Structural change in the inner city housing stock of St. John's, Newfoundland ; 1980-1982

Benson, Michael A. (1984) Structural change in the inner city housing stock of St. John's, Newfoundland ; 1980-1982. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

In general, the objective of the current study is to measure in a temporal context the magnitude, type and location of structural change in the inner city housing stock of St. John's, Newfoundland. The principal focus is on the standing stock of residential dwellings and the process of structural change occasioned by a highly speculative and uncertain urban environment. Although the primary concern is an empirical analysis of spatial variations in structural maintenance and repair activity and stock deletions, the study also examines specifically the responsive nature of the stock to changes in home ownership and type of ownership and assesses the impact of one particular public welfare policy, housing code enforcement, upon the supply state of the active inventory. -- The study reveals several important things. First, 26.5% of the inner city housing stock experienced some form of structural reinvestment between 1980 and 1982, 70.6% of the stock remained unchanged while 2.9% of the stock were physically removed. Of the dwellings that did experience reinvestment, 76.1% were upgraded by incumbent owners. The value of incumbent upgrading as a percent of the total value of all maintenance and repair activity measured 45.2%, nearly half of the total amount spent on structural reinvestment throughout the study area. The value of maintenance and repair resulting from ownership transaction was seen to vary according to the particular type of transaction involved. Transactions involving the purchase of residential properties by resident owners from non-resident corporate owners accounted for 14.3% of the total value of maintenance and repair generated by ownership change. Ownership transactions involving the replacement of resident owned dwellings by non-resident owners resulted in 8.6% of the total value of maintenance and repair activity while transactions from resident owners to different resident owners brought with them 8.5% of the total value of residential reinvestment. -- Throughout the study area, though, 39.4% of the total value of maintenance and repair was involuntary and made necessary by the violation of minimum property standards. Dwellings in violation of codes and by-laws enforced by the City of St. John's amounted to 17.5% of all inner city dwellings and, on average, each violating dwelling incurred 5.7 violations and took 361.9 days to comply with letters of notification. -- In view of the research contained herein, the current investigation contends that although there has been evidence of some reinvestment activity in the form of inner city revitalization, that which has occurred has been sporadic and spatially variable. Most importantly, recent structural change does not appear to support a process of gentrification or return to the city on a prodigious scale. Rather, incumbent upgrading of the stock has been more apparent than stock improvements made by recent in-movers. While structural disinvestment has shown signs of arrest, it has not been transformed into large scale, area-wide reinvestment activity. Being neither in decline or in revitalization, then, the inner city housing stock of St. John's as of 1982 has assumed a state of quiescence. Speculation as to its immediate future appears to be nearly as irresolute as the policy environment in which it exists.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/7813
Item ID: 7813
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 238-260.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Geography
Date: 1984
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Canada--Newfoundland and Labrador--Avalon Peninsula--St. John's
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Housing--Newfoundland and Labrador--St. John's; Housing rehabilitation--Newfoundland and Labrador--St. John's; Urban renewal--Newfoundland and Labrador--St. John's

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