Our Research

The CDI maintains a clear focus on research and on providing access to valuable resources toward the goal of increasing knowledge and understanding and building capacity around community, regional, and economic development. Our goal is to balance both applied and basic work so as to maintain academic credibility and to be of practical relevance to communities.

The information in this section is organized by topic. Please contact us if you need help finding information or have a question about any of the research or resources included here.

  • Mackenzie Seniors Survey - Belonging

    • Age-friendly Communities

    In 2019, the College of New Caledonia, Mackenzie Campus, formed a community stakeholders group, successfully applied for a New Horizons grant, and entered a five-year agreement with the Government of Canada. The purpose of the grant is to understand seniors needs and issues in Mackenzie and develop programs and services that enhance quality of life for seniors.

    The community stakeholders group includes a wide range of community organizations, including those that provide housing, transportation, recreation, home support, and other services to seniors. One of the stakeholders is the Community Development Institute (CDI) at the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC). The CDI’s role in this partnership is to design and conduct a research and evaluation framework for the “New Horizons Program: Bridging the Gap”. The Mackenzie Seniors Surveys will assist in understanding the current social and economic environment for seniors in Mackenzie and help identify potential gaps and opportunities for programs and services that could enhance quality of life. The surveys will also help assess the impact of CNC’s New Horizons Program on the lives of seniors in Mackenzie.

    This survey is the first of a series of surveys to be developed and administered by the CDI as part of CNC’s New Horizons program in Mackenzie. All surveys will be submitted to the UNBC Research Ethics Board for review and approval.

  • District of Tumbler Ridge Seniors’ Housing Assessment

    • Age-friendly Communities
    • Housing
    Like many communities in Canada, the District of Tumbler Ridge is experiencing population aging, as many long-time residents are choosing to remain in the community. Over the past several years, the community has felt increasingly challenged to provide housing, services, and programs that would enable seniors to age-in-place. The District of Tumbler Ridge reached out to the CDI to seek assistance in determining, at the household level, the housing and health support services required in their community. To support this initiative, the CDI worked with the District, local seniors, seniors’ organizations, and care service providers to complete an assessment of the housing stock in Tumbler Ridge and its suitability to support aging-in-place. Data was also collected to determine the programs and services required in order to support seniors to age-in place in Tumbler Ridge. As such, the final report is strategically designed to identify the housing and health support service needs for seniors in Tumbler Ridge. It also includes information, options, and recommendations that can be used by the District of Tumbler Ridge, seniors’ organizations, and service providers in planning and decision-making for addressing these needs.

    The completed reports are:

  • Building Foundations for the Future: Housing, Community Development, and Economic Opportunity in Non-Metropolitan Canada 

    In non-metropolitan Canada, housing has become a key constraint on economic and community development. This study by the Community Development Institute at the University of Northern British Columbia identifies consistent patterns of housing issues across non-metropolitan Canada and finds that housing stock no longer meets community needs and expectations. With large parts of the workforce close to retirement, housing has a major role to play in attracting and retaining a young workforce as well as ensuring options for aging in place. While demographic aging, the increase of one- and two-person households, and the trend to smaller family sizes point to the need for a diverse range of smaller homes, housing stock in non-metropolitan communities features an oversupply of large single-detached homes. Aging housing stock predominantly constructed before 1980 poses affordability issues due to a need for major repairs and energy inefficiency, and is often lacking accessibility standards and modern aesthetic appeal. More data is needed to inform housing programs and policies that support the renewal of the existing housing stock and encourage new construction, and to help communities create service linkages where housing gaps have to be filled by service infrastructure.

  • Energizing our Future: The Social and Economic Development Framework for Fort St. John

    • Community Services Provision
    • Community and Economic Development and Transformation
    • Major Project Development
    Creating a robust Social and Economic Development Framework requires collecting information, engaging the community, and mobilizing that information and engagement. Through a partnership with the City of Fort St. John, The Community Development Institute at UNBC carried out the process of developing the Social and Economic Development Framework for Fort St. John. The purpose of the partnership has been to engage with the community to understand Fort St. John today, to develop strategies and plans to enhance quality of life and strengthen and diversify the economy for the future, and to engage individuals and organizations to mobilize and take action on those strategies and plans.
  • Seniors Profile: Mackenzie, BC - New Horizons for Seniors

    • Age-friendly Communities
    • Community Services Provision

    The Community Development Institute has compiled this seniors profile as part of the New Horizons project undertaken by the Mackenzie Campus of the College of New Caledonia. In collaboration with community partners, including Kimta Transportation Society and Autumn Lodge Society, the project aims to research, develop, and implement creative and collaborative approaches to increasing the social inclusion of seniors in the District of Mackenzie.