Wading through the pool of primary source data, my research has focused on the period within the 1970s. Post-construction saw the development of Regent Park from a different angle. As a physical construction, the social housing project in Regent Park at first is examined by many of its physical characteristics, such as its isolation, the division of North and South, and the distribution and lack thereof recreational facilities. However, this is the superficial view of Regent Park, where throughout the 1970s, Regent Park’s development or as some have argued, degradation back into a ‘slum’, has been tied to the policies and negative stigmatization of the residents of Regent Park.
The challenge of this historical content thus far has been providing objectivity without getting caught in the arguments over the success/failure of Regent Park. The discourse over Regent Park is continuously complicated by numerous factors such as the media, where as Sean Purdy points out, negatively stigmatized those living in the projects, particularly youth, as rowdy, violent, etc. through the publication of heavily negative news coverage. This representation in the media in conjunction with social assistance policies, trap people in the neighbourhood, as those residents became alienated from the rest of the City of Toronto. Furthermore, one cannot understand the history of Regent Park’s social housing history without understanding the dynamic of public policy rules and regulation. The policies such as Mother’s Allowance, where rents are charged highly disproportionate to the mother’s income due to ineffective application of public policy, have created a trap for residents within Regent Park. These concerns as outlined in the content I have created for the website have heavily impacted the development of Regent Park, turning it back into a slum.
It is arguably impossible to provide objective coverage over a topic such as Regent Park. Being one of the major challenges in the project, the many debates over the success of the social housing project are examples of the struggle between the residents of Regent Park and the rest of Toronto, whereby with the help of media and poor community-police relations, the image of Regent Park has isolated the project from the rest of the city. A goal of our website would be to clear some of the fog of subjectivity and create a narrative that is clear and objective.