In my previous term, I looked at the role of the community garden as a catalyst for social interaction and community remediation within the city, with particular emphasis on the Cityplace neighbourhood in downtown Toronto.
Here is the last iteration of my thesis abstract:
The new Cityplace neighbourhood in downtown Toronto is a revealing example of the challenges facing modern urban development. Situated between the CN Railway and Gardiner Expressway, the land became vacant and trapped at the city’s centre when railway transport reduced in scale and moved out of the city . The rapid development of the area, dominated by the residential high-rise condominium typology and a lack of integrated social fabric, has isolated the neighbourhood’s residents and created a void in socially programmed space. The result is a deficiency of collective engagement and social identity among residents. When finished, the 44-acre development will house close to 7500 people.
An ideal location for those wanting to live in the downtown core of the city, the neighbourhood of Cityplace is conveniently located within walking distance of the business and entertainment districts. Yet, the neighbourhood itself is an urban bedroom community devoid of socially programmed space. Disconnected from the public realm and from each other, inhabitants seek social engagement elsewhere in the city.
At the same time, Western society is experiencing an unprecedented food revolution. A heightened awareness of globalized food production, local sustainability and loss of arable land to urban centers has become the catalyst to transform the current way of thinking. Currently, more than 50% of the food consumed in the city of Toronto is imported from Florida, California and Mexico, and travels an average of 1300 km . At the neighbourhood level, the emergence of farmers markets and community shared agriculture programs, as well as the voices of local celebrity chefs intoning the importance of local food sources are creating greater awareness of what we eat and where our food comes from.
This thesis strives to reconnect the inhabitants of Cityplace with the public realm and one another to engage the residents in community development and provide an opportunity for them to connect with the land
In an effort to read without preconceived ideas or opinions, for now I will assume that I do not know what my thesis aims to achieve, nor do I have a specific site in mind. At this point I am fully concerned with studying the impact and relationship of food production, consumption and distribution as it relates to urbanism, or the way of life for city dwellers.