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Investigation of the relationship between cultural values and citizen opinions on growth of Greater Vancouver Oliver, Anita Louise

Abstract

The work undertaken in this thesis was for the purpose of examining the significance of the Greater Vancouver Regional District's conclusion that citizens are against further growth of the region. Growth in terms of population increase, urban expansion, and economic productivity has always been highly valued by North Americans, and it was felt that genuine rejection of the growth ethic would imply an important shift in the goal preferences of the society. A redirection of the growth ethic was discussed in relation to the structural changes that are becoming increasingly prevalent in our society, which some observers interpret as the emergence of a post-industrial society. It was emphasized that successful adjustment of the society to the conditions of post-industrialism is to a large extent dependent upon the adoption of new, more appropriate cultural values to replace those which have evolved to suit the needs of an industrial society. In order to de-emphasize continuing growth as a major goal of the society, it was suggested that those cultural values which support the growth ethic must first be modified. Specifically, it was hypothesized that those individuals who are in favor of continued growth will have more traditional values than those who are not in favor of continued growth. Three value orientations were chosen as examples of the kind of attitudes which are related to disposition to favor or reject growth. A questionnaire was devised to determine perceptions of and opinions on four aspects of growth, and to ascertain value preferences on the three dimensions defined. It was administered in person to 159 Vancouver residents. Indices of growth orientation and scales which aggregated the value preferences were constructed from the raw data. Correlation coefficients were obtained to determine if there is a consistent relationship between an individual's values and his opinion on growth. A significant relationship was shown to exist, from which it was concluded that the hypothesis was supported. The implication of these findings is that shifts in the goal preferences of the society rest upon attendant shifts in the supportive value structure

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