UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Urban open space : the effect of objectives and regulations Pringle, Barbara L.


This thesis is focused on one component of the urban environment: open space, specifically open space in the downtown core. Taking the position that supplying adequate and appropriate open space is an important civic responsibility, the thesis investigates the proposition that such open space can be created through the combined effect of urban open space objectives and urban regulations. The proposition is investigated in three parts. First, the influence of urban regulations on urban open space development is examined. The regulatory histories of New York's, San Francisco's and Vancouver's downtown cores are reviewed to identify regulations that have influenced open space. Most attention is given to Vancouver's regulatory history and urban development patterns. In general, the investigation revealed that, while San Francisco defined what constitutes adequate and appropriate urban open space, New York and Vancouver did not. Because of this lack of definition the regulations continued to be developed in response to immediate situations rather than in response to open space objectives. The second part uses the historic shifts in the understanding of open space to identify four fundamental objectives for the development of adequate and appropriate urban open space. The objectives are: open space for public use; open space to shape the urban environment; open space to improve environmental quality; and open space as a network. The third part compares the regulations, identified as influencing open space, with the proposed objectives. This comparision determines how effectively the regulations achieve the objectives. Finally, a decision-making process is outlined that would enable the narrow and effective actions of the regulations achieve the broad objectives identified for urban open space. The thesis concludes that through the combined effect of urban open space objectives and urban regulations, cities can define adequate and appropriate open space and influence development to create such spaces.

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