Turning The Soil: Urban Redevelopment And Soil Movement In Toronto
The goal of this major paper is to determine whether Toronto’s soil remediation, transport and redevelopment regime is sustainable – or whether unforeseen and dispersed factors will someday combine to form a disaster for the city’s urban environment. In order to address this question, the paper first examines a history of the city’s brownfields: In Toronto, brownfields are broadly known as vacant or underused properties that may have been contaminated by past land use, but which show potential for redevelopment. They are also major producers of both contaminated and clean fill, and the paper examines the policies which have shaped their definition, usage, and disposal. Following an examination of the state of the art in brownfield sciences in Ontario, Canada, and globally, the focus turns to the study of disasters. Taking cues from Barry Turner’s seminal book in disaster studies Man-Made Disasters, a disaster is “an event, concentrated in time and space, which threatens a society or a relatively self-sufficient subdivision of a society with major unwanted consequences as a result of the collapse of precautions that had hitherto been culturally accepted as adequate.” A situation in which construction-related soil stockpiles are depleted to the point that cost-effectiveness of importation comes into question, or in which rising prices cause an exodus of Toronto’s building potential, can therefore be rightly termed disasters. The MP describes a generalized framework to identify disasters and the period of incubation that takes place beforehand.