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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Strategic regional planning for the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, 1969-1981 : a systems interpretation Pawsey, Stuart


This thesis provides a long term analysis of strategic regional planning for the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, 1969-1981. However, the very nature of such a long term study exposes research problems that are masked by the traditional, short term or 'snap shot' approach. The first chapter reviews the problems of the traditional approach and argues that the lack of a dynamic, systems oriented approach in strategic regional planning stems from a theoretical gap between grand, i.e., general, theories and empirically testable hypotheses. In the theoretical framework, chapter two, Faludi's (1973) classification scheme is selected as the most evolved example of a middle range or contingency theory within the ambit of procedural planning theory. Faludi's three dimensions of planning—the blueprint versus process planning styles; the rational comprehensive versus disjointed incremental planning styles; and the normative versus functional planning styles— are then related to the three basic components of the strategic regional planning system: the type of plan; the type of planning agency; and the type of (ongoing) planning process. The variables that Faludi uses to define these three dimensions are also operationally defined in the context of the Lower Mainland study. Without any a priori hypotheses, the theoretical framework is used in chapter three to descriptively interpret shifts along these dimensions of planning for each of the Lower Mainland study's four time periods. The events and issues of the Lower Mainland study suggest the existence of a long term planning cycle, one driven by both economic growth and interactions between the components of the strategic regional planning system. In the conclusions to the study, chapter four, this cycle is generalized into a pattern of movements along the dimensions of planning and is offered as an initial hypothesis for exploring strategic regional planning in other locations. It was not possible, however, to directly establish causal relationships between the components of the strategic regional planning system because the movements along the dimensions of planning that were used to measure these components were interpreted as 'averages' based on the conflicting impacts of numerous events and issues. While a long term, systems oriented approach to analyzing strategic regional planning is still valid and required, further research requires a more detailed (direct) and integrated classification scheme or model.

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