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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Gentrification’s impact on neighbourhood public service usage Buchan, Robert Bruce


Over the last decade gentrification has demanded a great deal of attention from urban scholars. In spite of this attention, the literature is characterized more by speculation than answers especially with regards to gentrification's consequences and planning implications. In response to this deficiency, this thesis sets out to determine the effects of gentrification on inner city neighbourhood public service demand. Because it is not clear how gentrification affects public service demand, urban policy makers are unable to plan for changes in demand. Knowing what will be demanded could facilitate efficient delivery of new services and efficient closure of costly underused services. Moreover, knowing what will be demanded may help decision makers arrive at better informed decisions. A case study area, Vancouver's Grandview Woodland, was chosen because it was able to provide a sample of gentrifiers and of traditional inner city residents. Forty one gentrifier and forty one traditional resident households were interviewed using a questionnaire designed to gather information about each group's demographics, satisfaction with street and traffic conditions, and their use of, satisfaction with, and attitudes toward neighbourhood public services. The attitudinal data indicate that gentrifiers value neighbourhood amenities such as parks, good street and traffic conditions, and other public services significantly more than the traditional residents do. This is expressed in their positive and negative perceptions of the neighbourhood's characteristics. There is also evidence that the gentrifiers are motivated to secure the public services they desire, for they feel that the services which they use are very important to their households. The behavioural data indicate that the gentrifiers present greater demands for parks, family centres, public health clinics, tennis and racquetball courts, and community centres. They only decrease demand for ethnic centres, and they maintain demand for other neighbourhood public services.

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