The influx of money into our communities comes at a cost. All those shiny new buildings come with a high price tag as people with higher incomes move into our communities from elsewhere. They bring high real estate prices as the market grows. And new economic development also changes the kinds of services that are needed or desired to serve the growing and changing city.
It's happening all over the country.
Hamilton, Ontario is a classic case study of how gentrification changes a community. Hamilton has had a reputation as a low rent city, but that's all changed, especially in the last five years. It's not as unaffordable as Toronto, but many people with low incomes are becoming displaced by higher rents because their homes are being sold by their landlords. Or they're being evicted while landlords renovate so they can get higher prices. There's no affordable place to go, with rents going up all over the city.
Gentrification is at the heart of a battle in Hamilton about public transit. Many people are supportive and others fear the development that will happen further on down the line when the line is built. For years, public transit in Hamilton has been substandard. The proposed solution, an LRT line going from east to west, is a good idea in many ways. But not everybody shares that opinion.
Today's program asks the question -- is this "A train to inclusion?" Lil Blume and Stephen Dale examine the coming of light rail transit in Hamilton, Ontario, with an eye on the question of how transit planning and the quest for social equality might -- or might not -- intersect.
Produced with support of the Ontario Arts Council Media Arts Division.
Image: Wikipedia - LRT Kenala Jaya Line
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