Exploring Eco-gentrification as a result of Urban Linear Park Developments: A Case Study of The Meadoway in Scarborough, Ontario

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Hynes, Michaella
Urban planning , Eco-gentrification , Strategies for mitigating eco-gentrification , Urban linear parks , Urban green space , Urban green space development , The Meadoway
The potential urban linear parks have, to improve the quality of life in urban areas is becoming increasingly recognized in Canada, particularly in the City of Toronto. From a planning perspective, urban linear parks provide a unique opportunity to promote sustainability, urban green space, community empowerment and active transportation. Urban green space development of vacant lands and brownfields can also have transformative effects on cities through the rejuvenation of underproductive areas. With the increased densification of cities, linear parks, therefore, are regarded with great value and have emerged as the predominant means of bringing together the built and natural environments. Given the disproportionate distribution of urban green space and the greater burden of urban environments felt in lower-income and ethnically diverse neighbourhoods, investment into urban green space development in these areas is especially important (Astell-Burt et al., 2014). The increasing prevalence of eco- gentrification, however, is raising awareness of the perpetual inequalities associated with urban green spaces (Black & Richards, 2020). Specifically, a growing body of literature regarding eco-gentrification recognizes the failure to consider existing residents’ needs in the design and planning processes. In general, urban green space development also tends to struggle with promoting social equity and environmental justice principles and policies, resulting in an imbalance of economic development, environmental improvement, and social and cultural needs (Gould and Lewis, 2017). Using a case study of The Meadoway (the Gatineau hydro corridor being converted into a new urban linear park) in Scarborough, Ontario this report will expand on existing academic literature on eco-gentrification and the equity-related challenges in urban green space. The finding from this study will offer critical insights into how equity issues were considered in the early planning stages of a prominent urban linear park in Canada, which will expand our understanding of urban linear parks and eco-gentrification. Identifying strategies for mitigating eco-gentrification may also enable other jurisdictions to prioritize environmental justice, access, and equity during the planning stages of these redevelopment strategies.
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