GEO 106 Lecture Notes - Lecture 7: Finch Avenue, Montgomery Bus Boycott, Henri Lefebvre

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29 Nov 2020
Lecture 7 - Contested Places and The Politics of Space
•Civil Rights Movement in the U.S. in the 1960s
The civil rights movement, led by Dr. Martin Luher King Jr., was a struggle by African
Americans in the mid-1950s to late 1960s to achieve Civil Rights equal to those of whites,
including equal opportunity in employment, housing, and education, as well as the right to
vote, the right of equal access to public facilities, and the right to be free of racial
•No social or political movement of the twentieth century has had as profound an effect on the
legal and political institutions of the United States
•Civil rights activist Rosa Parks refused to surrender her seat to a white passenger on a
segregated Montgomery, Alabama bus, which spurred on the 381-day Montgomery Bus Boycott
that helped launch nationwide efforts to end segregation of public facilities
•Contested Place
•Unequal power relations operate between different people in contemporary societies
•Dominant social groups subject a series of controls and constraints that serve to limit the use of
that space they create the “public norm”
•Right to the City
•The right to the city is an idea and a slogan that was first proposed by Henri Lefebvre in 1968
•It has been reclaimed in the last decades by social movements, thinkers and several
progressive local authorities alike as a call to action to reclaim the city as a co-created space
•Place for life detached from the growing effects of commodification and capitalism, and the
associated rise of spatial inequalities in worldwide cities
•Commodification and Capitalism in Space
•Fight for Improved Transit
•Lack of public transit in Scarborough has isolated people from accessing other parts of the City
•An on-going hot political issue which typifies the politics of space
•Access to rapid transit is improving in the North-Western part of the City with the new subway
extension, but this serves the interests of people in the 905 region (Vaughan)
•Now the LRT is being constructed along Finch Avenue West
•Graffiti in Contested Places
•Creswell (1992) points out that where the graffiti is becomes crucial in defining it as an act of
resistance, and of course its content
•Defining "Homelessness” in Canada
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•Homelessness is a broad term that can encompass a range of housing conditions
•No single definition of homelessness is “official” in Canada, and advocates, researchers, and
policy makers have interpreted the issue in a multitude of ways
•Homelessness can be understood on a continuum of types of shelter
•Most definitions take into account two important facets of homelessness:
•the specific housing situation
•the duration and/or frequency of homeless episodes
Specific Housing Situation
ABSOLUTE: is a narrow concept that includes only those living on the street or in emergency
RELATIVE: is a broad category that includes those who are housed but who reside in
substandard shelter and/or who may be at risk of losing their homes
HIDDEN: is in the middle of the continuum. These include people without a place of their own
who live in a car, with family or friends, or in a long-term institution
CHRONIC HOMELESSNESS: long-term or repeated homelessness, often experienced by
those with chronic illness or addiction problems
CYCLICAL HOMELESSNESS: resulting from a change of circumstance, for example having
been released from an institution; and
TEMPORARY HOMELESSNESS: relatively short in duration, sometimes caused by natural
disasters or a house fire
Documentary: Homelessness In Toronto
•Who is Homeless and Why?
•People above 50 with mental illnesses
•The Youth
•Immigrants and refugees (mostly hidden…)
Ontario Safe Streets Act
“Our government believes that all people in Ontario have the right to drive on the
road, walk down the street or go to public places without being or feeling
intimidated. They must be able to carry out their daily activities without fear. When
they are not able to do so, it is time for government to act
Can be seen as a policy and practice that infringes on the rights of marginalized
•Ontario Safe Streets Act
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