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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The 'Monster' House revisited: race and representations of urban change in Vancouver Wang, Holman


In the last 15 years, urban change in Vancouver, British Columbia, has been broadly understood in racial terms. Media and academic treatments of landscape transformation have suggested that Vancouver, as a 'gateway city' to the Pacific Rim, will inevitably experience Asian-lead change, economism, and 'creative destruction'. Oppositely, white Canadians are often portrayed as the defenders of tradition, the environment, and Vancouver 'as is'. The epithet 'monster' house, used to describe large, new, and predominandy Chinese-owned houses in Vancouver's elite Anglo neighborhoods, evidences how built form has been strongly correlated with the concepts of race and culture in popular representations of landscape. This thesis problematizes these essentialist, race-driven narratives by examining the ways in which textual representations of urban change are embedded within existing relations of power, particularly taken-for-granted subject-object looking relations.

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