away from Langley, why we put our houseup for sale. And we were wondering what to do in theinterim, and then Henry’s uncle was selling this house, hehad bought it for his daughter who decided to move upnorth so one day Henry’s mother phoned us and said therewas this house out in Surrey, do you want to go look at it.So I think it was the same day that we headed out wecame out here to have a look at it, it just seemed suitablefor the time being, and it was about a week and it was allsigned and we’ve been here ever since because we haven’tbeen able to afford to build a home.Ingrid appears to want to move to anywhere but Langley, and moving on awhim is indicative of a lack of planning or strict criteria.148Unlike the spatialization of the discourse of declining fortunes manifestin Glenwood, isolation and being away from Surrey were not valued. When Iasked residents what they liked most about the area, in contrast to Glenwoodresidents who pointed to the merits of isolation, Berkshire householdsreferred to the convenience and accessibility of the location. Conveniencewas a factor at three spatial scales: neighbourhood, Surrey and the LowerMainland. At the neighbourhood level, the location of the elementary andhigh schools were cited as positive factors; as were the short distances towork and amenities. Mary has a five minute walk to work from her houseand did not move until she first found a job in Surrey and second could livewithin walking distance of it. Marie likes it that her children can walk toschool and her husband to the bus stop to take him downtown (via theSkytrain); whilst Traci, at home during the day without a car when Tim isworking (he works shiftwork so is not always away during the day), says:I like the fact that I can walk to the store whenever I needanything, put the kids in the stroller and go for a walk. Ilike the fact that they’re putting a park in now, we didn’thave one before and it should be ready in the spring.At the Surrey scale, Bruce remarked that Berkshire was “centrallylocated and conveniently located in terms of shopping, transport andschools”. Similarly, Berkshire has “easy access to everything” [Ken]. Whatwas most accessible were “the malls are up the street, the border is twentyminutes away” [Kurt], “there’s the theatres and the mall not too far” [Liz] and“Safeway’s only two minutes away, I go there almost every day to get freshthings” [Marie]. Essentially, the characteristics of Fleetwood deemednegative by Evenden and planners - commercial, retail facilities and proximityto major transport routes - were given a positive twist by residents andbecame attributes of their neighbourhood.149Centrality in terms of the Lower Mainland was also a factor. BothHenry and Hal said it was central for their commutes to work and Henryadds:and also for Ingrid, because whenever she does something,or visits with her friends, its halfway for her to almostanything in the Lower Mainland.The following conversation between Joanne and Mark also illustrates thetheme of centrality in Greater Vancouver:Mark: From a location standpoint this is excellent, as far ascentralization in terms of the Fraser Valley. You can’t beatit, you have close access to Richmond, relatively closeaccess to Burnaby and that area of Vancouver, and theFraser Valley which speaks for itself.Joanne: Which was also a consideration for us becausewe’re both salespeople so we have to travel all over theLower Mainland and we have to have easy access towherever.Along with an amorphous character, Berkshire seemed to lack adistinguishable place identity in residents’ accounts of their move and livesthere. Where it did have boundaries and identifiable characteristics was withrespect to the elementary school. The elementary school served to definethe subdivision as a particular type of place, both before and after residentsmoved in. For instance, Barb and Sid had very strict criteria for where theycould live when they moved to Surrey from Calgary:We have three children, one in elementary, one going tojunior secondary and another to senior secondary. So weneeded school access, within walking distance, we didn’twant our children being bused and all the rest of it. Andclose enough for me to get to work [in New Westminster].The specific characteristics of the school were also important. Some hadheard about its good reputation through the grapevine. Part of Kurt andSharon’s motivation for moving was their dissatisfaction with the school inthe previous area. They had heard that in Berkshire the school was right in150the neighbourhood, an important factor for them since in their previouslocation their children had to cross a busy road to go to school. Further, theschool “had such a good reputation”.Others felt an attachment to the neighbourhood via the school. Lindaand Bruce were about to move after searching for a bigger house for morethan two years. It had taken them so long because Linda insisted that theystay in the same school catchment area. She is adamant: “1 wouldn’t feel thesame commitment to the neighbourhood or to hang around if it wasn’t for theschool”. About half the couples I interviewed (those who had previouslyowned a house) had not moved very far. Ken and Pat lived a short threeblocks away before their present home, which they had moved into solelybecause it was the only one available in the area when they were looking.They wanted to stay close because:But we wanted to stay in the area because we wanted tostay with the same friends and the same school, and didn’twant the disruption of carting them to miles away so that’show we ended up here. We didn’t move too far.Similarly, Sherri and Dan moved a couple of blocks to their Berkshire house,partly for the school and partly for the amenities. Those contemplatingmoving, like Tim, would not move far:If we did move to a bigger house it would only be a coupleof streets over, like this general neighbourhood.Indeed, Liz and Jess were living in Westpark when I interviewed them, andmoved to Berkshire one week later. When I saw Liz while interviewing one ofher friends, she told me they wanted a bigger house but in the sameelementary school catchment area.151b. Making a (Bounded) Community of Families and HomeownersThe stories I was told about reasons for moving to Berkshire andexperiences there were ambiguous. On the one hand, as I showed above,socially exclusionary motives underlying Berkshire residents’ housingdecisions are obviously absent. Convenience, affordability and theaspirations for homeownership, traditional factors in understanding residentiallocation, appear to be primary. At other levels, however, some elements ofdeclining fortunes and middle class spatialities are evident. Negativedescriptions of Berkshire, for instance, were also ways that residentssignalled to me that Berkshire was “beneath them”. As an example, Tim wascareful to point out that this was not the last house they were going to livein, but that Berkshire was a spatial and temporal accommodation. In thissense moving to Berkshire was expressive of a particular phase in the lifecourse, one that he hoped to also move beyond financially. Further, thedesignation of Berkshire as “ordinary” was implicitly social and spatial; livingthere was also a spatial manifestation of a young, middle-class, interpretationof Surrey and declining fortunes.As an ordinary neighbourhood, Berkshire was valued because of whatit symbolized: a white (predominantly at least), family-oriented, non-welfare,“working person”, neighbourhood. Although a virtual non-entity in terms ofplace identity and recognition in popular geographies, location in Fleetwoodwas important because of what it was not. It is here that the racial backdropto these residential location decisions sometimes surfaced, most often, forinstance, through reference to symbolic geographies. The Newton area ofSurrey is significantly populated by lndo-Canadians,33 and the landscape is33 In 1 991, according to 1 991 Census data compiled by the Surrey PlanningDepartment, Punjabi was the “mother tongue” of 11 .9 percent of Newtonresidents, compared to 4 percent in Guildford/Fleetwood.152dotted with Sikh temples, markets,34 and different architectural styles.These characteristics were well known amongst those I spoke with. Incomparison to Glenwood where families defined themselves as apart fromWhalley, the Berkshire residents I spoke with did not want to live in Newton.According to Mary:We looked at Newton but it didn’t have a very goodreputation. Guildford had a pretty good reputation.Most often, the racial characteristics of Newton weren’t mentionedspecifically. However, other parts of conversation seemed to imply that thedescriptions were racially motivated. At this level, then, Berkshire’s positionin Surrey - socially, spatially and symbolically - was an indicator of differencethat was used in the residential location decision, albeit in a negative way.A desire for social homogeneity was also manifest in the decision tomove to, and life within, Berkshire Park. Primary here was that there beother children, and more specifically families, around. A particular position inthe life cycle was actively sought. Part of the reason was practical:Marie: We asked a few neighbours before we moved inwhat it was like, the location, whether there were kids andstuff, so that they had somebody to play with.Sharon: We wanted to find an area with kids. In the oldneighbourhood, actually the main reason we moved wasthere was no kids.Hal: everybody here has kids and they’re all roughly thesame age, so you have something in common, a commonbond3 Harold Munro, 1 990, “Thriving Surrey bazaar caters to Indo-Canadiancommunity”, The Vancouver Sun, May 22, p.A1.153However, not any type of family would be acceptable. Theneighbourhood also had to have homeowners, not renters. According toJess:Everyone that moved in here, they were all younger and Iguess our age sort of, but they were all buying their housetoo.A “community” of homeowners, especially in the starter homes of Berkshire,signified a particular family form:Andrew: It seems to be mostly younger families, or olderpeople that don’t have kids anymore, they just want a niceor smaller home. This area is nice and they don’t want abig house.Darlene: These are good homes for like a starter home, sopeople move in then have children. And if you have littlekids it’s great, but now that mine are getting older we’relacking space.Most importantly, Berkshire was not a place for “welfare families”.Sharon, for instance, was looking for a neighbourhood with a particular typeof child. She describes her old neighbourhood as:there was a house that was rented that kept shifting fromdifferent kids that were transient families. They weren’t mykind of kids. They didn’t have the same values as we did.and later:a lot of the townhomes were government subsidized andwe just heard a lot of rumours that the kids weren’t beingtaken care of and we just didn’t want our kids to have thatupbringing. And then we learned about this area throughreal estate agents, that in Berkshire Park the school is rightin the subdivision it’s so easy, and the area was good.Berkshire, however, had people with similar values to her. As described byher husband Kurt:the people are a little bit more, not that Sharon and I areuniversity scholars, but they’re [neighbours] are just154different, they teach their kids, a lot of kids are in pianolessons, and hockey, you know, more involvement incommunity. That’s what was lacking, no community.Nobody had a block watch. We have barbecues and blockparties in summer, Christmas parties.Class was therefore central to good families, and Berkshire represented theright mix for them.It is important to note, as residents were quick to remind me, “youcan’t pick your neighbours. You have to take a chance and live with theconsequences” [Ron]. However, indirect strategies, based on the culturalencoding of the built environment, were used to attain social homogeneity.Residents wanted to live in a new subdivision, one with houses roughly thesame age. Not only did newness imply a greater probability of socialhomogeneity, new houses and subdivisions also symbolized a particular classfraction and nuclear families. For Tim, it meant working people rather thanthose on welfare:Robyn: Thought that a new area would be different?Tim: Yeah, more families, or once that in you’re in an areaof more expensive houses you’re going to get people thatare more, how do you say it, they’re working, and youdon’t have to worry about them being on welfare, kidsrunning around and causing problems.Bruce emphasized the sameness of the built environment:I thought it was great that the houses were all of a similarilk, in this one area, because Surrey, characteristically notso much these days, was very mixed, very inconsistent,style and quality of houses you could find. You could findnew houses in the middle of modern houses, little oldramshackle huts next door, and the fact that this was allsimilar styleConsistency in the built environment meant consistency of socialrelations, since, in Sharon’s words, “all these homes would appeal to specificpeople”. These people were young families.155Robyn: What makes it friendly?Ingrid: I guess because a lot of the families are in the samecircumstances. Some very young families with children,and similar knowledge is passed down.Hal: To me I like this neighbourhood because I find thepeople here are all basically working class people and theyseem to enjoy their lifestyles at home.Robyn: What do you mean by working class?Hal: Everybody’s working, they’re not high income wageearners, they’re not low income, it’s all middle of the road.Ingrid: What I like is that things are all on a par. This is atypical, middle income subdivision.George: In the cul-de-sac we sort of do feel that we arepart of a community because the people that we do knoware very similar to us with younger families.A new neighbourhood was crucial here, for as Sam puts it:Robyn: Wanted to live with similar people?Sam: I think it causes less problems in the sense that if yougo into a more mature area where there’s older people andyoung kids, you would expect there to be a conflict, andthrough no fault of any particular party if I was an elderlyperson and I had kids running across my front lawn while Iwas out gardening every day, that would probably be a bitannoying to me. Or throwing balls around or whatever.And Mark:[The neighbourhood matters], from an aesthetic standpoint,driving around looking at the area, seeing a lot of peoplethat basically fit the same mould as what we are, you’ll findin this area that almost every house that you come to ispretty much in the same situation. As well as from aneconomic standpoint it pretty much fit into right where wewere. Everybody was pretty much of the same sort ofmiddle class, not to cast any prejudices towards them, butit was all middle class families that were all in the beginningstages of their family and it seemed to fit very nicely withwhat our thinking was.156These examples are indicative of more than a desire for homogeneity. Classin Berkshire, especially by the men, is experienced in terms of typicality. Aslong as everyone is in the same boat, they feel comfortable living there.35New neighbourhoods and Fleetwood also had racial subtexts. Andrewand Fran, for instance, wanted to move into a neighbourhood where all thehouses were completed, specifically because they didn’t want to live near a“monster house”:Fran: And driving in it was all complete and everything andthat appealed to us, we saw what was here.Andrew: We looked in some places where half the cul-desac was finished but you never know what’s on the otherhalf. Especially nowadays when there could be a monsterhome going up next door.My impression from this, and other, interviews was that monster housesnecessarily meant Indo-Canadian residents. Also part of the Surrey sociospatial vocabulary is that the Indo-Canadian community build and live indifferent types of houses. In particular, the houses are seen to be twostoreys plus a basement, being capable of housing more than one family.Berkshire residents used this knowledge when choosing where to live. Marieexplicitly used house style in her house hunting process.I don’t want them [Indo-Canadians] as my neighbours.There was one new area we were looking at, there weretwo lots there and we just sat there one day and watched,and all these houses, they don’t look like East Indianhouses, but they all had ten cars and in and out were allthese East Indians. I was surprised because the housedidn’t look, it was a three level house with a basementwhich you couldn’t even see unless you were at the back.I don’t think it’s fair that they pay taxes when they’ve gotthree families in one house... They stuff our schools whenthey all live in one house.Non-Caucasians also made a socioeconomic difference:3 Lyn Richards, 1 990, Nobody’s Home: Dreams and Realities in a NewSuburb, Melbourne: Oxford University Press, finds the “all in the sameboat” sentiment a source of social cohesion in her Australian studies.157Robyn: Most people here Caucasian?Hal: Not necessarily, no, that’s, I think the problem withthe high school, this area like I said, it doesn’t matter whatyour ethnic background is, everybody in here is middleclass and so we can go out and play volleyball together, itdoesn’t matter about your ethnic background, but whenyou get a place like the high school where it’s drawing fromall different economic levels, and my personal belief is thata lot of your ethnic battling comes from poverty or lack ofmoney or lack of education. And I think that’s whathappens here.To summarize, a subtle form of internal coherence was constructed, orat least desired, in Berkshire. The discourse of declining fortunes wasinvoked and spatialized, albeit in a different way than in Glenwood. Fear offamilies on welfare and non-white residents led to knowledge of the socialand symbolic geographies of Surrey being used to choose to live in a new,complete subdivision in Fleetwood rather than Newton. In this respect,middle-class, white identity was spatialized. Further, the boundaries betweenresidential neighbourhoods, apparently blurry in conventional terms, werequite distinct in symbolic terms.c. Boundary MaintenanceFor a variety of reasons - location, resources etc. - efforts at what Iterm “boundary maintenance” were not as successful in Berkshire as theywere in Glenwood. Attempts were certainly made to maintain theneighbourhood as a place of and for the working, homeowning, family.Nevertheless, its position as a starter neighbourhood for young, homeowningfamilies was being redefined during my interviews. This was the product oftwo inter-related processes: movement out of the neighbourhood and theresultant change in its social composition.Of the fifteen families I interviewed, five were either moving orcontemplating moving in the next six months. Liz and Jess, for instance,158moved within the subdivision to a bigger house the week after I spoke withthem. With the children getting older, Liz felt they needed a bigger house,with, most importantly, two bathrooms. Marie was also looking for a biggerhouse, and this time they wanted to build their own. Others were movingbecause of what they perceived as a deterioration in the neighbourhood.Hal’s children were nearly of high school age and he was concerned aboutsending them to Johnston Heights High School:If we stayed in this, I would be going into hearsay, becauseI don’t know the high school, I’ve never set foot into it,from what I understand the high school has an ethnicproblem.The resultant changing social character of the area was startling andworrying to residents:One thing that is happening right now is because it’s astarter neighbourhood the houses are cheaper and investorsare starting to buy up and have rented out a couple ofthem. [Andrew]A number of houses have been sold and been bought byinvestors and put renters in them.It was universally acknowledged that the houses and yards of renterswere different:George: Yeah, usually more rundown. People don’t take asgood care of them. Not necessarily noisier, maybe a littlemore inconsiderate because they don’t feel as part of theneighbourhood as the rest of them.Sid: We can tell a renter’s house because of the change inthe maintenance of the property. The previous ownerswere meticulous.Social relations were also different, particular social norms weren’tgenerally adhered to.159Traci: I think that people that rent their houses don’t seemto care as much, at least people that I’ve noticed aroundhere they don’t care as much what happens to their house.We had renters across the street that had starlings insidethe attic of their house and the siding was starting to peeloff and they didn’t care. ... They just seem to think thatit’s not their property so they don’t take as much care withit.Tim: You don’t know who’s gonna move in, or what typeof people you’re gonna get, you might get three guys whoparty all night. I worry about that. Are you going to get acrack house? You see that on TV all the time. But youwouldn’t get that around here. But you never know whenit’s renters.Given the perceived social locations and attitudes of renters,“problems” with renters invariably surfaced.36 Then a number of solutionswere available and tried. The first was ignoring them, which was oftentaken. Complaints to more official bodies could be made, as Tim recalled:Here, we’ve had a lot of people, some of the renters reallylet their yards go really bad to the point I even, I wouldgenerally never do this, but I had to complain to city hail.Just because their grass was too high, and it wasdistracting for cars coming round the corner, you couldn’tsee them.More common was for the surrounding neighbours (usually the men) toget together and approach the offenders. The story of one instance is toldby Bruce:We’ve had a lot of trouble with renters, especially with thehouse next door to us. The house right adjacent to us wassold I guess about twelve months after we moved in, andthe first four lots of tenants that we had were just awfuland we had real trouble with them, with dogs, not cleaningup the mess, music, loud, late at night, and now fortunatelythey do have fairly good tenants.Strategies like suggesting the tenants hire Darlene’s sons to mow the lawnsand phoning the real estate agent and/or owner in the middle of the night36 It wasn’t by design that I didn’t interview any renters, thus my discussionis of the views of homeowners.160when they had been wakened by the tenants, were employed, oftensuccessfully. Another, and far more preferable, solution was to wait till thecurrent tenants moved and pressure the landlord to rent to a family. Atraditional family was far more acceptable:Mark: We were saying maybe what you should do is lookfor families and put families in there and things willprobably go a lot smoother.Joanne: Which has now happened.Mark: Yeah, they’re a couple from England. Their kidshave heavy accents, it was funny to watch theintermingling of the kids.These attempts to maintain homogeneity in Berkshire had, until now, mixedsuccess. It is important to note, however, that the actual Berkshire Parksubdivision was partially immune to the influx of renters. It was thedestination of people moving out of Westpark, and the turnover of populationwas low.d. Bounding HomeIf the boundaries around Berkshire were blurred and ambiguous, thenthe walls around house and home were well-defined. When a more openlycultural perspective on the spatialization of middle-class life is adopted,different forms of boundaries become apparent. A trend throughout theneighbourhood was the building of walls around home and family, especiallyin Westpark, where the distance between neighbours was small physically.There, privacy or more specifically lack of privacy was a universal concern.Henry was most disturbed:we thought of all the close homes and small spaces aroundthe homes, sort of a lack of privacy, and we’re exactly inthat situation. Our neighbours when they’re barbecuingtheir patio is on the second level so they can look downonto our yard.161According to Mary:Actually that’s one of my big gripes, because you canalways hear what’s going on next door and you don’t reallywant everybody to know all the time, all families argue.Responses to the sense that personal space was being invaded werevaried. Most saw one positive aspect, summarized by Mary:It’s funny, we have a block watch programme but we don’treally need it because in this particular cul-de-sac you cansee everything that goes on anyway.Another reaction was to set up intangible barriers to combat the lack ofphysical space between neighbours. Henry, for instance, had put a sign onhis door saying “do not disturb” so that his children could spend time withtheir parents. As he puts it:We don’t want to over involve our kids and that it’s notnecessary for them to have their friends around all the time.Notably, however, these feelings were unusual.More widespread were definitions of “good neighbour” that maintainedsocial distance, as expressed by Ingrid:I didn’t make a point of going out to get to know them andneither did they; it was more a sense of regarding eachother’s privacy because we were so close here.Friends and neighbours were different, according to Liz:we’re not great friends with a lot of them but I meanthey’re good neighbours in that sense. Cordial, they’ll sayhi and what not, and that’s what I figure a neighbour is.And Joanne:It’s not, we don’t do a lot of social things, we chat outsidein the summer time or you watch over each other’s homesso they weren’t, you don’t get to know them on a reallyclose basis.162A good neighbour, therefore, was one who helped out in times of crisis,watched property, but kept their distance socially. Mary, for instance, wasadamant that her neighbours were not friends.IV. Conclusion: The Racialization and Intertwining of Declining Fortunes andNew TraditionalismIn this chapter I have asked two inter-related questions: how is white,middle-class, familial identity, in the context of declining fortunes, spatialized;and what insight is gained by initiating a conversation between two differentperspectives on the boundaries of suburbs. I have suggested that theperception that Surrey is a sea of trouble, crime and chaos, and that arelatively homogeneous living space is most desirable, guided residents’decisions about where to live, and was spatially manifested in the erection ofsymbolic and physical walls around those living spaces. Practices within theneighbourhoods reconstituted these places and fortified the walls that hadbeen built, with the subdivisions seen as white, middle-class, familial oases.Symbolic geographies, in terms of knowledge about particular places andpeople, were central to these processes. Thus suburban exclusion appears tohave been recreated, but in response to different imperatives, which in thesecase studies were the perceived disintegration of family life, a “fear” offalling, and the racial heterogeneity that surrounded the white, family, peopleof Berkshire and Glenwood.Although forged within the general categories of declining fortunes andnew traditionalism, practices and ideologies with respect to exclusion differedbetween the two neighbourhoods. Part of this difference is due to lifecourse, with Glenwood expressive of a more settled, later “stage” and163Berkshire of those identifying themselves as “starting out”, differences Iconsider further in the next chapter. But the differences can also be tracedto financial security and its cultural and spatial expression. In Glenwood,there was seen to be nothing wrong with exclusivity and boundaries, andresidents could afford (in terms of both time and money) to continue toisolate themselves and their children. These desires were not articulated inracial terms, maybe because non-white families were not seen to be a threatsince they were so far away. In Berkshire, however, Glenwood was viewedas “snobby”, and the desire for isolation was criticized on the grounds thatchildren should learn to be part of society, whatever that was, and anyway,isolation would not work. Yet race was clearly invoked by residents, perhapsbecause of the immediacy of racial tension, especially at the high school. Inboth cases, then, we are beginning to see fractures, accommodations andrecastings of declining fortunes and new traditionalism. In the following twochapters I further differentiate these ideals along the lines of gender and themeaning of the home.164CHAPTER FIVEGENDER CLASS AND HOME: PLACING THECONNECTIONSAnd it’s safe, you feel that once you get home you don’tfeel very vulnerable at all. It covers a whole spectrum ofemotions, there’s physical things about your home as wellas emotional parts that are kind of intangible. Like whenyou get back from a long trip you’re always happy to be athome because your home has that sort of, you walk upthese stairs and you sit down on the chesterfield and saythank god I’m home. It’s certainly not because ourchesterfield is any more comfortable than the one you’re[me] sitting on, but it’s just that feeling you get when youget home, has a lot to do with that environment. It’s kindof a family home. That’s what this has become, a familyhome.It’s our investment, it’s a growing investment, to me it’sour investment to the future, we financially made somearrangements, we don’t have a lot of insurance anymore,but what we have is in our house, and our house may bepaid for in a few years. It’s our investment for retirement,as long as we have this, and we’ve paid for it, we can sellit some day and it will be worth a deal of money. So ifyou’re looking at pension plans that are going down thetubes and everything else, it’s our security, it’s what wehave that’s of value, so it’s our safe place and it’s oursecurity for the future.Contrary to common expectations, the first quote is from a man, thesecond a woman. I say contrary because the alignment of men withemotional and familial meanings of home, and a relation between women andthe investment and social class aspects of housing, are not captured bycontemporary understandings of the meaning of home in western, urbansocieties.1 Despite (and maybe because of) Peter Saunders’ claim that1 There are many “meanings of home” - security, haven, comfort, family,investment - to name a few, as outlined In Robert Rakoff, 1 977,“Ideology in everyday life: the meaning of the house”, Politics andSociety, 7,1, pp. 85-105; and more recently in Richard Harris andGeraldine Pratt, 1 993, “The meaning of home, homeownership and publicpolicy” in L. Bourne and D. Ley, eds. The Changing Social GeograDhv ofCanadian Cities, Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queens University Press.I focus on the meaning of homeownership in a particular way in this165gender doesn’t differentiate meanings of home,2 gender is increasinglyrecognized as modifying the social relations of housing production andconsumption.3 However, the links between gender, class and home areconceptualized in limited ways that perpetuate the masculinist view thathomeownership has more class significance for men than women, and thatthe familial aspects of home are more important to women than men.The positing of limited links between gender, class and home iscommon throughout the housing literature. Ray Forrest and Alan Murie’s oft-cited “Affluent homeowners”, for instance, flattens the familial aspects oftheir respondents’ accounts of their housing moves.4 Forrest and Muriedevote much attention to one executive and his housing history. On myreading of this executive’s story, children and schools appear importantmotivating factors,5 yet Forrest and Murie ignore this to highlight theimportance of housing subsidies and a concern with the investment value ofhousing. A consideration of men as providers would not necessarily mitigatechapter, as I outline below. Other aspects of home meanings areexcluded, such as design - Louise Johnson, 1994, “(Text)ured brick”,Australian Geographical Studies, and Ruth Madigan and Moira Munro,1991, “Gender, house and ‘home”, Journal of Planning Education andResearch, 8,2, pp.117-31; working at home - work - KathleenChristensen, 1 993, “Eliminating the journey to work: home-based workacross the life course of women in the United States” in Cindi Katz andJanice Monk, eds., Full Circles: Geographies of Women across the LifeCourse, London and New York: Routledge, pp.55-87; and sexuality - GillValentine, 1993, “(Hetero)sexing space: lesbian perceptions andexperiences of everyday spaces”, Environment and Planning D: Societyand Space, 11, pp.395-413.2 Peter Saunders, 1 989, “The meaning of “home” in contemporary Englishculture”, Housing Studies, 4,3, pp.177-92. For a rebuttal see MoiraMunro and Ruth Madigan, 1 993, “Privacy in the public sphere”, HousingStudies, 9,1, pp.29-45.Ruth Madigan, Moira Munro and Susan J. Smith, 1990, “Gender and themeaning of the home”, International Journal of Urban and RegionalResearch, 14, pp.625-47.- Ray Forrest and Alan Murie, 1 987, “The affluent homeowner: labourmarket position and the shaping of housing histories” in Nigel Thrift andPeter Williams, eds. Class and Space: The Making of Urban Society,London and New York: Routledge, pp.330-59.5 See especially p.348.166Forrest and Murie’s story, but could enhance it by situating the affluenthomeowner as male.6 Work on women and housing similarly fails toadequately consider the status aspirations embedded in homeownership forwomen. Although the differential access of women to homeownership iswell documented,7women’s experiences of homeownership, in class terms,is comparatively unknown. But if we take the claim that analysis of themeaning of the home needs to be conducted at the individual, rather thanhousehold, level,8 then it follows that the possibility of multiple inter-relationsbetween gender, class and home need to be acknowledged at the outset.My aim in this chapter is to complicate our understanding of genderedand classed meanings of the home by documenting how homeownership hasfamilial and status meanings for both men and women. However, byexploring these meanings through the lens of place, I also wish to show howthey are determined by specific contexts, and, consequently, that relationsbetween gender, class and home are also geographically variable. Theconcept of place I focus on in this chapter is that of “local cultures ofproperty”, a notion that acknowledges place-specific attitudes towards, andpractices within, the housing market.9 I use the concept to demonstrate thevariable contexts in which different meanings of home are produced and6 Geraldine Pratt adopts a similar strategy in a reconsideration of her workon homeownership and identity, noting that homeownership appeared tobe central to middle-class male rather than female identity. See GeraldinePratt, 1 990, “On the reproduction of academic discourse: class and thespatial structure of the city” paper presented at the AAG, Toronto, April.‘ Munro and Smith find, for instance, that women’s “attainment” ofhomeownership is dependent on having a partner, not income, whereasfor men income and occupation are the primary factors. Moira Munroand Susan J.Smith, 1989, “Gender and housing: broadening the debate”,Housing Studies, 4,1, pp.3-17. See also Sophie Watson, 1988,Accommodating lneguality, Sydney: Allen and Unwin.8 Madigan and Munro, 1991, op.cit.9 In this sense my analysis builds upon Marc Choko and Richard Harris,1 990, “The local culture of property: a comparative history of housingtenure in Montreal and Toronto”, Annals of the Association of AmericanGeograrhers, 80,1, pp.73-95.167interpreted. In terms of the aims of the thesis, my consideration of actualhomes in this chapter is also an attempt to suggest another imbrication ofplace and identity. As will be evident by the end of the chapter, actualhomes and the ideals that construct them are insightful indications of the waypractices and meanings of a place are drawn upon in situating identity. Thischapter is also implicitly about the senses of home that are seen to be mostappropriate to new traditionalist lives within the context of “decliningfortunes”.Talking about class in relation to the home is fraught with dangers ofmisinterpretation, historically involving debates about different theories ofclass and the importance of homeownership to class consciousness andfragmentation.10 I therefore use the term class in a very specific way in thischapter. Working within a Weberian template,11 I focus on social class,which refers to a cluster of class situations (defined in relation to marketcapacities), that are linked by common life chances and consumptionpatterns.12 Social class includes both positions in relation to power and themarket, and the consumption patterns and evaluations of that position.Social class is dynamic, emerging out of the process of class structuration.As Eric Olin Wright summarizes Giddens:Classes are the outcome of a process through whicheconomic categories ... defined by market capacities, aretransformed into collectivities sharing common livedexperiences.1310 For an overview see Geraldine Pratt, 1989, “Reproduction, class and thespatial structure of the city” in Richard Peet and Nigel Thrift, eds. NewModels in Geoqrarhy, Volume 2, London: Unwin Hyman, pp.84-108.11 See Max Weber, 1 968, Economy and Society, New York: BedminsterPress.12 See Anthony Giddens, 1 973, The Class Structure of the AdvancedSocieties, London: Hutchinson, pp.L18-49.13 Erik Olin Wright, 1989, “Rethinking, once again, the concept of classstructure” in Erik Olin Wright, et.al. The Debate on Classes, London andNew York: Verso, p.292.168The home, as an investment, consumption item, and focus of statusevaluations, is therefore critical to social class, as I show in this chapter. Iam not, however, talking about how social classes, like the middle-class, areformed.14 Rather, I focus on what Giddens calls class “awareness”,cognizance and acceptance of similar attitudes and beliefs, linked to a styleof life.15 In other words, I am most interested in how people positionthemselves in class terms, via and through their housing situation. Byfocusing on the way people in Glenwood and Berkshire interpret their classplacement, I continue my concern with identity and its negotiation andgendering. Such a concern may also facilitate an analysis of the erasures andclosures associated with understandings of gender, class and home.The chapter is in three parts. In the first, I develop the concept of alocal culture of property and outline its contours in Surrey, highlighting itsembeddedness in a discourse of declining fortunes. I illustrate the reworkingof this culture by Glenwood residents in the second section, connecting it todominant class meanings of home held by both men and women, although Ialso note the negotiation and instability of these meanings. The culture ofproperty and meanings of home in Berkshire are the focus of the thirdsection. I tell a story where the modification of housing as an investment byfamilial ideals and material constraints, results in very different, though noless gendered, meanings of home.14 On this point see Mike Savage, James Barlow, Peter Dickens and TonyFielding, 1 992, Property, Bureaucracy and Culture: Middle ClassFormation in Contemporary Britain, London and New York: Routledge.For a helpful discussion of the differences between class formation,consciousness, etc. see Nigel Thrift and Peter Williams, 1 987, “Thegeography of class formation” in Nigel Thrift and Peter Williams, eds.Class and Space: The Making of Urban Society, London and New York:Routledge, pp.1-24.15 Giddens, op.cit. p.1 11.169I. Climbing the Ladder of Homeownership in SurreyMeanings of home are necessarily drawn from context, and in the twocase studies presented here were the outcome of the concept of climbing theladder of homeownership. Housing in Berkshire and Glenwood wasconceptualized in terms of a ladder: not only was there a transition fromrenter to owner,16 but it was seen to be natural and desirable to climb aladder of ownership, from starter home to more luxurious (and expensive)home. The notion of housing career, where housing transitions occur overthe life course, is not new.17 What appears to be different in these twoneighbourhoods, however, is the stated importance of making money fromhousing. For most of the families I interviewed, the family home wasexplicitly an investment, and often the life course involved moving and“trading up” in housing. In this respect, the local culture of property that Idetail in this chapter is in direct contradiction to both Forrest and Murie’sfindings,18 and Matthew Edel, Elliot Sclar and Daniel Luria’s description ofhomeownership as running up a down escalator.19 More specifically,according to Forrest and Murie:There is little to suggest that individuals have achievedsocial mobility through conscious manipulation of thehousing market.2016 See Frans M. Dieleman and Pieter C.J. Everaers, 1994, “From renting toowning: life course and housing market circumstances” Housing Studies,9,1, pp.11-26.17 See Hal Kendig, 1984, “Housing careers, life cycle and residentialmobility: implications for the housing market”, Urban Studies, 4, pp.27 1-83.18 Ray Forrest and Alan Murie, 1991, “Housing markets, labour markets andhousing histories” in John Allen and Chris Hamnett, eds. Housing andLabour Markets: Building the Connections, London: Unwin Hyman, pp.63-9319 Matthew Edel, Elliot Sciar and Daniel Luria, 1984, Shaky Palaces:Homeownership and Social Mobility in Boston’s Suburbanization, NewYork: Columbia University Press, p.7.20 Forrest and Murie, or.cit. p.87.170Yet both these studies approach social mobility in entirely economic terms,focusing on whether homeownership create material benefits. Althoughimportant, I add a modifying subjective layer to these analyses: does thehome signify mobility and a class position? In particular, I demonstrate thatin Glenwood and Berkshire, the goal of achieving social mobility throughhousing was widespread, albeit unevenly realized.This culture of climbing a ladder of ownership can be thought of aslocal in three ways. First, it may be specific to the Lower Mainland. Houseprices there have been steadily rising over the past thirty years, especiallyover the 1 980s and 1 990s. In this context, it has been possible to realizeconsiderable capital gains from housing. According to research done by theVancouver Sun for their series on the death of the middle class,21 a housebought for $25,000 in 1965 was worth $270,000 in 1992.22 The possibilityof making money from housing was well known, either personally or throughtales from friends. Doug’s first hand experience is like many of the stories Iwas told that residents had themselves heard “on the grapevine”:I bought a house [in 1 9701, my first house was just a little$23,000 house, and the second house, the one that Ibought previous to moving here, I bought for $60,000 and Iended up finding out that I could get $260,000 for it.2 SoI ended up driving here, with the thought that I was goingto transfer with my job, which I did. Things sort of wenthand in hand, I was kind of lucky that way. Anyhow, wediscovered driving out here that we could buy anywhere inSurrey, with a lot more baths, a lot more room, and havemoney in the bank. Which is what we did, sold the house,moved out here [Glenwood], we have money in the bankand we’re happy as clams.In addition, housing in Greater Vancouver continues to be seen as one of thefew “sure bets” in this chaotic world. Despite lamenting the impossibility of21 Discussed in chapter one.22 Daphne Branham and Gordon Hamilton, 1 992, “Dreams of a house in thecity dying hard”, Vancouver Sun, November 16, p.A10.23 His house in Glenwood cost $190,000.171homeownership for many in the middle class, the Vancouver Sun, forinstance, quotes an economist who “doesn’t expect to see any change [inhouse price trends] - barring a total economic collapse - in the next tenyears”.24 In the Vancouver metropolitan area, then, climbing the housing,economic and social ladder was feasible, defining one scale at which theculture of property was local.Second, the workings of the culture were local. There was a housingladder within Surrey: moving up meant moving within Surrey, not “acrossthe bridge” into Coquitlam, not to the more traditional elite areas of theLower Mainland like Shaughnessy or West Vancouver, nor even further upthe Fraser Valley to get more land. House prices were crucial in constructinga local culture. A house that cost $300,000 in Surrey would be at the top-end of the market there, but near the bottom in the City of Vancouver.Moving out of Surrey would invariably mean moving “down” the socialladder. By the same token, moving to Surrey (despite its negative image)could be moving “up”, exemplified by Doug who I mentioned above. Therealization of the local ideals of housing, therefore, was dependent on place-specific meanings.The rest of this chapter is about the third sense in which the culture ofproperty was local. The culture operated in specific ways within Surrey andtherefore produced place-specific meanings of home. Different economicresources, and variable orientations toward new traditionalist families,resulted in different housing strategies and meanings, as I show in thefollowing two sections.24 Economist Richard Allen, quoted in Daphne Branham and GordonHamilton, 1992, “Dreams of a house in the city dying hard”, VancouverSun, November 16, p.A10.172II. The Alignment of Gender and Class Meanings of Home in GlenwoodFor Glenwood residents, housing was a means to achieving socialmobility, identification with a particular social class, and for most, Glenwoodwas at the top of the homeownership ladder. In the first part of this section Ioutline a general pattern of housing moves of those currently living inGlenwood, stressing that this trajectory was seen as a joint or family project.As a result, as I suggest in the second part, both men and women had muchof their class identity invested in their housing, especially the housingposition symbolized by Glenwood. I attempt to complicate this picture in thethird part by considering the gender differentiation and contestation thesehousing careers implied.a. Glen wood as the Pinnacle of the Housing LadderThat housing was an investment (sometimes primarily) was a given forGlenwood residents. Debby, for instance, was concerned with the resalevalue of any house she bought; Brian was similarly aware of the financialreturn housing provided. Rather than being content with benefitting from thecapital gain Glenwood homeowners happened to make, they actively tried tomaximize this gain. The strategy Libby and David adopted was to sell theirhouse every five years, as explained by Libby:Just previous to this we lived over in Fleetwood. And wehad built that home ourselves, and the game plan was thatwe would keep the home for four or five years, we wouldflip it, and we would move somewhere else. Well, therewe were, four years along and the mortgage was justfitting nicely, we had another child on the way and wedecided well, we’re supposed to sell this house now. Sowe put the house on the market, the real estate manappraised it. Sunday we went out for brunch while he hadhis open house, and when we came home our house wassold. So we moved into here in 1 987, so this was 1 986.So then, we thought, my god, where are we going to live.173Moving into a house, paying off as much as they could on the mortgage, andthen selling (“flipping”) the house meant that large steps up the housingladder could be made, for two reasons. First, the house would haveappreciated so they could afford more, and second, they could borrowproportionately more because of increased income and lower debt level.Thus mortgage payments would stay the same or increase marginally,whereas the value of the home was significantly greater.Kathy and Glen’s housing career was similar. They had bought inLangley because it was all they could afford - “housing was so muchcheaper”. After five years, they “decided to make a move” to “a nicerhouse”. But, according to Kathy:We ended up selling that house shortly after, two yearsafter, just because the housing market was sort of boomingand we got caught up in it, and thought we could makesome money.They then moved to Glenwood (partly motivated by Glen’s career change),and sold their first house in Glenwood after three years, again to realize aprofit.These are just two examples of the common housing aspirations ofGlenwood residents; I summarize other experiences in Table 5.1. There is afurther localization of this housing strategy worth pointing out. Not only wasthere awareness of the state of the housing market, but the financial benefitsof housing were also sought and constructed (in a literal sense) through selfbuilding. Of the families I spoke with, half had direct contact with selfbuilding either through employment (Brian and Julie), relatives (Libby andDavid), buying from an independent contractor who had previously lived inthe house (Doug and Louise; Pete and Anne; Gerald) or active involvement inbuilding their house (Kathy and Glen; Debby and Steve). Contrary to Richard174Harris’ findings about the working class nature of self-building in Canadiancities,25 self-building in Glenwood was a middle class strategy used to climbthe housing ladder. Two instances are important to detail.Brian and Julie were self-employed contractors who had built everyhouse they had lived in. When “moving-up”, they would sell their home,move back in with Julie’s parents, and build another one. As Julie explained:Brian had been building here [Glenwoodi when we boughtour lot in Somerset Estates.26 We wanted to live here buthad to do one more step, wanted to be here, but movingfrom our first house, we just weren’t ready for it, built thishouse, in Somerset where the lot was $47,000. Here thelot was $67,000 and we couldn’t afford it. But inSomerset we realized we’d built too grand for the area,knew enough about the market, knew that if we didn’tmake our move quickly, our value would go down. So wedecided to move up here. We wanted it, were really happywhen a lot was available.Similarly, Libby’s cousin was a builder, and he used their house in Glenwoodas an advertisement, and they were able to save money.Technically, the above two examples are not self building. However,Glen and Kathy built all their own homes except their first, as a way to makemoney. Glen explains:We went and bought a lot [in Langley] and built a house,without really knowing what the heck we were doing. Itturned out to be quite lucrative in terms of making somemoney on the equity, it didn’t mean money in our pocket,but it was tax free. We had a more valuable house andsmaller mortgage, so when we were going to make themove to Surrey that was our objective, we weren’t lookingfor a house, we were looking for a piece of property tobuild and move in to.25 Richard Harris, 1 991, “Self-building in the urban housing market”,Economic Geography, 67,l,pp.l-2l.26 Another controlled subdivision in Surrey.Table 5.1. Housing Careers of Glenwood FamiliesFamily Occupations Housing Career Before GlenwoodJulie J: at home27 First lived in a house in Surrey, built by Brian;Brian B: self-employed 4 years later moved to another house in abuilder subdivision Brian was building in; then moved toGlenwood when the opportunity arose. They hadmade money on all their houses.Kerrie K: at home Bought their first house 10 years ago in Surrey,Jim J: salesman with the intent of selling it after five and“moving up’. Moved to Glenwood five years ago.Debby D: at home Bought their first house in Surrey 9 years ago afterSteve 5: self-employed renting an apartment for a year. Moved tocontractor Glenwood because previous neighbourhood was“deteriorating”.Libby L: physiotherapist Bought a house in Fleetwood finishing university;David D: teacher with the aim of selling after five years. Familyconnections helped them “make it” to Glenwood.Monica M: clerk Lived in East Vancouver (owned two houses there)Ernie E: teacher for 20 years; wanted to get away from the “rat-race”, sold for profit and moved to “fancier” housein Glenwood.Mina M: nurse Glenwood first house they owned since migratingGerald G: doctor from England. Chose it because of location,affordability and it “looked nice”.Sue 5: at home After renting for 2 years, bought a house inJohn J: teacher Fleetwood 8 years ago; 4 years later moved toGlenwoodKathy K: teacher Lived in a co-op for two years, then bought inGlen G: business owner Langley, quickly moved to another Langley houseto maximize their capital gain; then to Glenwoodas part of Glen’s new business; had sold and builtanother house in Glenwood.Jennifer J: physiotherapist After moving from Calgary lived in Kamloops 10Rob R: engineer years; moved to Glenwood as part of Rob’s jobtransfer. Wanted a controlled subdivision becauseof investment value.27 I speak of these women’s labour market experiences and current activitiesin more detail in chapter six.175Table 5.1. (cont)Maureen M: nurse Lived on acreage in Surrey until moved toDesmond D: self-employed Glenwood seven years ago. Moved so thatcontractor children would have safe space to play.Ruby R: at home After renting for a year, bought house in Coquitlam;Edward E: manager 3 years later moved to Glenwood, with financialhelp from parents.Anne A: clerk Could only afford to live in Newton after marriage;Pete P: electrician became concerned about safety and desirability ofneighbourhood and their investment, so movedto Glenwood. Were struggling to pay the mortgage.Karen K: at home They bought their first house in Maple Ridge 10Greg G: sales years ago; moving to Glenwood 4 years later.Veronica V: at home Been in Glenwood five years, in two differentMichael M: sales houses (current one bigger and more expensive).(home-based) Previously, lived in North Surrey, moved whenmortgage “under control” and could increase valueof housing.Louise L: at-home Owned two houses in Burnaby (see text), then soldDoug D: training manager for more luxurious surroundings in Glenwood.Self-building, or more specifically buying a lot, picking a house design andcontracting out the actual building, was a way to increase the financial returnon the investment, since it meant the profit from both the land and the housewould accrue to the owner-occupier.28 Importantly, self-building alsoprovided an escalator up the housing ladder.28 James Barlow, 1 992, “Self-promoted housing and capitalist suppliers: thecase of France”, Housing Studies, 7,4, pp. 255-67 talks about thedifferent forms of profit in residential development.Family Occupations176Housing Career Before Glenwood177b. Aligning Gender, Class and Home in Glen woodClimbing the housing ladder was a joint strategy, involving men andwomen. It was a familial goal: either money for retirement (seen clearly inthe quote from Anne with which I began this chapter), or to provide anappropriate environment in which to raise children (detailed in chapter four).In other words, the housing ladder was familial, a point that has implicationsfor the meanings of home expressed. In particular, it meant that the socialclass location of both female and male residents of Glenwood were drawnfrom the homes in which they lived.For men, their Glenwood homes (see Figures 5.1. and 5.2) indicatedsubstantial affluence and success in the housing market. The following longquote from Glen summarizes this:I’m the type of person, if we were in the first house wewere in, which was a nice house but compared to thisplace we’re in was a dumpy little house. I was perfectlyhappy there, and I’d still be happy there. This is like apalace for me, in fact my brother, the first house we builtwas quite similar to this one, when I have businessassociates home for dinner, the home is the family. It’s notthe building, I couldn’t care less, I mean hey it’s great tohave a nice house, but I bring business associates over fordinner, I like to bring them to my home, not my house, myhome, my brother said “make sure you tell Hank that youbuilt that house while you were still a teacher, ‘cos, as ourcustomer, he might look around and think we’re making toomuch money”. I think it’s rich, we couldn’t afford to buythis house if we hadn’t built it. I think it’s rich, I couldn’tafford the mortgage that most of my neighbours have, I’dhave to sacrifice our entertainment, food, we couldn’tafford it.Two things are notable in this passage. First, Glen drew part of hisclass identity from the house and its location. He seems pleased that he issurrounded by people with higher incomes, indirectly endowing him, in theGlenwood imagination at least, with more income than he earns. Notice, forinstance, his repetition of “I think its rich”, signalling perhaps his concern178with income and its communication through housing. Second, Glen is wellaware of what Glenwood as home means in class terms, and has also formedan impression of what I may think of it. Consequently, he tried to downplaythe ostentation of Glenwood. He wants me to know that he would havebeen happy in “a dumpy little house” and that home is family. Yet it wasalso clear that home to Glen was something you had, and something to flauntto business associates and relatives.What seemed most important were others’ opinions of the men, basedon the house. Work, and work colleagues, were definitely importantreferents, illustrated in the experience of Doug. He had recently moved from“maintenance” to “training” for a large crown corporation and the meaning ofhis house accentuated this move and helped bridge the difference betweenhis old and new class positions at work. His maintenance workmates tendedto be critical of his residence:When I first moved in here people described me as aplutocrat, and they said look where Doug lives, look at thatfancy subdivision, and I described it as nice subdivision inSurrey.Although he tries to downplay it, it became obvious in his response that heliked Glenwood and identified with it. This is what he told his workmates:It’s a controlled subdivision, I tell them all the things likeyou can’t have vinyl siding, you’ve got to have hiddengutters, blah, blah blah, so I describe how nice it is. I alsosay what I told you, you can’t drive through here to goanywhere, we don’t have people with cars jacked up in thefront yard. And I guess the people that moved in here,maybe I’m a bit of a snob, had a little more money, if theydidn’t have the money they were going to go to some ofthe other places in Surrey so financially the people that arein here can afford to buy new cars and not have themjacked up in the driveways. That did appeal to me.When you look around I don’t know if you noticed theStreet lamps, there’s special streetlamps and they only goin certain subdivisions where the developer wants to paymore.0 0 C -I C) CD CD 0 0) CD I C CD 0 a. CD -4. 0 Ca 0 C) CD-F’ C CD 0 I 0 3 CD 0 C) CD 0 0/-J:3T7Fy•.•i1“.v’—..2nILACD‘1 CD1CD 0 0 0. I 0 3 CD C,)0181What is interesting here is that home was not just the house, but also theGlenwood subdivision. The uniformity that was desired to separateGlenwood residents from the chaos of Surrey was also used to place itsresidents in class terms. Like Glen, Doug saw Glenwood as a place forpeople with more money and with a different aesthetic that emphasized“class” and “taste” rather than the tackiness exemplified by cars in yards. Inthis respect, the money Doug had made from his previous house allowed himto move to Glenwood and helped position himself as different from thosewith whom he worked.Status in the eyes of friends and acquaintances was also important.Ernie seemed especially concerned with how others thought of him. Hemade his friends experience the “niceness” of Glenwood:Whenever I invite people over I give them instructions sothat they come through the front, even though its shorterfrom the back. I want them to take that drive, because it’sa nice drive.He wanted people to see, and admire, his home in its context. One plausibleinterpretation of Ernie’s actions is that he was hoping people would positionhim economically in terms of the house and neighbourhood.Living in Glenwood houses was also important to the class perceptionof the Glenwood women. Since most of them were at-home mothers andhad clear housing related status aspirations, housing became one of the mostimportant referents of their class situation. This centrality of home wasfurther reinforced by their time and emotional investment in their homes. Acertain pride in their homes and their neighbourhood was almost universal.According to Kathy:When we first drove into this subdivision and we weredescribing it to our in-laws and things, it was labelled“executive subdivision”. We came from, you know, muchsimpler homes, we had never seen anything like this. We182thought it was the most gorgeous subdivision we had everseen. With the trees down the road and the cobblestonesentrance and the split entranceway and they made it prettygrandiose, flags flying all over the place. I know at firstwhen we were describing to people how to get here we’dsay look for the green and white flags at the entrance tothe subdivision, it was almost tacky. We were reallypleased with it, we thought it was really quite fancy, quitespecial.Although she wants to deny that what the area and house looked like wereimportant to her, my impression was that the acquisition of materialpossessions was an important marker in her self-identification and how shewas perceived by others. This was confirmed later in my visit. I had finishedspeaking to her husband, and went to look for her to thank her and saygoodbye. Glen couldn’t find her anywhere, and the children didn’t knowwhere she was. She was finally located in the garage, sitting in their brandnew car with a friend who had been invited around to see it. She was veryproud of it, telling me that she was showing off her brand new car. It ispossible, therefore, that Glenwood could be both “grandiose” and importantto the social class of Kathy, especially as determined by others like herfriend.Again, labour market position was important to the particular classmeaning drawn from Glenwood homes. Anne sensed that her neighbours’incomes were far greater than hers, a factor that made her extremely proudof living in Glenwood, especially when she compared it to her previousNewton neighbourhood. She recalls:Some people that I work with like to call this snob hill.They do, because they are more expensive priced homes,this is one of Surrey’s higher priced areas, that’s why theycall it snob hill.Lastly, some felt the neighbourhood signified a class beyond what theyfelt comfortable with. On the one hand, Ruby says:183When we were building I was afraid it was maybe toouppity. When I first saw it I thought wow, this is really,this is kind of uh, I don’t know, very fancy looking Ithought. Just the homes and everything were nice, it’ssomething I never dreamed I’d ever live in, you know, soI’m really glad to be here.But now,I feel better about the fact that it’s not as uppity becauseAbbey Glen has gone in and the homes are much bigger,but it really was a concern. I just didn’t want my kids togrow up snobby, and also being in a private school, someprivate schools can have that reputation, and I didn’t wantthat, I didn’t want to be like that and I don’t want to live ina place like that.Ruby was concerned that her children would think they were better than theyactually were, given their home and its location in Glenwood. However, bycomparing Glenwood to other subdivisions north of the freeway that weremore “uppity”, Ruby felt more comfortable with the class signals sent byGlenwood. Nevertheless, the point remains that class was an importantreferent of home for the women of Glenwood.c. Gender Divisions and Glen wood HomesEven if housing was a joint strategy and social class indicators of homewere important to both men and women in Glenwood, gender divisionsremained. Any conclusions about gender, class and home, therefore, need tobe multi-layered. I explore two aspects of the layering of meaning andgender identity here: gender differentiated linkages of the status and familialaspects of home; and the gender division of labour necessary to produceclassed meanings of home.Family, children, privacy and haven are well known meanings of home;ones more often associated with women than men, and sometimes seen tobe in conflict with the investment value of housing. In Glenwood, where184gender did matter was in the meshing of the two ideals of housing. For men,the two ideals often clashed. As I indicated above, climbing the housingladder meant moving spatially. Yet stasis was required to raise children in anappropriate environment - Glenwood. This was especially evident for theself-employed men whose wives didn’t work in the paid labour force,29exemplified in the lives and decisions of Steve and Debby. Steve felt hisfamilial obligations were to “provide a nice home, that’s essential”, somethinghe was “very comfortably” doing currently. But since housing to him wasalso an investment and status indicator, he was also faintly disappointed withhis Glenwood house. I asked if he was comfortable living in Glenwood:Very comfortable and maybe sometimes too comfortable, Ithought maybe we’d move every five to seven years if thefinances were in order, we’d make that extra jump up, tosomething a bit bigger. We’re looking at Panorama Ridge,but it would have to be the exact right move.Later he says:I’ve got dreams and goals, I think I’d like to move, onemore move is right I think, pre-retirement. ... My house isalso an investment.His desire to make money out of his house and exemplify his class position,is at present in conflict with the desire to raise children in the appropriateplace. When he refers to the “exact right move” above, he means that theywant to find a neighbourhood exactly like Glenwood in familial terms. Debbyis most articulate about these concerns:It has to be worthwhile to move, otherwise you’re justspending money on real estate fees. And we’re afraid thatwe’ll move and get less out of the