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UBC Theses and Dissertations

City planning and the political and fiscal repercussions of high unemployment King, Dianne Elizabeth Mary


The environment of city planning practice includes increasing unemployment rates in the communities practitioners serve. There should be effects of this; however, there is little discussion in the literature of the relationship between high unemployment and planning. This thesis is an exploratory study of that relationship. It examines the effects of high unemployment on city planning as mediated by the political and fiscal environments. Three levels of planning are considered: strategic, normative, and operational planning. The subjective quality of the workplace is also considered. A preliminary review of the literatures on unemployment, on political participation and its economic antecedents, on planning, and on municipal fiscal stress, was followed by interviews with twenty-two planners, councillors, and administrators of nongovernmental services for the unemployed. The thesis describes the relationship between unemployment and political participation. (Canadian data on magnetic tape which can be used in quantitative work in this area are listed in the Appendix.) The implications of that relationship are then developed for city planning. The effects on planning of unemployment-related municipal fiscal pressure are also explored. A number of hypotheses are generated which take into account contextual effects. These are incorporated into four future scenarios which make different assumptions about the ability of left- and right-of-center governments to reduce the unemployment rate. The thesis concludes with directions for future research and some general issues.

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