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Back to the future : some ideas for the economic rejuvenation of Victory Square

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Title: Back to the future : some ideas for the economic rejuvenation of Victory Square
Author: Bennett, Paul Mackenzie
Degree Master of Arts in Planning - MA(Plan)
Program Planning
Copyright Date: 1999
Subject Keywords Urban renewal -- British Columbia -- Vancouver; Victory Square (Vancouver, B.C.); Vancouver (B.C.) -- Economic conditions; City planning -- British Columbia -- Vancouver
Abstract: The thesis analyzes policies and programs appropriate in responding to the decline of the Victory Square Concept Planning Area, which was once at the heart of Vancouver. This topic is important in light of similar situations throughout North America. Victory Square is located within the larger Downtown Eastside, whose fractious political climate may reduce the likelihood of success in future community undertakings. The thesis reviews relevant economic theory and the merits and methods of public sector intervention. Questions are raised as to how seriously the City has taken the problems of the Square area from an historical perspective, how effective its current policies are and whether the VSCPA is a legitimate planning area. A Community Economic Development approach is advocated due to the shortcomings of "traditional strategies. Vancouver's unique post-Fordist economy has encouraged the growth of the Victory Square Concept Planning Area's creative design sector, which has been accompanied by an increase in cultural and educational institutions. In order to increase retail activity, three strategies are available. Retailing is important not only for individual entrepreneurs and potential employees but because it also businesses and ancillary services, while serving the increasingly integrated production system. A larger population would include some higher-income singles, more working women and career-oriented professionals/managers with greater disposable incomes and pursuit of leisure and cultural activities. The author advocates legalization of illegal and lower-rent artists lofts, the encouragement of residential development and heritage conversion as well as limited tourism. Although heritage conservation activities are often viewed as precursors to gentrification and cost benefit evidence is non-conclusive, it can create youth employment and a diversity of social and mixed-income housing and commercial space. The main issue for heritage property developers is whether the value of a structure after rehabilitation exceeds the hard, soft and rent-up costs of acquisition, rehabilitation, operation and disposition. While increased economic activity will hopefully raise the income of all local residents, this cannot be assumed nor would such change be immediate. Effective public policy-making, partnerships and private sector initiatives should be mobilized to restore and renovate a judicious mix of heritage structures into a viable combination of mixed-residential, retailing, office and public space, while striving to maintain services and accommodation for the low-income population.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2429/9355
Series/Report no. UBC Retrospective Theses Digitization Project [http://www.library.ubc.ca/archives/retro_theses/]

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