The rejuvenation of Lawrence Heights

Friday, February 26, 2010 – Globe and Mail

A modest urban tweak it isn’t.

The city’s plan for the Lawrence Heights area aims, over a quarter-century and multiple construction-intensive phases, to build a model community from scratch and revolutionize the way people live, shop, work and commute in the 110-acre area.

There is no price tag on the project.

The 1,208 units of social housing alone will cost an estimated $350-million.

But it’s unclear how much it will cost to build the other 6,300-odd units of condominiums and townhouses the city envisions or for the green space and other renovations planned.

But the city and Toronto Community Housing Corporation officials who unveiled the latest plans yesterday were optimistic the long-term vision will become a reality.

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Urban renewal in ‘the Jungle’: Toronto’s plan to redevelop Lawrence Heights

Thursday, February 25, 2010 – Globe and Mail

In the centre of what’s set to become Toronto’s massive social-engineering experiment, Hersi Abdirizack reaches into his coat pocket and pulls out two vials: tiny red specks in clear liquid.

Bedbugs in alcohol, he explains, shaking them slightly.

For the Somali entomologist turned tenant advocate, this is part of what community revitalization will mean in Lawrence Heights.

Today, the city will unveil its latest plans to reinvent one of Canada’s largest social-housing complexes and the chronically marginalized neighbourhood around it.

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