After reading my post on two 1960s era films about urban renewal in Vancouver and Victoria, a reader asked what counted as “blighting factors” in the 1960s. To illustrate the answer, I have five pictures from a 1961 “Urban Renewal Study for Victoria.” I think I’ve seen similar pictures elsewhere, meaning that they were widely used.
“Mixed Uses” & “No Space Between Buildings”: It’s ironic that we now plan for mixed use urbanism, with high density that implies little space between buildings.
“Poor Environment”: I’m not sure what “poor environment” means, but think that it means planners and politicians are allowed subjective value judgements about what kind of buildings they like and don’t like, which is a poor way to plan cities. Guidelines for the type of environment we want to create in our cities have to be more explicitly stated than this one is.
“Poor lot maintenance” might be fixed if we had an equitable socio-economic system in which people made enough money to maintain their buildings to a standard that they feel comfortable with.
“Poor Streets”: These ought to be fixed by the municipality that owns them, so that’s not a good argument for wholesale expropriation and bulldozing of the neighbourhood.
These images appear on a slide in my upcoming talk on the History of Urban Renewal in Saanich. If you’re interested in hearing more, please connect with the event on Facebook, and make sure you register to attend at the library’s event page.