Urban Planning - Socio-Economic Exclusion

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This paper goes on to explore the issues surrounding the social and physical fabric of Main Street, Unionville, with particular attention to the concept of socio-economic exclusion which is clearly evident. I will approach these issues using Davies and Herbert’s (1993) distinction between ‘neighbourhood’ and ‘place based communities’. “The spatiality of social exclusion is constructed through the physical organization of space as well as through the social control of space, as insured by informal codes and signs and formal rules and regulations. These formal channels act at all scales of space.” (Meegan & Mitchell, 2001, pp. 2171) These informal and formal practices will be examined throughout this research paper. I will review several relevant aspects of the Social Dominance Theory, Pluralist and Neo-Marxist Theories, the Radical Theory, and the Exclusionary Motive, as a theoretical framework for developing the overall analysis of the underlying concept of my paper. SOCIAL DOMINANCE THEORY:

Social Dominance Theory (SDT) predicts that “the structural position of contextually salient in-groups influences attitudes toward inequality and social dominance orientation” (Sidanius & Pratto, 2003, pp. 208). With this in mind, we can examine the 2001 Canadian Census Data to determine the ‘salient in-group’ in Main St., Unionville. (Please refer to Appendix A- Tables #1 & 2). Table #1, illustrates great income disparity in Unionville. The ‘salient in-group’ makes $60, 000 and over. Table #2, illustrates the ethnic composition of Unionville, where more than 50% is predominantly white. According to personal observation in the study area and Census Data examined, one can identify the predominant or ‘salient in-group’ as the white, middle class. Elite attitudes toward ‘difference’ are expressed through spatial and social construction of the study area. (Please refer to Appendix A- Tables #3). Table #3 compares ‘Canadian Citizenship/Non-immigrant’ population to the ‘Citizenship other than Canadian/Immigrant’ population. The Canadian Citizenship/Non-immigrant group is an example of what Sandercock identifies as “the death of the modernist city with its drive/will to homogeneity.” (1998, pp. 181) Unionville is a homogeneous white, elite neighbourhood where ‘difference’ is apparently excluded. SDT describes these differences as the “chronic status and power differences between two socially constructed groups.” (Sidanius & Pratto, 2003, pp. 208). As Professor Young mentioned in Lecture, classifying or categorizing difference is very difficult. I will refer to ‘difference’ in this paper primarily through a “structural/economist view” (lecture notes). With this in mind, “difference” or “others” in Unionville can be defined as individuals of low-income, immigrants/visible minorities, aboriginal people, gays and lesbians (Sandercock, 1998). Paying close attention to SDT, the socially dominant groups are hypothesized to “accept ‘hierarchy-enhancing legitimizing myths’ which justify social practices that enhance or sustain social inequality” (Schmitt, Branscombe and Kappen, 2003, pp. 162). This concept leads us directly to the next section.

PLURALIST vs. NEO-MARXIST THEORY:
The most recently designated heritage district in Markham is Unionville (refer to photo # 1), which was created in 1998. Unionville is known for its beautiful, picturesque, well-preserved late 19th and early 20th Century residential and commercial buildings. Unionville has now become a major tourist attraction (refer to photo #2 & 3). The preservation of the community is very much a result of community participation. “It all began in the 1960s when the then County of York Government proposed to expand the width of the street to four lanes. Fearing that this would destroy Unionville’s unique character, the community rallied and established the Unionville Festival in protest; to raise awareness of its unique heritage character.”...
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