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Social Infrastructure and Vulnerability in the Suburbs

Social Infrastructure and Vulnerability in the Suburbs

Lucia Lo
Valerie Preston
Paul Anisef
Ranu Basu
Shuguang Wang
Copyright Date: 2015
Pages: 208
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  • Book Info
    Social Infrastructure and Vulnerability in the Suburbs
    Book Description:

    Social Infrastructure and Vulnerability in the Suburbsexamines how the combination of the low-density, car-centric geography of outer suburbs and neoliberal governance in the past several decades has affected disadvantaged populations in North American metro areas. Taking the example of York Region, a large outer suburb north of Toronto, the authors provide a spatial analysis that illuminates the invisible geography of vulnerability in the region.

    The volume examines access to social services by vulnerable groups who are not usually associated with the suburbs: recent immigrants, seniors, and low-income families. Investigating their access to four types of social infrastructure - education, employment, housing, and settlement services - this book presents a range of policy recommendations for how to address the social inequalities that characterize contemporary outer suburbs.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-2263-0
    Subjects: Political Science, Geography, Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. List of Tables
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. List of Figures
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  5. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xv-2)
  6. 1 Vulnerability and Neoliberalism in the Suburbs
    (pp. 3-16)

    In contemporary societies, where individuals are increasingly responsible for their own well-being, equitable access to public infrastructure plays a crucial role in ensuring that all citizens can participate fully in society (Beck 1993; Graham and Marvin 2001; McFarlane and Rutherford 2008). All types of public infrastructure – physical infrastructure such as transportation systems, water, sewer, and other utilities; health infrastructure; amenities such as parks and recreational services; knowledge-based infrastructure such as education facilities and libraries; and social services such as settlement services, affordable housing, and employment services – influence the inclusion of urban residents. This is particularly true for vulnerable...

  7. 2 York Region, a Prime Example of the Outer Suburbs
    (pp. 17-36)

    This book examines public infrastructure for three vulnerable population groups¹ – recent immigrants, seniors, and the poor – in York Region, a growing outer suburb of the metropolitan Toronto area. York Region is an exemplar of rapid population growth outstripping infrastructural investment. At the time of this study it was the fastest-growing regional municipality within the Greater Toronto Area, and its population growth ranked among the fastest of all suburbs in Canada (CBC 2012). It was also experiencing rapid diversification of its population. Despite the presence of many well-established small towns and villages, most of the development in York Region...

  8. 3 Vulnerability in York Region
    (pp. 37-58)

    Increasing social diversity and growing vulnerability characterize York Region. In 2006, immigrants made up 43 per cent of the region’s population, and recent immigrants (those arriving within the last ten years of the census) rose by two-and-a-half times, from 40,875 in 1991 to 109,275 in 2006 (Statistics Canada 2008). The population is also aging rapidly. In 1991 there were 35,560 seniors in the region. By 2011, their number had reached 120,936. Growing income disparities are apparent. In 1991, 37,570 individuals lived in households with incomes less than the low-income cut-off.¹ By 2006 the figure was 112,165. These growth trends are...

  9. 4 Education Infrastructure in York Region
    (pp. 59-74)

    As a social equalizer, education infrastructure represents institutions for social change, transformation, and justice in democratic societies. As a lifelong learning process, education, broadly defined, includes early-childhood education, primary and secondary schooling, post-secondary education, and continuing education for adults. The provision, maintenance, and governance of education infrastructure in Ontario is accordingly multifaceted and complexly organized. Education is both a public and a private good; although formally it is governed by policy guidelines and statutory regulations at all levels of government, informally it also involves community engagement and the production of local social and cultural capital in its day-to-day activities.


  10. 5 Employment Services in York Region
    (pp. 75-100)

    Employment growth has followed population growth since the inception of York Region in 1971. Between 1998 and 2006 employment grew at an annual rate of 4.9 per cent, while population grew at an average annual rate of 5.2 per cent. Jobs in York Region employ predominantly full-time workers. Custom data from Statistics Canada show that 62 per cent of the employed in 2006 worked full time. A York Region employment survey documented that 75.7 per cent of employment in the region was full time in 2006 (Regional Municipality of York 2006, 14). At the same time, part-time employment grew from...

  11. 6 Housing Infrastructure in York Region
    (pp. 101-123)

    Affordable, adequate, and suitable housing is an essential prerequisite for a successful life in Canada (Hulchanski and Shapcott 2004; Preston et al. 2009). At the national, provincial, and metropolitan levels several studies have highlighted affordability as the main housing issue facing Canadians (Engeland and Lewis 2005; Prentice 2009). Within Canadian cities little attention has been paid to housing in the outer suburbs, where two major social trends collide. The housing stock consists almost exclusively of expensive, single-family, detached, and owner-occupied housing (Bunting et al. 2004; Suttor 2007) while the rapidly increasing population is growing more diverse. Recent immigrants are settling...

  12. 7 Settlement Services in York Region
    (pp. 124-147)

    In the past, recent immigrants usually settled in an inner-city neighbourhood for an extended time before accumulating enough capital to move to the suburbs (Murdie and Teixeira 2003). As a result most settlement services were located in the inner city. Settlement patterns have changed in the last couple of decades, and many new immigrants now settle in the suburbs as soon as they arrive (Murdie 2008). According to the census, 109,270 immigrants settled in York Region from 1996 to 2006.

    As mentioned earlier, recent immigrants in this study refer to those who landed in Canada between 1996 and mid-May 2006,...

  13. 8 Conclusions
    (pp. 148-160)

    This study describes the geographies of vulnerability in a Canadian outer suburb, revealing poverty and other vulnerabilities in the midst of affluence and identifying shortages of social infrastructure that might redress multiple vulnerabilities. York Region, the subject of the case study, is a prime example of North American outer suburbs in which population growth and social diversification during the last two decades of neoliberal governance pose new planning challenges (Hanlon, Short, and Vicino 2009; Katz and Lang 2003; Kneebone and Berube 2013; Phelps and Wu 2011; Teaford 2008). Despite efforts to intensify land uses, to invest in transit, and to...

  14. References
    (pp. 161-176)
  15. Index
    (pp. 177-191)