Placelessness & Privatization: On Class Reductionism & The Fragmented Housing Sector

Toronto, ON


Roberto Damiani

University of Waterloo School of Architecture 

Placelessness & Privatization is an investigation of the growing privatization of social housing and its consequences in Toronto through a critical framework of Lefebvre’s Writings on Cities. The report looks at two scales—the macro and micro. The macro, “Class Reductionism & The Fragmented Housing Sector”, focuses on public-private partnerships fragmenting the housing sector while also contributing to a larger divide between classes at a regional scale. This explores the transformation of Toronto’s social housing landscape through the rapid urbanization it has experienced over the past 50 years and its direct correlation to class displacement poverty concentration. The micro, “Unproductive Differences & Loss of Visibility”, focuses on isolated studies of specific projects and their character evolution before and after a private  sector intervention. It looks at Regent Park, one of the cities first large social housing project as well as its first major redevelopment, through the lens of residents who are personally experiencing this shift in the city. Public-private partnerships individualizes city sites and disintegrates them from the fabric. This not only isolates the built form but those who inhabit them. This dual investigation is essential to understanding the immediate and eventual effects of privatization of social housing.