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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The transformation of a captured city : New Westminster, B.C. 1945-1991 Noah, Earl G.


The envelopment of small, pre-existing cities into the urban field of larger metropoles is a neglected area of geographic inquiry. Smaller established cities often maintain distinctive identity and possess an internal cohesion and vitality which in time is significantly disrupted by an advancing metropolitan frontier. As the wave of metropolitan influence flows outwards, the secondary cities are metaphorically "captured" and in the process their unique identities are eroded. New Westminster, B.C., has been chosen to examine the complex processes that maintain or transform captured cities. The viability and coherence of New Westminster is interpreted within a theoretical framework utilizing concepts arising from Jane Jacobs's urban commentary, social science research derived from systemics and nonequilibrium thermodynamics, and the urban field model. This framework is operationalized by the use of surrogate measures, such as retail sales, traffic flows and the May Day festival, to indicate the interrelationships among the various economic, political, community, cultural and demographic forces. The framework documents the stability of New Westminster between 1945 and 1956, its deterioration from 1957 to 1983 and its tentative revitalization in the 1980s and 1990s. This analysis permits the presentation of a model that accounts for the transformation of a captured city.

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