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Adoption of a landuse innovation : a case study of planned unit development in greater Vancouver Gawne, Arlene Ada

Abstract

The significant constraints retarding the adoption of a residential landuse innovation, planned unit development or PUD, by private land developers in Greater Vancouver was the subject of this study. PUD is a landuse approach that integrates a variety of dwelling types, recreational and community services while preserving much of the natural landscape of a site. Although its use was highly recommended by land developers and municipal planners in Greater Vancouver, few projects had actually been constructed by 1971. To identify the reasons for this delay, interviews were undertaken with key decision-making personnel in municipal planning departments and in thirteen land development companies who had repeated opportunities to use the PUD innovation prior to 1971. It was found that trial and adoption of the PUD approach was often delayed five years or longer primarily because of external conditions or agents involved in the implementation process. A serious shortage of suitable large tracts of land at reasonable costs had thwarted adoption by four developers and threatened to reduce PUD use by a further seven developers. Prior to 1968, there was a lack of suitable zoning to permit the clustering of housing, services, and open space in non-standard condominium developments. Even when appropriate legislation was developed, municipal planners and private developers still faced serious public and political opposition to the PUD innovation. Residents of predominately single-family neighbourhoods and their elected officials were afraid of change in their community , poorly informed concerning the nature of PUD, and extremely suspicious of the motivation of the private developers. This mistrust and information lag was viewed by the majority of developers as the most serious constraint against PUD adoption. Design, financing and marketing of the innovation were not perceived as significant constraints. In contrast to adoption research findings in other fields, a developer's information behaviour, antecedents or development status, and perception of the innovation were of secondary importance. Only one developer rejected PUD on the basis of incomplete information. There was no significant difference between developers of varying degrees of innovativeness as to the type, number or technical accuracy of information sources used at different stages of adoption. Only three development status characteristics were positively associated with increasing innovativeness. These characteristics, namely a large land inventory, large scale operations and a longterm investment horizon assisted developers in overcoming the primary constraints of PUD implementation. A firm belief in the relative advantage and compatibility of PUD with corporate goals also contributed to the persistance of highly innovative developers in the face of serious implementation constraints. Ultimately, the continued use of a landuse innovation depends on the satisfaction of residents with their environment, as well as the developer's satisfaction with the cost-benefit returns. If PUD in the nineteen seventies does prove to provide a desirable residential environment at acceptable costs and densities, its continued adoption may be assured.

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