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 - Recreation and Leisure Facilities and Programs

    • Age-friendly Communities

    In 2019, the College of New Caledonia, Mackenzie Campus, formed a community stakeholder 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 and improve organizational networking and communication across the community.

    The community stakeholders group consists of 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”.  

    This survey is the second Mackenzie Seniors Survey, a part of the CDI’s community consultation program fulfilling our role in CNC’s New Horizons program in Mackenzie. The Mackenzie Seniors Surveys, as well as other community consultation, 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. This will also help assess the impact of CNC’s New Horizons Program on the lives of seniors in Mackenzie.

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

    • Housing
    • Major Project Development

    In non-metropolitan British Columbia (BC), the state of housing has become a key constraint on economic and community development. This study points to a number of emerging issues and challenges, looks at the implications of these, and concludes with a call to action on housing issues in non-metropolitan BC.

    The CDI has been gathering information on non-metropolitan housing stock and the housing needs of the changing non-metropolitan demographic throughout BC and across all Canadian provinces and territories. Statistics Canada classifies communities as Census Metropolitan Areas (CMA) when they have reached a population of 100,000. There are 52 CMAs in Canada. For the purpose of this research, the CDI has focused on the areas outside of the 52 CMAs, the non-metropolitan areas (NMA). In 2016, over 19 million Canadian residents lived in non-metropolitan communities. 

    For this study, we have selected a sample of 39 NMA communities from our BC dataset. The communities selected range in 2016 population size from 1,021 (Valemount) to 90,504 (Nanaimo). The histories of the communities in our sample vary from settlements established with early settler economic activity to instant towns purpose-built in the mid to late twentieth century. They also represent a diverse range of primary economic activity, which includes agriculture, forestry, mining, oil and gas, fishing, manufacturing, tourism, retirement living, and government services. The sample communities are commonly located some distance from, and have a weak connection to, a CMA. To provide context for comparison, we have included data for Vancouver CMA next to the average of this NMA sample. 

    Despite wide variations in the sample communities, a number of patterns are evident in practically all of the non-metropolitan communities examined so far. These communities appear to tell a consistent housing story.

    Be sure to visit our newly launched Housing Information Portal for more on housing in non-metropolitan BC and Canada.

  • 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.

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