UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The expansion of urban fringe communities : a case study of the Lower Mainland Region of British Columbia. Grimmer, Dennis McLean


The phenomenon of urban fringe service centres and their relationship to patterns of existing and future metropolitan land uses constitutes the basic material of this thesis. It is considered that existing communities on the periphery of the central city grew because of the specific functions they performed. Whether or not these functions have diminished over time, these communities should be utilized in allocating future metropolitan land use patterns because of the investment in human and material resources represented within them, from both the public and the private sector. In this regard it is hypothesized that: In a metropolitan region where expansion from the core is still taking place, predominantly on a horizontal plane, older urban service centres on the metropolitan fringe demand consideration as foci for new urban growth, provided their suitability in terms of location vis-a-vis the core area, and general socio-physical environment can be demonstrated. An attempt is made to assess fringe communities in the light of regional considerations. It is recognized that these communities owe their original existence to specific factors, such as, an agricultural service centre to an agricultural hinterland, or a resort centre to a recreational resource, and that such communities are inextricably related to the core city of a metropolitan region. The community has evolved to satisfy the range of human needs and wants and has grown as a result of the process of industrialization with its attendant division of labour. The process of industrialization has manifested itself in an ambivalent manner. First, increased mechanization has eliminated much of the demand for farm labour but at the same time increased the demand for labour in factories. That this originally occurred in a time when mechanized transport was unavailable contributed to the growth of cities. The form of the city or the urban region has evolved from a dense arrangement of residential, commercial, and industrial functions to a sprawling decentralization of these same functions. Two major factors have contributed to this phenomenon. First, mechanized transportation, particularly in the form of the private automobile and second, the apparent universal goal of low density living, manifested by the single family house. The central city has "burst its container" and the periphery is becoming suburbanized at an alarming rate. Commensurate with this has been an apparent demise of the older urban service centres located on the periphery. There would appear to be a good opportunity to retain these communities and utilize them as the "centre" for expanded communities. Such utilization, if fringe communities were suitably located with respect to the metropolitan core, would theoretically result in a rational pattern of metropolitan land use. An investigation of the above possibility utilizes the Lower Mainland Region of British Columbia as a case study. The established communities of Cloverdale and White Rock are examined in detail so as to ascertain their viability from a socio-physical viewpoint and to assess their validity for retention and expansion as new metropolitan towns. The thesis is based on the regional development concept of the Lower Mainland Regional Planning Board which recommends the creation of a pattern of separate communities with an ultimate population of 100,000 persons each, to accommodate metropolitan population expansion in the Vancouver area. After analyzing physical and social criteria for Cloverdale and White Rock it is concluded that the viability per se of these communities is only a secondary asset if their location with respect to the metropolitan core is adequate. Rather it becomes the specific site that is deemed desirable as the locale for new communities. If their commercial cores are viable and in the case study communities it is felt that they are, then Cloverdale and White Rock could satisfactorily be utilized as the nucleus of new town centres. This assumes that potential problems regarding urban renewal and rehabilitation are not too great, although specific judgment of such is beyond the scope of this thesis. The conclusions are predicated on an improved system of local administration, that is, a regionally oriented system. New planning legislation in British Columbia and a conceptual regional administrative framework is assessed with a view to implementing regional land use proposals. Such a system is essential if metropolitan decentralization, virtually a necessity, is to proceed on a rational and efficient scale. Thus, it is felt the hypothesis has been adequately demonstrated.

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