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Residential segregation of elite groups in Vancouver, British Columbia Cooper, Marion Gibb Struthers

Abstract

The concern of this study is with residential location. It is contended that while consideration of economic and broad social variables will explain general patterns of segregation, finer differentiation exists which can only be revealed when detailed household characteristics are taken into account. The hypothesis under examination is that the social character of an individual or household has a significant effect on the choice of residential location, people with similar social characteristics grouping together in the same residential area. The hypothesis was tested in two upper income areas of Vancouver, British Columbia - Shaughnessy and British Properties - the expectation being that two distinct groups might emerge, representing an old elite group and a new upper class. Such a distinction was sought in terms of three main variables - mobility, family ties and social background. After interviewing thirty households in each area it was found that two distinct groups did emerge, the Shaughnessy group displaying characteristics attributable to the old upper class - stability, strong family ties and a prestige social background common to all the members - while the British Properties residents were highly mobile, had weak family ties and varied social backgrounds lacking the prestige elements present in the other group, such characteristics being typical of a new elite. These distinct social groups are shown to be spatially segregated with households of similar characteristics occupying the same residential area.

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