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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Country residential growth in the Calgary region : a study of ex-urbanization Whitehead, J. Carl


This thesis presents one aspect of urbanization, the country-residential phenomenon. In the study the country residential process and pattern are defined and described in the context of the urban system. Various factors influencing the location of the country residences in this system and the implications of country residential growth to the agricultural industry, the rural municipality, and the resident himself are analyzed. Based on this analysis a strategy for controlling ex-urban growth is suggested. The Calgary Region offers an interesting case study of the process of country residential growth, since this process is the only form of urban decentralization outside the legal City permitted by public policy. Because of this the familiar residential suburbs and industrial parks found around Canadian cities are absent, and instead, isolated residences dot Calgary's periphery. Country residential growth or ex-urbanization is a term describing a process of fringe development in which the individual decision-maker opts out of the mainstream of the residential growth process, suburbanization, but nonetheless chooses to remain part of the urban system and identifies with that system. The country resident is differentiated from the suburbanite by motivation. The suburbanite is in the fringe because that is where the available housing is. The country resident, on the other hand, is there because that is where he wants to be. The country resident values the rural landscape and activities associated with it. By far the most important activities are equestrian. In this study, albeit the survey population was only equivalent to a small city neighbourhood, every occupational grouping was represented. Even though, the randomness and heterogeneity of the country residential pattern implies that no underlying process was responsible for the extant pattern, an analysis of consumer preference did uncover some order in the determinants and the constraints of location. These include (1) the physical environment, (2) the existing road network, (3) accessibility, (4) government policy, and (5) the land market. Presently, the country resident is shown to be less a burden on municipal resources than the city resident is, principally, because the main cost of country residential living fall on the resident himself. Country residential growth, or as it usually is called in this context sprawl, is very much a problem of consumer economics. The cost picture will remain more or less the same up until a suburban form of residential growth occurs in the fringe, wherein the costs are shifted to the public. When this happens the rural municipalities will suffer financial difficulties tantamount to or greater than the central citys’. Aside from the ameliorating cost structure, land resources in the fringe around Calgary are being allocated in a wasteful and completely undirected fashion. The procedure of resource allocation is almost the antithesis of planning but typifies what is occurring throughout Canada.

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