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The Role of Ethnic Retailing in Retrofitting Suburbia: Case Studies from Toronto, Canada

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journal contribution
posted on 21.05.2021, 15:06 by Zhixi Cecilia Zhuang, Amanda Xiaoxuan Chen
Today’s immigrants to Canada are increasingly and directly settling into suburban areas of major cities; a trend that has resulted in new retail opportunities: suburban ethnic shopping centres are a growing phenomenon in areas with major immigrant settlement. This paper discusses the development and retrofitting processes of three suburban Chinese shopping malls in the Toronto area. The paper explores how these malls successfully regenerated areas once affected by business decline and how they can act as a catalyst to develop a new urban form that makes the suburban landscape less uniform and more sustainable. Various perspectives from key players involved in ethnic retail activities and developments were collected, including surveys with entrepreneurs and shoppers, and semi-structured interviews with city councillors, city planners, developers, and an architect. The paper suggests that municipalities could invest in established ethnic retail places as an innovative means of “retrofitting suburbia".

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