Gentrification and change in canadian metropolitan areas

The Location of Gentrifying Neighborhoods

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The Location of Gentrifying Neighborhoods

Figures 11, 12 and 13 show the location of the gentrifying, the potentially gentrifying and the other tracts in Canada’s three largest CMAs. They also locate the tracts that gentrified during the 1970s (as determined by Ley 1988) and the elite upper income inner city tracts. In general, the three maps reveal that gentrifying tracts, between 1981 and 2001, involved poorer neighbourhoods and are, thus, expanding beyond the “traditional” locations of gentrification that took place during 1970s. For example, the potential and gentrifying tracts are identified for a large area in the west and east of Toronto’s inner city and for Vancouver in the southeast, areas that were traditionally lower income areas.

Ley (1993) notes that spatial pattern of gentrifying tracts in the early 1980s was more chaotic than in the 1970s. This study shows that when gentrification is examined over a longer time period the pattern is less chaotic than it is extensive but this varies across the CMAs. For example, Toronto’s and Vancouver’s geographic distribution of the gentrifying tracts is less “chaotic” than that exhibited by Montreal. However, Vancouver and Montreal illustrate small and isolated clusters of potentially gentrifying tracts at some distance from the main areas of gentrification. In general the potentially gentrifying tracts have a much more dispersed spatial pattern than gentrifying tracts (Figures 11, 12 and 13). This trend is similar to the outward expansion of reinvestment activity beyond the firmly established core of gentrification as observed for American inner cities (Wyly and Hammel 1999, 735) and in London (Hamnett 2003, 2410) during the 1990s.

Ley (1988, 1993) observes that gentrification was taking place in the 1970s and by 1981 the housing prices had increased enough to stop further upgrading in some neighbourhoods. We matched the Ley (1988) tracts in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver (visible in Figures 11, 12 and 13) and found that only 3 out of the 59 gentrifying tracts were still considered to be gentrifying in 2004 by the key informants and only one in the “potential” category was seen to be gentrifying before 1981. The figures show the spread of gentrification through substantial parts of the inner cities.

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