geo793 essay

May 14, 2018 | Author: api-354428457 | Category: Urban Geography, Urbanization, Urban Planning, Politics, Planning



Corey Isenberg500641310 Geography of Toronto GEO793 Section 4 Essay Assignment Monday March 13, 2017 Uptown Yonge is a Business Improvement Area (BIA) located in North Central Toronto, as it is directly on Yonge Street, and is north of Bloor. Through an in depth analysis of gentrification, and how it has evolved since its emergence in the 1960s, it is clear that Uptown Yonge is experiencing a process of gentrification. This paper will discuss the concept of gentrification, how it has evolved since the 1960s, and how it has been implemented in the City of Toronto. The claims found in existing literature clearly validate that gentrification is going on in this Business Improvement Area. Gentrification is a term that did not exist until the 1960s, when a British scholar named Ruth Glass created it (Lehrer & Wieditz, 2009, pg. 142). She was understanding and observing the inner city in London, and the socio-spatial transformations that it was experiencing. She observed that in the inner city in London, high income people were coming into low income neighborhoods and renovating the property (Lehrer & Wieditz, 2009, pg. 142). By doing this, the prices of these properties increased (Lehrer & Wieditz, 2009, pg. 142). The low income people who were living there before could no longer afford to live there so as a result, they were pushed out. Revitalization and restoration of a neighborhood’s physical environment can make the area more attractive to middle and upper-class residents, and less attractive to low income residents who could no longer afford to live there (Bélanger, 2012, pg. 31). Residents fear ‘‘forced’’ displacement as a result of the revitalization of neighborhoods (Bélanger, 2012, pg. 32). Gentrification leads to displacement and segregation, rather than reducing social segregation. This results in working-class and minority residents being pushed out of gentrified areas (Lees, 2008, pg. 2458). Housing all around where gentrification is taking place, both renovated and not renovated, experience a significant price increase (Meligrana & Skaburskis, 2005, pg. 1571). The revitalization of the inner city, in the form of gentrification, compresses housing markets in higher-growth metropolitan areas, and serves to push lower income residents towards the inner suburbs (Bunting, Walks, & Filion, 2004, pg. 386). The term gentrification is known as “the transformation of working-class neighbourhoods into middle and upper-class residential neighbourhoods through reinvestment” (Lehrer & Wieditz, 2009, pg. 142). The process of gentrification was initially recognized as small areas of reinvestment in larger cities, such as London, New York, and Toronto, but gentrification has now spread globally and outside of major cities, into suburban and rural regions (Lehrer & Wieditz, 2009, pg. 143). It is expanding beyond the immediate core. Gentrification used to be limited to the inner city, but today that is no longer the case. Gentrification is seen across major cities, and it is a very common sight. Gentrification has gone from the upgrading of individual houses to the construction of new condominium towers. The condominium tower is a new form of gentrification (Lehrer & Wieditz, 2009, pg. 141). It is seen in Toronto that there is a ‘condofication’ of its inner city. This is because of the massive reinvestment of productive capital into the ‘secondary circuit’ since the late 1980s and early 1990s recession (Lehrer & Wieditz, 2009, pg. 144). There has been a huge growth of inner city residential developments in the form of condominiums because of this massive reinvestment of productive capital (Lehrer & Wieditz, 2009, pg. 144). The condominium boom is in part powered by foreign investors and wealthy migrants (Moos, 2016, pg. 2912). In Toronto, a condominium boom has been the contributing factor to high densities within the downtown core (Moos, 2016, pg. 2912). This has spread to some suburban municipalities inline with improvements to public transit infrastructure (Moos, 2016, pg. 2912). A study of Toronto’s subway system, the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC), found that property values increased with increased access to the network, and this is a common indicator of gentrification (Grube- Cavers & Patterson, 2014, pg. 180). Gentrification has moved from an individual initiative to a process involving larger developers and the state. Gentrification used to be about a wealthy individual who decided to buy low income property, and renovate it. But today, it is also seen that larger developers are involved (Lehrer & Wieditz, 2009, pg. 143). Builders and construction companies buy a lot of old houses in a row, knock them down, and then build condominiums. There is also a strong support of gentrification from the state, and from all three levels of government, which include the federal, provincial, and municipal governments. There has been a trend throughout the years of support from the local and provincial government on gentrification (Lehrer & Wieditz, 2009, pg. 143). This is part of a process that has taken place over a number of years. Specifically, within Toronto, gentrification has taken place in the form of a condominium boom. This has all evolved through a process, specifically from city reports and policies. There has been a trend throughout the years from support from the local and provincial governments on gentrification. This is part of a process that has taken place over a number of years. In 1976, Toronto created Toronto’s Central Area Plan. This plan did not specifically mention gentrification, but mentioned the need to keep building in the inner city (Lehrer & Wieditz, 2009, pg. 145). It stated that is not good to keep spending money to build new homes in the suburbs, but it is more economically satisfying to build in the inner city (Lehrer & Wieditz, 2009, pg. 145). In 1994, Mayor Barbara Hall came up with economic development policies. She made a speech in Liberty Village where gentrification was already taking place (Lehrer & Wieditz, 2009, pg. 145). She was in favor of taking over abandoned factories and replacing them with condos, to make room for new residents in the city (Lehrer & Wieditz, 2009, pg. 145). Toronto has always faced global competition from other cities, and several documents, such as the Toronto Economic Development Strategy in 2000 stated that if Toronto wants to come on top, they have to attract the creative class (Lehrer & Wieditz, 2009, pg. 147). The more people buy, the more taxes they pay. As a result of these taxes, the city makes more money. This was done by luring the creative class through gentrification (Lehrer & Wieditz, 2009, pg. 147). The creative class are a group of individuals, which includes artists, self-employed professionals, and scientists (Peck, 2005). This group of individuals are very valuable and an important factor for the economic growth of cities, as these people are highly productive (Peck, 2005). In order to attract these people to a city, a city has to offer amenities for them, such as a lively cultural scene (Peck, 2005). Toronto has attracted the creative class through the Toronto Economic Development Strategy. I visited Uptown Yonge on Friday, March 3, 2017 at 1 pm. This Business Improvement Area is located directly on Yonge between Glengowan Road and Roehampton Avenue. It is located in North Toronto, and it consists mainly of restaurants and retail shops. My impression of Uptown Yonge was a good one. I visit this BIA frequently, as it is near where I live. I like how it has a lot of retail shops that I like to shop at, and a lot of restaurants that I like to eat at. I took a walk on my visit, and I started at Glengowan Road, which is the northern boundary. When walking down towards Roehampton Avenue, I did not witness any construction going on until I approached Montgomery Avenue, which is very close to Eglinton Avenue East. On this property, there was a historic building, a bank, that was boarded up around it with a condominium development sign. On the next block down at Helendale Avenue, there were buildings that were knocked down by Teperman Demolition, and it was covered with scaffolding. From my previous knowledge and experience visiting this BIA, I remember that there were shops, such as used clothing stores located on that site. When visiting Uptown Yonge, it is clear from my observations that gentrification is taking place. This is validated by the existing literature on gentrification in several ways. Firstly, one of the claims mentioned in the existing literature is that gentrification is no longer seen only in the inner city, but it has not expanded outward beyond it. Toronto is growing and expanding north. Uptown Yonge is not located within the inner city of Toronto. It is located around Yonge and Eglinton, which is north of the inner city. Construction is going on in this BIA. As a result, it is clear that gentrification is expanding beyond the inner city. Secondly, where I witnessed construction taking place is where there are going to be condominiums going up. Previously there were retail shops, such as a used clothing store that occupied the space. Builders and construction companies bought this space to build condominiums, so this is not an individual initiative, but rather an initiative done by a larger group. They bought a row of retail shops, and decided to knock them down to build condominiums. The stores that were originally there were aimed at low to middle class people. Thirdly, I did not witness any construction going on as I walked down Yonge towards Eglinton, until I got closer to Eglinton. This could be because the Eglinton Subway station is located a few blocks away. This is validated by the claim that a condominium boom is attributing to high densities, and is spreading to suburban areas inline with public transit. Property values increase the closer they are to a subway. This is a common indicator of gentrification, so as a result of construction taking place very close to the subway station, it is clear that gentrification is taking place in this Business Improvement Area. In conclusion, the Business Improvement Area of Uptown Yonge is clearly going through gentrification. This is backed up by the existing literature that is present. There is currently construction going on in this BIA a few blocks south of Eglinton Station, on Yonge, and this clearly is a sign of gentrification. Gentrification is expanding outward beyond the inner city, as the City of Toronto is continuing to expand. Groups of builders and developers are knocking down retail spaces that they think could be used to build condominiums and by doing this, they make a lot of money. The existing literature on what gentrification is, how it has evolved since the 1960s, and how it has been implemented in the City of Toronto clearly prove that gentrification is currently taking place in Uptown Yonge. Works Cited Bélanger, H. (2012). The meaning of the built environment during gentrification in canada. Journal of Housing and the Built Environment, 27(1), 31-47. doi:10.1007/s10901-011- 9248-3 Bunting, T., Walks, A. R., & Filion, P. (2004). The uneven geography of housing affordability stress in Canadian metropolitan areas. Housing studies, 19(3), 361-393. Grube-Cavers, A., & Patterson, Z. (2014). Urban rapid rail transit and gentrification in Canadian urban centres: A survival analysis approach. Urban Studies, 0042098014524287. Lees, L. (2008). Gentrification and social mixing: towards an inclusive urban renaissance?. Urban Studies, 45(12), 2449-2470. Lehrer, U., & Wieditz, T. (2009). Condominium development and gentrification: The relationship between policies, building activities and socio-economic development in toronto. Canadian Journal of Urban Research, 18(1), 140-161. Meligrana, J., & Skaburskis, A. (2005). Extent, location and profiles of continuing gentrification in Canadian metropolitan areas, 1981-2001. Urban Studies, 42(9), 1569-1592. Moos, M. (2016). From gentrification to youthification? The increasing importance of young age in delineating high-density living. Urban Studies, 53(14), 2903-2920. Peck, J. (2005). Struggling with the creative class. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 29(4), 740-770. doi:10.1111/j.1468-2427.2005.00620.x
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