UBC Graduate Research

Copy + Paste : The Legacy of Sameness Singh, Rohin


In the eyes of many contemporary urban planners and theorists, our current approach to housing exists as an unfortunate amalgamation of corporate ideals and social stratification. To many artists and creatives, it represents a stale repetition of uninspired nothingness. From capitalism, transnationalism, and alienation; to greed, envy, and security; there are countless motivators, both internal and external, that have dictated the way in which we have shaped the world around us. It can be observed at every scale, from single-family dwellings to major comprehensive developments. While the claims of an enterprise-driven homogeneity are certainly valid, there is another perspective that doubtlessly factors into how we have actualized our built environment. I grew up in an East Vancouver neighbourhood that typified copy and paste housing. I was the child of immigrant parents who didn’t quite fit in. Yet still, we hold those years in high regard with a fondness and sense of pride that is unquestionably related to place. Though we did not always look or act like our neighbours, the apparent resemblance of our respective dwellings provided us with an intangible, but definite social capital. Particularly, for a group of outsiders seeking integration and involvement, the neutrality that is inherited by likeness served as an unspoken, but nevertheless invaluable tool of inclusion. As such, this thesis turned from an eager scrutinization of the principal disconnect between space-making and desire into a sympathetic defence. An inquiry on how we might leverage the evolving legacy of architectural sameness in a manner that equally engages nonpartisanship, symbiosis, and enterprise.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International