Our final project in this class presents an opportunity that normal classes lack. The ability to engage in first hand research establishing an online history of social housing in Regent Park. Our group has chosen to focus on Regent Park, as a higher profile social housing community in the City of Toronto. Furthermore, Regent Park represents a direct attempt to use housing infrastructure to affect the lives of lower income groups. This project seeks to uncover its historiography through the creation of a website outlining this historiography.
One of the challenges facing this project will be the gathering of accurate and reliable information. According to data outlined in the Three Cities Within Toronto 2010 report, the average income in Regent Park was approximately $17,000.00 in 2005 dollars. This is a significantly low average, specifically in a city as expensive as Toronto. It may be ambitious but the aim of this project has the potential to go beyond just recording the history of social housing in Regent Park, but may provide information to build a greater understanding of how these social housing projects affect lower income households.
Our brainstorming session led to discussion of creating a website potentially based on primarily oral history, the use of then and now photography, emphasizing information on Nelson Mandela Public Elementary School (one of the first afro-centric schools in Toronto) and the Fire Hall (which is in the center of the gentrification of the area). Furthermore more broadly looking at; the diversity, changing community demographics, and a ‘What’s Next’ section that may outline where the current gentrification is expected to take the area. In order to properly engage in this project and create a historiography of the region will require a strong engagement with the community. Using our groups numerous contacts, we will be engaging in interviews and research at public libraries to implement a comprehensive history of Regent Park and a discussion on it’s future.