Research and Resources

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.

  • 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.

  • District of Houston Housing Study

    • Housing

    The District of Houston is striving to ensure that the community has an adequate supply of high quality housing and that the housing stock includes options that meet the current and future needs of residents. The District is particularly interested in ensuring that the housing stock includes suitable options that consider: the full range of incomes in the community, people at different ages and stages of life, worker and workforce mobility, and the long-term costs of maintaining local government services and infrastructure. This study is undertaken by the Community Development Institute at UNBC to collect and analyze data and provide information and knowledge that can inform decisions necessary to develop a robust and diverse housing supply that aligns with economic growth and diversification opportunities. 

  • Non-Resident Property Ownership in BC

    • Community Services Provision
    • Community and Economic Development and Transformation
    • Major Project Development
    As a result of ongoing interest in, and concerns about, non-resident property ownership in BC, the Real Estate Institute of BC (REIBC) approached the CDI to conduct three research studies in order to inform dialogue and policy development. The studies are a comparative review of policies and approaches from jurisdictions around the world aimed at limiting non-resident ownership of residential, commercial and industrial, and agricultural land.

    • A worldwide concern in recent years has been “land grabbing,” the large-scale acquisition of land by private or public investors, including foreign nationals and foreign governments. A 2015 Library of Parliament publication holds that “In Canada, concerns about farmland grabbing relate to actions by domestic, as well as foreign, investors … the threat of farmland acquisition comes not only from abroad, but also from within Canada via such instruments as investment funds.”2 The consequences include the increasing price of farmland, making farming less financially viable for future generations of farmers.
    • In 2016, the Province of British Columbia legislated a 15% property transfer tax to be applied to foreign nationals and foreign-controlled corporations purchasing residential properties in Metro Vancouver. This was in response to increasing concerns over housing affordability due to data on housing sales that showed foreign nationals invested more than $1 billion in BC property between June 10 and July 16, 2016. Since that time, there appears to have been a surge in the sale of commercial real estate in British Columbia and Metro Vancouver. In March 2017, the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver reported a 47% increase in the value of commercial real estate in 2016.
    • Housing affordability was a leading issue of concern in 2016 throughout British Columbia. The skyrocketing house prices in Metro Vancouver figured prominently in the media. However, Fort St. John, Kitimat, and Terrace have all seen double-digit increases in their average residential selling prices in recent years. As a result, policy makers, planners, and real estate professionals across the province are grappling to understand the drivers behind the increases and design solutions that will effectively stabilize the real estate market and increase housing affordability for local residents without affecting a plunge in equity values or driving away foreign investment.