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This City

Do you know what gentrification is doing to our city?

gentrification: (noun) The process of renovating or improving a house or district so that it conforms to middle-class taste. 

An example/excerpt from Toronto Life: “There’s a gentrification war brewing in the market. On one side are the landlords, many represented by commercial real estate agent Phil Pick, who’s been encouraging his clients to jack up rents. On the other are the indie cheese, fish and coffee vendors who, in the name of preserving the market’s boho mojo, seem to expect bargain rents for eternity. The biggest battle of all—a proposed Walmart—looms”

All images in this post have been provided by photographer @Krushitvanzara

Screenshot 2015-01-13 13.05.23As long as real estate has existed people have always aimed to find the best areas in which to live. Toronto is a quickly expanding city with much to offer, so naturally the discussion continues. People, whether or not they are thinking of selling or buying, want to know how their neighbourhood stacks up against the rest and how it could improve.

Recently, blogTO wrote an article ‘The top 5 Toronto neighbourhoods on the rise in 2015‘ describing five areas that have seen or will be seeing expansion and residential development. From a real estate perspective, it is always nice to see the creation of new homes, neighbourhoods and local shops, but what happens when the city hasn’t appropriately accommodated this growth in population? What happens to the older, less commoditized residences? How are schools and access to public transportation affected? How are property values and rents affected?

Screenshot 2015-01-13 13.04.55

Toronto Life has started a series called #TorontoIsFailingMe – you might have read some of the articles, or heard of them by now. This series tells stories about real people living in the city, people who are affected negatively by gentrification. It shares the experiences of people whose children’s schools have not yet reflected a positive change; stories of people who live in apartment buildings where rents are increased and health, safety and housing standards are sometimes neglected.

While neither of these articles were a direct response to one another, they both speak to the same subject – a growing city that is feeling some growing pains. It’s important to stay well-informed, at least for the sake of knowing that “in with the new, out with the old” doesn’t quite apply. The city has to take further precautions (or at least set in place positive actions to accommodate growth) when approving residential developments not only within the shiny glamorous parts of the city, but in expanding urban areas as well. I’m not saying every urban site should be a Lawrence Park or Forest Hill neighbourhood, I love the fact that Toronto has so many different neighbourhoods and demographics.

Screenshot 2015-01-13 13.05.28

I guess what I’m trying to get at is that I’m not against gentrification, rather I’m stressing that one should be informed when making decisions on real estate. Get to know the neighbourhood: the schools, grocery stores, day cares, local shops, access to public transportation. Also get to know your building’s developer and/or landlord: talk to other residents or even just google search and see if there are any concerns you should be aware of.

Thats all for now folks, I hope I’ve left you with something to think about!

Ps. All images in this article have been provided by photographer @Krushitvanzara who has an impressive instagram gallery of Toronto images. 

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