Micah Davison

Department of Urban Studies and Planning

Integrative or Insulative? Making the Most of Urban Industrial Spaces

Small-scale and advanced manufacturing operations are bringing industry back to our urban landscapes. In response, many local governments are trying to preserve what remains of their industrial land. They tend to do so either through protective zoning and buffering strategies to prevent nonindustrial encroachment, or by broadening its use range and mixing industry with surrounding uses. These two approaches can be thought of as insulative and integrative, respectively. My thesis examines the tensions and tradeoffs that planners face when addressing these two seemingly divergent industrial redevelopment approaches. It examines Vancouver, a city that has received justifiable credit for creating a livable, sustainable urban realm, but in the process has released a large amount of its industrial land to other uses, and is under continual pressure to do so with the remainder. Vancouver’s selective application of insulative and integrative industrial development holds valuable lessons for cities as they plan for the future of their industrial areas.

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