UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Public administrative building and urban revitalization Shuckburgh, Brian John


In many North American Cities various levels of government are faced with pressing accomodation problems. In seeking to resolve these problems major investments in land and structures are taking place with potentially significant impacts upon the urban core. The study undertaken in this thesis examines the nature of these investments in terms of their potential contribution to the revitalization of the urban core. This goal has been frequently expressed of the location criteria formulated in conjunction with the investment. Two complementary concepts are presented which provide a theoretical basis for the utilization of the location decision as a tool for urban revitalization. The concepts take into account not only basic functional linkages between urban activities, but also values motivating individual and group behaviour. Characteristic social and economic behaviour is presented pertaining to the social and economic environment of the urban core. These behavioural characteristics provide a basis for expecting that a location decision will have a desired effect upon core revitalization. Social behaviour is discussed in terms of the individuals' personal, social, and cultural relationships to the urban environment. Economic behaviour is discussed in terms of investment motivation pertaining to the use and ownership of real property under general conditions of the real estate market and under specific market conditions created by a public investment. Empirical application of the theoretical planning concepts is examined through a study of the impacts emanating from the location for the City Hall, Victoria, B.C. The investment is examined in terms of changes in social and economic behaviour at the level of the location neighbourhood and throughout the city. Evaluation of these changes is made in the context of planning policy within the city at a time of the investment decision. Conclusions derived from the study of behavioural changes indicate that the investment fostered desired revitalization through changes in both actions and attitudes with respect to the study neighbourhood. Conclusions derived from examination of the planning context within which the decision was made indicate that certain unplanned consequences have also emerged as a result of the decision. The behavioural characteristics associated with public administrative buildings in the urban core and the successful stimulation of these characteristics in an empirical situation is submitted as evidence of the potential of a location decision to be used as a planning tool to foster core revitalization when the location decision is an integral component of a comprehensive approach to urban development.

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