The Parkdale Community Economic Development (PCED) Planning Project is an 18-month neighbourhood-wide planning initiative for Parkdale. Supported by the Atkinson Foundation, the PCED project is led by Parkdale Activity-Recreation Centre (PARC), with extensive collaboration among over 25 organizations working in Parkdale. The project combines community action research, stakeholder engagement, and participatory planning to develop future visions of Parkdale, and community strategies to realize them. The project goal is to create a Parkdale Neighbourhood Plan for decent work, shared wealth building, and equitable development.
Please see this link to view the past activities and planning workshops through the PCED Planning project.
Why Neighbourhood Planning?
Parkdale is changing rapidly. This comes as little surprise to those living and working in Parkdale. Neighbourhood change is not new to Parkdale. And yet, for the past decade, the pace and degree of gentrification has intensified. For example, Parkdale’s main commercial street, Queen Street West, has seen a growing number of new restaurants and bars that cater to outside and high-end clientele, pushing out local-serving businesses. Pressures on the affordability of high-rise rental apartments in South Parkdale have increased rapidly after corporate landlords started to raise rents higher than provincial rent guidelines. These are only two examples that aptly demonstrate the rapid changes underway in Parkdale. Increasing pressures from gentrification and real estate reinvestment have endangered local community assets, assets that have kept Parkdale diverse, affordable, and accessible to various community members.
What is at stake now is the future of Parkdale. The effects of neighbourhood change are a shared concern. We know that change happens, but we also know that how change happens is not inevitable. Strategies and policy tools to guide neighbourhood change and local economies do exist. In fact, Parkdale is already building those strategies, such as the Parkdale Neighbourhood Land Trust or the Co-op Cred program that offers decent supportive work opportunities. A unique and remarkable strength of Parkdale lies in the diversity of the neighbourhood’s community-led initiatives. What is needed, then, is to explore how we can align existing assets and economic alternatives as an integrated neighbourhood strategy, not only to promote equitable development without displacement, but also to proactively build a more just local economy? This is why this community planning initiative is vital now to building a shared vision for the future of Parkdale, and identifying community strategies and policy options.