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Intersections Lecture Series: Theorizing Commercial Eviction: Development-Induced Displacement and the Loss of the Mirvish Village Retail Community in Downtown Toronto
November 26 @ 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
The Human Geography Intersections Seminar Series presents:
Zachary Hyde, Assistant Professor
Department of Human Geography, UTSC
Theorizing Commercial Eviction: Development-Induced Displacement and the Loss of the Mirvish Village Retail Community in Downtown Toronto
Since the early 2000s, scholars of gentrification have debated how to study and theorize displacement. While a range of studies have highlighted the potential for understanding non-residential displacement, including that of artists, business owners, and industrial workers, most definitions of displacement remain centered on housing and the impact of neighborhood change on residents. This paper expands the discussion of non-residential displacement through a multi-method study of the mass eviction of small business owners from Mirvish Village, a historical retail enclave, for high-density residential development in Downtown Toronto. Through 6 months of ethnographic observation in Mirvish Village and 48 interviews with business owners, developers, politicians, and neighborhood residents, I present three interrelated findings. First, in line with research on gentrification and the loss of place, I show how business owners form social bonds and create a sense of community with one another that is threatened by displacement. Second, building on work about the subjective experience of displacement, I illustrate how a spectrum of responses to eviction, from resentment, to ambivalence, to acceptance, maps onto storeowners’ meanings and understanding of their landlord, the Mirvish family’s, motivations and approach to their tenure and eviction. Finally, I show how this variation in meanings, perceptions, and lack of consensus about eviction amongst storeowners impacts their ability to take collective action against displacement.
About the Speaker
Zachary Hyde is an urban geographer and sociologist who studies city governance, housing and development. Across his research projects, he looks at how the dynamics of capitalism play out on the ground through political struggles over the built environment, the meanings and ideas of social actors, and the histories and institutions of cities.
Zoom link: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/81681778174