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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The density and income patterns of metropolitan Vancouver Wiebe, Gary Bernard


It is the belief in the discipline of Urban Land Economics that as one moves further from the city center population density decreases and average household income increases. These two hypotheses have shown to be accurate in describing cities in the United States, but few studies have been done to see if the two hypotheses are also true for Canadian cities. The general intent of the thesis, therefore, was to properly model the population density pattern and income pattern of Metropolitan Vancouver to see how well they could be explained and to see if they followed the patterns of American cities. In order to address the general intent, several specific issues dealing with density and income studies had to be examined: the functional form of the models, the best proxy of access (straight-line distance or time spent in travel to the city center), whether determinants other than distance should be used in the density equation, and whether Metropolitan Vancouver should be modelled as a monocentric or multi-centric city. The techniques applied to answer these questions and fulfil the general intent included reviewing the literature, applying theory to develop models and then using ordinary least squares to test the models. The results were very good. Although no functional form could be derived for the income pattern, the negative exponential form proved, theoretically and practically, to work well for the density pattern. The distance variable was a better determinant of density than the travel time variable. Two variables, income and distance, proved to be the best determinants of population density by explaining almost half of the variation in population density. Finally, Metropolitan Vancouver was shown to be a multi-centric region but added effects of the extra center did little to help explain the density patterns. The results also showed that population density in Metropolitan Vancouver does decrease and, although not conclusive, income does generally increase with distance from the city center. These facts support the hypotheses and suggest that the density and income patterns are much like those of major U.S. cities.

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