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GEO 793 Lecture Notes - Three Cities, Visible Minority, Cultural Capital

Course Code
GEO 793
Cynthia Mason

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The Inner Suburbs
- The decline of the inner suburbs: North York, Scarborough, and Etobicoke
- The response to urban crowding, industrial pollution, and a booming population in
North America was to create new suburban neighbourhoods
- Industry was carefully separated from residences, large homes with generous lots
were accessible to the middle class, and the automobile was seen as a quick,
efficient, and affordable way to get around
- The majority of inner suburb neighbourhoods in the 20th century had a urban form
of: dominated by the automobile, strip malls, industrial buildings, and public
housing, with few community amenities or historical buildings
- Middle-class families started to movie either downtown or to suburban cities like
Markham or Brampton leaving the inner-suburban neighbourhoods declining
- These changes have been identified as a part of a broader trend of income
polarization in Toronto
- The Three Cities of Toronto: A Phenomenon of Income Polarization:
1. City #1 has seen incomes rise by 20%
Ex: neighbourhoods close to the Yonge subway line in North York
2. City #2 has remained essentially static
3. City #3 are in the inner suburbs and has seen income drops by 20%
There is significant variation, and further study has sub-classified these
neighbourhoods into 4 categories:
a) Group A: Larger households, higher-than-average economic
status, newer owner-occupied single-family homes, many foreign-
born non-whites, especially Chinese
b) Group B: More seniors, average economic status, older owner-
occupied housing, largely white population
c) Group C: Mixed socio-economic status, higher levels of
education, more rental apartments, many foreign-born recent
immigrants, South-Asians and other non-white visible minorities
d) Group D: More single-parent families, lower economic status and
education levels, rental apartments and social housing, more
children, largely blacks and other visible minorities
- Causes of Inner Suburb’s Decline:
1. Preference for the built form of older downtown
Value of characteristics such as short blocks, small shops and parks,
high population density, and pedestrian access as ways to facilitate the
ease and frequency of interactions that support creativity
2. Desire to develop and reinforce particular neighbourhoods and buildings as,
respectively, creative clusters and hubs
Developing broader political and social influence
Artscape in Toronto not-for-profit organization that develops affordable
artist spaces and has mapped the location of creative individuals and
The need to develop and strengthen hubs and clusters as the source of
excellent, culturally significant works of art, culture, and science
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