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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The internal arrangement of urban arterial business districts Montgomery, David Alexander


The purpose of this study was to examine the patterns of functional association of business types on arterial shopping streets in Vancouver. In this context the study assessed the relevance to Vancouver of spatial classificatory schemes as they have been developed in geographic literature to describe the commercial structure in other cities, particularly Chicago. Vancouver's unplanned community business districts take the form of string-streets or ribbons in that businesses are located along traffic arteries but rarely down intersecting streets; and, the strips extend for distances in excess of three thousand feet. .At the same time, however, the districts contain conformations of business types which are characteristic of convenience and shopping-goods centers as described in previous classifications. A series of working hypotheses proposed that a core-frame concept be used to develop a model of the business arrangements. The model was tested in four arterial business districts and confirmed the existence of three functional sub-areas. (i) The core of the business districts is more completely developed on one side of the dissecting artery in the area of peak land values. The core contains shopping-goods stores which serve comparative shopping trips. (ii) The frame is composed of several functionally unlinked sub-areas which serve predominantly special-purpose shopping trips. Businesses locate in the frame because they depend to some extent on the high density traffic generated by the retail core yet do not require the degree of accessibility attendant at the core. The low rental accommodation in the frame provides opportunities for establishing new businesses. (iii) The ribbon contains businesses which serve single-visit shopping trips and are functionally unlinked. The core-frame conformation evolved from an initially dispersed pattern of businesses catering to walk-in trade. After World War II retail stores began to group in a limited number of locations in response to the decentralization of shopping activities and the wide-spread use of the automobile. A. prominent frame emerged in the 1950's with the entry of financial, medical and other office activities.

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