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Centre for Urban and
Community Studies
University of Toronto
455 Spadina Ave.
Suite 400
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
M5S 2G8

Telephone:
(416) 978-2072
Fax:
(416) 978-7162

urban.centre@utoronto.ca

 



Research Bulletins

CUCS Research Bulletins present a summary of the findings and analysis of the work of researchers associated with the Centre. The aim is to disseminate policy relevant findings to a broad audience.

The views and interpretations offered by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of the Centre or the University.

CUCS Research Bulletins may be reprinted or distributed, including on the Internet, without permission provided they are not offered for sale, the content is not altered, and the source is properly credited.

General Editors: L.S. Bourne, P. Campsie, J.D. Hulchanski, P. Landolt, and G. Suttor


For a list of all Research Bulletins, click here

Better Off in a Shelter? A Year of Homelessness & Housing among Status Immigrant, Non-Status Migrant, & Canadian-Born Families
Emily Paradis, Sylvia Novac, Monica Sarty, & J. David Hulchanski
Number 44, July 2008, 8 pages View the PDF
This year-long study compared the experiences of three kinds of homeless families who, at the beginning of the study, were living in a family shelter in Toronto: Canadian-born families, immigrant families with permanent resident status, and families headed by migrant women without permanent status. Although most families found housing within the year, not all were better off housed than they had been before becoming homeless or during their time in the shelter. Family emergency shelters seem to function as transitional and supportive housing in the absence of more appropriate housing programs for migrant women and those involved with child protection services. In the shelter, women had access to childcare and other services, were protected from abusive ex-partners, and found relief from the financial strain of paying high rents. Once housed, most women made trade-offs: higher rent for a safer neighbourhood, or poorer conditions for acceptance without discrimination.

Neighbourhood Gentrification and Upgrading in Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver
R. Alan Walks and Richard Maaranen
Number 43, September 2008. View the PDF
Download gentrification maps: Toronto Montreal Vancouver
Download full Research Paper #211
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.

Diversity and Concentration in Canadian Immigration: Trends in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, 1971 - 2006
by Robert Murdie
Number 42, March 2008, 12 pages View the PDF
Immigrants to Canada are increasingly concentrated in Canada's three biggest metropolitan areas. Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver accommodate 70% of those who arrived between 2001 and 2006. The three biggest gateway cities, however, exhibit important differences in the ethnic groups they attract, and the patterns of settlement. Toronto and Vancouver have some similarities (more Asians, more immigrants settling in the suburbs), while Montreal has a larger proportion of European and African immigrants, who still tend to cluster in the central city. The suburbanization of immigration in Toronto and Vancouver poses challenges for service provision and planning and raises questions about the pros and cons of suburban ethnic enclaves in enhancing immigrant integration.

The Three Cities Within Toronto: Income Polarization Among Toronto's Neighbourhoods, 1970-2000
by J. David Hulchanski
Number 41, December 2007, 12 pages View the PDF
The City of Toronto is becoming increasingly divided by income and socio-economic status. No longer a city of neighbourhoods, modern-day Toronto is a city of disparities. In fact, Toronto is now so polarized it could be described as three geographically distinct cities made up of 20 percent affluent neighbourhoods, 36 percent poor neighbourhoods, and 43 percent middle-income earner neighbourhoods - and that 43 percent is in decline. The CUCS study analyzed income and other data from the 1971 and 2001 censuses, and grouped the city's neighbourhoods based on whether average income in each one had increased, decreased, or stayed the same over that 30-year period. It found that the city's neighbourhoods have become polarized by income and other ethno-cultural characteristics and that wealth and poverty are concentrated in three distinct areas.

Family Violence and Homelessness: Connections and Dynamics
by Sylvia Novac
Number 40, December 2007, 8 pages View the PDF
This research bulletin is a summary of a literature review on the connections between family violence and homelessness. Rates of family violence are very high and more prevalent in the histories of homeless people than among the non-homeless. This association is strong enough that some researchers have concluded that family violence is a major cause of homelessness. Moreover, it is increasingly identified by shelter users themselves as the reason for their homelessness. The bulletin summarizes recent research on the effects on different populations of the homeless (Aboriginals, immigrants, seniors, residents of rural and remote areas, and people with mental health issues) and draws implications for service provision.

Cities: A Philosophical Inquiry
by Frank Cunningham
Number 39, September 2007, 9 pages View the PDF
Urban philosophy might be organized around three questions: What is a city? What is a good city? What is the ideal city? Utopian philosophers from Thomas More to Ebenezer Howard and Le Corbusier concerned themselves with the third question, urban planners and social scientists typically with the second. In this paper Frank Cunningham maintains that the unique contribution of philosophers can best be realized by focusing on the "What is a city?" question. To this end he draws upon philosophical Pragmatism and on some views of Walter Benjamin, first to articulate a conception in which cities are seen as simultaneously coherent and incoherent and second to identify uniquely urban virtues. These ideas are applied to a selection of core persistent urban problems.

Canada's Dual Housing Policy: Assisting Owners, Neglecting Renters
by J. David Hulchanski
Number 38, September 2007, 8 pages
View the PDF    View PDF of original book chapter
In this research bulletin, David Hulchanski describes Canada's two-part housing system and housing policy. The primary part consists of about 80 percent of households, including most owners, tenants in the higher end of the private rental market, households in the co-operative housing sector, and a few in non-profit and public housing. These households have secure tenure in good-quality housing appropriate to their needs and at a price they can afford. The secondary part consists of everyone else, including tenants in the lower half of the rental market (where housing quality is low), residents of poor-quality and poorly managed subsidized housing, and rural and impoverished owners. The division is largely based on housing tenure (owning and renting) and is the result of deliberate government policy. All three levels of government favour the ownership sector and provide good-quality social housing to a minority of those in need of adequate and affordable housing. They tend to ignore the needs of most low-income renter households.

More Sinned Against than Sinning? Homeless People as Victims of Crime and Harassment
by Sylvia Novac, Joe Hermer, Emily Paradis, and Amber Kellen
Number 37, September 2007, 7 pages View the PDF
Media reports tend to focus on the real or perceived criminal involvement of the homeless. What is less well known is that homeless people are more often victims of crime than housed people. This research bulletin draws on a survey that explored the experiences and views of homeless individuals who have been involved with the criminal justice system or been victimized. The survey found that homeless individuals appreciate the need for law and order, but are critical of perceived unfair policing practices, especially differential treatment of racialized persons. Also, although homeless individuals experience a high level of victimization, they are reluctant to report crimes to the police and feel alienated from police protection. The results suggest a need for mental health and addictions treatment for some homeless people, advocacy services (including liaison workers at courts and detention centres), better discharge planning, and special training for police officers.

A Revolving Door? Homeless People and the Justice System in Toronto
by Sylvia Novac, Joe Hermer, Emily Paradis, and Amber Kellen
Number 36, July 2007, 7 pages View the PDF
How many of Toronto's estimated 30,000 homeless people end up in correctional facilities for reasons relating to their lack of housing? And how many of the approximately 50,000 ex-prisoners released each year from provincial correctional facilities in the Toronto area end up on the streets? This research bulletin attempts to answer these questions, drawing on administrative data and interviews with homeless individuals, service providers, and key informants. The results reveal that a sizeable sub-group of homeless people are stuck in a cycle of staying in shelters, jails, and hospitals. Moreover, most who are incarcerated for short periods of time or held on remand receive little or no assistance to prepare them for community re-entry. The report concludes with recommendations for the Government of Ontario to address this problem.

Toronto's Little Portugal: A Neighbourhood in Transition
by Carlos Teixeira
Number 35, March 2007, 8 pages View the PDF
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.

A Visceral Grief: Young Homeless Mothers and Loss of Child Custody
by Sylvia Novac, Emily Paradis, Joyce Brown, and Heather Morton
Number 34, February 2007, 7 pages View the PDF
This research bulletin is based on a report of the same name commissioned by The Young Parents No Fixed Address Committee (CUCS Research Paper 206, October 2006). The report explored service interventions for young homeless mothers who lose custody of their child and surveyed what is known about the effects on mothers of having children removed from their custody, as well as existing programs for homeless women in this situation, including bereavement and support services. Both the report and this bulletin include recommendations for improved services and suggestions for further research.
This bulletin is a summary of CUCS Research Paper #206.
View the PDF of that paper.

New Urban Divides: How Economic, Social, and Demographic Trends are Creating New Sources of Urban Difference in Canada
by Larry Bourne
Number 33, February 2007, 7 pages View the PDF
More than 80 percent of Canadians live in urban areas, occupying 5 percent of the nation's land surface. Cities are now redefining and reshaping Canada. However, change is uneven within the country's urban system, and the growth rates and characteristics of its member cities also vary widely. These trends in turn are creating new forms of difference or new divides among cities and regions, in economic, social, and political terms and at different spatial scales. This research bulletin surveys the trends affecting Canada's cities and towns and the potential policy implications of the emerging urban divides among urban areas.

Liberty Village: The Makeover of Toronto's King and Dufferin Area
by Thorben Wieditz
Number 32, January 2007, 7 pages View the PDF
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.

Gentrification and Displacement Revisited: A Fresh Look at the New York City Experience
by Kathe Newman and Elvin K. Wyly
Number 31, July 2006, 8 pages View the PDF
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.

Jane Jacobs, the Torontonian
by Barry Wellman
Number 30, July 2006, 6 pages View the PDF
Barry Wellman, a former neighbour of the late Jane Jacobs, points out that most U.S. and U.K. obituaries of the well-known writer fail to acknowledge that the second half of her life was spent in Toronto. He describes her contributions to Toronto urban life, including helping to stop the Spadina expressway; advising Toronto mayors, planners and activists; and contributing to the creation of the St. Lawrence neighbourhood and the revitalization of the King-Spadina and King-Parliament areas. He also mentions her difficult relationship with academics and suggests that this led to missed opportunities for exchanging views that might have benefited both her own thinking and that of her admirers in academia.

Toronto's West-Central Neighbourhoods: A Profile of the St. Christopher House Catchment Area
Sara Campbell Mates, Michael Fox, Meredith Meade, Peter Rozek, and Lori Tesolin
Number 29, June 2005, 8 pages View the PDF
This research bulletin is contains a demographic profile of the catchment area of St. Christopher House, a neighbourhood-based, multi-service, non-profit organization in Toronto's west end. The catchment area includes more than 100,000 people. The profile was prepared using 2001 census data, and includes data on population, household size and type, education, income, employment, immigration, ethnicity, and language. The information is also organized according to eight distinct neighbourhoods within the are"a: Dufferin Grove, Little Portugal, Niagara, Palmerston - Little Italy, Roncesvalles, South Parkdale, and Trinity - Bellwoods.

Toronto's South Parkdale Neighbourhood: A Brief History of Development, Disinvestment, and Gentrification
Tom Slater
Number 28, May 2005, 7 pages View the PDF
This brief history of a neighbourhood in Toronto just west of downtown describes the changes over time that have led to conflict between incoming gentrifiers and artists on one hand, and a long-standing population of poor and marginalized residents on the other. An area that was once an affluent enclave near the lake was disrupted by expressway building in 1950s, the deinstitutionalization of mental health patients in the 1970s, and by an influx of artists and middle-class homeowners beginning in the 1990sm. Although the area needs reinvestment, gentrification threatens the stability of the remaining.

Social Accounting for Social Economy Organizations
Laurie Mook, Betty Jane Richmond, and Jack Quarter
Number 27, January 2005, 7 pages View the PDF
In a follow-up to an earlier research bulletin (What is the social economy? J. Quarter, L. Mook, and B.J. Richmond, #13, March 2003), the authors illustrate a method of social accounting using a real-world example - the Jane/Finch Community and Family Centre in Toronto. Using information from the Centre's financial statements, the authors show how to create an Expanded Value Added Statement, which, among other things, includes both the contribution made by volunteers to the Centre, and the benefits that volunteers receive in their work (skills, experience, social interaction). This information can show funders how a social economy organization adds value to the goods and services it purchases, and how volunteers contribute to its success.

The Relationship between Housing Conditions and Health Status of Rooming House Residents in Toronto
Stephen W. Hwang, Rochelle E. Martin, George S. Tolomiczenko, and J. David Hulchanski
Number 26, November 2004, 5 pages View the PDF
This research bulletin, which is based on an article published in 2003 in the Canadian Journal of Public Health, describes a study conducted in 1997 on the health status of a sample of residents of rooming houses in Toronto, and on whether physical and organizational characteristics of rooming houses are correlated with the health status of their residents. The researchers found that rooming house residents have much poorer health status than the general population, even when compared to individuals in the lowest income quintile. Also, they found a strong correlation between the physical attractiveness of a rooming house and the health of its residents. (Note: Research Bulletin 16 also draws on this research to describe demographic characteristics of rooming house residents.)

The Future of Housing Advocacy and Research
Peter Marcuse
Number 25, October 2004, 6 pages View the PDF
This research bulletin is based on a speech made at an international housing conference held in Toronto in June 2004 under the auspices of the International Sociological Association. Peter Marcuse, Professor of Urban Planning at Columbia University, urges researchers and housing advocates to get back to basics, rather than acting as housing technicians. This means, among other things, emphasizing redistribution, supporting public and non-profit housing, balancing demand- and supply-side measures, and eliminating discrimination. Above all, Marcuse stresses that there is no lack of good policy analysis; rather housing advocates need to use available research findings to put knowledge into action.

The Health of Canadians on Welfare
Nicholas T. Vozoris and Valerie S. Tarasuk
October 2004, 7 pages View the PDF
The authors undertook a secondary analysis of data from the 1996-97 National Population Health Survey to examine the likelihood that adults in households whose main source of income was welfare would report poor general, mental, and social health, and certain chronic conditions. They found that receipt of welfare is associated with poorer physical health and a lack of social support. Cuts to welfare are likely to further threaten the health of welfare. The authors argue that as welfare programs continue to be reformed, the impact of program changes on recipients' health and well-being needs to be assessed and monitored.

Termite Control in Canada
Timothy Myles
Number 23, July 2004, 4 pages View the PDF
Conventional methods of dealing with an infestation of termites involve saturating the soil around the affected dwelling with large quantities of pesticides. Such method are expensive, potentially harmful to the health of urban residents, and ineffective, since they do not eliminate termites. The Urban Entomology Program at the University of Toronto has developed methods of eradicating termite colonies using techniques such as Trap-Treat-Release, but these methods remain at the experimental stage. The chemicals, which are used in very small quantities, have yet to be approved for use in Canada. More public-interest research on less-toxic approaches to pest management is needed.

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The Future of Social Housing: From Social Housing Estates to Social Housing Systems
Hugo Priemus
Number 22, July 2004, 6 pages View the PDF
This research bulletin is based on a presentation made at an international housing conference held in Toronto in June 2004 under the auspices of the International Sociological Association. Hugo Priemus, a professor of housing at Delft University in the Netherlands, briefly surveys the social housing situation in the European Union, and the trend away from direct provision of social housing and towards rent supplements and other demand-side approaches. However, he argues for the retention of non-profit housing corporations as an essential part of a social housing system and recommends five ways to prevent social housing becoming marginalized and stigmatized.
For information about the housing conference, click here

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Beyond the New Deal for Cities: Confronting the Challenges of Uneven Urban Growth
Larry S. Bourne
Number 21, March 2004, 5 pages View the PDF
View news coverage: UofT News Release, Toronto Star
Although the "new urban agenda" in Canada has focused on the imbalance between urban revenue sources and service responsibilities, the real problems facing Canadian cities have more to do with urban sustainability in the context of uneven growth. Large metropolitan cities must deal with sprawl, immigration, and the decentralization of people and jobs, while smaller places cope with population aging and out-migration. To respond to these realities, government strategies should use the frame of functional city-regions combining both city and suburb, as well as adjacent, integrated municipal units. This bulletin draws on the findings of CUCS Research Paper 201, "Urban Growth and Decline in Canada, 1971-2001: Explanations and Implications."

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Transforming the Non-Market Housing System in Ontario: How the Distinctions Between Public Housing and Co-operative Housing Are Breaking Down
Jorge Sousa and Jack Quarter
Number 20, January 2004, 7 pages View the PDF
The authors describe the differences that have traditionally distinguished the two main forms of non-market housing in Ontario, and the ways in which the two forms are converging. For example, co-operatives must seek capital funding from the same sources as public housing, and are required to select tenants from the same waiting lists. Meanwhile, some public housing projects are allowing more tenant participation in management and catering to a mix of incomes. There changes can largely be attributed to theu neo-conservative agenda of smaller governments offering reduced services.

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Bed Bugs in Toronto
Tim Myles and others
#19, December 2003, 4 pages View the PDF
View news coverage: UofT News Release, Toronto Star, Toronto Sun, Canadian Press
In Toronto, reports of bed bugs by pest control companies and pest control officials started to increase in 2001. By 2003, at least a dozen shelters, hostels, and other forms of public housing were known to have ongoing problems with bed bugs, despite spraying by pest control companies. This research bulletin explains what a bed bug is, suggests reasons for the resurgence of bed bugs in Toronto, describes a test in which the researchers used sticky traps and tape to capture and document bed bugs in a Toronto rooming house, and offers methods for controlling outbreaks, especially in group living situations.

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The Canadian Urban System, 1971-2001:
Responses to a Changing World

Jim Simmons and Larry S. Bourne
Number 18, September 2003, 9 pages View the PDF
This research bulletin is a summary of Research Report 200, published by the Centre for Urban and Community Studies. Using the results of the 2001 Census of Canada, the authors describe recent changes in the Canadian Urban System, and how these changes have forced a re-examination of older models and theories about the structure and function of that system. They consider the context within which the Canadian Urban System has developed, shaped by globalization, immigration, government decisions and policies, key events, and Canada’s position within the North American continent. Finally, they consider how these influences may shape the system in future, while acknowledging that the system is becoming increasingly unpredictable.

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Housing Affordability, Income, and Food Bank Users in the Greater Toronto Area, 1990-2000
Joseph H. Michalski
Number 17, July 2003, 7 pages View the PDF
This research bulletin, a summary of an article from the Canadian Review of Sociology and Anthropology, looks at housing affordability and the changing financial circumstances of low-income households as the context in which the economically marginal population uses food banks as a coping strategy. The author discusses the proliferation of food banks in Canada, especially Toronto, in the 1990s, their role in the lives of low-income people, and the demographics of food bank users. He notes the differences in the profile of food bank users before the Ontario welfare cuts of 1995 and afterwards and suggests that the results indicate “the intransigent nature of food banks as a cornerstone of contemporary Canadian society and a possible substitute for governmental social policies.”

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Rooming House Residents: Challenging the Stereotypes
Stephen Hwang, Rochelle Martin, David Hulchanski, and George Tolomiczenko
Number 16, June 2003, 5 pages View the PDF
In 1998 a research team interviewed 295 residents of 171 licensed rooming houses in Toronto. The survey questions covered demographic characteristics, lifestyle, and health, as well as conditions in the rooming house and other health determinants. The researchers found that other than the fact that most roomers live alone (since few rooming houses can accommodate couples or families), have low incomes, and are therefore often food insecure, it is not possible to make many valid generalizations about roomers’ lives. For example, the survey found that about a third of those interviewed were employed, nearly 15% had university degrees, and about 80% felt they had adequate social supports, findings that challenge the stereotypes that roomers are likely to be unemployed and socially isolated, with low levels of education.

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Housing as a Socio-Economic Determinant of Health:
Assessing Research Needs

James R. Dunn
Number 15, June 2003, 6 pages View the PDF
This research bulletin draws on the results of a national stakeholder consultation to identify needs, gaps, and opportunities in research on housing as a socio-economic determinant of health. The consultation, which was carried out by an interdisciplinary team of researchers in partnership with the National Housing Research Committee and the Canadian Housing Renewal Association, took the form of an electronic questionnaire and eight one-day regional workshops across Canada. Participants included people and organizations in the housing sector, the health sector and those at the interface. The consultations looked at the following aspects of housing: physical hazards, physical design, psychological benefits, social benefits, political dimensions, financial dimensions, and location and identifies research requirements and areas for further study.

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The Right to Adequate Housing in Canada
Bruce Porter
Number 14, April 2003, 7 pages View the PDF
Bruce Porter puts Canada’s housing situation into an international context, focusing on the gap between Canada’s commitments under international agreements such as the United Nations Covenant on Social, Economic and Cultural Rights on one side, and the realities of homelessness, evictions, and reduced social supports for low-income people on the other. He also discusses the extent to which the right to adequate housing is protected under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and how Canadian courts have interpreted the Charter in cases involving housing. He concludes that although Canada represents one of the starkest examples of unnecessary violations of the right to adequate housing in the midst of plentiful resources and a robust economy, what has occurred in Canada is part of a larger global pattern. Advances must be made simultaneously on both the domestic and international fronts if Canadians are to move forward in claiming and enforcing the right to adequate housing.

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What is the Social Economy?
Jack Quarter, Laurie Mook, and Betty Jane Richmond
Number 13, March 2003, 5 pages View the PDF
Although the economic role and contribution of nonprofits and cooperatives are often overlooked, in Canada an estimated 175,000 to 200,000 nonprofits generate revenues of more than $90 billion a year and employ 1.3 million people (not including volunteers). This research bulletin provides an overview of the social economy, including the different types of organizations in the sector, their most important characteristics, and their relationship with the public and private sectors. The authors call for a new kind of “social accounting,” which moves beyond traditional measures such as net income and takes into account social capital and social outputs, and transactions that do not take place through the market.

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Ethnic Segregation in Toronto and the New Multiculturalism
Mohammad A. Qadeer
Number 12, January 2003, 6 pages View the PDF
Although segregation in housing is often regarded as evidence of repression or discrimination, in some cases it may be voluntary and serve useful purposes. The author views the many successful ethnic neighbourhoods that have emerged in Toronto as evidence of the “new multiculturalism,” which promotes not only an individual’s right to organize his or her private life in accordance with a particular culture, but also a groups’ right to build communal institutions and maintain its heritage and language. He outlines the three-step process by which an ethnic neighbourhood is formed, and notes that spatial segregation is not invariably related to poor living conditions. Although ethnic enclaves are rich in social capital, mutual support networks, and community organizations, they can be isolating, inhibiting immigrants’ acculturation to the ways of Canadian job market and social mores and precluding networking in mainstream society. The author concludes that social integration now means constructing a “common ground” of institutions and services for the civic engagement of diverse communities, rather than preventing the formation of ethnic neighbourhoods.

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Housing Discrimination in Canada:
What Do We Know About It?

Sylvia Novac, Joe Darden, J. David Hulchanski and Anne-Marie Seguin
Number 11, December 2002, 7 pages View the PDF
This research bulletin contains a summary of Housing Discrimination in Canada: The State of Knowledge, published by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation in 2002. The study, which took the form of a literature survey and interviews with 40 key informants, inventoried research on housing discrimination in Canada to identify gaps and suggest a research agenda to guide future housing policy. The researchers looked at racial and sex discrimination, discrimination against youth, gays, lesbians, and people with disabilities, and discrimination on the basis of social status. They also considered discrimination by landlords, by non-profit housing providers, by real estate agents, and by financial institutions, and looked at how some forms of discrimination are built into the land use planning process. The research suggests that overt racial discrimination has decreased in recent decades, but that discrimination against low-income people and those on social assistance is increasing. Most existing studies are small scale, limited to a few cities, and nearly all have focused on the rental sector and on racial discrimination. Little systematic research is available on the homeownership sector or on other forms of discrimination. The authors suggest a research agenda to fill in the gaps in this area of knowledge.

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Downtown Parking Lots:
An Interim Use That Just Won’t Go Away

Antoine Belaieff
Number 10, August 2002, 5 pages View the PDF
Planners sometimes describe urban surface parking lots as an “interim use.” Yet many surface lots have been in operation for decades, and there are no plans for their redevelopment. The author reviews the problems of parking lots – suboptimal land use, unsatisfactory urban design, environmental and fiscal impacts – and suggests reasons why so many surface parking lots persist. These reasons relate to the demand for parking, the way in which parking lots are taxed, fragmented ownership, the profitability of parking lots, and the failure of the city to enforce laws and bylaws that might prevent the creation of new lots or at least ensure that existing lots are well-landscaped and maintained. The paper concludes with eleven recommendations for alleviating the problems associated with surface parking lots in Toronto.

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A Comparison of the Rental Housing Experiences of
Polish and Somali Newcomers in Toronto

Robert A. Murdie
Number 9, July 2002, 6 pages View the PDF
The housing experiences of Polish and Somali immigrants who arrived in Toronto between 1987 and 1994 show important differences. Researchers asked representatives of 60 households in each of the two groups about their criteria in choosing accommodation, how long it had taken them to find somewhere to live, whether they had faced discrimination in the housing market, and whether they were satisfied with their current housing and neighbourhood. The researchers also asked about the differences between the type of housing first occupied after arrival in Canada and housing occupied more recently. The results suggest that Somalis face more discrimination than Poles, and that over time, the Polish immigrants have moved from smaller to larger units, whereas the Somalis had moved from larger to smaller, less expensive units.

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The Case for Social and Community Infrastructure Investment: Toronto’s Quiet Crisis
Peter Clutterbuck
Number 8, June 2002, 7 pages View the PDF
The author makes a case for increasing investment in Toronto’s community programs and facilities, such as child care, public libraries, recreation programs, seniors’ homes, public health units, and programs for newcomers. Cutbacks and downloading have eroded services and standards in this sector. However, as senior levels of government recognize the vital role of cities in the social and economic health of the country, and begin to invest in hard infrastructure, funds may become available for investment in the social infrastructure. Rather than converting freed-up funds into property tax reductions or absorbing them as cost savings, Toronto should redirect the funds into the social infrastructure in order to enhance the quality of life in the city.

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Homeless “Squeegee Kids”: Food insecurity and daily survival: A study of food habits among homeless
youth in Toronto

Naomi Dachner and Valerie Tarasuk
Number 7, May 2002, 5 pages View the PDF
This research bulletin presents the findings of a six-month-long study of homeless youth in Toronto. Although the primary focus of the study was on food insecurity (defined as “the limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods or limited or uncertain ability to acquire acceptable food in socially acceptable ways”), it also provides insight into how young homeless people earn money, find shelter, and cope with health problems. The study found that the youth use various strategies to feed themselves – going to inexpensive restaurants, buying easy-to-prepare meals and cooking them in drop-ins, eating meals provided by charitable programs, foraging in garbage cans, or stealing. However, sometimes the young people went hungry because they were too ill to get to a meal program or they needed the time to earn money or attend a medical clinic. The study sheds light on the health and lifestyle of homeless youth and on some of the factors that make it difficult for young people to find steady work and permanent housing.

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Does the Internet Increase, Decrease, or Supplement Social Capital? Social Networks, Participation, and Community Commitment
Barry Wellman, Anabel Quan Haase, James Witte and Keith Hampton
Number 6, December 2001, 5 pages View the PDF
Using a 1998 survey of almost 40,000 visitors to a National Geographic website, the authors tested theories that the Internet (a) increases social interaction and strengthens communities as people use it to communicate with friends and family and to organize as groups; (b) alienates people from one another by competing for time with other activities and by substituting an inferior form of interaction for face-to-face meetings and telephone conversations; and (c) supplements social interaction by providing an additional means of communication to maintain existing social ties. The survey results suggest that people’s interaction online supplements face-to-face and telephone communication without increasing or decreasing the overall level of social interaction. Heavy Internet use is also associated with increased participation in voluntary organizations and politics. However, the transition from participation in all-encompassing communities to participation in more fragmented personal communities warrants additional study.

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One in Five...Housing as a Factor in the Admission of Children to Care: New Survey of Children’s Aid Society of Toronto Updates 1992 Study
Shirley Chau, Ann Fitzpatrick, J. David Hulchanski, Bruce Leslie, and Debbie Schatia
Number 5, November 2001, 6 pages View the PDF
This study replicates a 1992 survey of the reasons why Children’s Aid Society of Toronto workers decide when a child should be removed from his or her family and placed in care. In 20% of cases, the family’s housing situation was a factor in the decision, compared to 18% in 1992. The number of children admitted to care at least partly because of housing problems rose from 290 in 1992 to 450 in 2000 – an increase of 60%. Also, housing problems delayed the return of the child to his or her family in 11.5% of cases, compared to 8.6% in 1992. The cost of such a delay is almost $2,000 per child per month. The authors conclude that Toronto’s housing situation is having a detrimental effect on the well-being of many families with children and placing an additional burden on the resources of the Children’s Aid Society, and that the situation has worsened since 1992.

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Thinking About Urban Inclusiveness
Richard Stren
Number 4, October 2001, 6 pages View the PDF
This research bulletin is based on a presentation by the author to the UN Centre for Human Settlements in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2001. The author describes the rise and popularization of the concept of social or human capital, and the role of municipalities in strengthening social and human capital at a time of rapid globalization and heightened economic competition. At the same time, the increasing diversity of city populations is both a source of conflict and an opportunity for greater creativity and innovation in the global economy. The author mentions cities that have tried to incorporate all citizens, including the poor and vulnerable, in policy- and decision-making. No city has succeeded in achieving social inclusiveness in all areas – very large, diverse cities have had particular problems – but the goal is nonetheless important. The extent to which cities succeed in efforts to improve inclusiveness and incorporate diversity into their structures of governance will distinguish the most accomplished and creative cities in future.

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“We’re hired by the hospital, but we work for the community”: Towards More Effective Hospital Involvement in Community Action
Blake Poland, with Leslie Fell, Heather Graham, Janet Lum, Elaine Walsh, Gail Yardy, Paul Williams and Stasey Tobin
Number 3, October 2001, 5 pages View the PDF
Health care institutions are increasingly required to work more closely with community groups on disease prevention and health promotion. The authors of the paper on which this research bulletin is based examined the rationale and risks of this departure from hospitals’ traditional mandate of clinical care and the expected results of such efforts. They found that hospital involvement in community action ranges from token “consultation” efforts to partnerships of equals. Relationships may be strained by the community’s perception that the hospital is co-opting community energies to serve institutional ends. Using the results of a 1997 pilot study, the authors found that members of community groups view hospitals as powerful and able to command extensive resources, but may also mistrust the motives of hospital staff in joint hospital/community projects. The most crucial task for those seeking to do community work from a hospital base is therefore to establish trust and credibility within the community.

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A Tale of Two Canadas: Homeowners Getting Richer, Renters Getting Poorer: Income and Wealth Trends in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, 1984 and 1999
J. David Hulchanski
Number 2, August 2001, 5 pages View the PDF
Detailed surveys of household income and wealth carried out by Statistics Canada in 1984 and 1999 show that in a fifteen-year period, the income and wealth of homeowners has increased, while those of renters have decreased. That is, the income and wealth gap between homeowners and renters is wide and growing wider each year. This means that fewer renters will be able to make the transition to homeowners. The study also highlights the shortage of affordable rental housing, because investors cannot make money in the private rental sector and because the federal government has abandoned its social housing construction program. Construction of condos and suburban tract housing, however, continues unabated. Because renters’ level of income and wealth is so low compared to that of homeowners, renters are unable to exert effective market demand for new rental housing. Therefore, only significant public-sector intervention will increase the supply of affordable rental housing.

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Designing a Metropolitan Region: The Lessons and Lost Opportunities of the Toronto Experience
Larry S. Bourne
Number 1, July 2001, 6 pages View the PDF
This paper uses Toronto as an example of urban governance and the management of change in urban environments within the context of the increasing scale and complexity of cities, the rapidity of change, the level of uncertainty associated with globalization, and the proliferation of actors and institutions involved in urban development. The author finds that the configuration of governments, institutions and regulatory bodies is less important than the process by which decisions are made, and that plans, even those that are never implemented, are important as informal guides to development. Two prerequisites for effective urban management stand out: proactive, involved governments at higher levels, and mechanisms for redistributing the costs and benefits of urban growth. The author finds that although Toronto continues to provide a relatively high quality of life for most of its citizens, its current government structure of a single-tier city surrounded by four two-tier regions is unstable, and the retreat of the provincial government from involvement in urban affairs may threaten its future success.

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Author Index
 
Belaieff, 10
Bernèche, 11
Bourne, 1
Bourne, 18
Bourne, 21
Bourne, 33
Brown, 34
Chau, 5
Clutterbuck, 8
Cunningham, 39
Dachner, 7
Darden, 11
Dunn, 15
Fell, 3
Fitzpatrick, 5
Graham, 3
Hampton, 6
Hermer, 36
Hermer, 37
Hulchanski, 2
Hulchanski, 5
Hulchanski, 11
Hulchanski, 16
Hulchanski, 26
Hulchanski, 38
Hulchanski, 41
Hulchanski, 44
Hwang, 16
Hwang, 26
Kellen, 36
Kellen, 37
Leslie, 5
Lum, 3
Maaranen, 43
Marcuse, 25
Martin, 16
Martin, 26
Mates, 29
Michalski, 17
Mook, 13
Mook, 27
Morton, 34
Murdie, 9
Murdie, 42
Myles, 19
Newman, 31
Novac, 11
Novac, 34
Novac, 36
Novac, 37
Novac, 40
Novac, 44
Paradis, 34
Paradis, 36
Paradis, 37
Paradis, 44
Poland, 3
Porter, 14
Priemus, 22
Qadeer, 12
Quan-Haase, 6
Quarter, 13
Quarter, 20
Quarter, 27
Richmond, 13
Richmond, 27
Sarty, 44
Schatia, 5
Seguin, 11
Simmons, 18
Slater, 28
Sousa, 20
Stren, 4
Tarasuk, 7
Tarasuk, 24
Teixeira, 35
Tobin, 3
Tolomiczenko, 16,
Tolomiczenko, 26
Walks, 43
Walsh, 3
Wellman, 6, 30
Wieditz, 32
Williams, 3
Witte, 6
Wyly, 31
Vozoris, 24
Yardy, 3

Keyword Index

affordable housing, 2
affordable housing, 22
affordable housing, 17
bed bugs, 19
Canada's cities, 21
Canada's cities, 42
Canadian Urban System, 18
Census, 2001, 18
Charter of Rights and Freedoms, 14
child care, 8
Children’s Aid Society, 5
city growth trends, 21
communication, 6
community organizations, 27
community programs, 8
community-hospital partnerships, 3
co-op housing, 20
cooperative organizations, 13
correctional facilities, 36
Covenant on Social, Economic and Cultural Rights, 14
criminality 37
decision-making in cities, 1
decision-making in cities, 4
demographic change, 18
demographic trends, 33
discrimination, 9
discrimination, 11
displacement, 28
displacement, 31
displacement, 43
diversity, 4
economic development, 32
ethnic segregation, 12
Europe, housing, 22
family violence, 40
food banks, 17
food security, 7
food security, 16
gentrification, 28
gentrification, 31
gentrification, 32
gentrification, 35
gentrification, 43
globalization, 1
globalization, 4
globalization, 14
globalization, 18
health care, 3
health determinants, 15
homelessness, 7
homelessness, 14
homelessness, 34
homelessness, 36
homelessness, 37
homelessness, 40
homelessness, 44
homeowners, 2
hospitals, 3
housing, 38
housing, 44
housing affordability, 17
housing affordability, 2
housing and admission of children into care, 5
housing, co-op, 20
Housing, Public, 22
housing and health, 15
housing and health, 26
housing as a human right, 14
housing design and condition, 15
housing discrimination, 9
housing discrimination, 11
housing market, 11
housing, public, 20
housing, rental, 9
housing search, 9
immigration, 8
immigration, 9
immigration, 12
immigration, 18
immigration, 42
income polarization, 41
income trends, 2
Internet, 6
low-income households, 11
low-income households, 16
low-income households, 43
low-income households, 44
Jacobs, Jane, 30
justice system, 36
migration, 21
multiculturalism, 12
neighbourhoods, 28
neighbourhoods, 29
neighbourhoods, 31
neighbourhoods, 41
new urban agenda, 21
New York City, 31
non-profit organizations, 13
Ontario government, 1
Ontario housing, 20
Ontario welfare cuts of 1995, 17
parking lots, 10
partnerships, community, 3
philosophy, 39
Portuguese immigrants, 35
public health, 8
public health, 15
public libraries, 8
quality of life, 1
quality of life, 8
racial discrimination, 11
recreation programs, 8
regions, 21
rental households, 2
rooming houses, 16
rooming houses, 26
seniors’ homes, 8
social accounting, 13
social accounting, 27
social capital, 4
social capital, 6
social capital, 13
social economy, 13
social economy, 27
social housing, 20
social housing, 22
social infrastructure, 8
social integration, 12
social interaction, 6
social policy, 17
spatial segregation, 12
spatial services, 34
squeegee kids, 7
Toronto neighbourhoods, 12
Toronto neighbourhoods, 29
Toronto neighbourhoods, 30
uneven city growth, 21
United Nations, 14
urban activism, 30
urban agenda, 21
urban entomology, 19
urban governance, 1
urban governance, 4
urban growth, 1
urban growth, 21
urban land use, 10
urban system, 33
voluntary organizations, 6
wealth trends, 2
youth, homeless, 7