The next session of the MIHE Seminar series presents Dr. Jim Dunn, who will discuss a long-term, longitudinal study to examine the health & social impacts of the redevelopment of Toronto’s Regent Park public housing development into a “socially-mixed” community.

March 16, 2022 | 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM

Register at: for this free, virtual event.

Talk description:

The negative effects of concentrated neighbourhood poverty are well documented and justifiably or not, across North America great hope has been placed on reducing the concentration of low-income households in exclusive subsidized housing developments, in favour of ‘socially-mixed’ communities. Toronto’s Regent Park, a 69-acre public housing development that began a redevelopment in 2005, is the site of one such effort. In order to assess claims about the potential impacts on health and other social outcomes, a long-term, longitudinal study was conducted with 132 residents who were relocated as part of the redevelopment and had a right to return to new housing in Regent Park, making it possible to use quasi-experimental research methods. Of these residents, 59 were housed directly in brand new housing units on the site, while 73 were temporarily relocated to other public housing sites throughout the city. This presentation will present results on the effects of relocation to new housing and to relocation units in comparison to a control group of public housing residents unaffected by the redevelopment after 1 year. The results show small improvements in some health indicators, but much more substantial improvements in housing satisfaction, neighbourhood satisfaction and perceptions of safety from crime, as well as little evidence of harm. The presentation will close with discussion of the implications for future research and action. 


James R. Dunn, Ph.D. (Jim) is Professor and Chair (on leave) of the Department of Health, Aging and Society at McMaster University and Director (on leave) of the McMaster Institute for Health Equity. Trained in urban health geography and social epidemiology, he has published widely in geography, public health, urban planning and epidemiology and has worked closely with governments at all levels to address issues related to housing, income security, mobility and health. He is has held numerous awards and appointments, including the William Lyon Mackenzie King Visiting Chair in Canadian Studies at Harvard University in 2011-2012. His research program has a strong focus on ‘population health interventions’ and includes projects on the health, social and child development impacts of public housing redevelopment in Toronto’s Regent Park, the development of policy implementation tools for healthier urban form, and the effects of subsidized housing on mental health and well-being. From 2017-2018, he was co-Principal Investigator of the Ontario Basic Income Pilot, a bold study of the effects of a guaranteed annual income  on a variety of health, work and social outcomes, involving 6,000 participants in 3 communities in Ontario.

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