‘suburb’, ‘slum’, ‘village’:
Labels matter in planning
Good places to live.
McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada.
Dissertation Title: “The Dreams Attached to Places: from Suburb, to Slum, to Urban Village in a Toronto Neighbourhood, 1875-2002”
I explored the relationships between successive images of a neighbourhood, social and housing conditions, and planning policy, using a case study of one neighbourhood in Toronto. The neighbourhood, Parkdale, was developed as a politically independent suburb in the late 1870s and 1880s. At the time, it was described as a middle-class, residential ‘flowery suburb’, although it was also a working class industrial community. During the early part of the 20th century, it began to be described as a declining neighbourhood at risk of ‘becoming a serious slum’, although it continued to offer good housing conditions. By the 1970s, a third phase of image-making had begun: Parkdale began to be described, in newspapers and planning reports, as a revitalized ‘urban village’ of historic homes, as well as a ‘dumping ground’ for psychiatric out-patients. The research suggests that the images of suburb, slum, and urban village used to describe Parkdale bore more of a relationship to changing societal norms than social and housing conditions. However, the images had both direct and indirect impacts on planning policies and mortgage lending, which in turn influenced social and housing conditions.
It was transformed into a book last year, called “Suburb, Slum, Urban Village”.
Public Policy and
© Copyright 2016
All Rights Reserved