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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Mixing of housing types : a study of selected social issues Earl, Darwin DeVoe

Abstract

Associated with the rapid increase in the proportion of multiple-family dwellings in Canada during the 1960's, was the practice of locating apartments in single-family residential areas. As suburban apartments increased, homeowners became more vocal in their opposition to mixed housing. Problems arose over mixed housing due to the fact that homeowners, developers and local government officials all had their own ideas as to where apartments should be located. As there was not adequate data on the subject to unequivocably state the correctness of one point of view over another, much more information was needed regarding the economic, political and the social implications of mixed housing. This study focuses on some of the social implications of locating apartments in single-family residential areas. Emphasis is placed on the examination of four issues related to this topic. They are: (1) The role of single-family housing and its environment in providing for the housing needs of a large segment of the housing market. (2) The growth of multiple-family housing and the need for effective apartment location policies and practices. (3) The feasibility of mixing people who possess different social and demographic characteristics in the same neighbourhood. (4) The validity of homeowners' opposition to mixed housing. The method used in this study is a combination of the library research approach, and a sample survey of homeowners' attitudes towards mixed housing. The first three issues were examined by the library research approach while the fourth was examined by the sample survey approach. The interview schedule was administered in three survey areas located in two Metropolitan Vancouver municipalities. These municipalities were North Vancouver District and Surrey. The findings show, first of all, that there is a need to conserve some single-family housing areas as they play an invaluable role in providing a type of housing for persons who want to purchase their own home, want a high degree of privacy, prefer to live among people with similar interests and backgrounds, want a large open play space for their children and who desire some degree of exclusiveness. Secondly, apartment location policies must be formulated and adhered to to reduce homeowner opposition to mixed housing by providing some degree of assurance that apartments will or will not be constructed in their neighbourhoods. These policies must not only articulate what is commonly referred to as "the good of the whole community", but also reflect the attitudes and values of smaller groups of residents who form an integral part of the community. Thirdly, while it is theoretically appealing to think of the benefits to be gained by mixing people of differing economic status and demographic characteristics, the findings of studies on this topic indicate that in no case have the ends to be achieved by a social mix ever been accomplished. The usual result has been the social isolation of persons or groups in the minority by those forming the majority. Lastly, the findings of the sample survey show that in mixed housing situations, homeowners generally approve of the appearance and type of apartments built in their neighbourhoods, and they do not perceive them to be the cause of the most of the problems normally associated with apartments. An inconsistency appears in the homeowners' attitudes in that homeowners who were living in the areas when apartments were built, continued to oppose mixed housing, while homeowners who had moved into the area after the apartments were built, approved of mixed housing.

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