Research Bulletin 31, July 2006, 8 pages. Since the 1960s, researchers and policy-makers have argued over whether gentrification represents equitable reinvestment in inner-city neighbourhoods or polarizing displacement. Newman and Wyly re-examine the arguments for and against gentrification, based on a quantitative evaluation of displacement in New York City and its changes over the past decade as well as field work in gentrifying neighbourhoods. They conclude that the extent of displacement is often underestimated, and that gentification represents evidence of urban restructuring on a vast scale. Although some long-time residents in gentrifying neighbourhoods may find ways to stay put and enjoy the benefits that gentrification brings, their achievements are likely only short-term, as supports for low-income renters are dismantled.
Research Paper 211, May 2008, viii, 109 pp. This report presents a method for determining the timing, patterning, and forms of gentrification and residential neighbourhood upgrading between the 1960s and 2001 in Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver, using census data. The resulting maps show a clear geography of gentrification in each city, whereby the process starts in a few core areas and moves outwards into adjacent neighbourhoods, as well as a “gentrification frontier” in each city, where gentrification is likely to occur in future. The authors also identify the main forms of gentrification (deconversion of older housing stock, new construction, and the conversion of non-residential buildings to housing) and the way in which these forms combine to produce gentrified neighbourhoods in each city. They note that although new construction presents an opportunity to mitigate the problems caused by gentrification, this opportunity has not been seized. If present trends continue, the inner cities of Canada’s three largest cities will become the preserve of elites, while low-income households are forced to occupy less accessible fringe locations, a situation that contributes to social exclusion
Research Bulletin 43, September 2008. In this study of neighbourhood change, the researchers traced the attributes of a consistent sample of 1,130 census tracts in the central cities of Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver between 1961 and 2001. For each tract in each decade, the authors looked at conversion from rental to owner-occupation; changes in social status; changes in relative land values and housing affordability; changes in income; and changes in the average monthly rent. They found that gentrification has affected more than 36 percent of prewar inner-city neighbourhoods, where affordable housing has traditionally been located. Gentrification appeared more prevalent in Vancouver, followed by Toronto, and then Montreal. The results suggest the continuing displacement of low-income households from the inner cities.
Research Bulletin 32, January 2007, 7 pages. This short history of one of the neighbourhoods in west-central Toronto describes the stages of transformation of a formerly industrial area. The area first became a distinctive and diverse artists’ community on the margin of Toronto’s mainstream culture, but has more recently become an increasingly homogenized space that has been made safe, clean, and attractive for capital investment and new residents. The author argues that the gentrification of the area was municipally managed, as Toronto’s economic development corporation, in combination with Toronto Artscape, worked to attract investment to the area.
Research Bulletin 35, March 2007, 8 pages.
Little Portugal is located in the downtown west end of Toronto. Over the years, Portuguese immigrants have created an institutionally complete community that is also one of the most visible ethnic neighbourhoods in Toronto. Little Portugal is, however, changing because of the movement of many Portuguese from Toronto’s downtown to the suburbs; the arrival of urban professionals, who seek to buy older houses close to the downtown core; and the arrival of immigrants and refugees from the Portuguese diaspora (including Brazil and Portugal’s former African colonies). This research bulletin, based on interviews with residents of the area, describes how these changes are altering the characteristics of the neighbourhood, for better or for worse.