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The use of newcomers' experiences in the urban planning process Gallins, Myra Berk

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine whether newcomers to a large urban area, could be of special assistance to the planner. In order to discover whether newcomers could be of special use in the planning process, it was necessary to determine if newcomers' opinions of the city differed from those of longterm residents. For if they did, then the planner might be able to derive from the newcomers fresh insight into the planning problems posed by his city. Hence three hypotheses were formulated: I. Newer residents' opinions regarding the quality of their neighbourhood's services and facilities vary significantly from those of longterm residents. II. Newer residents' community participation varies significantly from that of longterm residents. III. Newer residents' views on the quality of neighbourhood services and facilities and the extent of their community participation vary significantly according to the size and location of their former residence. These hypotheses were tested by means of a questionnaire orally administered to a random sample of 108 residents of the Kitsilano area of Vancouver. On the basis of the answers obtained, each of the hypotheses was submitted to the statistical scrutiny of multiple discriminant analysis, multiple regression analysis, and percentage comparisons. Newer residents were found to have different opinions from long-term residents on the quality of their neighbourhood's services and facilities and to participate less in community activities. Within the newcomer ranks former location was an important distinguishing variable. Thus all three hypotheses were substantiated by the results of this study as well as by some earlier research findings. Hence it was concluded that residence length differences alone, were significant enough to devise some way of consulting newcomers as one aid to the urban planning process. The planner can potentially make use of the newcomers' previous experience and unencumbered perceptions to gain fresh insight into the planning problems posed by his city.

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