David Hulchanski has been thinking about affordability and cities ever since he moved here from upstate New York in the late ’60s (tuition was cheaper in Canada). After decades of research, the University of Toronto professor is currently best known for his series of “Three Cities” reports, which detail the steady disappearance of middle-income neighbourhoods in Toronto and other Canadian cities. Over the years, Hulchanski has emerged as the voice of scientific inquiry into income polarization in Canada, his name regularly invoked in legislative chambers and in the media. We asked him about growing inequality in Toronto, what the loss of the mandatory long-form census means for his research, and making $1.25 an hour at his first job.
How did you become so invested in the idea of inequality?
I was always involved in issues like this, right from high school, and I just continued. As a professor, part of my job is research. In the past ten years we’ve had a couple of very large social science research grants focused on income inequality, income polarization, and how cities and neighbourhoods are changing. This is during a period where income inequality and income polarization are dramatically growing.