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Canada Is Looking Better and Better
By the 1990s, Regent Park, a public housing project built in Toronto in the late 1940s, was showing many of the same problems that had prompted the Hope VI program in the United States. With over 2,000 housing units on 69 acres, located less than a mile from booming downtown Toronto, Regent Park had become Canada’s own poster child for distressed public housing.
In 2005, Toronto Community Housing, a city-owned nonprofit social housing provider, partnered with local developer, The Daniels Corporation, to execute a revitalization plan for the entire complex. Though far from complete, Regent Park’s transformation is well underway, and was recently featured in The New York Times. Although the appetite for large-scale revitalization seems to be modest in the United States these days, looking at how Toronto is rebuilding Regent Park offers some intriguing lessons for the federal government, as well as for states and cities that are grappling with the challenges of remaking distressed public housing projects.