Civitas Peregrina : abject space in early immigrant Toronto
Author(s)Morrow, Greg, 1975-
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Architecture.
Julian Beinart and Lawrence Vale.
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The literature on early planning history tends to document the 'progress' made at the turn of twentieth century through the scientific study and rationalization of urban space. Through a detailed study of two areas in early immigrant Toronto, another side of planning's history is told: the stories about the relationship between social control and the transformation of the city. Toronto is particularly relevant as it has undergone rapid social change through the twentieth century, from an almost exclusively British colonial town to one of the world's most ethnically diverse cities. Two areas form the basis for the study: the Ward and Niagara. While the Ward originated as land given as 'Park Lots' to aristocracy as gifts for relocating to the nascent town, Niagara originated as a Military Reserve. Thus, the Ward's development was the function of the market, while Niagara was largely state-controlled. Ten groups of places form the nexus for the stories, forming a broad spectrum of institutions: abattoir, asylum, boardinghouse, church, city hall, playground, prison, synagogue, tavern, and theater. Each story focuses on a particular form of social or moral problem in the city and traces the response by the state and civil society. The stories document the responses to perceived 'others' in the emerging industrial city -- concepts of 'other' based on race, ethnicity, class, health, religion, sexuality, lifestyle, even the choice of housing. In tracing the efforts by the state and civil society to control the social values and morals of the population, something of a 'pre-history' of planning is illustrated. The creation of new institutions, new planning mechanisms and new comprehensive 'plans' resulted in the simultaneous consolidation of 'other' people and practices into undesirable areas (Niagara) and the dispersal of the same where they existed in more vital parts of the city (the Ward). The study situates the specific responses in Toronto within the larger movements taking place throughout North America -- movements that formed the basis for the origins of the modern planning system. The study hypothesizes that the confrontation with the 'abject other', that is, those peoples, practices and places that departed from the social norm, was foundational to the modern planning system.
Thesis (M.C.P.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning; and, (S.M.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Architecture, 2003.This electronic version was submitted by the student author. The certified thesis is available in the Institute Archives and Special Collections.Includes bibliographical references (p. 233-245).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Architecture; Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Urban Studies and Planning
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Urban Studies and Planning., Architecture.