Revitalization of Public Housing: Challenges and Celebrations in Japan and Toronto

On Wednesday, June 4, 2014, the Japan Foundation of Toronto presents a lecture by Professor Sayaka Fujii of Tsukuba University with an introduction by Professor André Sorenson of the University of Toronto.

The event begins at 6:30pm at the Japan Foundation of Toronto. Admission is free, but registration is required online at or by calling 416.966.1600 x102.

Since 2005, there has been a large-scale revitalization project underway in Toronto’s Regent Park neighbourhood. Both criticized and celebrated, the revitalization project has faced questions such as: how can we revitalize rather than gentrify the area, how do we relocate residents during construction but not cut them off from their support networks, and how do we increase the neighbourhood’s liveability?

Like Regent Park, there are numerous public housing estates in Japan, built after the war to meet significant housing shortages in metropolitan areas. In 1954, the Japan Housing Corporation, a nation-wide public housing and urban development corporation, was established to build public housing.

Though popular when built, much of this housing has become outdated over time. With Japanese public housing in need of renewal, today’s Urban Renaissance Agency has been working on several interesting revitalization projects, demonstrating some creative attempts to engage and empower the resident community. In this talk, some of these projects will be explored along with an investigation into ways that Toronto’s own revitalization can share from the lessons learned in Japan.

The talk will be introduced by André Sorensen, Professor and Chair of the Department of Human Geography at the University of Toronto Scarborough.

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