UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Demand for industrial property and intra-metropolitan location Van der Linde, Hendrik

Abstract

The location of industry has a marked impact on the spatial development and form of the urban area. In the past, the location of industry was determined almost entirely by the industrial firms concerned. Their decisions were based on such factors as cost, accessibility and taxation policies with little regard for the inhabitants of the communities in which they located or for their impact on the environment. This, with the increased urbanization and the phenomenal urban sprawl of the past few decades, has brought the realization that urban planning is essential. Urban planners are faced with a tremendous responsibility in attempting to balance the requirements of industry with the needs of the community. To achieve this goal it is necessary to identify industry's requirements as well as measure them in some manner. Following a general discussion of the various location theories and a review of the existing literature, this study attempts to discover by empirical means if any one of the sources of demand for industrial property is large enough to be used as a basis for predicting future growth and development in the Vancouver metropolitan area. The study incorporates in its framework a review of some of the existing literature on the location of industrial plants. The purpose of this section of the study (Chapter II) is to identify and summarize the various theories which attempt to explain why industry locates where it does. It provides the framework in which the case study of Vancouver can be presented. In addition, Chapter II provides a useful basis for comparing the observations of reviewed authors of other "western" cities with Vancouver. The primary objective of the study is to examine the sources of demand for industrial property to ascertain if any one is sufficiently large to allow it to serve as a basis for predicting future demand. It is hypothesized that the source arising from the relocation of existing companies is sufficiently large in metropolitan Vancouver to serve this purpose. Arising out of this is a secondary object: to analyse the characteristics of those firms which have relocated to discover if any common denominators exist which could be used to predict future industrial plant movements. The area of study has been restricted to Vancouver City and the Municipality of Burnaby. It would have been more desirable to include the entire metropolitan area, since definite conclusions could then have been drawn; however, the survey required to gather the data for the entire region was beyond the physical capability of any one individual. The survey yielded data on 238 companies. When the sample was originally constructed it was decided to choose 320 companies (or 40% of the presumed total population). This was considered necessary since the survey was to be conducted during the summer months. If, when the interviewer called on a company, he was unable to have the questionnaire completed, the company was dropped from the sample. In this manner, the sample was reduced to about 30%. The analysis indicated that much of the demand for industrial property originates within the metropolitan area. Although the relocation of existing industries appears to be the largest source of demand for industrial property, it is not so large that it dominates. As a consequence it is doubtful that this source could be used as a basis for projecting future industry requirements. An examination of the firms that had relocated showed that the majority moved due to dissatisfaction with the physical premises in which they were located. Once they had decided to move, they normally only gave scant attention to the location decision. This is perhaps due to the fact that many of these companies were small and did not own their premises.

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