Municipally Managed Gentrification in South Parkdale, Toronto

Article excerpt

Auparavant, les etudes de l'embourgeoisement des quartiers desherites au Canada, particulierement a Toronto, projet une image du processus comme il etait d'une facon libere: une reaction de la classe moyenne a la conformite oppressive de la banlieue, de la planification moderniste, et des principes du marche. Cet article, une etude de cas de l'embourgeoisement a South Parkdale, Toronto, pose les questions a propos de cette image en illustrant le role du context local en theorie et en politique, et les consequences de l'embourgeoisement pour les populations vulnerables des quartiers desherites. Une fois, un quartier desire, South Parkdale a connu le desinvestissement apres la construction du Gardiner Expressway dans les annees 60, et plus de problemes dans les annees 70 et 80 apres la deinstitutionalisation des malades psychiatriques des hopitaux jouxtants. Les malades reformes ont souffert une manque d'options abordables du logement, et plusieurs se sont retrouvees dans les maisons de rapport inferieur aux normes exigees et dans les studios desquels South Parkdale possede une portion disproportionne a Toronto. Depuis le milieu des annees 80, l'embourgeoisement sporadique du quartier s'est intensifie aux annees recentes, car la ville de Toronto regularise et donne une licence aux quartiers du logement de rapport inferieur aux normes exigees--un grand souci pour les locataires, qui a peur que les proprietaires vont utiliser la legislation provinciale recente de la location pour attirer les residents nantis dans leurs batiments ameliores. Cet article etudie la situation avec l'evidence qualitative et dispute que I'embourgeoisement a South Parkdale, manoeuvre et gere par la politique neoliberale, est tres loin d'un processus d'une facon libere et je propose qu'on a besoin d'une interpretation de l'embourgeoisement qui regarde au dessus des experiences de la classe moyenne.

Introduction

Revived interest in the gentrification of central city neighbourhoods in North America, Europe and Australia has led to informative contributions to our understanding of the nuances of the process and its relationship to local, national and global forces (Lees 2000; Badcock 2001; Bridge 2001; Butler and Robson 2001; Wyly and Hammel 2001; Atkinson 2002; Hackworth 2002; Slater 2002; Smith 2002). Currently, the gentrification literature appears to have engaged with the role of policy in facilitating the process (Badcock 2001; Hackworth and Smith 2001; Smith 2002; Lees 2003; Wyly and Hammel 2004), returning to the concerns of earlier research that examined the centrality of policymaking to the movement of middle classes into working-class inner-city areas (Hamnett 1973; Smith 1978; Wilson 1989). The purpose of this paper is to assess whether a specific neighbourhood-level focus on contemporary, policy-driven gentrification in South Parkdale, Toronto, still leaves us with the 'emancipatory' perspective on the process projected by earlier research in Toronto (Caulfield 1989, 1994) and other Canadian cities (Ley 1996; Rose 1996). This is an inherently geographical inquiry: Does gentrification in this new context--a different time and a very different place--create the opportunities, demonstrated by earlier researchers, for positive social class interaction, understanding and tolerance? If not, what are the reasons that emancipatory urbanism cannot be detected? As we shall see, political decisions have a major impact on a neighbourhood with a troubled history, warranting a critical engagement with the relationship between urban policy and gentrification.

First, I provide a brief overview of the emancipatory discourse that has emerged from earlier gentrification research in Canada. I then introduce South Parkdale, summarising its early years, before focusing on the principal factors that led to its economic decline and social problems. I explain the causes and consequences of the neighbourhood's current gentrification, demonstrating the impact of both municipal and provincial policies on the neighbourhood's most vulnerable residents. …

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