Rethinking Toronto's Middle Landscape: Spaces of Planning, Contestation, and Negotiation

Robert Scott Fiedler
2017 Zenodo  
This dissertation weaves together an examination of the concept and meanings of suburb and suburban, historical geographies of suburbs and suburbanization, and a detailed focus on Scarborough as a suburban space within Toronto in order to better understand postwar suburbanization and suburban change as it played out in a specific metropolitan context and locale. With Canada and the United States now thought to be suburban nations, critical suburban histories and studies of suburban problems are
more » ... an important contribution to urbanistic discourse and human geographical scholarship. Though suburbanization is a global phenomenon and suburbs have a much longer history, the vast scale and explosive pace of suburban development after the Second World War has a powerful influence on how suburb and suburban are represented and understood. One powerful socio-spatial imaginary is evident in discourses on planning and politics in Toronto: the city-suburb or urban-suburban divide. An important contribution of this dissertation is to trace out how the city-suburban divide and meanings attached to city and suburb have been integral to the planning and politics that have shaped and continue to shape Scarborough and Toronto. The research employs an investigative approach influenced by Michel Foucaults critical and effective histories and Bent Flyvbjergs methodological guidelines for phronetic social science. To do this, the analysis provided draws principally from archival materials, newspapers, plans and policy documents, and interviews to reveal how socio-spatial landscapes were made and remade both in thought and practice. In this regard, Henri Lefebvres theoretical ruminations on the production of space are also important. Even where not made explicit, the making and remaking of the spaces discussed reveal the near constant work of the conceived to intervene in and reorder the lived. The dissertation concludes with a discussion of how we might ask new and different questions about past and current rounds of city-building, so t [...]
doi:10.5281/zenodo.6368431 fatcat:w7jjqqbhtrcrjgfuesxmpemmi4