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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Provision and distribution of local open space in urban residential areas Cowie, Arthur Robert


This thesis is part of a comprehensive group study undertaken by five students in the School of Community and Regional Planning. Section I, which is a combined study, explores present trends and concepts of urban growth in North America. As a result of a preliminary investigation, a study concept, "The Nodular Metropolitan Concept," was derived. An hypothesis was formulated to serve as a study base for individual research by members of the group. Section II of this thesis is the author's individual contribution which looks at one aspect, the provision and distribution of local open space within residential areas of the present city form and the Nodular Metropolitan form of development. In Chapter I, present inadequacies within North American cities are pointed out and various current classifications and standards are outlined. It was indicated that they do not appear to meet present and future needs. Chapter II looks at income as a variable of inequality in the distribution of local open space. The present system of distribution and the standards of local parks are examined in the cities of Vancouver and Montreal. Inequalities between high income areas and low income areas in respect to park quality were substantiated. Factors tested for park quality included acreage, types of facilities, seclusion and annual expenditures. It was found that lower income areas had the least acreage, types of facilities, seclusion and annual park expenditure per capita. The Nodular Metropolitan system of open space was examined in Chapter III to ascertain whether it offered a more equitable and functional distribution than the present grid system. A theoretical open space model that follows the principles of this concept was formulated and partly tested by use of a preliminary social behaviour activity survey. The model illustrates a radical change to the present open space system. Three forms of local open space are proposed for study: intensive activity open space, corridor open space and parkland open space. Due to limitations of time and survey data only the parkland category was tested as an illustration of methodology for further research. The results of the questionnaire used in the survey indicated that the present unco-ordinated system of local park distribution is not meeting basic human needs. The particular social economic group of persons interviewed expressed a need for large open spaces that offered a variety of activities but were predominately passive in character as illustrated by the parkland category within the theoretical open space model. The study indicated that the behaviour activity approach would be feasible for future use. The results of the study to date indicate that the provision and distribution of open space within the city could be perhaps more adequately provided under a form of redevelopment such as that of the Nodular Metropolitan Concept.

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