UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Suburban residential streetscape : an investigation of development controls and practices Tanner, Teas


The recent explosive growth of suburbs may be interpreted to be a contemporary expression of man's basic desire to secure for himself an improved living environment. This modern exodus of population to suburbs in North America was made possible by the automobile, which, by making individual mobility a reality, enabled man to establish his place of residence away from his place of employment in accordance with his desires and needs. The automobile, therefore, can be said to be largely responsible for the growth of the suburbs which surround to-day’s North American towns. But the advantages introduced by the automobile are also accompanied by numerous adversities which are just beginning to emerge. Large portions^ of our cities are devoted to intermittently occupied blacktop parking lots and our suburbs consist of intricate networks of monotonous streets along which men have established their residences which were to be their private, secluded havens. The objective of this study is to investigate the effects of current street right-of-way and other development regulations and practices on the emerging suburban residential environment and streetscape design, and to gather and to present recommendations for the enhancement of conditions. To this end an analysis of the needs of man the resident, man the pedestrian, and man the driver in a study unit was undertaken through an examination of the literature. It was observed that the presence of the automobile in our society has created numerous problems and that attempts are being made to resolve the dilemmas. But it was also observed that most past and current remedial attempts emphasize further provision for the car and this usually at the expense of the resident and the pedestrian. For the purpose of this study it was concluded and shown that the present study unit environment, or streetscape, in a suburban residential development is adversely affected by the automobile. Next, the focus of the study was shifted to an analysis of common suburban streetscape development regulations and practices. It was observed that most regulations and methods, although being fair attempts to deal with a complex problem, are antiquated and ill-suited and do not satisfy to-day's requirements. Next, with the support of the observations and conclusions from the preceding analyses and additional investigation of alternate and more contemporary development concepts, through an examination of the planning literature, recommendations were presented for the enhancement of study unit environment and streetscape development. It was concluded, that by the implementation of hierarchical circulation channels, by revision of uniform zoning controls and inflexible subdivision regulations, and by adoption of comprehensive study unit development plans, both the streetscape and environmental quality of existing and future suburban study units could be improved in an economic manner.

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