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The Effects of Urban Rapid Rail Transit on Gentrification in Canadian Urban Centres


The Effects of Urban Rapid Rail Transit on Gentrification in Canadian Urban Centres

Grube-Cavers, C. Annelise (2013) The Effects of Urban Rapid Rail Transit on Gentrification in Canadian Urban Centres. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Throughout the second half of the 20th century theories attempting to explain the phenomenon of gentrification have been pervasive among studies of the changing social structures of urban centres in Europe and North America. Gentrification is defined as a process whereby higher income households move into what were previously working class neighbourhoods, resulting in either direct or indirect displacement of working class households, and ultimately transforming the social character of the neighbourhood. There has been contentious debate over the definition of gentrification, but but through its evolution and adaptation to new contexts it has remained a popular topic among scholars in urban planning. Among the studies and papers published, there are many that show that the process is not only driven by individual actors', but it is also a process deeply affected by government interests and objectives and therefore by public investments.
The consequences of the process are still debated; some hail the process as a boost for everyone, (e.g. Duany, 2001), while others assert that gentrification limits accessibility to urban space for lower-income, working-class households, often with already reduced options in terms of housing, and ultimately contributes to creating increasingly socially polarized urban spaces (Marcuse, 1986; Newman and Wyly, 2006).
Keeping a necessarily critical perspective in mind, this study identifies the onset of gentrification in Canadian cities and links this process to an element of urban infrastructure essential to cities; transit. The objective of this research is not only to see what the effects of the implementation of transit are on gentrification when it is initially implemented, but also to look at the impacts of transit over time on the gentrification of surrounding neighbourhoods.
In the gentrification literature there are a number of articles that make mention of the influential role of accessibility, and transit, on the process of gentrification. The relationship between neighbourhood changes and the implementation and upgrading of transit infrastructure, has, as of yet, not been clearly established. Though transit has long been recognized as having important connections to changes in land-use in the areas surrounding it, there have been few studies that attempt to explore, explicitly, the connections between the implementation of rail transit infrastructure and the process of gentrification in the surrounding metropolitan area. Additionally the few studies that do exist that explicitly address the relationship between transit and gentrification do not adhere to the conventional definition of gentrification according to the literature. The hypothesis of this project is that the implementation of rapid rail transit contributes to the gentrification of surrounding neighbourhoods and may result in the displacement of lower-income households, who would have the greatest marginal benefit from access to transit. This study presents data and analysis in order to assess the hypothesis using a number of indicators of gentrification and covering a study period long enough to capture the effects of major urban rapid rail transit as it has been implemented and upgraded in Canadian cities in the 20th century. This study will specifically address the effects of rail transit infrastructure on gentrification in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Geography, Planning and Environment
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Grube-Cavers, C. Annelise
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M. Sc.
Program:Geography, Urban & Environmental Studies
Date:15 August 2013
Thesis Supervisor(s):Patterson, Zachary
Keywords:gentrification, urban transit, survival analysis, neighborhood change
ID Code:977520
Deposited On:26 Nov 2013 17:19
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:44


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