Gentrification and change in canadian metropolitan areas

The Extent of Gentrification

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The Extent of Gentrification

Table 2 presents the population and the household counts in each category of census tract by CMA. The first and fourth columns list the total number in each CMA and the ratios show the proportion of the total in each gentrification category. The 1981 boundaries of the CMAs’ urban area were used. Whereas 4.3 percent of the census tracts were identified as gentrifying, they represent only 2.3 percent of the population and 2.7 percent of the households in the CMAs.6 The distribution varies across the cities with no tracts identified in Regina while Kingston, a small city on the edge of Lake Ontario, had almost 10 percent of its occupied stock in gentrifying neighbourhoods. Table 2 shows that both large and small cities experience gentrification.

Table 3 shows that the population in the all of the 1981 tracts in the 10 CMAs increased by 31.1 percent but it decreased in the gentrifying tracts by 5.8 percent and in the “potentially gentrifying” tracts by 2.2 percent. The decrease in population means that the residential density decreased in the gentrifying and in the potentially gentrifying tracts in almost all CMAs. While the number of households increased by 43.3 percent in all of the 1981 tracts, it increased by 15.5 percent in the gentrifying and 16.8 percent in the potential tracts. Household sizes decreased on average in the three sets of tracts but it decreased the most in the gentrifying neighbourhoods. However, Vancouver, with its constrained periphery, increased both its population and households within the gentrifying neighbourhoods. It is the only CMA in the sample with increasing densities in its gentrifying tracts.

Ley (1988, 1993) identifies the tracts in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver that gentrified in the 1970s and had completed their transformation by the start of the 1980s. Combining his net pre-1981 counts with the 1981 – 2001 “gentrified” tracts identified in this study and using the 1981 households in the denominator yields estimates of the total gentrified occupied stock of 5.9 percent for Montreal, 6.8 percent for Toronto and 7.3 percent for Vancouver. Using generous definitions of inner city, Montreal had 11.9 percent of its inner city occupied dwelling units gentrify since 1971; Toronto had 21.1 percent and Vancouver 19.9 percent. Adding the potentially gentrifying tracts almost doubles these ratios to 23.4, 40.5 and 34.5 percent. Gentrification has made major changes to these inner cities and future research might explore what happens to the gentrified neighbourhoods, to what extent does the social upgrading bring the political power that successfully resists further changes as described by Filion (1991).7

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