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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
Profile and Selected Articles

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

Innovations in Mental Health Housing
(July 2014)

Read this case study of innovation, then ask, "Where else can this model work?" We want to know!

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Latest in Social Cities

Nov 30, 2014 - Cardus News
Social Cities: Investing in Communities
Critical decisions that direct our shared future as Canadians increasingly deal with the place where...
Jun 26, 2014 - Comment (Q & A)
Inequality, Gentrification, and Justice: Continuing the Conversation with Jonathan Bradford
The human condition can put up with disconnection for only so long. We are critters who like to be i...
Jun 20, 2014 - Columns & Opinions
Bricks and Mortar Masters
Milton Friesen considers the importance of design...
Jun 19, 2014 - Cardus News
Milton Friesen: How Buildings Boss Us Around
Our Social Cities director wrote about how much design matters for The Seekers Journal...