Metro Vancouver, officially referred to as Metro Vancouver Regional District (MVRD), is a political as well as corporate entity which has been designated as a regional district in British Columbia, Canada. The organization was previously known as Greater Vancouver Regional District from 1968 to 2017 (Vancouver.ca, 2018). The MVRD is constituted by local authorities which are responsible for administration and governance of the region (Masuda & Bookman, 2018). The most populated city of the district is Vancouver while the nerve-center for administrative bodies are in the city of Burnaby. The Fraser river runs through the middle of the MVRD (Community Profile, 2018). Geographically, MVRD is situated towards the north of the State of Washington and east of the Strait of Georgia. According to the 2016 Census conducted by Statistics Canada there are 2,463,431 inhabitants living in the district. The district has an area of 2,882.68 sq. Kms. according to which the population density is 854.6/sq. Km as of 2016 (Vancouver.ca, 2018). This makes Metro Vancouver the most populous and dense area in the entire British Columbia. Metro Vancouver is a cosmopolitan district consisting of a culturally diverse population which lineages running back to several parts of globe. This makes the district an inclusive one as it houses a wide range of views and cultural practices. A truly international spirit has emerged in the district on account of its diverse demography (Wideman & Masuda, 2018). In this research assignment the two communities of Downtown Eastside and Marpole shall be taken up in order to determine which one is more appropriate for the residence of a family. Downtown Eastside is a neighborhood in central Vancouver while Marpole is located in the south. The population characteristics, cultural and social backgrounds of the residents and the major economic sectors of the areas shall be taken up for the study in order to arrive at the conclusions.
The research shall be conducted based on the use of secondary sources. In this study, both qualitative and quantitative data shall be put to use. The quantitative data shall be taken into consideration in order to present results from analyzing various statistical and numeric data available at the disposal of the researcher. While, on the contrary, the qualitative aspects of the research shall draw its inferences from the available information about the cultural and social aspects related to the two communities within the Vancouver area of British Columbia. The research for gathering its qualitative and qualitative data shall conduct a thorough analysis of various texts such as articles, journals, books and other forms of literary materials presented by different scholars and researchers throughout the ages. Different types of the reports published by the authorities such as health reports, population census, cultural diversity reports and economic reports on the two areas shall be taken into consideration for the sake of conducting the quantitative based research. Apart from these, the data presented by various websites owned and managed by non-governmental bodies and health organizations shall also be analyzed in order to draw an outline and present the data in a more well defined and structured form.
Downtown Eastside Community
The Downtown Eastside Community is mostly inhabited by low income residents. It is needless to mention that housing facilities of this area will not have all modern amenities. Rents are usually low but there have been several issues where landlords have been accused of having failed to resolve tenant problems and illegally evicting tenants (Masuda & Bookman, 2018). Further details regarding this community shall be discussed in the following sections:
Figure 1: Location of Downtown Eastside in the Vancouver city
(Source: Google Maps, 2018)
1. Population Characteristics: There is no official information regarding the exact number of inhabitants in Downtown Eastside. Estimates range from 6,000 to 8,000 individuals (Woodvine, 2018). A 2013 study revealed that 77% of the population is male with the median age of 44. There are a lot of issues associated with the population of Downtown Eastside. The most pressing concern for the community is its problem of drug addiction.
Figure 2: Drug related death and issues in Downtown Eastside
(Source: Alimohammadi et al. 2018)
Substance abuse being a widely prevalent condition among the residents, many of them suffer serious health conditions (Alimohammadi et al. 2018). Mental health is also an issue among them (Olding et al. 2018). A substantial portion of the population suffer from psychological problems on account of the use of drugs that have the potential to cause permanent psychosis (Jones, 2015).
2. Social and Cultural Patterns: People from multiple ethnic and cultural backgrounds reside in Downtown Eastside. There are Europeans, Aboriginals and immigrants from various parts of the globe. The community has a rich culture and the residents take pride in it. The city is home to a large number of artists and it has the second highest concentration of artists in the entire city. The community also has a lot of art-galleries and studios where artists display their works (Lepofsky, Lertzman, Hallett & Mathewes, 2005). It also hosts a number of festivals which celebrate diverse forms of art and cultures, a notable one being the Powell Street Festival in Oppenheimer Park. The Downtown Eastside is one of the most inclusive communities of entire British Columbia. Marginalized people from all over the region come here to seek refuge and acceptance.
3. Main Economic Sectors: Downtown Eastside does not have a flourishing economy compared to other parts of MVRD. However, the government and certain other private organizations have come forward in order to improve the economic and infrastructural conditions of the community. Several buildings have been renovated in order to provide housing options to the poor people. The average income is $13,691 which is substantially lower than $47,229 of the city as a whole (Revolvy, 2018). It also needs to be mentioned that a major portion of the economy of the community operates through illegal drug trade.
Marpole which was historically reckoned as Musqueam Village which is mainly located at the southern end of the Vancouver City. This community has been one of the oldest communities of the Vancouver area. The city has many costly and well-built apartments and houses and is equipped with all modern amenities and medical facilities (Marpole Business Association, 2018). The overall quality of life is well in here and average cost of living is costly in comparison to some other places in the Metro Vancouver area.
Figure 3: Location of Marpole in the Vancouver city (Community plan)
(Source: Scottish Cultural Centre, 2018)
4. Population Characteristics: The population in the Marpole place as per the census of 2016 accounts to around 631485 individuals with majority people from the age range of 20 to 64 years. Around 21.5% of the population of Marpole is identified to be Chinese people, among which, two sub communities are present and speak two different forms of the Chinese language, the Mandarin and the Cantonese (O'Connor, 2018).
Figure 4: Community, Cultural and population details of Marpole in the Vancouver city
(Source: Vancouver.ca, 2018)
The major 51.3% comprises of English speaking people. The smaller sections of the population consist of Tagalog, Japanese, Spanish and Korean people. It has been also accounted that 59% of the total population of the Marpole area were individuals who originate from outside of Canada (Vancouver.ca, 2018).
5. Social and Cultural Patterns: During the 1860s, the non-natives were the first who started settling in and around the area. Slowly, this place was inhabited by the Chinese and other population during the First World War. The cultural aspect of this place is cosmopolitan in nature. The diverse population celebrate various festivals such as the Chinese New year, Halloween, and Christmas. The community halls in the area also hold operas and other musical events in different European languages (Kluckner, 2018). Things such as cultural spaces including artist live-work studios and mixed-use buildings are made and established in areas such as Granville, Lower Hudson, and the duplex area south of SW Marine Drive. The society present here mainly belong from the middle class and the upper middle class, being great patrons of street arts, theatre, live artist studio and other forms of cultural and artistic work.
6. Main Economic Sectors: Several shops and establishments such as eateries, big box stores and small scale manufacturing concerns are located at southern end of the Granville street. While the main heavy manufacturing industries which employs maximum of the population of the region are located along the sides of the River of Fraser (Marpole Area Residents’ Alliance, 2018). West of the Arthur Laing bridge consists of liquor shops, grocery shops and other convenience stores. Marine Gateway, located at top of Marine Drive station has huge spaces for setting up commercial activities and can accommodate more shops and offices. Apart from these, there are many public art theatres and operas which employs many of the artists in and around the area.
The details regarding the two communities taken up above demonstrate that while the former is an inclusive area, it might not be the best place to start a family and plan residence for the next ten years. Downtown Eastside has problems of drug addiction, mental illness and a high crime rate. Therefore, it shall not be able to provide the requisite levels of safety and security. This shall also mean that for children it will not be a healthy environment at all. It is also not a good place to seek employment opportunities as this area does not have a thriving economy (Jones, 2015). While on one hand, it has a rich cultural heritage, on the other, this trait is outweighed by the adversities that the area presents before a prospective resident.
Compared to Downtown Eastside, Marpole presents a better picture as a residential community. It hosts a people from diverse ethnicities and therefore, it is welcoming to all kinds of people who live together freely. The community is culturally very active and therefore, the residents can engage themselves in recreational activities from time to time (Ruck, 2018). Housing rent is obviously more than that of Downtown Eastside but it is justified on account of the availability of all modern facilities and the promptness with which landlords address the issues of the tenants. The community also has a lot of educational opportunities for children as it has a number of elementary schools namely the David Lloyd George Elementary School and the Laurier Annex. This provides another incentive for families with children to reside in this community (Vancouver.ca, 2018).
Therefore, it can be observed that for residential purposes, Marpole will definitely be a better choice. It shall afford better living conditions, educational and employment opportunities which are the basic requirements for living in a certain area.
The study has presented a well-defined overview related to the communities residing in the Marpole area and the Downtown Eastside area. The cultural and social aspects, population characteristics as well as detailing of economic sectors and affairs in the neighboring places in the city has been considered here as the main three themes for conducting this study. The study has been divided into mainly three sections, initiating with some introductory phrases, then a dedicated section describing the different research methods that have been used and the kind of data that has been taken into account in order conduct the research. The sources have been mentioned for the type of data taken here. The next section satisfied the explanation of results that the researcher has obtained by conducting the study. Based on the research, it can be found that the Downtown Eastside population is still living their days in utter poverty and daily suffering. The authorities have taken into account various measures and reforms in order to improve the conditions of health and education in the area, trying to counter all the drug related issues. However, they have not been able to completely eradicate all those problems and till now, it is not a fit place for meeting high quality and hygienic residential purpose. On the other hand, the Marpole area has better amenities, health facilities for the people and has better educational and stable earning opportunities. Thus, it can be said that authorities should adopt considerable measures in order to bring improvement in the lives of people residing in the Downtown eastside area in order to make it at par and equally a habitable place in comparison to the Marpole area of the Vancouver city.
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