Downtown density will prevail over slums of suburbia
Mar 03, 2008 04:30 AM
At the moment of its triumph, suburbia is starting to show signs of collapse.
Having remade the face of North America, the tide now seems to be turning against the 'burbs. The downfall won't be quick, but already the unthinkable is starting to happen.
In short, Leinberger charts the return to the city that began late in the last century and has been picking up speed ever since. Toronto is a good example; just look at the condo boom, now in its third decade, and the rising price of housing in neighbourhoods that until the 1970s, '80s and '90s, were assiduously avoided by the middle class, areas such as Cabbagetown, Riverdale and now Parkdale.
Christopher Hume should know that Realtors, speculators, and property flippers, are the ones driving the condo boom. Also, contractors are driving up housing prices by buying houses, renovating them or razing them entirely to build a new house, and then selling it at a more inflated price. In other words there is sort of a pseudo construction boom going on in southern Ontario were speculation is driving the market instead of real demand.
Also Parkdale was a nice neighbourhood before mass immigration ruined it. The erection of high density buildings to accommodate new immigrants pretty much turned that part of town into an urban slum. If you live in Toronto go and visit Parkdale and you will see what I mean. But if the middle classes are moving in this will drive out the working class immigrant populations already living there. They will need to look for affordable housing elsewhere and I guess this search will lead them to the suburbs and hence the establishment of suburban slums.
Looking back at the postwar conditions that unleashed the explosion of suburbia, it's clear the growth was inspired as much as anything by a desire to escape from the city. Density, associated with danger, disease and decay, was the enemy.
Sixty years later, beset by gridlock, shoddy construction and environmental degradation that can no longer be ignored, density has started to look good again.
Gridlock, shoddy construction and environmental degradation? Does mass immigration have anything to do with this? Nah. We all know mass immigration has zero influence on urban sprawl, traffic congestion, and incentives to build sub par housing.
And as Boomers grow older and couples put off having children, the appeal of the subdivision wanes even further. The result, Leinberger argues, is that the suburbs could well be on their way to becoming America's "next slum."
Research by David Hulchanski at the University of Toronto has already found that poverty here is being pushed out of its historic inner-city precincts and into "postwar inner suburbs" and "large postwar housing projects." Read Scarborough, Etobicoke, Jane-Finch, Rexdale and the like.
These neighbourhoods are all characterized by high density, high crime rates, low incomes, and high concentrations of immigrants. In Scarborough it is mostly Asian and Tamil. In Etobicoke he means north Etobicoke where Rexdale is located and in this neighbourhood it is mostly South Asians (East and West Indians, Sikhs, Hindus, Tamils, Muslims), and Africans (mostly Somali) and immigrants from the Caribbean. Jane-Finch is the same as Rexdale, in fact its not too far from it geographically, but it is mostly characterized by Jamaican immigration. So we see that it is mass immigration that has turned these suburbs into suburban slums. I'd also like to add another one: Chinatown at Spadina and Dundas but this is urban and not suburban so I guess it doesn't count.
Not only is mass immigration adding fuel to urban sprawl but it is also laying waste to once safe and clean neighbourhoods. The problem is not immigration but mass immigration of the current variety. Canada is introducing too many people into our cities particularly those who shouldn't be here. But since our immigration system is a numbers game it doesn't really matter who gets in.
Christopher Hume won't make the connection between mass immigration and the "slumming" of Canadian neighbourhoods but ideology will blind anyone to the obvious.
Illegal rooming houses taking root in suburbs.