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Gentrification and the Four Sisters: towards a shared inner city Allueva, Raul C. 1994

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GENTRIFICATION AND THE FOUR SISTERS:TOWARDS A SHARED INNER CITYbyRAUL C. ALLUEVAB.A.(Geography) University of British Columbia 1988A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OFTHE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OFMASTER OF ARTS (PLANNING)inTHE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIESSchool of Community and Regional PlanningWe accept this thesis as conformingto the required standardTHE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIAMarch 1994© Raul Allueva, 1994In presenting this thesis in partial fulfillment 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 forextensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head ofmy department 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.School of Community and Regional PlanningThe University of British ColumbiaVancouver, CanadaDate11ABSTRACTAdequate and affordable housing for low-income residents is essential for the wellbeing of the community. In the City of Vancouver, the majority of available low-incomehousing is located in the inner city and, in particular, the area around the DowntownEastside neighborhood. The continued loss of units due to redevelopment and conversionis a serious concern in relation to the lagging replacement of units.This study explores the relationship between inner city gentrification and socialhousing provision. It looks at current gentrification trends in Canadian inner cities anduses the case example of the Four Sisters Housing Cooperative in the Downtown Eastsideneighborhood to illustrate a possible model for future housing.Gentrification is shown to be a major factor behind the increased pressure forresidential development and the conversion of existing units in the inner city. A secondcontributing factor is the planned redevelopment of large parts of the inner city. Both areconsidered by-products of the restructuring of the urban economy from manufacturing tothe service industries, which increases competition for and around the central businessdistrict. The study provides a cursory examination of current theory on gentrification withan emphasis on the impact on social housing provision. A number of factors are shown toinfluence the demand for residential accommodation in Vancouver’s inner city. These are:-the favourable central location of the inner city relative to suburban locations;-the shift of the economy to the service sector, which has resulted in the growth ofresidential opportunities to capture the growing market of downtown workers;-the increase in tertiary and quaternary employment;-new consumer preferences which value the inner city lifestyle;-significant demographic changes related to the age, household size andcomposition, employment profile, and income of inner-city population;-the continued economic dominance of the downtown.iiiResearch carried out in various Canadian cities indicates that gentrification isbecoming more complex, often moderate or gradual, and potentially chaotic. The observedencroachment of development activity, growth in the number of families, and the prognosisfor new residents with a higher socioeconomic status, is a concern in terms of the futureability to develop housing for local residents and establish policy for the protection ofexisting private housing.The study shows that the Four Sisters Cooperative has achieved both practical andpolitical goals by providing secure, long-term accommodation for Downtown Eastsideresidents, providing further economic stability in the area, and adding to the needed stockof family housing. Through its income base, the Four Sisters also caters to a rising demandfor low-end market housing in the inner city. The new advocacy for family accommodationin the inner city on the part of the Vancouver Planning Department is evidence of thesuccess of the project.The findings suggest that, as the Canadian inner city becomes more economicallyand socially diverse, initiatives like the Four Sisters are uniquely suited to respondeffectively to the future need for long-term, low-income accommodation. However, theFour Sisters model is unlikely to be readily replicated in the difficult economic timesahead, particularly given the deep level of subsidy that it requires and the current fiscalconstraints which all levels of government are under. This implies that future housingsolutions must be formulated through government leadership and in cooperation with thecommunity, all levels of government, the non-profit sector, and the private sector.ivTABLE OF CONTENTSABSTRACTLIST OF TABLESACKNOWLEDGEMENTS1JNTRODUCTION1.1 Introduction1.2 Purpose of Thesis1.3 Background1.4 Problem Statement1.5 Methodology1.6 Scope1.7 Organization11Vvi113357881010123. GENTR1HCATION: A NEW CONTEXT FOR PLANNING POLICY.... 163.1 Neighborhood Decline and the Inner City 173.2 The Post Industrial Inner City3.3 Gentrification, Overspill, and Incumbent Upgrading .3.4 Causes of Gentrification3.5 The Role of Key Actors4. GENTRIHCATION AND THE CANADIAN INNER CITY4.1 Case Studies4.2 Gentrification in Vancouver4.3 The Downtown Eastside4.3.1 History of the Downtown Eastside4.3.2 Demographic Profile4.3.3 Housing Stock5. NEW HOUSING IN THE CONTEXT OF GENTRTFICATION:THE FOUR SISTERS COOPERATiVE5.1 Background5.2 The Project6. CONCLUSION6.1 The New Inner City6.2 Gentrification in the 90s: A New Complexity6.3 Recommendations on Proposed Provincial Policy6.4 Suggestions for Further ResearchBIBLIOGRAPHY 872. TilE CHANGING URBAN STRUCTURE2.1 Howard’s Vision Unrealized2.2 The New Landscape20232630343741454649515860697373758386CONTACTS 91LIST OF TABLESTable 1 p. 47Table 2 p. 48VACKNOWLEDGEMENTSI wish to thank my advisors Dr. Henry Hightower and Dr. Tom Hutton for their guidancethroughout the process of writing this thesis. I also wish to thank John Jessup of theVancouver Planning Department for his invaluable help. Thanks are also extended toDERA and the Four Sisters Co-op staff.vi11. INTRODUCTION1.1 IntroductionThe post-industrial phase of urban evolution has been defined by a numberof significant changes related to the economic structure of cities, the location andprofile of employment, demographics, social norms and attitudes, and ecologicalfactors tied to a more efficient use of urban resources. These changes haverefocused attention on the inner city and away from the previous landscapesdesigned around sprawling, isolated suburban tracts outside the urban area. Thecontinued economic stability of Canadian inner cities relative to their suburbancounterparts, as compared to the severe decline experienced in the United States,also supports a greater demand for inner city residential spaces in Canada in thefuture, particularly in cities like Vancouver where large-scale redevelopment isbeing supported through enabling local policy. At the same time, the demand forlower-income and rental accommodation in the inner city appears to be increasing.This potentially could result in a significant challenge for local government and thecommunity to ensure enough and adequate housing is built to meet increasingdemand for residents of all income levels.The Report of the Provincial Commission on Housing Options(1993)estimates that 1.2 million Canadian households- about one in seven- were ‘coreneed’ in 1988. Of these, seventy percent were identified as renters. Core needrefers to households which are unable to obtain market housing in adequatecondition which is suitable in size and affordable, and in preferred locations. Theextremely low incomes of core need households- $11,300 compared to $43,400 forthose not in need- make them much more vulnerable to fluctuations in the supply ofsuitable housing. In Vancouver, much of the available low-income housing islocated in the inner city. The Commission’s findings indicate a concern regarding anincreasing lack of housing due to demolitions for redevelopment, sale of dwellings2to owner occupiers, conversions to condominium status, extremely high rentincreases, and discrimination by landlords. A number of recommendations areincluded which attempt to ensure an ample supply of affordable rental housing.At the same time, the number of people without shelter in Canada has beenestimated at 10,000. In British Columbia, it is possible that about 1,000 people areabsolutely homeless. In Vancouver, the growing figure for homeless people hasbeen estimated by the Commission at between 200 and 250. This has beenattributed in part to the de-institutionalization of former psychiatric patients undernew government policy, resulting in many individuals being unable to copeadequately. However, it is also due to past housing policy changes, structuraleconomic changes, an new locational trends in housing demand.A recent study estimates that there are between 900 and 1,000 mentally illpeople living in Vancouver’s downtown core, most housed in hotels, rooming housesor some of the social housing which is available, with a population of 50 to 60relying on shelters for extended periods. A number of shelters developed in theinner city with the cooperation of the City of Vancouver and community-basedgroups such as the Downtown Eastside Residents Association (DERA) have beensuccessfully providing independent housing for homeless or near-homeless people,and many go beyond the provision of shelter and food services, an includecounselling and other personal support services.The Provincial Commission on Housing recommends that, while funding andestablished programs for the homeless should continue to be directed at theconstruction or renovation of shelters and single room occupant (SRO)accommodation, the Provincial government in cooperation with local governments,community-based groups, and the business community should facilitate innovativeprojects that address the needs of the community. This could include specialarrangements for sharing the cost of land or providing funding for non-profit3housing societies. The Four-Sisters Housing project developed in 1984 in theDowntown Eastside of Vancouver illustrates how these goals could be achieved, andmay serve both as a confirmation of this proposed policy direction and a model forfuture housing projects in the inner city.1.2 Purpose of ThesisThe purpose of this thesis is to examine the relationship between inner-citygentrification and social housing provision in the context of a specific inner cityneighborhood. The analysis examines the Four Sisters Housing Cooperative todetermine whether it is a successful model for providing housing that caters to arange of socioeconomic groups, thereby responding to both the resurgent demandfor new market housing in the inner city linked to genthflcation and the chronicshortage of low-income accommodation.A subsidiary question which follows is, if the project achieves its aim, whatcan it tell us about the development of new projects elsewhere in other inner citiesexperiencing similar patterns of change, and how replicable is it as a model? Theanalysis will review existing literature and provide a historical look at the process,actors, and the overall institutional framework that was developed to bring theproject to completion. Conclusions are provided with respect to housing policy,related options for other inner city projects, and suggestions for further research.1.3 BackgroundGentrification is generally referred to as the emergence of middle- andupper-class areas within once decaying or economically depressed neighborhoods.“Back-to the-city” trends have been widely documented across North America andare still being defined by urban researchers. The activities associated with newdevelopment in once rundown areas are varied and sometimes confusing;resettlement, revitalization, reinvasion, reinvestment, renovation, privaterehabilitation, gentrification, and other labels are commonly used, sometimes4interchangeably, to place a meaning on a broad and complicated process ofneighborhood change. Many studies on neighborhood evolution have attempted touncover the physical, social, and economic dimensions of genthfication in order toestablish a definable pattern of neighborhood change. These often address the issuewith ambivalence; although critical of the impact on long-term residents, they arealso aware of the immense potential of these changes to abate the decline anddisorganization that has plagued inner-city areas for decades.In many North American cities, neighborhood upgrading has been occurringfor more than two decades. This process is considered by many to be a definablestage in the life cycle of the neighborhood, one that brings forth a new social,physical, and economic fabric. Various models have put forward a broad range ofexplanations as to the causes of gentrification, ranging from those that attribute ahigh importance to the role of private and public institutions in driving the process,to those that see demographic and new societal changes as the primary reasonsbehind the resurgence of the city. Although the causes and implications aregenerally understood, the manifestations in different areas are so varied that nogeneral theory is in itself adequate for a full understanding.As the term indicates, early gentrification theory assumed returning residentswere, in the general sense, the ‘gentry’ or upper-middle stratum of the population.This concept was combined with the romantic and idealistic ‘back-to-the-city’ visionthat implied a flight from the suburbs back to the vibrant and regenerated city core.It is now clear that little evidence exists to support either of these theories; mostgentrifiers may only be middle-class residents moving internally within the inner-cityas a result of changing circumstances. The extent of social upgrading, and the typeand level of physical change are extremely specific, resulting in many differentpatterns of upgrading that can be called gentrification.5The process of gentrification is often complex and chaotic, creating newvibrancy while at the same time upheaval and disorganization. In the form ofcondominium conversion and demolition for the purpose of reconstruction in theinner city, gentrification and physical upgrading provides a real threat to the long-term residents in these areas, many living at or below the poverty line. In the City ofVancouver, as in many other North American cities, the bulk of the affordablehousing stock is located in the inner city. The possible loss of many rental unitsduring periods of economic buoyancy is a municipal as well as a broader socialconcern; among other things, a continued trend in this direction could create asignificant deficit in housing and result in increased homelessness. In this context, itis worthwhile to examine new housing options that are being developed, someaddressing the difficult problem of providing new housing for both existing and newresidents of the inner city.1.4 Problem StatementIt is hypothesized that economic restructuring and demographic trends arecontributing to increased demand for inner-city housing and gentrification inCanadian cities. Although primarily an economic transformation, the re-emergenceof the inner-city as a preferred place to live will have immense implications on thesocial and physical fabric of the city, particularly as the inner city traditionallyhouses the city’s poorest residents. In this respect, Vancouver is no exception: TheDowntown Eastside neighborhood ranks well below the city average in almost alleconomic and social indicators. The area contains the bulk of the city’s low-incomeaccommodation, including rooming houses and private housekeeping rooms, and itis assumed that many residents cannot afford to reside elsewhere in the city. Aspressure for redevelopment and gentrification build, there will be a need to protectexisting low-income housing stock, as well as provide new, innovative housing6options. Past history of such projects, however, has created a stigma about socialhousing design which must be overcome.Current demographic and socioeconomic data from the area supports theassumption that the majority of residents in the Downtown Eastside neighborhoodare at or below the poverty level, and have a limited ability to pay for housing. Agrowing trend in homelessness and the systematic erosion of existing low-incomehousing stock has been evidenced in the past decade, and will be reexamined in thefollowing chapters. The implications of this are a continued demand for affordableaccommodation in the inner city.A second assumption is that the planned redevelopment of many areas inand immediately around the inner city may have some impact on low-income andsocial housing supply, although the magnitude of that impact is undetermined.Examples from other Canadian cities and earlier periods of development inVancouver suggest some overspill effects will be felt, particularly when coupled withthe current demographic and socioeconomic trends. This will be examined in thecontext of the case study, leading to some conclusions about future housingstrategies in similar neighborhoods.The specific objectives of the study are as follows:-To determine the success of the subject development in providingadequate housing for existing residents, as well as new residents of theinner city.-To examine the impact of gentrification and downtownredevelopment in Vancouver on future housing provision in the innercity, and determine whether the case study provides a usefulframework for the development of similar new housing projects.-To develop conclusions about the success of the development andrecommendations for new projects in other inner cities undergoingsimilar changes.-To assess the project in relation to proposed provincial housingpolicies in order to evaluate the effectiveness of related futurehousing policy in the Province.71.5 MethodologyThe methodology used to develop the backdrop for the case study centers ona review of literature on gentrification, with selected examples of other Canadiancities used for comparison. Measures of quantitative data are used to depict currentsocioeconomic conditions and housing development trends in Vancouver and theDowntown Eastside. The data supports the assumptions relating to an increaseddemand for new low-income and rental housing in the inner-city area and the needfor new housing options. It also provides the basis to assess the case study.Recommendations on the “success” of the subject development are drawnfrom both quantitative and qualitative sources. The methodology used involves thefollowing:-a brief analysis of the changing residential demand in the inner cityand the current tenant demand for the project;-a review of literature on the development of the project from varyingsources;-an empirical look at the social and land use components of thedevelopment, and how the project suits its environment.-interviews with residents, project managers, planners, and politiciansinvolved with the project;-a critical look at its history and development to assess the generallevel of satisfaction with the project relative to resources provided.The last three indicators involve qualitative analysis based on observationand interviews, as well as a determination of public opinion to the project, overallsuccess of project design and function, and a comparison of other developments inthe area.The consideration of the Four Sisters Cooperative as a model project whichaddresses many of the important housing issues in the area centers on theexamination of the development, its history, organization, and basic framework that8was fashioned by a broad range of actors and the answers it can provide futureplanners, politicians, and neighborhood advocates regarding future housingprovision in the inner city. The analysis draws on several sources revealing thepolitical, social, and economic environment that prevailed during its inception, andthe mechanisms which allowed the project to be realized. It also places the resultsof the development within the context of the proposed new housing policiesadvocated by the Provincial Commission on Housing Options, thus providing ameans to gauge the possible success of future initiatives in the area of social andrental housing.1.6 SconeThis thesis examines the relationship between gentrification and theprovision of inner-city social housing through a case study of the Four SistersHousing Cooperative. A cursory examination of theory on residential location,structural economic changes, and gentrification is provided only as a theoreticalbasis for assessing the case study. The analysis does not attempt to resolve the manyissues surrounding gentrification, but rather sees gentrification as a dominant andcomplex force which must be recognized if we are to respond to the challenges ofproviding housing for all residents of the inner city.1.7 OrganizationThe second chapter provides a historical look at the evolving concept ofresidential neighborhoods with an emphasis of the physical changes resulting fromthe growth in the service sector. This section provides a basis for understandingcurrent community values about neighborhoods and possible trends affecting futureresidential location. This section also defines the basis for the problem: the currentdemand by residents from different income groups vying for the same residentialspace, resulting in what is called gentrification. The third chapter is a discussion ofgentrification, its broad dimensions, implications and causes.9The fourth section provides information on gentrification in the Canadiancontext. It is argued that although the process is extremely variable, the historicaldevelopment of Canadian cities has resulted in relatively stable inner cities andtypes of gentrification which require approaches that are uniquely Canadian.Recently documented patterns of gentrification indicate the emergence of a moreunpredictable form change than previously observed. The chapter also includesinformation on gentrification in Vancouver and a profile of the Downtown Eastsideneighborhood. Evidence indicates that adjacent redevelopment projects couldsignificantly affect existing social housing stock in some part of the inner city,thereby necessitating a need to look at new housing options.Chapter five includes the case study of the Four Sisters Housing Cooperative,emphasizing the process which was developed to build the project, and providesconclusions about the reasons for its success.Chapter six draws conclusions from the four previous chapters, and makesrecommendations about the creation of similar projects in other inner cities. Thissection also looks at the case study relative to proposed new trends in provincialhousing policy as the basis for establishing an effective policy framework to addressthe housing needs of all segments of the community.102. THE CHANGING URBAN STRUCTURE“The urban landscape is ... mold and mirror of oureconomy, culture and society.” (Knox, 1991:181)Gentrification, or the re-emergence of a dominant neighborhood where oncethere was evidence of physical, social or economic deterioration, is fundamentallylinked to the concept of urban and economic restructuring. Although the process ofgentrification has very specific manifestations on the physical fabric, these physicalchanges find their origins in a much broader sphere that relates to socioeconomicshifts and to the evolution of the urban economic structure. The process of urbantransition and the succession of land use that is called gentrification is largely aproduct of these comprehensive structural changes.The development of residential spaces has been shaped by a number ofdistinct periods which emerged from the new technological city, the divergentcommunity values it encompassed, and the progressive ideas of urban visionaries.And, like the city itself, the concept of the ideal residential neighborhood has beendefined and redefined by individuals and cultures that have shaped its developmentover time.2.1 Howard’s Vision UnrealizedThe idea of a balanced, well-organized community with the best aspects ofcountry living yet still a functioning whole, was best proposed by Ebenezer Howardin 1898. Howard’s Garden City remains a cornerstone of modern planning,considered by many as the central framework upon which many other foundationshave been laid. In response to the urban ills of the day, Howard promoted literallythe marriage of the city and the country: the urban sphere was to be compact andrigorously defined, and surrounded by an agricultural belt and open space. (Howard,1965) This utopian vision was socially and physically different from the congestedurban environment of the time, both capturing the romanticism of the English11country town and displacing the congestion and blight of the industrial city.(Grant,1991) Perhaps Howard’s greatest contribution was his diagnosis of the componentsof a city and the interrelations between them as they affect the whole. In treatingthe improvement of the urban and rural spheres as a single problem, Howard’sprinciples attempted to do away with the suburban dormitory, a residentialconfiguration whose lack of industrial or working base made it one of the mostartificial environments ever created. The residential area was, in fact, not a ruralretreat but an integrated foundation of urban life.(Howard, 1965)Howard’s principles were realized in the construction of Letchworth andWeiwyn, communities which remain as demonstrations of his utopian ideals.Despite the intent, the principles of the holistic Garden City were quickly adapted inways that Howard may not have approved of.(Grant, 1991) Hundreds of residentialsubdivisions were designed in isolation, based on the basic principles of the semirural environment of the Garden City, and although contrary to the overall ideal ofachieving unity in the city, these neighborhoods retained at least some of theintegrity of Howard’s vision.Herein lies one of the greatest paradoxes of historical city planning.Howard’s utopia was a reorganization of space to weed out those elements known tocreate irrationality and chaos to the city.(Jacobs, 1961) By limiting the size of a cityto 30,000 and rigorously controlling its components, the best form of the city couldbe achieved. Howard’s ideas, however, set into motion forces that would ultimatelythreaten the social and economic viability of many cities for years to come. JaneJacobs, in her critique of the events that have led to the deterioration of theAmerican city, attacks the ‘decentrists’ and the resulting ‘new order’ as a product ofmisguided intentions. Men such us Lewis Mumford, Clarence Stein, and PatrickGeddes saw the Garden City as a principal form for the decentralization of thepopulation. Their influence was paramount in the design of popularized residential12schemes which operated in isolation from the rest of the functions of the city. WhileJacob’s criticisms are justified, it is clear that these residential schemes were just asmuch a product of their economies as today’s gentrification is: each is, in fact, anexpression of demand for residential spaces that cater to the day’s socioeconomicideals.2.2 The New LandscapeThe creation of a new urban landscape continued as more people recognizedthe inadequacies of existing residential and recreational spaces within cities. As aresult, growth spread relentlessly over once rural areas on the periphery, therebyincreasing the distance separating country and city.(Schuyler, 1986) This wasfacilitated by new urban transportation systems that made possible the separation ofthe home and the workplace, but also created new stresses of their own. The suburbbecame an important new element of the new urban form, designed to provide anew cultural focus away from the walled and crowded city and, ultimately, topromote the highest potential for civilization.(Schuyler, 1986)The new urban structure, however, failed to rid society of longstandingproblems such as crime and poverty. The growth of suburban residential spaces did,in many cases, achieve the reshaping of the major components of the city, such ascommercial centers and older neighborhoods, particularly in some American cities,where the disparity between residential areas in the suburbs and the inner citybecame extreme. The changes observed in Canadian cities, however, were generallymore moderate, with central areas retaining a great deal of attraction as preferredlocations for residential spaces.If suburbia and the spacious, middle-class landscape represents the mostaccepted and secure of residential environments, its polar opposite, the inner city,remains the most intriguing and least understood of residential spaces. Broadlydefined as the area immediately adjacent to the Central Business Distnct(CBD), the13inner city is characterized by aging housing stock, low socioeconomic status of thepopulation, and often depressed land values in relation to the rest of the city.Traditionally the home of working-class communities, the eclectic inner city alsobecame a volatile arena where public concerns were defended in the face of change,and where new ideas about neighborhoods were given form. Here, Jane Jacobsespoused her criticisms of the suburban principles that were unsuccessfullytransplanted to the inner city ii the form of large urban parks and uninterestingstreetscapes.(Grant, 1991) Urban decay, rampant crime and poverty became thesymptoms of the new urban landscape. Jacobs and others such as Oscar Newman(1979, 80) argued that a vital community was a result of small-scale urban spacescomprising a mix of uses. They proposed a model of safe and vital residentialspaces which encouraged infill housing and the regeneration of the inner city, aspace where urban life could be celebrated and protected.The ‘defensible city’ model reflects the emergence of a new spirit towards thecity as a place to live, and a new confidence in the values and diversity that arerepresented in inner-city neighborhoods. This new confidence was a result of notonly fundamental changes in prevailing attitudes toward city life, but also asocioeconomic transformation that sparked the renewal process in economicallydepressed areas. The model is significant in that it emphasizes new concepts aboutsociety, demographics, and social attitudes, and the role these play in shaping thephysical structure of the city. It also echoes a new statement about city life: thaturban vitality and community are worth pursuing and protecting.The new urban landscapes also reflect an emerging culture which is the lateststage in the transformation to a form of post-modern capitalism.(Knox, 1991) In hisanalysis of the transformation of urban space, Knox identifies the emergence of anumber of distinctive new urban settings, such as gentrified neighborhoods, as theresult of changes in the economic and sociocultural proffle of society, new roles and14ideological orientations of decision makers, and changes in commodity aestheticsand patterns of consumption among a new consumer class. One basic result of thecyclical transition from industrial production to tertiary and advanced quaternaryoccupations is the growth in centrally based office employment and an increasedrole for women in clerical occupations (Daniels, 1975; 1982). Daniels et al (1991)examine the restructuring of various urban economies from manufacturing toservice industries and the growth characteristics and physical and policy implicationsof tertiarization. They indicate that a major impact of this structural economicchange is a general multiplier effect on the demand for housing. This demand maycreate an escalation in competition for residential space in proximity to the CBDand therefore result in increased housing prices in the inner city. This pattern canbe observed in Vancouver, for example, where the growth in downtown office spacehas impacted the availability of housing in adjacent residential areas.The new urban landscape can also be observed in the rebirth of neotraditional town planning as a philosophy for the creation of new urban spacesmodelled after the traditional towns of the 19th and early 20th century. This newvision attempts to capitalize on the economic opportunities which flow from thecurrent consumer culture; it essentially attempts to recreate the spaces found inmany inner cities and transport them to the suburbs in a variety of traditionalneighborhood forms.(Duany and Plater-Zyberk) The rejection of the conventionalsuburb in favour of the more fashionable traditional neighborhood is firmly rootedin contemporary values, and a corresponding need for more human-scale urbanspaces, more efficient and economic use of physical and natural resources,environmental sustainability, and the idealization of a stronger sense of place andcommunity belonging. (Bookout, 1992)The rediscovery of the inner city as an attractive residential environment,then, is inherently linked to the restructuring of the urban economic base, the15evolution of personal and community values and new consumer attitudes. Given theevidence of distinctive new urban landscapes which are emerging in many forms(Knox; Daniels; Duany and Plater-Zyberg), such as gentrified areas, historicneighborhoods, neo-traditionally planned developments and other mixed-usedevelopments, there is a growing need to refocus attention to the inner city in orderto develop planning policy that effectively deals with this new environment.Besides being centrally located, many inner cities comprise uniquearchitecture, a physical and social complexity, and a distinctive sense of place that ishighly valued by the new “bourgeoisie” or professional class.(Knox, 1991) Assuminga continuation of recent trends, this demand will warrant careful attention to ensurethe inner city remains both vibrant and accessible to a large number of residentsthat rely on the existing supply of lower-income accommodation.A possible consequence of urban restructuring is increased competition forinner city space and, therefore, increased land prices. This, in turn, may result in thedisplacement and upward transition of uses which is associated with gentrification.The potential conflicts inherent to this new competition for urban space becomesincreasingly significant in the context of the inner city, where changes associatedwith renovation and re-investment represent a threat to the stock of low-incomerental housing, and to the social stability which may exist. In addition to the threatof physical displacement, the differing socioeconomic profiles and economicdemands of gentrifiers compared with that of existing residents prompts concern inthe long term. The following chapters examine the process of gentrification in theCanadian context, and serve as a basis for understanding today’s inner city. Acentral question which needs to be addressed in this paper is the emergingdefmition of gentrification in the Canadian inner city, in order to more effectivelyaddress the issues of conflict which arise from the new urban structure, such as thequestion of providing housing for all residents of the inner city.163. GENTRIFICATION: A NEW CONTEXT FOR PLANNING POLICYOf the varied and often complex processes of change inherent to the internalstructure of the city, gentrification, or the emergence of middle- and upper middle-class enclaves in formerly decaying neighborhoods is particularly significant in theevolution of the city. Involving broad physical and social manifestations,gentrification is one of the most visible stages of neighborhood change. The processhas been studied for several decades and represents a marked reversal of the usualpattern of neighborhood decline. As a result, it has become the focus of theoreticaland practical concern.The growing body of data in the field of gentrification emerged fromempirical research carried out primarily in the United Kingdom and the UnitedStates. Until a few years ago, a conspicuous lack of research in Canadian cities wasevident, partly as a result of the low level of concern generated by the phenomenonas compared to the American scene, and the relatively stable condition of Canadianinner cities. Recent recognition of the unique implications of the evolution of theCanadian city, however, and a growing awareness of the effects of gentrificationhave prompted a new interest in the Canadian context and several significantcontributions to the literature on gentrification in Canada.This chapter will provide a general understanding of gentrification, andestablish the backdrop for assessing the process of urban change in the Canadiancontext and, particularly, the Downtown Eastside neighborhood of Vancouver.A brief description of the process of neighborhood evolution and anexamination of the emergence of the Post-Industrial society is provided as a basisfor understanding historical change in the inner city. Also reviewed are the typesand causes of gentrification, and the actors who may influence the process.Tempered with Canadian examples, the extensive literature in the field ofgentrification provides a framework for discussing the causes and broad implications17of a well-documented urban process, and its implications in a selected inner cityneighborhood.3.1 Neighborhood Decline and the Inner CityAn understanding of any aspect of urban change must begin with anexamination of the study area and the factors behind that change. In basiceconomic terms, neighborhood decline has been described as a matter of income:inadequate income precludes households from the adequate maintenance of theirhomes, ultimately resulting in a general deterioration of the neighborhood. Thecausal mechanisms which combine to create urban physical deterioration, however,are rooted in a complex process involving more than the economic state ofindividual homeowners. This trend is perpetuated by a combination ofcircumstances, both social and economic, which manifest themselves differentlybased on factors involved. A traditional view of neighborhood change is when thephysiology of residents, investors, financial institutions, and local governmentconcerning the future viability of the neighborhood alters. (Ahlbrandt and Brophy,1975) In this case, a declining demand for an area begins a chain of events thatleads to general uncertainty, and in turn results in a failure to attract investment ornew households.A neighborhood can be defined as a distinct, localized housing market, basedupon either social, historic, political, geographic or economic considerations.(Ahlbrandt and Brophy, 1975) Philip Clay (1979) describes neighborhoodstraditionally as social units with complex structures held at an equilibrium duringtimes of stability by various natural mechanisms. Clay’s analysis of neighborhoodrenewal, suggests almost anyone can upset the forces at work and disrupt theequilibrium. He uses the analogy of the neighborhood as a living body, a fragile yetresilient unit capable of withstanding substantial conflict and abuse, yet alsosusceptible to disorganization and decline. A new equilibrium may be reached18either naturally or through pro-active means, although past examples have shownthat intervention through revitalization or renewal programs may bringunanticipated and often harmful results.A more functional definition is that of the neighborhood as a unique anddefinable environment at a given point in time. It is characteristically dynamic andincorporates fluid boundaries. At the same time, neighborhoods within the samecity are considered separate and unique, each offering prospective residents a rangeof locational choices, amenities, house prices, and liveability. The proximity totransportation, availability of services, and preferred urban form are also importantconsiderations in a person’s decision to relocate.(Clay, 1979) A household’slocational choice depends on many attributes, including the cost of availablehousing, although the specific benefits of an area may compensate for the price ofhousing. Over the long term, a lesser-priced area will not be successful in attractinga steady stream of households unless it offers a certain threshold of attraction.Neighborhoods that cease to remain competitive will experience a reduction indemand that may ultimately lead to general decline.Prevailing theory characterizes the changes to neighborhoods as cyclical, orconstantly moving through various stages of stability, decline and resurgence.(Ahlbrandt and Brophy, 1975; Laska and Spain, 1980) The process differs amongareas due to geographic location and overall residential demand; inner-city areas,for instance, have traditionally been more vulnerable to the patterns of influx,deterioration and reinvasion that has characterized the North American city. This isdue to the fact that, historically, these areas have been ports of entry for newimmigrants and the location of available low-income accommodation. It is alsosuggested in the literature that the reorganization of residential areas may simply bea result of natural evolution.(Ahlbrandt and Brophy, 1975)19Changes to the fabric of inner-city neighborhoods have been discussed widelyin the literature both in terms of the theoretical implications of neighborhoodtransition and the actual physical changes that take place. (Ahlbrandt and Brophy,1975; Bunting and Filion, 1988; Palen and London, 1984) The stages of decline ofany neighborhood may take the traditional form, a progression from a viableneighborhood, through incipient and obvious decline, to accelerated decline, andfinally to abandonment, (Ahlbrandt and Brophy, 1975:7) It has been theorized thatresidential neighborhoods, including the inner city, may decay through naturalcauses and eventually be replaced by more desirable economic uses. Smith (1982)sees the process of neighborhood decline as the product of rational decisions madeby individual actors seeking maximum economic benefit in the housingmarket.(Kary, 1988:59) Filtering, a term used to describe the process by whichhousing gradually declines in value, making it available to lower income groups,illustrates the process of incipient decline and the resulting ‘slum landlord’phenomenon.(Ahlbrandt and Brophy, 1975:9) Filtering may occur as a consequenceof declining population; outflow of population generates housing vacancies whichultimately lead to an increase in the number of available units. The net effect is agradual drop in demand for housing and declining real estate values.Neighborhood decline has been related to socioeconomic changes resultingin household turnover and changes in the number and composition of households,as well as to the independent actions of real estate agents and public and privateagencies. Public sector decisions such as the lack of investment in neighborhoodinstitutions or the location of highways may severely affect the residentialenvironment and encourage outmigration as well as discourage furtherreinvestment. Factors related to quality of life and public services, such as policeprotection and schools, are also important considerations. New strategiesemphasizing public investment in community services may help to reverse the20decline by regenerating interest and a real demand for home ownership and rentalproperty.(Ahlbrandt and Brophy, 1975:11) In the inner city, this has beenmanifested in new development projects which endeavor to capitalize on thecentrality and unique amenities of the central area.In Canada, a combination of factors, including history, form of development,overall size, and others has resulted in the continued dominance and vibrancy ofmany inner-city areas.(Goldberg and Mercer, 1986) In cities like Vancouver, asustained demand for inner-city accommodation continues to increase pressures forconversion and redevelopment, and threatens existing housing stock. A closeranalysis of the Canadian city generally reveals a very gradual pattern of change, onewhich is in contrast to the dramatic range of decay and resurgence that has beenobserved in many American cities.(Gertler and Crowley, 1982) However, newresearch indicates that gentrification in Canada is becoming more complex, andlikely to continue to be a factor in the future. (Bunting and Filion, 1989; Ley, 1992)3.2 The Post Industrial Inner CityThe 1970s and 1980s have seen a general shift of employment frommanufacturing to predominantly service jobs, many filled by women.(Daniels, 1975)With the reduction of large sectors of industry, the blue-collar middle classshrivelled, and society moved towards a defined polarization of thepopulation.(Bunting and Filion, 1988:9) In many cities, two-worker householdsbecame the norm, and the traditional family began giving way to other forms ofhouseholds; young people living on their own, single parents, and emptynesters.(Bunting and Filion, 1988:9) This fundamental shift in the economy,combined with demographic changes and new social attitudes has played a majorrole in redefining the physical structure of the city.The early industrial city was a compact center which housed a diverse rangeof activities and employment. Inner-city neighborhoods were favoured locations21because they offered both social support and cheap accommodation. It is importantto note that most Canadian cities retained significant upper-income areas withintheir inner-city cores, something which has softened the general impacts ofgentrification later on. (Goldberg and Mercer, 1986:30) The early inner-city was amix of neighborhoods of all economic levels, but predominantly working-class; itwas physically tight-knit and, because of its dimensions, was largely a self-containedsocial unit which provided everything for its citizens.The mass-consumption society which followed the end of WWII was fueledby great increases in technology and productivity, particularly in the industrialsector, (Bunting and Filion, 1988:12) Advances such as the automobile and theelevator made multi-story plants traditionally located in the inner city obsolete andencouraged a massive relocation to suburban zones which offered cheap, plentifulspace. As the inner city proved ill-suited to widespread automobile use and theconsumer oriented lifestyle which emerged, new suburban areas were developed totake advantage of new demands. Changes in public policy also contributed tosuburbanization by shifting the focus of transportation from railway to roadconstruction, thereby facilitating the suburban relocation of industry and thecommuter society.Through the era of mass consumption and suburbanization, the inner city lostits role as the center of the region, and as the main location for the best residentialareas. The bulk of the population in the inner city became lower-income, and themiddle-class exodus left behind an aging housing stock to households that couldleast afford to pay for upkeep. Racial segregation compounded the problems inAmerican cities, however, the Canadian city held its own remarkably well duringthis phase, due in part to the constant influx of post WWII immigrants and thecultural vitality and diversity they created.22The re-emergence of the inner-city as a desirable residential location formiddle- and upper-class households during the post-industrial phase was in starkcontrast to the urban-to-suburban patterns which characterized earlier periods ofdevelopment. (Gale, 1982) Early attempts to understand these patterns of invasionand succession in the inner city recognized gentrification as part of a much largertrend in which the pre-eminence of the downtown was being reestablished.(Clay,1979) This pre-eminence was inextricably linked to the rise in the service economy,the resulting increase in the share of centralized quaternary employment, and thecombination of social, recreational, retail and employment establishments which thecentral business district (CBD) offered in a dense and closely-linked environment.(Bunting and Filion, 1988:15) In comparison, the suburbs offered little in terms ofaccessibility to accommodate the demands of the emerging economy. Activitieshere were scattered, with long commuting distances, poor public transportation, andtotal reliance on the car. Time expenditures also hindered long movements in andout from the core. New transportation options, opportunities provided by electroniccommunications, and other time-managing techniques have made possible thesuburbanization of many operations. However, the vitality and sophistication of thecore continues to dominate.Philip Clay’s analysis of downtown revitalization (1979) also stresses theeconomic shift in jobs from manufacturing to retail, office, and government andpersonal services. The relocation of retail and other services back into the core wasan attempt at capturing the growing market of office workers, and other businessopportunities. New residential opportunities which followed were fundamentallydifferent than the efforts of social intervention, largely based on public subsidy,which had been pursued in earlier years; new initiatives were funded by privatecorporations and designed to serve their own interests.(Clay, 1979:13)23A second factor which contributed to renewed interest in the inner city wasthe rapid increase in tertiary and quaternary sector employment, traditionallylocated in the CBD.(Bunting and Filion, 1988; Ley, 1984; Ley, 1991) The result wasa large number of people eager to live in the inner city, such as young, usuallychildless households employed in the CBD. This segment generated a significantdemand for inner-city housing which was satisfied by apartment booms in cities likeToronto and Vancouver in the 1960s.(Bunting and Filion, 1988:15)Ley’s (1991) recent examination of gentrification during recessionary timesconfirms the remarkable insulation of the advanced service sector in the six majorCanadian cities from the rigors of economic decline suffered in the 1980s. Thecontinued concentration of senior white collar jobs correlates to an increased statusof the inner city housing market, where a large share of those workers choose tolive. The renewal of modest economic growth from 1986 to 1989 is anticipated toresult in continuing job creation in the quaternary sector, and increased pressure onthe inner city housing market and further gentrification.Further notable factors which aided the inner city revitalization processinclude changes in consumer preference, including a new attitude towards olderstyle and second hand homes, which in turn resulted in changes to planning policy toprotect the historic character of many inner city neighborhoods. (Bunting and Filion,1988:16) General changes in attitude towards the lifestyle and type of urban vitalityoffered by the central area also contributed to the renewed interest in inner cities.3.3 Gentrification. Oversnill, and Incumbent UngradingGentrification can be defined as the upward movement in the social status ofan area, an the accompanying succession in the physical stock.(Ley, 1991) Acommon view of neighborhood revitalization is that socioeconomic resurgence is theresult of a replacement of the population, and involves both the displacement offormer residents and preservation of existing structures. (Bunting and Fiion,241988:16) As middle-income residents depart, they are replaced by lower-incomehouseholds through the filtration process, resulting in a gradual decline in thesocioeconomic level. The process of upward filtration is termed gentrification.Another form of revitalization is known as ‘incumbent upgrading’, or physicalimprovements generated by current residents as a result of renewedconfidence. (Bunting and Filion, 1988; Clay, 1979) As documented in the UnitedStates by Clay, incumbent upgrading is a process which occurs with no significantchange in the socioeconomic status of the population. Problems of crime, racialprejudice, poor services, and rising taxes, as well as new opportunities in the suburbsfor employment and housing, contributed to the erosion of inner-city populationsand widespread structural obsolescence.(Clay, 1979:35) In the U.S., new highwaysand federal housing assistance programs played a central role in the acceleratedgrowth of suburbs. The renewal of interest leading to renovation by incumbentresidents was a result of general societal changes, the emergence of neighborhoodconsciousness, demographic pressures (such as the maturing of the baby-boomgeneration), and increased neighborhood stability.(Clay, 1979)Milward (1988) in his classification of upgrading, specifically identifies thetwo possible upgrading processes, gentrification and incumbent upgrading, as afunction of two variables: the rise in the quality of physical stock, and the rise insocial status of the residents. The presence of both denotes full gentrification, whileincumbent renovation activity with no significant change in social status isconsidered incumbent upgrading. As applied to the city of Halifax, the classificationscheme illustrates a prevalence of incumbent upgrading, whereas full gentrificationis less in evidence. It is suggested that these must be clearly differentiated to assurethe effectiveness of public policy and specific programs.(Milward, 1988:119) TheHalifax case is relevant because, as will be illustrated later, it represents a trend in a25more complex definition of gentrification, both in terms of its geography andcomposition of factors involved, as compared to previous definitions.Upgrading or renovation, although sharing many of the characteristics ofgentrification, is a fundamentally different process which involves physicalmaintenance often without changes to the social profile of the neighborhood. Theupgraded neighborhood, as compared to gentrified ones, tends to exhibit a verylarge percentage of housing in good condition and very little abandonment orserious deterioration.(Clay, 1979:42) Upgraded areas may exhibit more settledfamilies and less transients and single people, and are more likely to be in locationsthat were always working- or middle-class residential areas, rather than former elitelocations. Upgrading also has tended to occur most often in homogeneousresidential areas outside of bothersome commercial strips, whereas gentrificationoften seeks mixed-use neighborhoods located near downtown activities thatcomplement the urban residential lifestyle.(Clay, 1979)A third possible type of change offered in the literature in relation togentrification is that of household replacement, or the gradual turnover ofhouseholds through the succession of generations.(Bunting and Filion, 1988:17) Asolder people retire, decease, or move out, younger generations with currentsocioeconomic attributes replace the existing household. This is a consequence ofthe traditionally high percentage of elderly households in central neighborhoods.This socioeconomic change coincides with a lifestyle change, and translates to asocial, and possibly a physical alteration to the neighborhood.Overspill gentrification is an alternative explanation which differs fromconventional gentrification in the form and diffusion of its physical and socialmanifestations. It has been defined as the outward spread of middle-classhouseholds beyond neighborhoods where high rates of gentrification have beenpreviously established.(Dantas, 1988:73) Households seek locations outside the26neighborhood, usually in less desirable areas, where it is believed that gentrificationwill eventually be achieved over time. This overflow of renovation andredevelopment activity to immediately adjacent locations usually maintains access tothe positive externalities of the initial gentrified district, but gains access to cheaperhousing sites.(Ley, 1991) Although a more locationally conservative strategy thanestablishing a new area, this contagious diffusion may have the potential to advanceat significant rates, as observed in Philadelphia and New York. (Ley, 1991)Finally, the process of redevelopment may involve many aspects ofgentrification, upgrading, and household succession. Beyond the overspill activitywhich may occur, redevelopment may take place in less familiar sites in the innercity away from the safe haven of established markets.(Ley, 1991) If redevelopmentinvolves the establishment of new housing units in previously non-residential areas,redevelopment may bring in new residents without replacement or succession.(Bunting and Filion, 1988) The anticipated changes on the vacant Expo ‘86 site inVancouver’s False Creek is an example of this, as is the case of Toronto’s high-riseredevelopment areas. Although more prevalent in the past, new development invacant sites is becoming one of the most common forms of physical change, oftenresulting in some form of social disruption but little actual physicaldisplacement. (Gertler and Crowley, 1982:335) Redevelopment may be responsiblefor significant replacement of residents and generational succession, and has beenlinked to factors related to centrality and the amenities associated with centrallocations, as well as the relative affordable price of housing and accessibility toemployment.3.4 Causes of GentrilicationIn addition to defining and understanding inner-city change, several effortshave been made to determine the causes of gentrification (P.Clay, 1979; Cybriwsky,1986; Gale, 1982, 1985; Palen and London, 1984; Laska and Spain, 1980), many27involving the study of sample cities through various means, including the correlationof resident or neighborhood characteristics. Although early studies were valuable, itwasn’t until recently that a direct explanation for the process of genthfication wassought. The literature on gentrification incorporates at least five contrastingexplanations on the phenomenon, although these are not mutually exclusive. In allprobability, the process involves some elements of all theories. Together, however,they provide a framework for understanding the basis of societal changes that havecome to be associated with gentrification.The demographic explanation emphasizes recent changes in populationcomposition and basic demographic processes as the motivating force behind themigration back to the inner city.(Palen and London, 1984:14) The coming of age ofthe baby-boom generation, and the unprecedented number of young adults placednew demands on housing supply; households are now younger, smaller, highlyeducated, many are childless, and a large percentage are in white-collaroccupations.(Bourne, 1982) This implies a demand for smaller accommodation,preferably in proximity to the employment and amenities of the downtown, as wellas a higher disposable income, and, hence, a greater choice in the housing market.Research undertaken since the 1950s emphasizes the importance of life-cycleposition and life-style in understanding metropolitan population shifts. As familiesproceed through the different stages of the life cycle-- post-marriage, childbearing,childrearing, “empty nester”-- they have different lifestyles and residentialrequirements which lead to different locational choices.(Varady and Raffel, 1991)Factors which have contributed to the new demographic profile broadly include therising age at first marriage, improved contraception, declining fertility rates, andincreasing entry of women into the labour force. (London et al, 1986:369) Thedominance of relatively affluent, young couples in the downtown plays an28increasingly important role in redefining economic, social, and physical patterns inthe inner city.The ecological explanation for gentrification emphasizes migration andpopulation redistribution in relation to the renewed ecological viability of the innercity in recent decades. The concept states that cities (or neighborhoods) which aredisproportionately high in white-collar activity and low in blue-collar activity aremost likely to experience reinvasion and gentrification.(Palen and London, 1984:15)The idea relates to the notion that existing blue-collar an lower income districts maybe less attractive to reinvestment than is sometimes thought. This correlation issignificant considering recent trends towards the decentralization of industry andthe redevelopment of previously industrial inner-city land.The sociocultural theory of gentrification is an approach which views allecological processes as being the result of fundamental changes in culture and socialsentiment, and a major force behind new locational choices.(London et al,1986:372) Changing values, and new attitudes and lifestyles, in combination withdemographic changes, have allowed the general development of “pro-urban”thought; people choose to live in the inner city because of the social, recreationaland cultural amenities which are offered. Linked with this is an underlying concernfor history, cultural diversity, pluralism, and even nostalgia, elements which makethe inner city an attractive location.Political-economic analyses of gentrification attempt to explain the historicaldevelopment of gentrification as the result of economic and political influence. Thetraditional approach emphasizes competition, supply and demand, and marketefficiency, as the basic cause of reinvasion. It sees the decreasing availability ofsuburban land, rampant inflation in suburban areas, rising transportation costs, andthe relatively low cost of inner-city housing as the main forces behindreinvasion.(Palen and London, 1984) The Marxist approach, on the other hand,29views the process as a power struggle which results in uneven costs and benefits. Itrejects the conventional economic-driven explanations of inner-city change andsuggests the existence of political forces that systematically planned and publiclysupported and funded the gentrification process. The implication here is thatpowerful interest groups have great influence over inner-city development policy,changing it to suit their needs when there were great profits to be made, with littleor no regard for powerless residents who would be displaced from their homes inthe process.(Palen and London, 1984)A fourth approach to understanding gentrification is the view that thecommunity is an interactive social body, one which may affect physical restructuringthrough community activity, social involvement, and general involvement in theneighborhood.(Palen and London, 1984) Factors of kinship, friendship, ethnicityand others are significant elements in the process of revitalization; if the communityis perceived as a social unit, individuals are more likely to be attracted to the area.This supports other literature which identifies the rising involvement of communityorganizations in the development process.(Cybriwsky, 1986; Ley, 1984; Petermanand Hannan, 1986) Block clubs, anti-crime activities, and many other neighborhoodprojects reflect a new commitment to neighborhoods, one which may be amotivating force behind the attraction of new residents.The social-body explanation is supported by early classical theory whichemphasizes the rise of the dehumanized mass society of the 1950s as a place wheretechnology facilitated the large-scale and dispersed movement of people. The post-industrial society, however, and the resulting economy and the values it embodieshas improved the status of the downtown and the inner city and facilitated thedevelopment of attractive residential areas, with all the available amenities inproximity.30A last explanation for understanding gentrification is that of reinvasion as asocial movement, an ideologically-based, socially-organized struggle for valuableinner-city space. The theory sees the emerging pro-urban middle-class pittedagainst long-term poor and powerless residents in a conscious struggle to advancetheir own interest, much like the Marxist approach discussed earlier. Unlike theMarxist explanation, however, the social movement explanation sees gentrificationas a disorganized, grass-roots, socially based process in which differentsocioeconomic groups participate actively in pursuing their needs through advocacy.At a practical level, the boosterism created by new residents who risk their capital tolive in the inner city is very real, as is the attractive new lifestyle which they advocatefor the young and the affluent. Current residents, on the other hand, organize theirown counter movements in defense of their neighborhoods, deriving leadershipfrom grassroots organizers or, perhaps, other political hopefuls eager to capitalizeon a local causes. Often, it is the gentrifiers who dominate the scene and imposetheir objectives.(Palen and London, 1984)These theories on gentrification are, on their own terms at least, all valid andcollectively provide a useful explanation for many of the changes experienced ininner cities across North America during past decades. The Canadian context needsto be explored further, particularly the city of Vancouver, to provide a localcomparison of present inner-city trends. An answer to this complex question,however, is not likely to be found in individual theories, but rather in a broader viewwhich recognizes the emerging societal trends and new demographic andconsumption patterns in defining a more prominent role for the inner city.3.5 The Role of Key ActorsIn addition to the individual action of existing and new residents, landlords,developers, realtors, government agencies, financial institutions, and communityorganizations also may influence the revitalization process to different degrees.31(Kary, 1988) General municipal and planning decisions play an important role inthe evolution of inner-city areas through regulatory controls and long-rangeplanning designations.(Bunting and Filion, 1988) Regulations such as thosegoverning zoning may provide incentives and promote housing and neighborhoodimprovement. The 1970s, for instance, brought a pro-development attitude in mostCanadian cities which was fueled by a desire to stem the perceived inner-city declinethat had characterized the post-war period. As a result, planners and politiciansbecame advocates and facilitators for the physical transformation of manyneighborhoods.(Ley, 1984; Bunting and Filion, 1988) Conversely, the late 1970s and1980s saw more restrictive zoning regulations being implemented to protect innercity residential areas. These were enforced in conjunction with broad developmentprograms geared at the general improvement of the inner city. Such programs,however, made older housing stock in the inner city attractive to the middle- andupper-income households. Once stability was re-established, the inner city offeredwealthier households a character environment, investment potential, and proximityto the services and atmosphere offered by the central location. A combinedapproach which features both restrictive, site specific zoning in older areas anincentives for development might have been preferable to both protect existingstock and ensure new investment potential.The actions of realtors and developers in the upgrading process does notappear to be as significant as that of neighborhood groups and residentassociations.(Clay, 1979) In fact, where these groups did seem to play a role, it wasin response to the direction and initiatives of neighborhood groups. As seems to bethe case at present, in cases where strong neighborhood organizations wereestablished, developers were not looked upon favorably. In the U.S., welldocumented evidence suggests that realtors did play the usual role throughmarketing schemes, house tours, and other activities. For the most part, however,32real estate brokers have been willing to accept their role as gate keepers byrespecting community norms in order to assure continued business opportunities.(Clay, 1979)The role of community organizations has been constantly changing over time,gradually adopting a broad-ranging and interactive approach involving real estateagents, developers, and municipal governments. The primary role is that ofadvocacy, usually towards some facet of neighborhood improvement. However,these groups have moved beyond the informal role into the realm of control ofpublic and institutional activities. In gentrifying neighborhoods, new residentsutilize political influence to promote their goals through regulatory and zoningprotection negotiated with the municipal government. (Bunting and Filion, 1988:20)Though resident organizations are often a formidable political force, past studieshave confirmed that the unpredictability of the gentrification process makes itdifficult to abate once in motion due to its many forms and constantly changingdefinition.(Peterman and Hannan, 1986:33) Despite this, the impacts ofgentrification may be dampened given the appropriate environment and an effectivepre-established strategy. In the 1960s and 70s, for example, neighborhoodorganizations attempted to achieve a desirable balance between gentrification andpreservation of existing neighborhoods by promoting a continued socioeconomicmix in the population and enough affordable housing.(Peterman and Hannan, 1986)The principal tool was the comprehensive plan, the identification of communitygoals and general trends, and the formulation of a specific planning strategy.The study carried out by Peterman and Hannan (1982) illustrates thedifficulties in generating an effective neighborhood strategy and the importance ofthe community leaders and their willingness to be flexible as problems and thecommunity change. Often, although a willingness to confront gentrification exists,there is also an underlying sense of futility, a realization that little can be done33about emerging trends. The relationship with the city aldermen was also important.A specific obstacle was the new role which was advocated; community leadersseemed uncomfortable with assuming a major role, as they previously had simplyreacted to impending change. The ultimate strength in an organization comes fromthe membership, and its ability to increase its influence once changes are apparent.This requires a solid network of information, monitoring, and control.Although new residents present the impending threat, these new householdsmay represent the support that is needed to prevent the organization from becomingdefunct and irrelevant. (Peterman and Hannan, 1986) These interrelationshipsbecome even more complex in the inner city where socioeconomic gaps may bepronounced. As later case studies will explore, each neighborhood will provide avery specific setting for change, and for the interplay between individualhomeowners, planners, realtors, developers and resident associations. It isimportant to recognize, however, that the gentrification experience and Canadianurbanization patterns generally, were much more highly differentiated in the 1980sthan the 1960s and 1970s. This is largely attributed to the growing significance ofexogenous (rather than internal) influences, as well as different planning/policyapproaches. This is fundamental to an appreciation of the dynamics of change inthe inner city and the contemporary urban region as a whole.344. GENTRIFICATION AND THE CANADIAN INNER CITYBelow me the city was in flames: the firemen were thefirst to save themselves. I saw steeples fall on theirknees. I saw an agent kicking the charred bodies froman orphanage to one side, marking the site carefully forfuture speculation.From “The Improved Binoculars”by Irving Layton, in SelectedPoems, ed. Wynne Francis(Toronto: McClelland andStewart, Ltd., 1969.)Canadian literature has at times painted a dark image of the city, particularlywhen looking at the contradictions of city life. Much of this attention is aimed at theinner city, the most urban of all environments, and areas that exhibit a mix of landuses, characters, and residents. It is the place where the polarity of the urbancondition, good human environments and bad, is generally most pronounced, andwhere, according to past studies, the opportunities available to the individual aremost limited.(Gertler and Crowley. 1982:320) And yet, relocation of the poor to thesuburbs has not been considered acceptable, as it isolates poorer residents from thecentral environment which they value. Research undertaken in the 1970s acrossCanada identified a distinct increase in the socioeconomic index (a composite ofincome, educational and occupational levels, etc.) of the population as the distancefrom the core increased. Further investigations identified four basic types of innercities: areas of decline, stability, revitalization, and massive redevelopment. Thistypology is based on an analysis of the essential urban attributes of an area; itsability to satisfy individual needs, capacity to influence decisions throughorganization, and the accommodation of a variety of groups and lifestyles. (Gertlerand Crowley, 1982) Although each type exhibits contrasting social, physical, andeconomic dimensions, these often blur in inner-city areas that comprise a mix oftypes.35The ‘culture of poverty’ which defines a declining inner city shows symptomsof delinquency, crowding, and the general expression of a severely restrictedlifestyle. (Gertler and Crowley. 1982) The stable area, in comparison, although notimpervious to change, reflects a more stable physical environment andsocioeconomic status of the population. Often, the area has a strong identity andresidents are able to organize their efforts to influence potential changes to theneighborhood. The revitalizing inner city is a neighborhood in transition, offeringan attractive economic potential for new residents, and often pushing out thepoorer, long-term tenants. There is broad evidence for considerable turnoveramong these groups, particularly lower income residents facing displacement as aresult of gentrification.(Ley, 1991) As described above, the classical example seesyoung, professional, and well-educated residents choosing to locate in the inner citybecause of the special attributes of the area, proximity to employment and services,and the lifestyle that it represents. Finally, redevelopment areas encompass thelarge-scale renewal and growth that results from severe real estate and economicpressures. These areas are shaped by the economics of land and location, whichdefine growth as the ultimate objective as a result of the accessibility of the innercity.Viewing the inner city as not one, but many different types of environmentshelps to provide a broad perspective for understanding gentrification. Althoughseemingly a product of only the revitalizing inner city, aspects of gentrification maybe prevalent in any neighborhood; its understanding may lead to a greaterawareness and ultimately provide broader defmitions of changes that shape theinner city. The identification of the revitalizing inner-city type in the 1970s as arecognizable form suggests a particularly significant interpretation of neighborhoodupgrading in the Canadian context. In contrast to the American scene, theCanadian city has been generally characterized by a continuous process of36redevelopment, each phase resulting in a more intensive land use.(Ley, 1984) Therevitalizing activity of the 1970s then, may be interpreted as a continuation of earliertrends, rather than the drastic reversal of neighborhood blight in American cities.The limited interest in inner-city change in Canada in the past was due to thecontinued dominance and vitality of central-city areas, as well as the lack of violentsocial and physical transition seen in other countries, such as the UnitedStates. (Goldberg and Mercer, 1986) Nevertheless, recent work on Gentrification inCanadian cities (Bourne, 1982; Bunting and Filion, 1989; Ley, 1984, 1991) isindicative of the growing interest in gentrification in the Canadian context. A briefexamination of gentrification in several Canadian cities will explore the uniquedimensions of inner-city change in Canada, and provide a contemporary perspectivefor addressing future change. Alternative definitions to traditional patterns ofgentrification are emphasized.Census data for Canadian cities between 1971 and 1976 identifies significantsocial and demographic trends illustrating specific patterns of neighborhood change.The first was an identifiable loss of population in inner cities during the period from1971 to 1976, combined with a relative decline in the share of high-statusresidents.(Ley, 1984) These suggest the decline of the Canadian inner city throughthe 1970s. However, data on household growth and formation, and shrinkinghousehold sizes, imply a continuing demand for inner-city accommodation. Inaddition, although the loss of some highly-educated residents to the suburbs wasexperienced, the proportion of residents with some higher education remainedabove average. In fact, cities like Ottawa, Vancouver, Edmonton, and Halifaxexperienced an absolute gain in the percentage of inner-city population with someuniversity education of between 7 and 10 percent.(Ley, 1984:189) During the sameperiods, the same cities experienced a decrease in the total inner city populationranging from 6 to 13 percent. Ley (1984) indicates that this represents an37environment where inner city revitalization is likely to occur, based on observationsin American cities which revealed high correlation between high-status, inner cityneighborhoods and the presence of downtown white-collar employment.The period 198 1-1986 continued to show an increase in the rate of growth ofwhite-collar services, particularly in the quaternary sector, despite the economicdownturn. Ley (1991) indicates that the increasing percentage of quaternaryemployees that were inner city residents is the result of the protection that advancedservices seemed to exhibit during recessionary times. In fact, this trend is evident inall six major Canadian cities during this period.The observable increase in service-oriented, white-collar employment inmany Canadian cities during the 1970s and 1980s and its correlation with increasedgentrification is a basic result of the post-industrial economy, and its manifestationon urban space. The validity of this correlation is further supported by the fact that,with some exceptions, white-collar Canadian cities also show tendencies of higherpopulation growth, higher house prices, and a lower level of rental vacancies. Theshare of residents with higher education in the inner city is particularly significant,and is in marked contrast to patterns identified in American cities.(Ley, 1984:189)The general population patterns described above suggest that the context for urbanrevitalization and gentrification has been prevalent in Canadian cities since the1970s. Recent case studies confirm the prevalence of a continuing process ofgentrification in several Canadian cities, however, new evidence suggests not acontinuation of past trends, but a new patterning of gentrification which is less tiedto proximity to elite areas an more to a complex combination of social factors. (Ley,1991)4.1 Case StudiesBunting and Phipps’ (1988) analysis of inner-city renovation in Kitchener andSaskatoon reveals patterns of neighborhood change that are significantly different38than what we would normally expect in the literature. The two medium-size cities(approximately 150,000 each) are different in employment structure, Saskatoonbeing a regional service center while Kitchener remains predominantly a blue-collarmanufacturing center. Nevertheless, similar changes to their residential structureswere recognized. The observations revealed no signs of highly-fashionable,gentrifled areas or heavy renovation activity. However, there was also no significantamount of deteriorated, or low-quality housing. Instead, there was evidence of amodest and gradual form of residential upgrading taking place throughout bothinner cities.Bunting and Phipps (1988) identify important factors which providesubstance to the idea of a broad definition of gentrification and inner-cityrevitalization. They suggest modest upgrading as a formidable force in shaping themid-size Canadian inner city, one which should be recognized as a possiblealternative to the well-publicized schemes of inner-city deterioration andgentrification. Further, they point out that such patterns may be more likely in citiesof medium size due to the limited growth of high-order tertiary and quaternary jobsin centralized downtown areas. In Kitchener and Saskatoon, the absence of thiseconomic component helps explain the apparent lack of gentrification and theemergence of a different form of societal and physical change.Research carried out by Dantas (1988) also provides evidence of new typesof inner-city revitalization which differ from existing gentrification models. Herstudy emphasizes the importance of community context in determining the effects ofoverspill gentrification in Riverdale, a neighborhood in Toronto. Although themodern housing stock, peripheral location, and solid ‘ethnic’ social status of thepopulation would not suggest an attraction to gentrification, the area has recentlybeen the focus of relocation for a large number of young, professional households.This is a result of Riverdale’s proximity to Cabbagetown, a fully gentrified and39fashionable neighborhood, and the general amenities available in the area, such aslarger dwellings, more open space, and the availability of commercial andtransportation services. Demographic trends from 1971 to 1981 confirm the patternof gentrification or upgrading: a decline in population, above-average proportionsof people aged 25-34 with or without university degrees, large numbers of women,and to a lesser extent, men in professional occupations, and small households.(Dantas, 1988:76) Revitalization is also supported by the inflationary trend in houseprices, which reflects both increased demand for housing in the neighborhood andsignificant improvement and reinvestment in the existing housing stock. (Dantas,1988)Survey information for Riverdale confirms the pattern of middle-classinvasion which was identified early on, and classifies it as a form of overspillgentrification from the adjacent neighborhood of Cabbagetown. However, the mostnotable factor of renovation in Riverdale compared to traditional gentrifyingneighborhoods like Cabbagetown is family status: most households consist of 3 to 4people rather than the traditional 1 or 2. This suggest a possible broadening ofexisting concepts of gentrification to include the entry of middle-class professionalfamilies back into the inner city. The family-type household that is expected tolocate in the suburb may, given the right context, look to the inner city to takeadvantage of lower purchase prices and reduced commuting times. It is alsoconsistent with the emergence of what some researchers have called the ‘new class’,or growing numbers of middle-class, family households who seek the inner city forpractical purposes.(Dantas, 1988)In Halifax, changes in the 1980s illustrates the increased dominance ofcontagious diffusion, or overspill gentrification, as the primary spatial process whichdefines changes in the inner city, as opposed to the more traditional patterns whichwere evident in the 1970s. Upgrading in the traditional high-status area declined,40but interest shifted to an adjacent low-income area. Montreal also exhibited thistrend on a much larger scale, although here it was due in part to new public policiesaimed at revitalizing the east end of the downtown core.(Ley, 1991) Even moreremarkable is the upgrading of Lachine Canal in Montreal, which has beenconsidered one of Canada’s worst slums.A central consideration in this concept of gentrification is the apparentdifferences between American and Canadian cities, particularly with respect to thegeneral physical and social condition of core areas. As previously stated, the seriousproblems of pollution, crime, and racial segregation have not been as severe inCanadian cities, resulting in a sustained level of vitality and liveability in inner cities.Good public transportation, excellent schools, and local policies which consistentlyprotected the character of the inner city have also contributed to the creation ofstable and attractive environments. In conjunction with the growth andrevitalization of the central business district, and the restructuring of the downtownemployment base, areas like Riverdale offer obvious advantages of accessibility andmodestly-priced real estate to the growing number of middle-class families. It isargued that this type of change is not simply overspill gentrification; rather, itrepresents a new societal structure defined by the changing structure of families andnew households found in the Canadian inner city.Inner-city revitalization in the City of Vancouver has taken different formsover different periods. The examination of past and emerging evidence ofgentrification in relation to housing demand and supply, demographics, and socialcharacteristics will serve as a basis to assess a specific housing development, theFour Sisters Co-operative, to determine its success and ability to confront thehousing issues related to gentrification.414.2 Gentrification in VancouverJob growth in the Central Business District, the shift to white-collaremployment, and significant demographic changes have provided the impetus forhousing pressures which has shaped revitalization in Vancouver for several decades.In 1971, 70 percent of the workforce in the City of Vancouver were in white-collaroccupations, with an increasing trend towards the concentration of offices in thedowntown area and job growth favouring the tertiary and quaternary sectors.(Ley,1984) This pattern has been accompanied since the 1960s by significant inner-citydemographic changes which include a shrinking household size and highimmigration rates for adults as opposed to children.(Ley, 1988) In addition, Ley(1984) notes the significant increase in the purchasing power of the city’s residentssince 1971. This can be atthbuted to a decrease in child-raising costs, the greaterprobability of two wage-earners per household, and the growth of high-incomequaternary jobs. These combined to create a large group of consumers withsubstantial purchase power, many of which were drawn to the inner city. Thesmaller family sizes made large suburban lots unnecessary, and the substantialattractions of the inner city, such as reduced commuting and access to the city’smajor beaches, parks, and the lively cultural and retail activity also contributed to arenewed interest in the inner city.Changes in housing supply were also significant in affecting shortages andpressures for housing demolition and conversion. As inner-city accommodationbecame prime real estate, housing vacancies became acute, particularly in desirableinner-city neighborhoods.(Ley, 1988) From 1973 to 1976, for instance, the vacancyrate in the City of Vancouver was 0.5 overall and zero in desirable neighborhoods.Ley identifies public opposition to high-rise construction during the 1970s as a majorfactor behind the implementation of widespread inner city down zoning, which inturn resulted in lagging supply of new rental units. This was followed by Federal42and Provincial housing policy such as the 1974 rent freeze which reduced anyincentives to build rental accommodation. The result was a growth incondominiums, and it became evident that the new middle-class consumer in theinner city was a perfect client due to the equity offered in ownership, the range ofavailable amenities, reduced upkeep, and a commitment from fellow owners tosocial order and building maintenance. A profile of condominium owners in 1977showed that 70 percent had no children, that 50 percent of household heads wereaged under 40 years, and that the dominant employment categories of the residentswere the professional fields.(Ley, 1988:193)A major concern resulting from the condominium explosion was the loss ofhousing stock due to demolition and conversion, and the displacement of existingresidents. Conversions have been carefully regulated by municipalities and inVancouver they amount to an average of about 200 units per year from 1981 to1988.(Hulchanski, 1989:3) Although this may seem small, it is cause for concernwhen considering the disproportionate number of conversions in the inner city, aswell as the limited amount of new rental construction. Various other forms ofupgrading of rental properties has also continued, removing 1,000 units annuallyfrom the lower-income rental market in Vancouver.(Ley, 1988:193) The pattern ofdemolitions has further eroded existing rental stock, much of it located in the innercity. For example, between 1975 and 1976, 85 percent of rental demolitions werelocated in six inner-city neighborhoods.Residential displacement was a marked result of the condominiumredevelopment of the 1970s, and continues to be felt in inner-city areas. Theredevelopment trends of the 1960s did not seriously affect the stock of low- andmoderate-income housing in the inner city. Conversely, by the mid 1970s, the costof a condominium required an income of 25 to 50 percent above the city mean.(Ley,1988:203) Widespread condominium construction, therefore, has continued to43erode the stock of rental housing, particularly in the inner city where the poorerhouseholds have traditionally been located. Residential displacement in Canadiancities has not been extensively documented, primary because of the relatively lowimpact in recent years compared to American cities. The realities of displacement,such as social deterioration and homelessness, however, are becoming more andmore prevalent in Canadian inner cities.A study of displaced households in the inner-city neighborhood of Kitsilanowhere conversion was prevalent from 1968 to 1976 and to some extent continuestoday, identified a high proportion of young, married, white-collar residents inrelatively low-paying jobs, many of which had lived in the residence for more thantwo years. Of those households that moved away, many expressed that they hadbeen forced out by a lack of affordable housing.(Ley, 1988) Relocation for mosttenants brought about a significant deterioration in the rent-to-income ratio due tothe higher cost of new accommodation; many who moved away within Kitsilanoexperienced rent increases of more than 60 percent. (Ley, 1988) The physicaltransformation of the housing stock occurred in conjunction with the erosion ofcommunity infrastructure, such as school enrollment, community organizations andchurches. This was accompanied by a dramatic rise in retail and office space alongKitsilano’s main streets. Fewer than a quarter of stores existing in 1966 survived atthe same location in 1976.(Ley, 1988) This level of turnover was characteristic ofchanging consumption tastes; new trendy restaurants, clothing shops, and otherspecialty stores sprang up to capture the demands of the new population.The 1980s has brought severe recession and with it, a different spatialpatterning of gentrification than experienced in the 1970s. Contrary to expectation,major Canadian cities exhibited an increase in the rate of gentrification, as definedby the growth of residents in high-order occupations that reside in the inner city.During the same period, Vancouver managed to slow the flood of departing44residents through social housing programs aimed at retaining a measure of housingaffordability in and around the inner city.(Ley, 1991)The spread of gentrification in Vancouver in the 1980s suggests aninterruption of the substantial social changes which occurred in the 1970s. Therapid social transition observed in Kitsilano was likely stemmed by the high housingprices and the deflection of demand to Grandview-Woodlands, where acountercultural ambience was emerging. In addition to the changes observed inKitsilano, redevelopment in Fairview Heights was also notable, an area adjacent toFairview Slopes, a gentrified neighborhood which developed in the early 80sfollowing redevelopment of the False Creek Flats. The latter is considered a classiccase of contagious diffusion.The basic difference noted by Ley (1991) from the earlier periods of changeis that gentrification in the 1980s appears to be able to depart from the tightconcentration of secure markets, and branch out into both contiguous and separateneighborhoods. Gentrification in the Grandview-Woodlands area, for example,constituted a leapfrogging of activity into Vancouver’s ethnic and working-classeastside which had been previously unseen.The past thirty years have redefined the character of Vancouver’s downtownto its new status as a modern, post-industrial metropolis. Ample evidence suggests anarrowing income gap between the central city and suburban municipalities, onewhich was especially marked during the mid 1970s. This was combined with thechanging employment patterns of the post-industrial city, with tertiary andquaternary employment sectors concentrated in the downtown and blue-collaremployment dispersed to the suburbs. In this respect, Vancouver’s inner-cityrestructuring mirrors patterns which have already been noted in many other NorthAmerican cities.45Despite these similarities, certain differences in development and reaction tochange can be discerned in the Vancouver example. In general, it is not themagnitude of Vancouver’s past housing shortage which is unique; rather, it is thenature of the shortage, one which was caused not by overcrowding or by housingquality, but by affordability. In 1978, a quarter of the city’s households exceeded thedesired 30 to 35 percent of their total expenditures on housing.(Ley, 1988:200)Neighborhood response to redevelopment and displacement has been strong,although generally ineffective due to the variability and complexity of changes whichresulted in inner-city areas like Kitsilano. Some regulatory measures have beenestablished, but these often have produced more new problems than actual benefits.Despite the extensive inventory of housing strategies amassed by the City, thesubstantial financial investments required for implementation have not materializedquickly enough or in the areas with the greatest need.(Ley, 1988) On the issue ofurban displacement, it is clear that Canadian policy has not responded as quickly asis the case in the United States.This general outline serves as the framework for addressing similar changesin a more critical area of Vancouver’s inner city. The Downtown Eastside area ofVancouver has been subject to substantial physical and social upheaval which islinked to many issues which have already been discussed. An examination of thestudy area and the specific housing project will provide a more precise focus ofprevalent issues and also offer an insight into the future of housing provision in theCanadian inner city.4.3 The Downtown Eastside“a Caucasian male [who] lives alone. He was born inCanada, but not in British Columbia. He is 51 years oldand a Welfare/Gain recipient with a monthly income ofless than $439. His average annual income is $5628.His income comprises 47.5% of the poverty line. Hehas not worked in seven years. When he worked he wasemployed in construction, mining, logging, or the46service industries. His home is a sleeping orhousekeeping room in a hotel.”(Hulchanski, 1989:3)This profile represents the average resident in the Downtown Eastsideneighborhood as determined by the Downtown Eastside Residents’ Association(DERA). Located in the northeast sector of the city (figure A) and bordered byChinatown, Strathcona, Gastown, and the industrial district, the Downtown Eastsideis a culturally diverse residential area of about 10,000 people. (Hulchanski, 1991)Residents of the Downtown Eastside are primarily single people on modest fixedincomes, 90 percent of whom live below the poverty line. The area is home to alarge number of residents living in residential hotels and rooming houses, and hasbecome a source of concern in recent years due to the rise in land prices in adjacentareas and the magnitude of redevelopment proposed near the downtown core.DERA uses a broad definition of the Downtown Eastside based on thegeographic location of low-end existing housing stock, in order to include the bulk ofVancouver’s residential hotels and rooming houses and help protect this form ofhousing and its tenants. In its most recent survey, DERA differentiates theDowntown Eastside from adjacent areas such as Strathcona that are significantlydifferent in terms of income, housing, ethnicity, and community character, andwhich do not appear to be at risk in terms of a lack of adequate housing for itsresidents.4.3.1 History of the Downtown EastsideAs the original community of Vancouver, the Downtown Eastside evolvedhistorically as a mixed-use area housing industrial, residential, commercial, andinstitutional uses, and was subject to wave upon wave of new residents, including theJapanese immigrants of the 1930s. By the 1940s, the central business district hadshifted west and the ethnic character of the area altered due to the evacuation ofJapanese-Canadian residents during World War Two. The expansion of industrialand institutional uses during the 1950s and 60s, and the subsequent neglect ofTABLE 147STANLEY PARKBURRARO iNLETENGLISH BAYNt\I StrdyArea\rIGue )s.PopulationGrowthinVancouver’sDowntownEastsideTotalPopulationDowntownDowntownDowntownDowntownEastCT*NorthCTSouthCTEastside19812,5074,3031,7288,53819862,7603,9741,6918,425Growth10.1%-7.6%-2.1%0.1%rI6URESSource:StatisticsCanada,CanadaCensus, 1986VancouverPar:1,Catalogue#95-167.0,49residential areas brought decay to the Downtown Eastside, and the quality of lifefor residents steadily declined. Through further neglect, the area acquired a “skidrow” label.Community-based attempts to improve the quality of life in the DowntownEastside have been reinforced by a number of initiatives since the early 1970s. Thesocial Planning Department, in particular, has provided strong ongoing support.DERA’s formation in 1973 was a major step to improving access to communityprograms aimed to assist residents with issues related to housing, health, and socialassistance. Initiatives from the City included a Neighborhood ImprovementProgram (NIP) for the Downtown Eastside which was approved in 1975, followed bya planning program in 1978 which focused on the development of a concept plan offuture land use in the area.Today, much of DERA’s work involves the provision of local services to thecommunity ranging from information on legal aid, tenant and welfare rights, tenant-landlord agreements, and access to social networks. The Association also activelyplans, builds, and manages new non-profit housing projects in the neighborhoodunder the federal/provincial social housing supply programs. Despite these efforts,pressures for redevelopment have resulted in evictions and further losses of rentalunits, particularly after Expo ‘86. Future losses may be anticipated due to the extentof planned redevelopment in the general area, the growth of Chinatown westward,and the shift of the central business district towards the east.4.3.2 Demographic ProfileFigure B shows population growth in the Downtown Eastside by census tract,as defmed by the sub-areas used by DERA: Downtown East, Downtown South, andDowntown North. Of the three sub-areas identified, only the Downtown Eastcensus tract experienced a population increase. Additionally, of the areas whichcomprise Vancouver’s central area, only the population of the Downtown Eastside50increased between 1981 and 1986. In comparison to other parts of Vancouver, TheDowntown Eastside has a disproportionately large number of elderly people andfewer children, although over the past years more women and children have beenmoving into the area.(Hulchanski, 1989) Hulchanski (1989) emphasizes the growingtrend of single-person households in Vancouver’s central area from 8% of allhouseholds in the 1950s to 40% in 1989. This is most pronounced in the DowntownEastside where 86% of the population lives in single-person households.The Downtown Eastside is one of the poorest areas of the city. In 1986 theaverage household income was reported to be $8,594, whereas in Vancouver it was$30,009 (1986 Census). 91 percent of residents in the Downtown Eastside livebelow the poverty line, which in 1989 was estimated at $10,673 for a one-personhousehold. The majority of residents receive Welfare/Gain/GIS payments. Theemployment profile of residents in the Downtown Eastside also lags badly incomparison to other neighborhoods; only 43 percent of all males were in the labourforce, and of those only 53 percent were employed in 1986. For Vancouver as awhole, the figures are 75 and 86 percent respectively. (Tollefson, 1990) Censusinformation from 1986 also illustrates the high unemployment rate in the DowntownEastside (27.9 percent compared to 12.7 percent in the City of Vancouver), as wellas the highest percentage of low-income families in Vancouver (71 %)(Hulchanski,1989:6). This suggests an environment where housing pressures are much morepronounced due to a limited ability to pay.High unemployment and a low socioeconomic status correlate with the agingstatus of the population (more than 35 percent over 65 years of age in 1976) and thegrowing ethnicity of the area. In 1986, 68 percent of residents in Strathcona, an areaadjacent to the Downtown Eastside, spoke a language other than English as theirmother tongue. Recent figures also portray a diverse area characterized bysubstantial social and health problems. Tollefson’s (1990) analysis of morbidity and51mortality indicators in the Downtown Eastside identifies a much higher incidence ofillness, injury and death as compared to the city in general. The increase in thenumber of people living alone, and the concentration of the lowest income segmentof the population in the central area has created major impacts in terms of housingprovision and accessibility. Gentrification and revitalization in these poorerneighborhoods are significant concerns, considering the limited options available toimpoverished households.By all indications, the Downtown Eastside will continue to attract a low-income, unattached population that has difficulty fitting into society’s norms andwhich seeks out inexpensive housing, appropriate social services, a downtownlocation and a tolerant social climate. (Vancouver Planning Dept., 1982) However,contrary to the stereotype, the Downtown Eastside population forms a stablecommunity with a long length of residence and a diverse net of social services. Theaverage length of residence in the area is ten years, which means the DowntownEastside is the second most stable neighborhood in Vancouver after the Dunbararea.(Hulchanski, 1991:25) The number of transients in the Downtown Eastsidevaries with the rate of unemployment, and the area is also home to a significantnumber of disabled and ‘hard-to-house’ residents, as well as those affected by mentalillness or drug and alcohol abuse. Despite the level of organization that exists,poverty in the inner city has continued to persist, coupled in the 1980s with anincrease in homelessness. This was a result of a continued loss of lower priced andlow-rent housing, as well as a general rise in land and house prices.(Hulchanski,1989) The reliance of these households on existing units is as evident as theeconomic limitations of the residents living in the inner city.4.3.3 Housing StockThe housing stock in the central area of Vancouver consists primarily ofresidential hotels, rooming houses, and private housekeeping rooms. In 1985, the52Social Planning Department estimated about 12,500 rental units in the Downtownarea (including the Downtown Eastside); this has decreased to around 9,000 since1985.(Hulchanski, 1989:4) The majority of people in the study area live inresidential hotels and rooming houses. The loss of units experienced after 1985reflects a general tightening of the real estate market, particularly for residentialaccommodation, which has brought occupancy levels in this category ofaccommodation to historically high levels. As discussed previously, the residents ofthese units traditionally have been working males over 40 years of age, although ayounger clientele has gradually began filtering in.The age and physical condition of buildings in the Downtown Eastside hascreated an environment where the bulk of low-cost accommodation is contained inolder hotel properties which comprise small rooms and limited kitchen andbathroom space. This type of accommodation, in combination with the beerparlours of which they are often a part, contribute to a self-contained, integrated,and self-sustaining lifestyle, one which may be subject to change from externalinfluence and adjacent development. In the past, only slow and gradual upgradingof units took place, primarily to bring many buildings up to fire code. Currenteconomic conditions, however, may warrant a greater need to maximize thefinancial return on these properties, leading to potential unit losses.The DERA survey showed that 77.3 percent of Downtown Eastside residentslive in private market housing, while 22.7 occupy social housing. Of all the units inthe Downtown Eastside, 96.2 percent are rental units. The number of SRO (SingleRoom Occupancy) rental units has been drastically reduced in the DowntownEastside and other areas such as Mount Pleasant since the 1970s to accommodateredevelopment. This has resulted in a steady decline in the vacancy rate in thecentral core. Since 1988, the City of Vancouver has experienced a rental housing53crisis that has placed these types of units in higher demand as affordable units arelost to development and gentrification. (Hulchanski, 1991)The rate of loss of rooming houses during the past decade is open to debateas no central recording system is in place to gauge changes in housing stock. Asurvey carried out in 1985 by the Social Planning Department estimated a net loss of3,000 units since 1978, many of which were lost during recessionary periods whenredevelopment pressures were modest and land prices relatively stable. In the early1980s, then Mayor Harcourt estimated a possible loss of 2,500 rental units by 1986,or roughly 400 units per year, primarily due to the expected housing demand andinflated prices generated by Expo ‘86.(DERA, Tenant Information Package) In theearly 80s, the City estimated a loss of 250 units per year, whereas the U.B.C. Centerfor Human Settlements anticipated a continued loss of about 300 unitsannually.(Burgess, 1989, 4) Despite the variation in prognoses, unit loses can beexpected to continue naturally, thereby contributing to the current housing shortage.The loss of units can be attributed to various factors: the redevelopment of low-density rooming houses to medium- or high-density residential development,redevelopment for commercial purposes, and upgrading resulting in less units andmore expensive accommodation. (Burgess, 1989:5)The result of substantial upgrading, demolition, and condominiumconversion is a lack of adequate, affordable shelter for residents which havetraditionally been the poorest in the city. Combined with recent downward trends insocial assistance levels and social housing funding, as well as increasedunemployment and under-employment, the shortage of housing can only result in afurther deterioration of the general status of residents in areas like the DowntownEastside. Housing affordability, or the ability of residents to pay for housing, is aserious concern in the study area, where almost three quarters of residents areconsidered low-income. The traditional approach to measuring affordability54assumes that households should spend not more than 30% of their income onhousing. The 1986 Census and 1987 DERA survey both found that over 50% ofcentral area residents spend more than 30% of their income on housing, while this isonly true of 14% of the city’s households in general. In addition, the number ofhouseholds paying more than 50 percent of their income on shelter has doubledsince 1981.(Hulchanski, 1991:17) This suggests that any force leading to renovation,conversion, and ultimately, rent increases will have a much more serious impact inthe inner city, and particularly the Downtown Eastside.Hulchanski (1989, 1991) indicates that the stock replacement problem in theinner city will continue as it is not economically feasible to supply new low-renthousing stock without substantial subsidies. The stock which remains is underconstant threat of demolition, conversion to other uses, or gentrification.Nevertheless, between 1980 and 1988, federal and provincial housing programs, aswell as local strategies, have managed to provide 1,846 non-market, subsidized unitsin the inner city, 564 (30%) of which were rehabilitated and 1,282 (79%) comprisednew construction.(Hulchanski, 1989:7) The allocation of social housing units in theinner city has been reasonably steady, averaging about 275 units annually from 1985to 1988. These have dampened the impacts of continued unit losses. The City ofVancouver will continue to rely on both annual and special allocations of socialhousing units to abate future declines in rental stock. Unfortunately, recentrequests for increased allotments have not been well received by the senior levels ofgovernment. In fact, rationalization of housing assistance funds both at the Federaland Provincial levels indicates a reduction in future housing strategies and unitallocations.Recent trends in real estate activity suggest a renewed level of interest in thecentral area as evidenced by the number of large developments near the core.Although the rate of change in the coming years will occur according to cyclical55economic conditions in the market place, these will undoubtedly involve peaks ofactivity that will pose a significant challenge in terms of preserving existing low-income units. Redevelopment in Vancouver’s inner city will affect the DowntownEastside to a smaller degree than areas such as the Downtown South which arecurrently being planned for growth. Nevertheless, new pressures to maximize landpotential will likely be felt both in terms of upgrading and redevelopment. Inaddition, some of the City’s estimated 26,000 illegal secondary suites in single familyhouses are also threatened by a City Hall neighborhood review process. The netresult is additional demand for affordable rental housing.Two specific development areas which will have the greatest impact on thefuture of the Downtown Eastside are the Bosa development on Main Street andConcord Pacific’s development on the north shore of False Creek. (see figure A) Inaddition, significant pressures may also arise from the Marathon project on CoalHarbour and the general redevelopment of the Downtown South area. A reportcommissioned by the Vancouver Planning Department in 1985 identified theprobable limits of potential redevelopment in Vancouver’s central area, as well asthe potential for future upgrading. Burgess and Associates (1989) indicated a worst-case scenario where up to 57 percent of the existing inventory could redevelop or berenovated during the next 15 years. (Burgess, 1989) The rate of attrition for roominghouses in the whole of the central area as a result of redevelopment is estimated atabout 110 units per annum over the first five-year period, although this couldincrease to 150 over a ten year average. It is also probable, however, that manyunits could be upgraded and retained, provided existing densities are favourable.Over ten years, this could reduce the unit loss to redevelopment from 1500 to 1000units.(Burgess, 1989:15)Upgrading could also deplete existing low-rent units by effectively removingthem from the affordable market range. This process is most probable on sites56which are removed from undesirable locations, such as certain parts of theDowntown South. However, the identity and sense of community enjoyed in theDowntown Eastside may represent a degree of stability which encourages limitedand sporadic upgrading. Generally, the upgrading process is expected to be slow,and will likely offer the greatest potential to properties which exhibit character andamenity, usually outside of the greatest unit concentrations.(Burgess, 1989, 18)Burgess et al (1989) point out that in the Downtown Eastside any upgrading activityis not likely to increase rents above an affordable level due to the gradual process ofchange, reasonable existing site coverages and densities, and the risk involveddespite the relatively low prices. (Burgess, 1989) The existence of a relativelysizeable and stable inventory of social housing units is also significant; any privatedevelopment will be influenced by the existing balance and neighborhoodcomposition, making a dramatic change unlikely.Burgess’ analysis is based on an assessment of the economic environment.The argument put forward, however, omits the potential effects of the demographicand general societal shift observed in recent years which sees the movement ofyounger residents and families into the area, many who see the inner city as anacceptable location for city living. Over time, these younger residents may maketheir impact felt, both in the existing rental market and as a motivating force behindredevelopment. The changing employment profile in the area is also indicative of ashift in the status of new residents. Though it is likely that the present compositionof residents will remain in the immediate future, the long-term prognosis appears tobe heading towards a higher occupancy by younger, more educatedresidents.(Burgess, 1989) In the Downtown Eastside, Burgess et al see littleinfluence from planned mega-projects in terms of increased redevelopmentpressure. They recommend, however, that acquisition of low-cost unit buildings for57refurbishment may be the key to guaranteeing the retention of private units in yearsto come.Large developments adjacent to the Downtown Eastside may be consideredpositive given the fact that they guarantee additional social housing units, and donot affect existing stock as sites are generally vacant. Nevertheless, the recentchanges to residential composition pose some concern in the long term. Burgess’analysis of economic indicators does not explore the social and human costs ofrelocation and displacement which is often a result of the resurgence of inner-cityareas and the associated levels of residential demand. Homelessness is aparticularly striking symptom of housing shortages. A 1986/87 survey of emergencyshelters identified a 75 to 100 percent occupancy rate, one of the highest everobserved.(Hulchanski, 1989:8) These trends suggest a need for further analysis intothe process of housing provision in the inner city to determine the extent ofpotential gentrification and upgrading, and the effectiveness of housing strategies tocope with the changing social, economic, and demographic circumstances.585. NEW HOUSING IN THE CONTEXT OF GENTRWICATION: THE FOURSISTERS COOPERATiVEThe issue of housing provision in the inner city, then, becomes increasinglycomplex in the emerging context which has been observed during past decades anddiscussed in previous chapters. The Canadian inner city is today a much morediverse arena than it was years ago; the social, demographic, and cultural profile ofresidents is vastly more varied following years of redevelopment, urbanrevitalization and economic restructuring. No longer are the boundaries betweenthe gentrified area and the lower-income neighborhood so clearly defined, at leastin the physical sense. Evidence shows that today, gentrification is as likely to seepand diffuse to adjacent areas as it is to leapfrog to new enclaves at the edge of theinner city. Although protection of lower-income housing can be sought throughregulatory control, this cannot ensure outright preservation nor does it serve as astimulant for the creation of new social housing for which there is a continuing need.The future focus of housing strategies in needy areas of the inner city musttherefore be on new housing projects that achieve several key aims. These includeadding to the stock of social housing in the inner city, utilizing a scheme thatrequires the least amount of government subsidy, encouraging development thatpromotes the social identity of the neighborhood, an including a wide range ofresidents in recognition of the diversity of income groups which are vying for spacein the inner city. It is argued that an effective strategy for providing housing intoday’s inner city must both recognize the demands and needs of lower-incomeresidents and make provision for other competing interests, such as gentrifiers. TheFour Sisters Co-operative on Alexander Street merits consideration in this context.It is considered a success, both in terms of design and because of its overall conceptof allowing a broad residential mix and providing its own amenities within the innercity. Most importantly, the project reflects the new residential environment of the59inner city and illustrates a potential direction for new housing projects that cater tothis a new definition of a shared inner city space.The basic premise behind the Four Sisters Cooperative was simple: the sitewas ideally located to provide affordable housing in an area which was sorely inneed. The conditions surrounding the initial development planning, acquisition ofland, funding, community and government involvement, and the political backing ofthe project, while not entirely unique, do illustrate a process and a cooperativeframework which merits further analysis. The development has been described asan architectural and design success, as well as the centerpiece of social housing inVancouver’s inner city. DERA achieved both practical and political goals indeveloping the Four Sisters Co-op: the practical goals included providingpermanent accommodation and security of tenure for Downtown Eastside residentsin self-contained accommodation rather than housekeeping rooms; the politicalgoals related to DERA’s objectives to preserve the Downtown Eastside as a placefor families by, in fact, encouraging families from outside the Downtown Eastside tolive here. The strategic location of the site was also critical as a means of preventingthe eastward expansion of commercial uses from Gastown.In its planning stage, however, the project was surrounded by controversy,hampered by disagreements on project design and programming, and riddled withdoubts about the appropriateness of family housing in the inner city. Its history,development, and resulting success provides a valuable insight into the conditions ofinner-city social housing. Given the unique characteristics of the area and thechanging demographic, social, and economic profile of the Canadian inner city, theproject appears to illustrate a successful framework of collaboration and a modelexample of affordable housing provision in times of change.605.1 BackgroundPeace and harmony were to be the central themes of the project, signifyingan openness to the diverse profile of ethnic backgrounds prevalent in the area. Thename itself refers to Vancouver’s four sister cities, Edinburgh, Scotland, Odessa,Russia, Yokohama, Japan, and Guangzhou, China, and signifies a peacefulcoexistence between cultures. The intended site on Alexander Street contained theold 5-storey Fleck Brothers warehouse complex which had been operated in thesame block since 1919. As the original business district and center of Vancouver,Gastown, or the area around Hastings, Powell, and Water Street, bustled with theactivities of a prosperous center. As growth in Vancouver moved westward, thearea eventually contained little more than warehouses and cheap hotels for the city’spoor. Nevertheless, the area always offered a strategic central location in proximityto Gastown, Chinatown, Japantown, and the Hastings area, all areas of strongcharacter and attractive heritage architecture. Its proximity to the downtown madeit one of the inner-city neighborhoods with the greatest untapped potential foraccommodating residential growth. Such growth, however, could not occur withoutpublic conffict and possible dislocation of existing residents, particularly in light ofthe prevailing socioeconomic levels in the area. Additionally, it was still to beproven whether such a venture could be economically viable or even sociallyacceptable in an area considered to be scarce in terms of services and where, on thesurface, a strong feeling of residential and community association was not evident.Interest in the Fleck property began in 1983, a site designated as havingheritage value which had yet to undergo the refurbishment experienced in otherparts of ‘new’ Gastown. At the time, the majority of buildings in the vicinity were ina neglected state, and the majority of residents were long-term, older, male tenantswho fit the traditional description of the inner-city resident. In addition to the61advantages of location and the existing support network, the physical form of thearea also provides a vital link to the community:“They choose to live here because of friends and thenetwork of support that exists. The many old buildingsin the area represent a kind of old-town main streetvernacular and scale that provides comfort to theresidents. To them the character remains durable andslow to change. Most of the buildings have becomeimportant for their symbolism of everyday life and theirrelative permanence even though they are extremelyadaptable to re-use.” (Four Sisters Cooperative, TenantHandbook, 1988:5)The initial impetus for the project came from a variety of directions-- theCity, DERA, and public pressure-- in reaction to the anticipated need for low-costaccommodation in the area due to inflated housing costs and displacement causedby Expo ‘86. The need for accommodation was not just for single rooms, but alsofor the growing number of families living in the area. Gentrification had beenexperienced in nearby Gastown and it was feared that this could also spreadeastward as hotels were renovated in anticipation of Expo ‘86. The Four Sistersdevelopment was to be one of several projects initiated by the City aimed atproviding affordable housing for families. The development of adequate ‘family’housing was a concept introduced as part of the City’s strategy for strengthening theinner-city area. A more diverse heterogeneous population would create a greatersense of community, and would add commercial as well as cultural vitality to areassuch as Gastown which had become seasonal tourist traps. Some City staff and theCentral Mortgage and Housing Coorporation (CMHC) believed the DowntownEastside should remain solely ar area for single people, particularly older people,and past housing developments reflected this.The concept of social housing for families in the inner city had been initiatedfirst in 1982 in a project sponsored by the First United Church. Bill HennesseyPlace had 17 two-bedroom units out of a total of 70 units. This was followed in 198362when DERA was approached to sponsor their first housing project on a sitepurchased by the City for that purpose. This co-op at 683 Alexander contained 5two-bedroom units out of a total of 56 units. The immediate take up of the two-bedroom units in both projects by families with children from the DowntownEastside was clearly an indication of the unmet need for family housing in the area.(John Jessup)The arguments for and against family housing in the inner city are oftenpolar; some argue in favour of the cultural diversity and awareness found in thecity, while others reject the central city as an inadequate and dangerous place toraise a family. The battle for the allocation of more family units continues today;what was becoming clear at the time, however, was the growing number of families,including single women with children, that required housing and other socialservices in the area. The primary concerns with inner-city family accommodationhave been the lack of services and amenities for children and families, security, andthe growing level of criminal and quasi-criminal elements in the area. (John Jessup)In this respect, the Four Sisters Cooperative aimed to be a key project thataddressed these concerns and which had the potential to change the future directionof the area. The success of the Four Sisters in this respect is evident in the fact thatthe City has since become supportive of family housing in the area.The debate over the appropriateness of family accommodation in the innercity was especially heated in the case of the Four Sisters Cooperative and was acrucial point upon which the project’s future rested. DERA feels the process wasdelayed by about a year because of the proposal to house families. Other earlyconcerns which threatened the feasibility of the project were questions of access toschools and community facilities, as well as the congruence of this project with otherstrategies to increase family housing in the area through zoning or other municipalapproaches. Further concerns were the proposed unit mix for the cooperative and63the need to address the project to the housing of indigenous families.(John Jessup)Most of these concerns were voiced early on by the federal housing arm, the CentralMortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), which was a main funding source forthe project. In addition to cost, these issues became central obstacles which had tobe addressed before approval would be granted.Originally conceived in 1983, the project was sponsored by DERA and wasaimed at the NHA 56.1 Co-op Federal Housing Program which was subsequentlydiscontinued in 1985. Under this Co-operative Housing Program, allocation of unitsoccurred through an annual competitive proposal call. In the case of the FourSisters, however, a cooperative agreement was struck by Mayor Harcourt betweenDERA, the First United Church and the Chinese Benevolent Association (CBA).This informal agreement was aimed at working together to lobby the FederalGovernment for a special unit allocation in anticipation of the housing crisis whichwould be precipitated by Expo 86. As a result of the many lobby efforts lead byMayor Harcourt, supported by City Council and endorsed by the three sponsorgroups, the City was granted a special allocation of 120 units in the fall of 1984.Because DERA was most advanced in the planning of its project, it was unanimousamong the three sponsor groups that the special allocation go to the Four Sisters.To complete the development and make it more viable, the City and DERA lobbiedCMHC for another 33 units which would eventually come out of the next year’sregular allocation.Development of the Four Sisters began with the City purchasing the portionof the Fleck Brothers site not already owned, and developing a strategy to lease thesite back to a sponsor, in this case DERA. City policy at that time was to lease thesite for 41 years in return for a prepaid rent equal to 75% of the freehold value,which was considered to be the market rental value for a 41 year leasehold interestin the property. The Vancouver Charter required that the amount of prepaid lease64rent be based on the freehold value of the site at or about the time the site wasleased to the sponsor, rather than the acquisition cost. The total acquisition cost ofthe property including that part already owned by the City was $2,022,000. Theleaseback prepaid rent on this value would be (.75 x $2,022,000) $1,516,500.The development team, including the City, DERA, Terra HousingConsultants and Davidson Yuen Architects worked as a team on the design,programming and financial plan for the project. The best financial plan indicatedthat the project could afford to pay the City a maximum of $1,180,000 in prepaidlease rent. Prior to the report recommending Council accept the $1,180,000 prepaidlease rent, however, an independent appraisal of the site was undertaken whichshowed the value of the site had actually dropped to $1,552,000. This meant themarket rental value for a 41-year lease had also dropped to ($1,522,000 x .75)$1,164,000, and that the City would receive $16,000 ($1,180,000 - $1,164,000) morethan the market rental value of the site under the agreement. The actual writedownof the cost of the property was ($1,516,500 - $1,180,000) $336,300.The form of subsidy provided by the City (writedown) had significantimplications for Council approval of the terms of the lease. A grant (a gift from theCity) would have required a 2/3 majority of Council (ie. 8 of 11 members), whileonly a simple majority (6 votes) existed in support of the project. This simple issueof definition was crucial in allowing the project to be realized.The rental structure of the project illustrates the contribution of the FourSisters to gentrification in the area.(J. Jessup) Under the 56.1 CMHC program,interest reduction grants were provided in order to bring down the interest rate to2% from the actual market rate of interest on the 100% mortgage. The differencewas calculated on an annual basis and divided by 12 to yield monthly subsidypayments to the project. The monthly subsidy was first applied to all 153 units as a“predetermined amount” to bring the economic rent to low-end-market-rent (LEM),65or equivalent to 90% of average market rent for a similar unit in the same marketarea. What was left over after the predetermined amount went into the subsidypool and was used to make up the difference between 25% of income forhouseholds that qualified for subsidy, and LEM rent. Once the subsidy pool wasexhausted, the remaining units had to be filled by higher income households whocould afford to pay LEM rent. Therefore, the financial requirements of the projectafforded the opportunity for gentrification to occur.The project was developed with the cooperation of many groups. The Cityfacilitated the project by providing land and the substantial lease writedown.CMHC also played a crucial role in providing mortgage insurance and the criticalsubsidy in the form of interest reduction grants under the 56.1 program. The Cityplayed a key role in its pursuit of a Council policy to purchase market land and leaseit back to neighborhood-based sponsor groups at a discount to provide affordablehousing. The key players in the project, DERA, Terra Housing Consultants,Davidson Yuen Architects, and the City worked together towards several commonobjectives. These were: to maximize the yield of the site consistent with a qualitysocial housing development; maximize the number of neighborhood low-incomeresidents who could afford to live in the project (increase the size of the subsidypool); and minimize the financial cost (writedown) to the City.(J.Jessup) Theproject, then, was achieved only through significant subsidy from several levels ofgovernment and cooperation from the groups involved.The proponents of the project were DERA, the area residents which theyrepresented, and housing advocates who warned of the impending affordablehousing crisis linked both to Expo ‘86 and to the growing evidence of gentrificationin Gastown and other parts of the inner city. Also in support were a small group ofplanners who advocated the concepts which were represented in the Four Sistersproposal: inner-city living for a mix of income and family types, and a regeneration66of the area through residential growth.(John Jessup) The basic objectives of theCity Planning Department were two-fold:1. to establish the basis of a neighborhood residential areathrough redevelopment of the Fleck Brothers propertiesfor families and individuals; and2. to provide a significant amount of accommodation forsingles, couples and families who are GAIN recipients.To create a healthy environment [it is believed that] a50% GAIN, 50% LEM (low end market) split will helpachieve this goal. (Vancouver Social Planning Dept.)The breakdown of income mix as proposed was aimed at addressing theimmediate problem: housing the growing number of indigenous families whichwere the most needy. Both the proponents and the financial contributors of theproject, the City and CMHC (which represented both the Federal and Provinciallevels under the NHA 56.1 program) could agree that GAIN and LEM recipientsmerited immediate attention. However, not enough evidence was available tosupport the notion of including a large percentage of families, in this case 30% ofthe total number of units, or 59 units distributed over different parts of thesite.(DERA, 1983)Opposition to the project was a result of uncertainty about the developmentconcept, difficulties in securing funding, and the overall time period required. Aspart of the funding program, CMHC ensures the allotment of units goes towardsviable projects that meet an obvious demand. Specific guidelines are used todetermine perameters for the project and a proposal can only receive funding if itmeets the desired guidelines. As previously mentioned, family housing in the innercity was not a new or unique concept; it was, however, never pursued at such a scaleor in quite the mix as proposed in the case of the Four Sisters.Uncertainty over funding was fueled by the lack of accurate and recent dataon the number of families in the area. These concerns prompted several surveys of67the population in the Downtown area, one a summary of GAIN recipients reportedby the Ministry of Human Resources in 1984, and the other a survey carried out byDERA following a request from the City. The profile compiled by the Ministry ofHuman Resources was not a representative survey but an assessment of GAINrecipients seeking services from 5 downtown offices. Figures indicated that in 1984,132 families receiving GAIN benefits lived in the downtown, and it was generallyacknowledged that there was a growing number of women and children in the areawho were not recipients of the services offered by the Ministry.(Letter, PatsyGeorge, Ministry of Human Resources, 1984) The large number of familiesreceiving services in nearby Strathcona further supported the apparent need foraffordable family accommodation. The need for family accommodation wascompounded by the existence of community strength, and the willingness ofresidents to remain in the area even under adverse conditions:“residents in this community have extremely strongattachments to the neighborhood and many wouldprefer to go on living in inadequate housing rather thanmoving to better accommodation it required leaving thearea. Social consequences of not providing familyhousing is therefore a serious one from a socialperspective and a disastrous one when one approachesfrom a child welfare perspective. (Letter to CMHC fromthe Ministry of Human Resources, 1984)A second examination of the demographic makeup of the DowntownEastside was provided by DERA in response to concerns voiced by CMHC over thedevelopment concept and underlying premise. Results showed that a highpercentage of families living outside the Downtown Eastside wanted to live at theproposed project. (DERA Survey, 1985) This evidence was at variance with thecontention held by CMHC that the low percentage of families living in the areaindicated that few preferred to live there. In fact, the growing number of amenitiessuch as CRAB Park, and the proximity to downtown continue to attract people to68the inner city. Of the 152 people surveyed by DERA, 53.7% were families, andalmost all of these (97%) preferred living in the Downtown Eastside to other partsof Vancouver. Ultimately, before CMHC could approve the project, they required alist of prospective families to confirm the demand for family units.The unveiling of post-Expo ‘86 development pians by the City in the nearbyareas of Dunsmuir and Pender also supported the idea that demand for familyhousing did exist in the downtown. The process involved the development of policyguidelines for the area which would encourage housing oriented towards a broadrange of household types and incomes; the adopted policy guidelines also becamepart of the basis behind the comprehensive redevelopment schemes planned for theDowntown South and False Creek North. Two other crucial factors were access tocommunity facilities and the proposed building design; these would be critical toensure a high level of liveability and a project that would be marketable as intended.Community facilities and amenities close to the site include StrathconaElementary School, CrabTree Corner Daycare, CRAB Park, the Carnegie Centerand the Chinese Cultural Center. Various Co-op committees and DERA itselfprovides services for co-op members, including summer day camps, seniors healthand independence programs, daycare, and other in-house or referral services. Aprimary concern in terms of accessibility was the safety of children travelling the sixand one half blocks east to Strathcona School. Although the site was well withinprovincial guidelines for maximum distances to elementary schools, the City agreedto undertake the necessary measures to ensure a safe route to school, such aspedestrian-activated traffic control devices. The principal argument of advocatesfor the project, however, hinged on the overall strategy of the City to createresidential areas downtown, and the recognition that services and amenities wouldnot come without the population base to support them. The concept necessitatedcareful planning and design to provide a secure and defensible urban space, and69remain both functional and aesthetic. This was particularly important in this part ofdowntown where such a project could be the key to establishing the concept earlyon.5.2 The ProjectAs previously indicated, the co-op comprises three buildings and a total of153 apartment units. These are distributed among a wide range of income levels,from families who rely on Welfare to members who pay full, lower-end market rent.The residential units are designed to accommodate households ranging from singlesto families with children, although the majority are bachelor apartments. There arealso twenty suites which can accommodate residents with disabilities or specialneeds. The main theme running through the project is diversity, not only of itsresidents or surrounding ethnic neighborhoods but also its components: the threebuildings consist of a wood-frame, low-rise with 13 units, a new concrete high-risehousing 87 units, and the completely renovated brick, 5-storey Fleck warehousebuilding with 53 units. The three buildings, as well as two adjacent affordablehousing projects, form a central courtyard which is enclosed by fencing to providesafe and secure open space. The project offers playground areas for children in thecourtyard as well as rooftop gardens open to residents of all buildings. The closureof the municipal lane for the purpose of creating a secure courtyard became one ofthe biggest obstacles to the project. Although a relatively safe environment wascreated, the alleyway remains a source of security problems, illustrating the difficultyin providing safe play areas in the inner city. The result, however, was a varied andunique project with interesting spaces. The designer, Davidson\Yuen Partnersreceived an Architectural Institute of B.C. award in 1988 for overall merit of design.The waiting list for the Four Sisters Cooperative is perpetually full andmembership is fairly stable, a fact which, although not remarkable considering thegeneral lack of adequate housing, is significant in documenting the project’s long-70term success. This is evidence of the popularity of a project which seems to haveexceeded the expectations for its success. It is successful for a variety of reasons,many of which have already been discussed: its central location, unique andaesthetic design, on-site amenities, safe and secure environment, and the prevailingsense of community which it offers. From a housing perspective, this and other suchprojects allow both the accommodation of low-income residents, as well as ‘market’residents. Although many residents require a subsidy (43% in August, 1989), theincome mix is crucial to maximize the subsidy pool and allow the project to work.The income mix also appears to add a greater sense of stability to the area. Giventhe right conditions, such projects offer a viable housing option for the needyincumbents as well as entering residents who do not require a subsidy and canafford to pay low- end market rent. As illustrated by the Four Sisters, however,timing and project design hold the key to successful implementation.The only problems which have been identified by Co-op staff relate to thelogistical issues of managing a cooperative of this size. It is felt by some that theproject could have been more easily and efficiently run as three separate co-ops.Security and safety continue to be concerns, although better surveillance on the partof residents appears to have brought the situation under control.In summary, several key points can be drawn from the Four Sisters example.Hulchanski et al (1989), in their study of projects in the Downtown Eastside inrelation to homelessness, indicate that a combination of public, private, and thirdsector (non-profit) resources are necessary to bring together land, housing capital,and services for the development of affordable housing. Implicit in this is the ideathat neither the public sector nor the private sector can produce low cost housingeconomically in core areas of major Canadian cities. The preservation of thedemographic and social mix of these areas warrants participation of all levels ofgovernment and innovative strategies that broaden the definition of the inner city.71In summary, the anticipated housing crisis due to Expo ‘86 and previousgentrification in Gastown created an environment which was politically receptive tohousing solutions aimed at accommodating displaced residents. This was combinedwith renewed pressures to acknowledge the need for family housing in the inner city,as well as an open philosophy on the part of some members of the PlanningDepartment which advocated residential development in the downtown. The workof DERA was instrumental, both in terms of community leadership andorganization, and also as the central resource body for the project. The City ofVancouver and CMHC were the central contributors, particularly in theirwillingness to provide financial support over and above their original intent throughspecial funding schemes and additional unit allocations.The entire process, then, was facilitated by a changing demographic andsocial context, motivated by a perceived housing crisis, and facilitated by the work ofa strong community organization, supportive levels of government, far-sightedplanners, and talented designers who managed to bring affordable family-living in asafe environment back to the inner city. The role of the City and CMHC wascentral as funding sources and also through the consultative planning process asmediators pursuing a common goal. The main impetus of the project was thedefined need for housing to accommodate displaced residents due to Expo.Without the immediacy of need, however, many of the obstacles to developmentmay not have been overcome, particularly given the level of subsidy which wasultimately required. This supports the idea that such a development requires anintegrated and cooperative approach involving all levels of government and thecommunity, all in pursuit of a common objective. In gentrifying inner cities, a strongcommunity group with links to the appropriate levels of government, and aneffective monitoring system will be required to maintain a constant housing stock forneedy residents. Projects like the Four Sisters Cooperative represent an option todampen the impact of gentrification within a broader strategy of downtownredevelopment, while still providing housing for incumbent residents.72736. CONCLUSION6.1 The New Inner CityDistinct periods of urban development are evident in today’s variedlandscapes. These landscapes are the result of the evolution of technology, socialnorms, structural economic changes, and the pattern of wave upon wave of newconstruction on the physical fabric. Relatively new terms such as post-industrialism(Ley; Bunting and Filion, etc.), post-modernism (Knox), and neo-traditionalism(Duany and Plater-Zyberk) are being used to capture the form and character ofdevelopment which reflects a certain set of values, demographic characteristics, andpatterns of consumption. Among these ‘new’ urban settings, the Canadian inner cityhas begun to reassert its dominance in the residential market.The transition to ‘advanced capitalism’ which is termed by Paul Knox may bebetter described as ‘enlightened capitalism’, as much of what perpetuates the newsocial and consumer attitudes towards urban space can be attributed, in part, to amore efficient use of urban resources. Shifts in the economic and demographicstructure of cities has translated to an increased importance of the inner city as anattractive residential location. The new pro-urban sentiment places significant valuein historic streetscapes and post-modern architecture, much of it relating to the builtform found in the inner city. The result has been an increased market demand forinner city spaces. Although gentrification has been observed for several decades, itappears that the full transition to the post-industrial city is just now being realized interms of changes to the physical form. At the same time, problems inherent withthese changes are being identified, such as the need for low-income rentalaccommodation in the inner city, homelessness, and the social costs associated withthe displacement of lower-income residents. As a result, solutions are being soughtboth at the theoretical and policy levels.74The Four Sisters example in Vancouver illustrates one of the City’s solutionsto a housing problem; the project was essentially planned to meet an anticipatedshortage of low-income accommodation. At the same time, however, it hascontributed to increased confidence in the area and managed to tap into a risingdemand for new market housing in the inner city that is part of a much largerprocess of neighborhood and social evolution. The stage of that change in theDowntown Eastside can be seen in the amount of new residential construction inthe immediate vicinity and the extent of future planned redevelopment in otherparts of the inner city.The success of the Four Sisters cooperative in providing affordable rentalhousing in the inner city hinged on several critical factors: the perceived urgency ofthe project due to Expo ‘86, the financial support from the City and other levels ofgovernment, and the efforts of DERA in bringing it all together. The long processfrom inception to completion underscores the rising influence of communityorganizations in the provision of housing, the very specific nature of neighborhoodsin trying to assess individual housing needs, and the complexity of building projectsat a larger scale. The latter suggests that the ability to replicate such projectsbecomes more difficult at this scale, and thus requires a greater amount of preplanning.Additionally, the success of the project in terms of the stability of itsmembership, as well as the City’s policy supporting family housing in the DowntownEastside, further supports the anticipated social shift in the area. This shift isconfirmed by demographic characteristics and employment profiles. The inclusionof market-rent units was an explicit attempt to draw residents, particularly families,from other areas, in order to broaden the social mix and augment the subsidy poolfor the project. This essentially represents a very moderate form of gentrification.756.2 Gentrification in the 90s: A New ComplexityGentrification and residential displacement in cities like Kitchener andToronto have been shown to be very specific forms of social and physicalrestructuring which are less severe in their manifestation of change than manyexamples of American cities found in the literature. Nevertheless, there arenumerous examples of potential slum redevelopment, such as in the Lachine Canalarea of Montreal, where social and physical upgrading have been marked. Whileexamples of the traditional process of gentnfication remain, new and more gradualand moderate forms appear to be emerging, largely as a result of the new spatialpatterning of change which has resulted in the penetration of gentrification into newareas. Other examples, such as Halifax and Montreal, indicate that the patterns ofsocial and physical transition are becoming more complex as gentrification has leftthe safety of the area around the CBD and expanded into new sub-markets. Thispattern can be seen in Vancouver, as evidenced by new gentrification in theGrandview-Woodlands neighborhood. Again, although overspill gentrification isevidenced in other areas adjacent to redeveloped neighborhoods, such as FairviewSlopes, the social an physical transition experienced in Grandview Woodlands isclearly an example of gentrification outside of proven middle class markets.Historically, the gentrification experienced in the 1970s in Kitsilano is tosome extent consistent with the traditional patterns of neighborhood evolution thatare generally defined by the economic period when the shift to a service-orientedeconomy was in full swing. At that time, factors related to the location of amenitiesand social status, as well as personal choice and lifestyle were behind Kitsilano’srapid transformation to a higher socioeconomic profile. This has not continued inthe 1980s, partly as a result of higher housing prices and the shift in attention toother areas like Grandview Woodlands. The social profile and stigma which isassociated with the Downtown Eastside, on the other hand, has ironically allowed76some semblance of stability to exist. This, along with the prevalence of substantialsocial housing projects and the work of the community in protecting againstwholesale change, is likely to be a moderating influence for any future changes thatmay be anticipated.Unfortunately, gentrification in the 1980s has refused to be limited to aconcentric distribution around the CBD. As shown by Ley(l99l), traditionalexplanations for gentrification are no longer valid; today’s gentrifiers are drivenmore by lifestyle an housing affordability than by proximity to the amenities of theCBD. Additional elements which draw households to gentrify are the character of ahouse, and the ambiance of the neighborhood. The cumulative result is a pattern ofgentrification which is less predictable and more chaotic, and which has thepotential to threaten the housing stock of any central area like the DowntownEastside.There is, therefore, ample evidence to suggest that changes in the societalstructure will continue, leading to increased pressure for gentrification in areas likethe Downtown Eastside. As the submarkets for inner city residence diversify,particularly where the gentrification cycle is well advanced, there will be continuedinvestment by the middle class. In this context, housing projects like the FourSisters Coop may, under certain circumstances, serve a dual purpose in thisenvironment by creating new units for more than one socioeconomic group, therebydampening the need for wholesale change in the short term.Based on traditional neighborhood theory, which assumes eachneighborhood is a competing market, the Downtown Eastside is not a neighborhoodwhose residential demand is in direct economic competition with other areas ofVancouver. Its location, historical development, physical infrastructure and socialenvironment have created a neighborhood which is ideally suited to serve as the lastrefuge for those who cannot afford housing elsewhere in the city. It serves a very77specific housing need: elderly, single, unemployed or underemployed men, andtransients who have nowhere elsewhere to go. Significant evidence indicates theneed for new single-room accommodation to serve this profile of residents willcontinue; therefore, future initiatives to address this will also be required. Thedemographic and social profile of the area, however, has changed dramatically overthe years, now encompassing more families and young singles than ever before.This is consistent with the new focus of retail development and growth of tertiaryand quaternary economic activities in the downtown core which has created arenewed demand for inner-city residential accommodation. The new impetus forredevelopment has been felt on the fringe of the Downtown Eastside in new andproposed mega projects and, as the economic and demographic changes aretranslated to physical form, so is the Downtown Eastside evolving into a newneighborhood.Understanding the process of gentrification in the Downtown Eastside inrelation to other areas is vital to understanding the types of changes that can beanticipated, and, ultimately, in the formulation of initiatives to lessen the potentialimpact of these changes on the community. The statistical data available clearlyidentifies a certain level of gentrification in the area based on a growing proportionof younger, more educated, professional, family households. The current and futurehousing needs of this emerging group of residents is critical in relation to thegrowing needs of existing low-income residents. Data on past demolition activity,new construction, and projected annual allocation of projects indicates that theoutlook for housing replacement in the Downtown Eastside is not favorable,particularly if the worst-case scenarios are realized.The historical process of change in the Downtown Eastside can be crudelycategorized as a complicated combination of selective redevelopment (as in the caseof the Four Sisters), possible overspill gentrification from nearby areas such as78Gastown and mega projects, and general upgrading of existing projects in the areamostly to meet building code requirements and improve their economic viability.The report produced by Burgess and Associates suggests that the impact of megaprojects on redevelopment pressures in the area are not likely to be severe.However, it is noted that continued emphasis must be placed on pro-activestrategies to regulate the loss of units and increase housing stock.At first glance, the stability evident in the Downtown Eastside, as well as themoderate process of change which characterizes the development of the FourSisters, seems to point to a very modest form of change such as that observed instable upgraded neighborhoods. This perception is due, in part, to the fact thatthese projects provide predominantly social housing, maintain a similarsocioeconomic profile of the population, and are very carefully regulated throughoutthe process, thereby providing a sense of stability and public assurance. The processof incumbent upgrading which has been previously discussed in not applicable inthis situation: incumbent upgrading usually involves no change to thesocioeconomic status of the population, and has been observed in homogeneousareas with little social or economic deterioration. In fact, the development of theFour Sisters Coop itself illustrates technically the characteristics of fullgentrification, that is, a change which involves a transformation of both thesocioeconomic and physical structure of the neighborhood. A close examination ofthe history, social profile, and economic limitations of the area indicates that thisform of change could be disruptive given the different socioeconomic profile ofmany new residents, and the changes that may occur to the physical fabric. Thetransition, as illustrated by the Four Sisters project, however, may be very moderate,and develop over a long period of time.New evidence in Canadian cities nevertheless confirms that gentrification isalive and well, and that it represents a source of concern in terms of the future of79affordable housing in the inner city. The new locational dimensions of gentrificationoutside of traditional patterns of diffusion, as well as its infiltration into newpopulation submarkets (eg.professional nuclear families, empty nesters, etc.), makesit difficult to predict and even more difficult to guard against. And, although as seenin many cases, the process can suddenly by stalled as quickly as it began, itnevertheless represents a significant vehicle for social and physical change withnotable implications. The recent experiences noted in Canadian cities areparticularly telling; as social upgrading in the inner city in the 1980s continues toaccelerate, more than one third of the labour force in the inner city is employed inthe quaternary sector. The ancillary growth in residential opportunities to capturethis demand will surely impact the existing stock of affordable housing, and promptnew housing solutions like the Four Sisters Coop that meet a broad range of housingneeds.The role of DERA in the Downtown Eastside, especially in developingprojects such as the Four Sisters, cannot be underestimated. DERA’s involvementis a central aspect of the prevailing sense of stability that up to now has served as apartial buffer against severe economic changes of land; as indicated by Burgess etal, the presence of high levels of social housing and a strong community advocatewould appear to be a vital aid to blocking any major conversion of units that wouldhave an impact on the indigenous population in terms of displacement and rentincreases. DERA’s effectiveness is rooted in its recognizable role as a player in thedevelopment and planning process, and its ability to pursue measures through thepolitical channels. This level of organization is a fundamental asset that allows forflexibility in developing future local strategies.The relative stability of Canadian inner cities compared to their Americancounterparts, both historically and in a contemporary sense, is well documented.The current definition of gentrification in Canada, however, must be seen as elusive;80although parts of the traditional cycle of social and physical decay and resurgencehave been prevalent in Kitsilano and the Downtown Eastside, physical and socialchange in other areas such as the Fairview Slopes represent a new wave ofgentrification which is more chaotic and less predictable than previously thought.Some Canadian cities have experienced a much milder and gradual process ofrenewal, along with sustained stability, while others, like Montreal, have seensignificant social upheaval. The level of change can be closely correlated to thegrowth in the level of tertiary and quaternary economic activity. Vancouver’s highpercentage of high-order service jobs is one reason for the accelerated process ofgentrification during past years, indicating that this trend is likely to continue.Nonetheless, the prevalence of different spatial processes, such as overspillgentrification and general upgrading in residential areas adjacent to the DowntownEastside cannot be generally classified as they are too much a function of local andlocational factors.Quantitative evidence of the various types and general impact ofgentrification in Canadian inner cities is present both at the local and nationallevels. The variability between cities and even within neighborhoods, in terms ofphysical deterioration, housing demand, population structure, and socioeconomicstatus, will necessitate housing strategies that are unique to each situation.Nevertheless, several key points can be distinguished from examples such as theFour Sisters Co-op that can be applied with some discretion to gentrifyingneighborhoods or urban areas faced with similar housing problems. These include:the importance of establishing an effective community association as a coordinatorand advocate for the area; formulation by the association of goals, objectives andthe development of political channels required to affect control of planning anddevelopment; establishing dialogue with all levels of government involved inhousing and encouraging development of policy at all levels; developing a resource81base and a housing strategy geared at the changing needs of residents; andrecognizing the importance of effective development design for providing a safe,secure, and livable community space.Although the motivation provided by the anticipated housing shortage due toExpo ‘86 was a unique force, future concerns about the amount and quality of inner-city housing may also present urgency, particularly in the face of growinghomelessness in Canadian inner cities. The acute lack of affordable housing mustbe recognized if housing concerns are to become a priority for local and seniorlevels of government. Although the ‘culture of poverty’ described by Gertler andCrowley in declining inner-city areas has not been dominant in most Canadiancities, all sources of data indicate recent changes in residential demand may pose aconcern for future planners and politicians.While it has been shown that the Four Sisters has made a positivecontribution to inner city housing, its potential as a model may be limited by thesubstantial amount of subsidy required an the difficult position in which differentlevels of government find themselves in terms of available funding. Other barriersto replicating such projects include access to adequate sites in the right areas an ofsufficient size to accommodate this scale of development, and as previously noted,the need for a strong community advocate an a cooperative process which includesgovernment and the private sector.In the absence of this environment, the effectiveness of housing strategies toabate the impact of gentrification by providing housing for many economic levels,will likely be limited, as will the community’s ability to control the loss of affordablehousing. Nevertheless, some success may be found in smaller projects and limitedpartnerships. Sound planning to identify areas for protection, as well as policies todirect new residential growth are also required. Additional commitment from82senior levels of government in order to ensure the protection and continued growthof affordable housing must be a central component of any major strategy.Gentrification poses a great challenge for many urban areas, particularlythose with the economic structure and size to be vulnerable to increased demand forinner-city housing. The numerous definitions of the types and causes ofgentrification illustrate the great variability and contrasting nature of views aboutthese processes. The Canadian scene offers a unique environment for study;however, this is mostly due to the lack of severe physical and social change in inner-city areas rather than because of it. Addressing gentrification and the need for innercity social housing in the Canadian context will necessitate a regulated and localizedframework for the development of strategies to deal with specific characteristics ofneighborhoods, as opposed to national programs geared at inducing general housingactivity.Such a policy structure was recently proposed by the Provincial Commissionon Housing Options to deal with, among other housing concerns, the lack of rentaland low-cost housing supply. In the case of Vancouver, enabling policy is also inplace at the Municipal level. The Four Sisters Co-op represents an initiative whichis consistent with many of the policy objectives in this guiding document; itillustrates the establishment of partnerships between different interest groups andlevels of government as the building blocks to an institutional framework requiredto face the complexities of change and balance the competing interests for housingat the local level. The process rests primarily on the shoulders of local governmentand the community, emphasizing a fundamental relationship that has become acentral framework for community planning.836,3 Recommendations on Pronosed Provincial PolicyWhile local policy must be responsive in supporting initiatives that facilitatethe creation of rental and affordable housing, the Provincial Government also canset the tone by accepting the responsibility for housing issues, particularly at a timewhen the Federal Government has disengaged much of its involvement in housingproblems. This does not mean an open-ended commitment on the part of theProvince, but rather may take the form of promoting costsharing for suchdevelopments with local government, developers, and taxpayers. Recentamendments to the Municipal Act, for example, allow special designation foraffordable or special needs housing, and density bonusing for projects containingspecial amenities. The amendments introduced in Bill 57 will also allowmunicipalities to enter into housing agreements with land owners, and to set theterms of tenure, availability of units to certain classes of persons (eg.low income,disabled, single parent families, etc.), administration and management of housingunits, and rents that may be charged. Additional housing powers allow the ability tolease land for affordable housing units at below market value, and to enforcestandards of maintenance for rental housing within their communities. Althoughthe City of Vancouver has had these- powers, other Municipalities around theprovince have been limited in this regard.The Provincial Commission on Housing Options was established in 1992 tobring forward Recommendations for housing policy in B.C. and establish a blueprintfor the direction of future housing programs. The primary symptoms of the currenthousing problems were identified as the following:-A decreasing supply of affordable housing for families;-Low rental vacancy rates;-Increasing numbers of homeless people;-Rapid increases in house prices;84Research undertaken by the Commission results in a total of 57Recommendations which promote universal housing and a new policy direction.While this framework is aimed at a wide range of housing issues, many policiesreflect the needs illustrated by this paper, particularly those related to rentalhousing, affordable and social housing, and programs aimed at homeless people andthose on some form of housing assistance. The amendments introduced by Bill 57represent the first level to implementation.The formulation of these policies is timely and consistent with the findings ofthis thesis. One basic conclusion was that, although local governments had beenactive in housing issues, particularly the City of Vancouver, there is almost auniversal view that addressing these issues can only happen if adequate support isprovided by the Province. Additional research also showed that, on the subject ofexisting housing, the widely shared view is that this is the most affordable and shouldbe preserved. Many of the recommendations call for amendments to the MunicipalAct to allow an expanded role for Municipal Governments, much like the role whichVancouver has been granted under the City of Vancouver Charter. Theinvolvement of the City in the creation of the Four Sisters reflects a very strongpresence of local government, a very well established set of programs, and theentrenchment of a pro-active and participatory process which is considered the basisfor much success in the past, and serves as a model for smaller communities.Further Recommendations are aimed at ensuring housing has a higher place on thegovernment’s agenda. The Four Sisters project is an example of both these issues.Other recommendations are aimed at ensuring that an ample supply ofaffordable rental housing exists to meet the needs of low and moderate incomegroups. Some recommendations address the problem of providing housing for coreneed residents, as well as attempt to enhance the ability of residents to pay forhousing and increase the efficiency of existing programs. Again, the system of85shared subsidy which is central to the Four Sisters is one example of usinggovernment subsidy and market demand effectively and efficiently to provide socialhousing where it is needed most.A more indicative illustration of the importance of projects like the FourSisters in the context of the inner city is the new emphasis being placed on initiativesgeared at curtailing the trend of homelessness. As stated earlier, there is ampleevidence to support the fact that the number of people living without shelter isgrowing. At the same time, many areas in the inner city are in danger of beingupgraded or at least being affected by redevelopment. Projects like the Four SistersCooperative are unique in their ability to balance the demands for new housing inthe inner city, both market and social, thereby aiding the preservation, rehabilitationand replacement of existing housing for people who are most vulnerable tobecoming homeless.The basis for all recommendations, in response to the increased role ofprovincial and municipal levels of government, is to encourage ‘partnerships amongcommunity groups, non-profit organizations, the business community, professionals,and all levels of government. Fostering this sense of participation andinstitutionalizing the cooperative process is, in fact, considered as one of the centralgoals guiding future housing policy.The policy framework which is proposed at the Provincial level is consideredboth practical and implementable, and is not expected to have a substantialfinancial impact. This is partly due to the fact that the success of future housingstrategies rests on our ability to make better use of existing resources by modifyingexisting programs, and creatively using the energy of the business community, citizengroups, local government, professionals, and the provincial government. While themajority of housing will continue to be built by the private sector, governmentinitiated action is also required to meet all of the province’s future housing needs.86In this context, the Four Sisters Housing Co-op is indeed a useful example;its success, however, is not simply a function of its award-winning design, itspotential to be replicated, or for that matter, its progressive concept surrounding theaccommodation of families in the inner city. Rather, it illustrates theimplementation of a successful interactive process of decision-making and planningamong the various interest groups and validates the future direction of provincialhousing policy being considered. The evidence of changes to the social,demographic, and economic structure of the inner city linked to gentrification issignificant, both on a local and national level. The current employment trendssuggest similar changes will continue to affect renewed development activity in theinner city. Local growth strategies also present some obvious concerns in terms ofoverspill gentrification. Recognizing these factors is the first step to formulating thecoordinated programs and effective policy at all levels, leading to the developmentof effective housing developments that address the needs of many residents. Theresult will be a process that is consistent with the emerging definition of the sharedinner city.6.4 Suggestions for Further ResearchFuture research to identify the economic and social effects of overspillgentrification from large redevelopment projects in the long term would provide alogical further test to the continued effectiveness of projects like the Four Sisters.Locally-based research on the changing demographic and social structure of innercity residents is also necessary to respond quickly to new demands for residentialaccommodation. Empirical work on the design and development of safe anddefensible urban spaces in today’s inner city is critical to ensure these projectsremain viable and liveable. Finally, additional work could be undertaken on therole of community organizations as institutions that have significant power over thedevelopment process.87BIBLIOGRAPHYAhlbrandt R.S. and P.C. Brophy. Neighbourhood Revitalization. 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London. Gentrfication, Displacement, and NeighborhoodRevitalization. New York: State University of New York Press, 1984.Peterman, W. and S.Hannan. “Influencing Change in Gentrifying Neighbourhoods:Do Community-Based Organizations Have a Role?” in Urban Resources, Vol.3: 33-64.Schorr, Phfflip. Planned Relocation. Toronto: D.C. Heath and Co., LexingtonBooks, 1975.Schuyler, David. The New Urban Landscape. Baltimore, Maryland: The JohnsHopkins University Press, 1986.Silver, C. “Neighborhood Planning in Historical Perspective”, in Journal of theAmerican Planning Association, 5 1(2), Spring, pp.l6l-l’74, 1985.Smith, N. “Gentrification and Uneven Development,” Economic Geography, 58:139-155, 1982.Varady, D.P. and J.A. Raffel. “Changing Demographics and Life Styles: What areRecent Homebuyers Really Like?” Paper presented at the 21st AnnualMeeting, Urban Affairs Association, April, 1991, Vancouver, B.C.Progressive Architecture, Special Issue: Solving the Housing Crisis, October, 1988.CONTACTS-Jim Green, DERA,- T. Leary, DERA.- J.Jessup, Vancouver Social Planning Department.91


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