UBC Graduate Research

Collaborative Experiments in New Ways of Living: Vancouver in the Post Post-Industrial Economy Chapman, John


Given the importance of industrial lands to a healthy urban economy and the continued threat to their existence, urban industrial land use is an essential and topical theme for study by urban planners. Based on a review of mixed land-use planning literature, primary research, and case study examples, this paper argues that specific land-use policy, re-zoning amendments, and creative real-estate development and adaptive re-use can provide appropriate space for industry, allowing it to be an integral part of the urban fabric. The case for preserving industrial lands through innovation in land-use policy is based on literature review, analysis of city policy, and qualitative research with planning practitioners, businesses, and relevant professionals. Primary research was undertaken primarily in Vancouver, while examples were drawn from identified best practices elsewhere in North America. Vancouver’s urban industry faces challenges. Decades of redevelopment has eroded the industrial land base, leaving fragmented and in some cases underutilized industrial space; at the same time demand continues to grow from local industry, as well as development pressure from continued strong demand for housing. The literature review investigates how mixed-use developments can ease the integration of industrial, residential, and commercial activities in a dense urban form, and uncovers quantitative data demonstrating that industrial lands are an important element of the urban ecosystem, providing space for productive jobs, essential services, and city functions. This paper begins with an introduction and an explanation of methodology. Section 3 is a literature review, to situate the discussion in a wider academic context. Section 4 investigates Vancouver’s industrial sector, and section 5 is a brief overview of the urban land use system. Section 6 details multiple first-person interviews, and section 7 provides analysis. Additionally, 6 case studies are attached, fleshing out examples of innovative industrial lands policy.

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