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The impact of the geographic dispersal of displaced households in urban renewal programs : Vancouver, a case study Shapiro, Harold S.


This study is essentially a descriptive report on where people move after being displaced by urban renewal projects. In particular, empirical research has been conducted on the displaced population of Vancouver's Urban Renewal Project 2. Information on the geographic dispersion of relocatees provides a partial basis for assessing the effects of relocation on the displaced population and on the community at large. A review of past Canadian and U. S. relocation patterns indicates that relocated families and individuals tend to settle close to their old neighborhoods. While the availability of low income housing nearby and an inadequate knowledge of housing opportunities elsewhere are partially responsible for this pattern, a more dominant influence on relocation patterns is the reluctance of many families to abandon the sub-culture of working class or low income areas. In light of past research, the following hypothesis has been formulated regarding relocation patterns for residents displaced by Project 2 in Vancouver: The given displaced population will exhibit a tendency to relocate within one mile of the renewal site. Post-relocation addresses have been traced for 73 households or 20 percent of the displaced population which did not move into public housing. An examination of the patterns of dispersion confirms the research hypothesis. Sixty percent of the 73 households traced resettled within one mile of the renewal site. Thirty-four of these households relocated in present and proposed renewal sites. Because of a lack of data on household characteristics and on housing conditions, only a tentative assessment of the effects of relocation can be made at this time. The dispersion pattern documented suggests that few residents were socially or psychologically prepared to move at the time of displacement. For many, relocation has probably been a disruptive and disturbing experience. The dispersion pattern also suggests that housing conditions for a large number of families and individuals either did not improve or were impaired by relocation. In view of the current housing shortage, particularly for low-income groups, relocation may have resulted in the further over-crowding of low-income dwellings and in the premature deterioration of part of the city's housing stock.

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