While gentrification impedes on communities in cities all over the world – Regent Park has been celebrated as a *Revitalization*. As hundreds of thousands of people want to live and work closer to the core of the city, downtown areas require higher density neighbourhoods which results in condo towers at increasingly lofty prices becoming the norm. Communities are often pushed out of what’s been home for decades. A revitalization differs from gentrification in that the ideal is to integrate the original community into a new, opened up community with more infrastructure.
Regent Park was designed as a garden community of public housing back in the 60s. It wasn’t well planned to begin with as the buildings were designed to face inwards and even the neighbourhood roads were quite closed off, limiting outside traffic. With those sorts of factors coupled and limited community resources, over time, the area became notorious for crime. But that’s not the full picture, it was simultaneously still home — and a vibrant community to the residents of course.
Meanwhile, Greater Toronto’s population was growing swiftly – bolstered by immigration and home developments were geographically limited within the greenbelt conservation lines. Toronto needed to build upwards, from the core and naturally, that includes Regent Park too. While the community was already home to thousands, it was also a massive area along the east end of downtown consisting mostly of low rise buildings. There was significant room to not only build upwards but add in better community infrastructure such as parks, an aquatic centre, athletic grounds, community spaces, etc.
Anyway, this is old news. Fast forward to 2020, the Regent Park Revitalization is more than halfway complete. The development has been handled by Daniels Corporation, a renown developer – ie. the namesake of University of Toronto’s John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design. They’re become known for building communities, not just one off condos.