What Sparkles Does Not Always Shine: A Study of Segregation and Gentrification in The Neighborhood of Runnymede-Bloor West Village as it Relates to the Wider City of Toronto
This paper is an ethnographic and sociological study of the neighborhood of Runnymede-Bloor West Village, identifying trends and drawing conclusions based on statistical data, academic theory, and notes taken during research trips. It is also worth noting that this study was conducted in January of 2020 before the Global pandemic was declared. Focusing on gentrification, segregation, and inequality, I identify that this neighborhood is part of a growing trend in Toronto of the increasing severity of all three of these issues. Runnymede-Bloor West Village is quickly becoming one of Toronto’s wealthiest neighborhoods, with the average household income increasing substantially. While this will certainly make real estate agents happy and will probably provide the city with more property tax, it also has the effect of pushing less affluent people out, as increasing living costs make their continued residence in Runnymede-Bloor West Village unaffordable. It also influences the local businesses, as businesses that do not cater to the new influx of affluent residents go out of business, either because their customer base has left or because they can no longer afford to pay their rent. I also identify the increased segregation of the neighborhood, as the racialized character of income inequality in Toronto results in people of color being priced out. Finally, I recommend that the solution to much of this increased inequality is the building of more affordable housing and restrictions of the building of unaffordable housing. Much of this will require the actions of a progressive, engaged local government. Hopefully, these steps will be able to halt or even reverse the trend of an ever-increasing cost of living, provide the local businesses with customers who do not have to spend most of their income on housing costs, and provide a short term solution to the issue of income and ethnicity-based segregation in Toronto.
- Balakrishnan, T. R. "Ethnic Residential Segregation in the Metropolitan Areas of Canada." The Canadian Journal of Sociology / Cahiers Canadiens De Sociologie 1, no. 4 (1976): 481-98.
- Billingham, Chase M. “The Broadening Conception of Gentrification: Recent Developments and Avenues for Future Inquiry in the Sociological Study of Urban Change.” Michigan Sociological Review 29 (2015): 75-102.
- Block, Sheila and Grace-Edward Galabuzi. Canada’s Colour Coded Labour Market: The Gap for Racialized Workers. Ottawa, ON: Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives. (2011) http://www.policyalternatives.ca/publications/reports/canadas-colour-coded-labour-market
- Fullilove, Mindy. “The Butterfly in Beijing” Root Shock: How Tearing Up City Neighborhoods Hurts America, and What We Can Do About It. New York: One World Books. (2005) Introduction and Chapter 1: 1-20.
- Hulchanski David J. “The Three Cities Within Toronto: Income Polarization among Toronto’s Neighbourhoods-1970- 2005” 2010.
- Hwang, Jackelyn, and Jeffrey Lin. "What Have We Learned About the Causes of Recent Gentrification?" Cityscape 18, no. 3 (2016): 9-26.
- Lehrer, Ute, and Thorben Wieditz. Condominium development and gentrification: The relationship between policies, building activities and socio-economic development in Toronto. Canadian Journal of Urban Research 18, no. 1. (2009): 140-161.
- Oreopoulos, Philip. “Why Do Skilled Immigrants Struggle in the Labour Market? A Field Experiment with Thirteen Thousand Resumes.” American Economic Review: Economic Policy 3. (2011): 148- 171.
- Qadeer, Mohammad A. Ethnic Segregation in a Multicultural City: The Case of Toronto, Canada. CERIS: The Ontario Metropolis Centre, 2003.
- Walks, Alan, and Martine August. “The Factors Inhibiting Gentrification in Areas with Little Non-Market Housing: Policy Lessons from the Toronto Experience.” Urban Studies 45, no. 12 (November 2008): 2594–2625.
- Walks, Alan, and Amy Twigge-Molecey. Income Inequality and Polarization in Canada’s Cities: An Examination and New Form of Measurement. Cities Centre, 2014.