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Title: Architecture in a contested territory: co-creating a community hub with the people of Jane and Finch, Toronto
Authors: Nguyen, Lila
Keywords: Community;community centre;Jane and Finch;public spaces;public art;living history;community engagement;contested territory
Issue Date: 14-Apr-2021
Abstract: The population of the City of Toronto vastly increased due to a significant migration of people from all over the world to seek a better life after World War II. Many settled into ethnic enclaves that share similar cultures and characteristics. Since the 1970s, Toronto has grown into a large city much like Paris and London, where low-income families, which are mostly minorities, are pushed into the urban periphery. One of these inner-city neighbourhoods, Jane and Finch, is composed of two city neighbourhoods: Black Creek (Up Top, to the North) and Glenfield-Jane Heights (Down Bottom, to the South). Jane and Finch is a major intersection known for its high rates of gang violence such as shootings, drugs, robberies, and other gang-related activities. The negative reputation of Jane and Finch is further spread by the media, promulgating racial stereotypes about the neighbourhood. The rapid growth of the community in the 1960s to 1970s resulted in overcrowding in schools and insufficient recreational facilities, which caused additional stress for the residents. The gang rivalry over territory in Jane and Finch created an invisible barrier at the intersection: The Up Top and Down Bottom. Adding to the gang violence, the lack of city funding and general neglect transformed Jane and Finch into a community with the highest level of inequality amongst the neighbourhoods within the Greater Toronto Area. Jane and Finch was not always like this, but it is difficult for people to see past its bad reputation. As a member of the community, I know of many positive aspects overlooked by outsiders. However, the reputation is slowly changing. Nowadays, Jane and Finch receives recognition for the art which the residents have created. I believe that the image of the community can be altered as long as people can learn about the positive stories of the residents. This thesis looks at opportunities to co-create a community center for the people of Jane and Finch, with the use of community engagement as a process to work collectively with community members. The outcome is a building with a breadth of spaces and programs that is available to a diverse group of community users. The Jane and Finch Community Hub contains a youth lounge, daycare, art studio, music studio, dance studio, market space, communal kitchen, cafe, community training spaces and a pool.
Appears in Collections:Architecture - Master's Theses
Master's Theses

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