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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Inducing spontaneity : high-technology led development in False Creek Flats Eng, Kevin


High-technology and information technology industries represent a growing component of 'new economy' sector activities. Cities around the world often perceive these industrial and commercial activities to be high-growth in nature, bringing economic advantages and benefits to the cities where they are situated within. Concentration of hightechnology and information technology economic activity in cities has resulted in the formation of localstrategies and related policy initiatives aimed at attracting these sector industries into designated areas. Initial problems that ensued revolved around questioning the legitimacy, effectiveness and appropriateness of implementing these policy initiatives, which were characteristic of 'induced' development. Impacts on broader issues regarding the city's space-economy and structure were often not taken into account in these implemented high-technology led strategies and policies. This thesis responds to these problems by addressing the planning imperatives of initiating high-technology sector led development in urban environments. False Creek Flats was the primary case study examined in this thesis. Due to the proximity of the False Creek Flats site to Vancouver's metropolitan core, a research concentration on the inner-city is carried throughout the thesis. The research objectives and question are aimed at examining challenges posed to planning by following a particular policy and city initiated development path for high-technology sector concentration in False Creek Flats. Objectives are focused around the purpose of conducting a policy analysis on the process and initiatives for high-technology policy formation that occurred over the past decade in False Creek Flats. The research methodology consisted of gathering relevant and informing data and theories through an academic literature review. Information derived from editorial sources was also utilized to situate issues directly related to the primary case study. City of Vancouver policies, documents and sources represented a majority of the primary sources pertaining to the policy analysis of the high-technology framework for False Creek Flats. An internship conducted with the City of Vancouver Central Area Planning Division contributed to gaining access to information and planning perspective on the Flats high-technology led strategy. The stated imperatives to planning are based on False Creek Flats high-technology led strategy's classification as a primarily induced development. Imperatives exhibited in the policy framework formation and details are the importance of the proactive and assertive stance taken by the City of Vancouver and Planning Department. Flexibility, evolution and innovation to formulate new planning responses to deal with the problems and opportunities of implementing high-technology initiatives in the Flats were found to be essential. Planning implications for this case study include the ability to examine the issues from a broader perspective to take into account ramifications on existing city policy, structure and function. These planning elements are going to be critical in maintaining the original guiding principles, vision and goals for high-technology sector concentration in False Creek Flats.

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