Changing Social Geography of Canadian Cities

Changing Social Geography of Canadian Cities

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  • Book Info
    Changing Social Geography of Canadian Cities
    Book Description:

    The contributors to this volume demonstrate the richness and diversity of the social landscapes and communities in Canadian urban centres, emphasizing changes which occurred in the period from the mid 1960s to the early 1990s. The nineteen non-technical and integrative essays include reviews of the literature, empirical studies, and discussions of policy issues.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-6355-1
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Contributors
    (pp. vii-2)
  4. CHAPTER ONE Introduction: The Social Context and Diversity of Urban Canada
    (pp. 3-30)
    D.F. LEY and L.S. BOURNE

    This is a book about the places, the people, and the practices that together comprise the social geography of Canadian cities. Its purpose is both to describe and to interpret something of the increasingly complex social characteristics of these cities and the diversity of living environments and lived experiences that they provide. While the chapters that follow are a selection, albeit purposeful, of the work of social geographers, and their treatment both of places and of issues, our objective as editors is to give readers a deeper understanding of social patterns and recent trends in urban Canada and of social...

    • CHAPTER TWO Evolving Urban Landscapes
      (pp. 33-51)

      Canadian urban landscapes defy easy categorization. Most places have distinctive “signatures” – their own melange of site attributes and settings – but at the same time there are also many similarities. These unique and generic elements are the products of both the inertia of regional historical development and more recent standardizing forces associated with the land market, government policies, and nationally organized enterprises. This chapter offers three vignettes of recent changes in Canadian urban places which illustrate the Canadian mix of public and private initiatives that have made (and persist in remaking) distinct yet similar urban landscapes.¹ My goal is to move...

    • CHAPTER THREE Measuring the Social Ecology of Cities
      (pp. 52-75)
      W.K.D. DAVIES and R.A. MURDIE

      In 1911 J.S. Woodsworth, Methodist minister, social reformer, and future CCF leader, published his seminal work, My Neighbour.¹ The book was an impassioned exposé of the social contrasts and the emerging squalor found in rapidly growing Canadian cities. Designed to alert influential members of society to the acute problems of homelessness, family breakdown, and social deprivation, it also contained a plan for reform. Heavily influenced by his religious convictions and social conscience, Woodsworth hammered home the theme that “the welfare of one is the concern of all,” exhorting all urban citizens to improve their understanding of the social character, composition...

    • CHAPTER FOUR Demography, Living Arrangement, and Residential Geography
      (pp. 76-102)
      J.R. MIRON

      The past four decades have seen remarkable shifts in the demography of Canada’s population, in living arrangement, and in the daily pattern of household life. Demographic change has contributed to alterations in Canada’s residential geography – for example, metropolitan growth, the emergence of the automobile-oriented commuter suburb, the high-rise residential construction boom of the late 1960s and early 1970s, and the development of senior citizens’ and other purpose-built housing. At the same time, new trends in residential geography were also shaped by changes in the economy and by social policies that included income stabilization, fiscal restraint, “targeting,” and “deinstitutionalization.”¹

      This chapter...

    • CHAPTER FIVE Urban Social Behaviour in Time and Space
      (pp. 103-118)
      D.G. JANELLE

      Time is an increasingly central factor in the emerging geography of Canadian cities. This chapter describes recent changes in the temporal order of social and economic relationships, explores their implications for the behaviour of urban residents, and considers their importance to the spatial structure of urban life and city form. A general conceptual discussion is followed by a survey of time use and space-time behaviour in several cities and by a more detailed profile on the time-geography of Halifax.

      In the social geography of cities, minutes count: the need to mesh individual life with the time demands of social and...

    • CHAPTER SIX Migration, Mobility, and Population Redistribution
      (pp. 121-137)

      Changing residence is a pervasive form of behaviour in North American society. The average Canadian can expect to move about a dozen times during a lifetime. Although most moves cover relatively short distances within the same local jurisdiction, they serve an important role both for individuals and for the larger society. For individuals, they facilitate an ongoing adjustment to shifting needs and desires in relation to housing, employment, and access to amenities and to social and economic environments. For the larger society, they both reflect collective values of freedom of choice in a world bound by many constraints and, as...

    • CHAPTER SEVEN The Emerging Ethnocultural Mosaic
      (pp. 138-152)

      Visitors are surprised by the way Canadian cities differ in their ethnocultural composition. A “composite” ethnicity contributes to their character, and the city of the senses varies from one city to the next and from one district to another. Marcuse once accused modern cities of having no erotic properties - no room, that is, for the senses, for emotion, sexuality, or love, for the exploration and exuberance of self. If these properties are present in the public sphere of Canadian cities, it is in large part through the vitality with which we retain and express our “old world” values and...

    • CHAPTER EIGHT Work, Labour Markets, and Households in Transition
      (pp. 153-174)

      One of the defining characteristics of the historical development of industrial cities, especially in North America, is the spatial separation of employment and residence. This separation has been reflected in a somewhat artificial, if often expedient, dichotomy between the “economic” and the “social” in analyses of urban structure.¹ More recently, however, social geographers, notably in Canada,² have begun to bridge this gap by exploring the links between the evolution or restructuring of urban economies and the changing social composition of neighbourhoods.

      In this chapter we review these developments by interpreting the changing geography of labour and households in Canadian metropolitan...

    • CHAPTER NINE Housing Markets, Community Development, and Neighbourhood Change
      (pp. 175-196)
      L.S. BOURNE and T. BUNTING

      The social geography of Canadian cities is intimately linked with the provision of housing.¹ Housing is not only shelter and a major capital good, it is the largest component in the average household’s expenditures and wealth, as well as a visible status symbol. The overall quality of life for most households is directly tied to satisfaction with and attachment to the home and to its immediate surroundings.² Individual dwelling units provide the physical setting for most activities associated with family nurturing and social reproduction, but, when clustered together, these units also constitute the basic building blocks of urban neighbourhoods and...

    • CHAPTER TEN Integrating Production and Consumption: Industry, Class, Ethnicity, and the Jews of Toronto
      (pp. 199-213)
      D. HIEBERT

      We tend to think of our workplaces and neighbourhoods as separate components of our lives, connected only by the tedious daily commute. This conceptual separation reflects the reality of a disjuncture between home and work locations in the modern city: in Toronto, for example, fewer than 7 per cent of the population live and work in the same census tract.¹ This pattern is reinforced by an array of private and public institutions, such as mortgage lending agencies and the urban planning profession. Planners in particular play a crucial role in defining urban spatial patterns and normally work with an assumption...

    • CHAPTER ELEVEN Past Elites and Present Gentry: Neighbourhoods of Privilege in the Inner City
      (pp. 214-233)
      D.F. LEY

      In November 1986 theGlobe and Mailbegan a series of investigative articles under the banner headline “Toronto the Rich.” The reporter had in mind in particular the wealth of the central city: “From the sleek luncheon haunts of King Street West, to the 100 per cent cashmere crush in the carriage-trade shops of Yonge Street and St. Clair Avenue on Saturdays, to the graceful Jaguars gliding into the parking garage at First Canadian Place, the wealth of Toronto seems pervasive,” he gushed.¹ But evidence of conspicuous consumption is, of course, distributed more broadly over the residential areas of Metropolitan...

    • CHAPTER TWELVE From Periphery to Centre: The Changing Geography of the Suburbs
      (pp. 234-251)
      L. J. EVENDEN and G. E. WALKER

      By definition, the suburb is a thing apart, a human habitat wholly dependent on the city’s prior and adjacent existence. It represents the most important element of growth in modern expanding cities, being distinguished in the landscape by its location at the urban periphery and re-creating there in modified ways the intricate forms of the city’s built environment. It provides the dominant setting for the rearing of families, the learning of property and political relations, and, through life-cycle stages, the constant recasting of roles in an urbanizing society and polity. It has also been described as a phase in the...

    • CHAPTER THIRTEEN The Social Geography of Small Towns
      (pp. 252-264)
      J.C. EVERITT and A.M. GILL

      Although life in Canadian small towns is a recurring theme in literature,¹ sometimes presented favourably and sometimes less auspiciously,² the social geography of small towns has been neglected,³ even though small towns and villages are “the ‘basic building’ blocks of our settlement system models.”⁴ Moreover, many smaller settlements throughout Canada are evolving as they become more integrated into the urban system of their surrounding regions, which in turn reduces their independence.⁵ Small towns, however, still play an important and discrete role in Canada, for although they vary widely in function, structure, and location, the characteristics that they share make them...

    • CHAPTER FOURTEEN Social Planning and the Welfare State
      (pp. 267-280)
      J.T. LEMON

      Through this century, while most Canadians urbanized and experienced increased prosperity, many have worked for an inclusive social welfare system to protect against threats to well-being and to widen opportunities. Largely through government auspices, they created a thick welfare net of many strands. While most of the policy decisions and the funding of social services now rest with the provincial and federal levels, municipalities and independent non-profit agencies have continued to ask social questions, to develop organizations responding to needs, and to engage in social planning. As historians of welfare point out, prior to the twentieth century, social thought and...

    • CHAPTER FIFTEEN The Meaning of Home, Homeownership, and Public Policy
      (pp. 281-297)
      R. HARRIS and G.J. PRATT

      The home has multiple and complex meanings that provide clues to a whole range of social relationships. In this chapter we review how the meaning and spatial organization of homes in Canadian cities have evolved and how variations persist among different social groups. Because ownership is intimately bound up with the meaning of home in Canada, we discuss the historical trend toward increased urban homeownership, assessing its causes and implications. While some authors assert a universal desire for property ownership,¹ we stress the social foundations of this desire, including its roots in public policy. In the final section, we emphasize...

    • CHAPTER SIXTEEN Homelessness
      (pp. 298-308)
      M.J. DEAR and J. WOLCH

      Canadians have traditionally viewed theirs as a caring society. Far distant from the rigidities of its British and French heritages, and resistant to the example of its southern neighbour, Canada developed a relatively comprehensive “welfare state” in a pragmatic and piecemeal manner.¹ The social safety net reached its zenith during the 19708. Since then, there has been increasing retrenchment,² but Canada’s enduring commitment to social welfare remains fundamentally unshaken. The present crisis of homelessness therefore comes as something of a surprise to many Canadians. Since the early 19808, newspaper accounts have documented a tale of growing human misery and deprivation.³...

    • CHAPTER SEVENTEEN Geography of Urban Health
      (pp. 309-325)
      S.M. TAYLOR

      The geography of health is high on the agenda of public issues. It is a matter of urgent public concern, media attention, political debate, and policy statement. This chapter examines three topics that illustrate the salience of the geography of health in Canadian cities today. The first is spatial inequalities in health, particularly within cities. The reduction of inequalities has recently been identified as the first challenge on the national agenda for health promotion.¹ This topic establishes that there is indeed a geography of health. Environmental, socioeconomic, behavioural, and biological factors create disparities that are manifest spatially and socially. Evidence...

    • CHAPTER EIGHTEEN Changing Access to Public and Private Services: Non-Family Childcare
      (pp. 326-342)

      In 1993, a young woman gives up her place in a university because she cannot find a place in childcare for her 18-month-old son. In Vancouver, a twoincome family moves across the city in order to take advantage of better community childcare facilities for its two pre-schoolers. In Halifax, a professional woman changes from full-time to a less lucrative and less satisfying part-time job in order to “fit in” with the hours when childcare is available for her three-year-old, while a neighbour, the father of a family of four, quits his job to become a home-care giver, meeting his own...

    • CHAPTER NINETEEN Cities as a Social Responsibility: Planning and Urban Form
      (pp. 343-366)
      P.J. SMITH and P.W. MOORE

      Most of the previous chapters have treated the social geography of Canadian cities as the product of spontaneous forces working within Canadian society. Now we must reverse the point of view and consider how society has acted, deliberately and purposefully, to shape Canadian cities. The concept of planning refers, in this context, to the means by which society attempts to direct the processes of urban change and development for public or collective ends. Urban planning thus constitutes an integral part of the complex apparatus with which communities govern themselves. Its particular purpose, or social responsibility, is to ensure that the...

  9. Notes and References
    (pp. 367-478)
  10. Index
    (pp. 479-487)