Postmodernist Urbanism

Postmodernist urbanism is an architectural planning model that proposes the preservation of old neighbourhoods rather than the obliteration of old buildings and construction of new ones. This models also suggest that if new buildings are to be constructed, they should maintain the look and feel of the older ones. Moreover, this model also suggests that the urban planning process should be open and democratic, should incorporate a mix of public housing, market housing, open space and community service buildings that would be built on underutilized industrial land in the 1970s. 

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This model led to the development of a dominant force in architectural planning in the 1970s and 1980s that was responsible for the successful campaigns against the kind of redevelopment that led to the creation of the Regent Park ‘Cabbage town’ catastrophe (James, 2010, 77-80). The postmodern urbanist movement led to the cancellation of plans to demolish older residential community buildings and replace them with a matrix of freeways and attempts to expand Regent Park by demolishing another neighbourhood in this age.

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The architectural model presented by this movement would later be utilized by reformists in Toronto’s municipal council to revitalize Regent Park 30 years later. This involved the shift from expert-driven planning and incorporation of resident feedback into the planning process to guide the kind of neighbourhood that would be created out of the older one. This democratic planning process that is proposed by postmodern urbanism is meant to alleviate the problems faced by the inhabitants of Regent Park and refrain from adopting a paternalistic approach to urban renewal that was witnessed when Regent Park was created. The adoption of strands of postmodern urbanism has turned Cabbage town into a hot real estate commodity that maintains a rustic but down to earth feel, is down to earth but still modern (James, 2010, 77-80).

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