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The New Normal: The Figure of the Condo Owner in Toronto's Regent Park

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Abstract

In this paper, I explore the newly emergent figure of the condo owner in Toronto's Regent Park, Canada's first and largest government housing project, which is being razed and rebuilt in a $1 billion redevelopment. The revitalized neighborhood will contain a mix of subsidized and condominium housing, and commercial development. Against this backdrop of massive change, the figure of the condo owner is perceived both as a salve and a threat. The redevelopment is premised upon the need to “normalize” Regent Park through the creation of a mixed-income neighborhood, and the figure of the condo owner is deployed as a paragon of this “new normal.” However, the presence of the condo owner also evokes fears of privatization and a diminished voice for low-income residents. Drawing on fieldwork conducted within Regent Park, I examine how the figure of the condo owner is constituted in service to the redemption of a devalorized neighborhood, and how the condo owners negotiate this subject position. [urban revitalization, social mix, poverty, gentrification, Toronto].

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