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Toronto Inc? Planning the Competitive City in the New Toronto

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This paper analyses recent developments in urban planning in the City of Toronto. A municipality of 2.4 million inhabitants that makes up the inner half of the Greater Toronto Area, the City of Toronto was consolidated from seven municipalities in 1998. Planning practice, discourse, and “vision” in the new City of Toronto are shaped by the city’s bid for the 2008 Olympics, related proposals for waterfront redevelopment, and preparations for a new official plan. In the context of comparative debates on trends in local governance, we see current planning strategies in Toronto as one of several strategic sites in which Toronto is consolidated into a “competitive city.” Historically, the formation of the competitive city in Toronto must be seen as a result of the impasse of postwar metropolitan planning in the early 1970s, the sociospatial limitations of downtown urban reform politics in the 1970s and 1980s, and the neoliberal restructuring and rescaling of the local state in the 1990s. Theoretically, we draw on the global city research paradigm, regime and regulation theory, and neo-Gramscian urban political theory to suggest that planning the competitive city signals shifts in the sociopolitical alliances, ideological forms, and dominant strategies that regulate global-city formation. These constellations and strategies threaten to reconstitute bourgeois hegemony in Toronto with a series of claims to urbanity.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Political Science, York University, Toronto, Canada 2: Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University, Toronto, Canada

Publication date: 2002-03-01

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