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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The influence of zoning on the location of multiple family development Gram, Margo


This thesis investigates empirical analysis as a means of providing information to planners and policy-makers on specific policy decisions. The problem examined in the study is whether empirical analysis can determine the influence of zoning on multiple family development. It was assumed that the main influence of zoning is in determining the location of new multiple family development. The objective was to define the significance of zoning among the factors involved in the locational decision. Through a review of planning and related literature, basic concepts of land use models were examined, identifying some of the limitations of these models. The literature review also included a number of empirical studies, representative of the wide variety of existing research. The factors considered to have the greatest influence of the location on multiple family development were identified from the studies including availability of land, ease of assembly, physical conditions of the neighbourhood, social characteristics of the neighbourhood and local demand. These factors were included in a multiple regression equation, a statistical technique for measuring the amount of variation in the dependent variable (the location of multiple family development) which can be explained by the variation in the independent variables. It was hoped that two years could be analyzed but problems with the data limited the study to one year, 1975. The descriptive data for the City of Vancouver indicated that in 1975, 17 acres of multiple family development was started from a possible 300 acres of developable multiple family zoned land. The results of the regression analysis indicate that the zoning variables which define the availability of land explained four times as much of the variation in the location of multiple family development starts as the combined explanatory power of the remaining significant independent variables. The results are interesting because, they suggest the powerful influence of zoning even when there appears by observation to be an adequate supply of multiple family zoned land. Such empirical analysis cannot determine how much development potential is needed so as not to significantly constrain multiple family development. It does however indicate the relatively small proportions of available land being developed and the strength of zoning in developers' locational decisions. Further analysis could demonstrate how the proportion of development activity to available land changes over time as well as the changing influence of zoning. This information could benefit policy-makers, providing them with a better understanding of the relationship between development and development potential. The advantage of a simple form of empirical analysis, such as undertaken here, is that it is a relatively easy method of generating new information. The type of data used in this study is often available in urban centres and the regression analysis does not involve a large committment in time or money. Provided that planners are careful to recognize the weaknesses of empirical analysis, the additional information which is possible to obtain is justification for its continued use in planning research.

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