UBC Theses and Dissertations
Examination of urban sprawl characteristics and of the role of soil quality in peripheral land use changes - Greater Vancouver Westover, Dennis M.
This thesis examines some of the problems associated with urban sprawl, and attempts to determine the role of soil quality with respect to land use changes on four rural-urban fringe sites in the metropolitan Vancouver area. Part I describes various characteristics of, and problems created by, urban sprawl, its effects on the countryside, and reasons why it occurs. In Part II, the study sites are described in terms of soils, parent materials, drainage, and topography. In addition, physical and cultural information regarding the regions surrounding each site is given to portray each site in its larger context. Details and evaluation of the research results follow. Four sites, one in each of the municipalities of Delta and Langley and two in the Municipality of Richmond, were selected with features reflecting the physical heterogeneity of the Lower Fraser Valley and for their proximity to urban centres. Four series of air photographs were assembled and examined, in conjunction with soils maps, to determine what land use modification had occurred over a period of about twenty years. Land use changes were correlated with soils data to determine which soils were most affected by urban development. The results of this study appear to indicate that soil quality (for agriculture) by itself is insufficient to delay urbanization of fringe land. Other factors, such as isolation from urban centres, zoning provisions, and economic viability, are as important as soil quality in determining the fate of agricultural land on the rural-urban fringes of Greater Vancouver.
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