UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A design for the evaluation of neighbourhood design guidelines Goldburn, Christine Mary


In 1982, after considerable discussion and negotiation, the City of Edmonton municipal council approved a neighbourhood plan which had as one of its components a set of Design Guidelines intended to mitigate the perceived negative effects of the high density residential environment which the plan proposed. As well, the developers' concept for the area promoted the creation of a highly interactive and cohesive community, free of crime and with a strong sense of identity as promoted in Oscar Newman's book Defensible Space. As yet the neighbourhood has not been built, but once the area is developed and occupied, it is expected that the City Administration will conduct an evaluation of the Neighbourhood to determine whether the design concept as expressed in the Guidelines was effective, and effected, in the manner initially proposed. This thesis will undertake the initial stages of this evaluation, by examining the theory of neighbourhoods and neighbouring as well as the past experience of other cities with respect to neighbourhood development. This part of the thesis takes the form of extensive literature review, and results in the identification of four major and several minor topics which should be examined in the eventual evaluation of Terra Losa. The thesis then identifies the implicit and explicit goals of the Design Guidelines. In a discussion based on the results of the literature review, the relevance and feasibility of the goals is examined. Finally, and again based on the literature, particularly the case studies, an evaluation of the Defensible Space concept is presented and suggestions are made as to the procedures to be followed in eventually conducting a neighbourhood evaluation. The thesis concludes that although the intentions of the developers' concept is laudable, that the effectiveness of physical design in creation of a strong social community is limited, though it appears from past experience that the Guidelines, if properly implemented, would be effective in achieving this limited level of influence and relatively high levels of residential satisfaction.

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