Sexuality and the city: exploring gaybourhoods and the urban village form in Vancouver, BC.

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Borbridge, Richard
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A case study of Vancouver’s West End neighbourhood examines the cultural, structural, economic and political impacts of a glbtt (gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and two-spirited) community and a gay urban village on its city. This work also queries the role of municipal government in the regulation and maintenance of the social composition and identity of a neighbourhood. Finally, the future of gay urban villages is discussed as their role in promoting solidarity and safety transitions toward a commercial and nodal one. This research involved three local key informant interviews and nine community residents who participated as photographers in a community visual analysis. Results unveiled a neighbourhood intrinsically well suited to serving a transient gay male community with an increasing dispersion of the identifying demographic. For the foreseeable future the significance of the Davie Village in the socio-sexual landscape of Vancouver appears secure through the nodal nature of gay retail, bars and services, reinforced by business interests. As an urban typology supporting a comparatively young glbtt culture, the gay urban village plays a unique role in the city, providing spaces of experimentation and invention — a stage for new systems of cultural (ex)change to emerge.
urban village, gay, West End, photography, metaspace, neighbourhood change, urban design, Vancouver