About the Social Cities Research Program

What makes a great city and how do we get there?

Our Social Cities program explores this complex question through integrating work in a variety of social infrastructure project areas. This graphic provides a visual sketch of how we see these projects in relation to each other.

Thriving cities require that all of the resources within and around them interact as effectively as possible. This includes social and institutional resources that range from the very local, where we spend most of our lives, to the regional, national, and global contexts we are part of.

The complex network of relationships between people, institutions, and culture represents what we at Cardus call social architecture. We explore the existing social architecture and propose ways in which it might change to better serve the common good.

It is important that we understand the networks of institutions that make up our society. Taking stock of the best ideas and practices in research and policy development thinking can lead to thriving cities.

Cities are complex, social, and essential. Within these three assertions there are key issues related to building better cities that we are pursuing through our active 2013 projects.


Milton Friesen
Program Director, Social Cities
905-528-8866 x24
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Social Cities Newsletter

Learn about new developments in the Social Cities research program through our email newsletter sent approximately bi-monthly.

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Social Cities 2014 Projects

Calgary City Soul
Edmonton City Soul
Social Capital

Latest Research

Is Social Capital Measurement Still Relevant? (April 2014)

This 2014 paper seeks to explore both the current and potential means for evaluating the role that social capital might yet play in urban policy and community development. In particular, this paper evaluates the possibility of an updated assessment of social capital measurement in the context of the following key question: What are the merits of an updated Social Capital Measurement Report for urban policy makers and community development leaders?

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Latest in Social Cities

Apr 3, 2014 - Cardus News
Enter the Comment photo contest!
What makes your city vibrant, social, and thriving? Where do you see renewal happening in your neigh...
May 24, 2013 - Comment (Feature Essay)
Urban Visions at Odds: Haussmann, Kuyper, and the Chicago Housing Authority
What happens when your city plan neglects to take into account the creativity, desires, and varied n...
Feb 9, 2012 - Cardus News
Cardus at Centre City Faith-Based Stakeholder Engagement
Cardus joins a Centre City Faith-Based stakeholder engagement in Calgary....
Dec 26, 2011 - Comment (Feature Essay)
Reconnecting Work and Church
A renewed emphasis on what I call "vocational stewardship" could go far in wooing the exiles and the...