Cardus Communities supports the ongoing development of the common good at a city scale, exploring social structures, relational networks, and emerging ideas and practices.

Research & Policy

The Shifting Demand for Social Services
The Shifting Demand for Social Services

Every day Canadians rely on an extensive infrastructure provided by the charitable and not-for-profit sector to deliver the sorts of everyday social services often taken for granted.

In October 2009, a study by Cardus entitled A Canadian Culture of Generosity pondered the implications of Canada's impending "social deficit": how our institutions are going to suffer from the steady decline in charitable giving, volunteering and civic engagement. The study showed how a relatively small proportion of the population—dubbed the "civic core"—provides the vast majority of the needed resources in the charitable sector. A major concern is that this civic core is declining by 1-2% per year, raising obvious concerns regarding what this social infrastructure will look like a decade from now.

This paper, The Shifting Demand for Social Services, has crunched the numbers from StatsCan to identify the segments of our population most at risk in the growing gap. While the data is complex and not given to simple summary, the conclusion is clear. Demographics, immigration, and urbanization will combine to put upward pressure on what is expected from charitable organizations.

A Canadian Culture of Generosity
A Canadian Culture of Generosity

A Canadian Culture of Generosity: Renewing Canada's Social Architecture by Investing in the Civic Core and the "Third Sector" is a Cardus discussion paper looking at a strategic response to flagging volunteerism, philanthropy and civic participation.

Think Different
Think Different

Launched at Think Different

, Cardus published a compilation of some of the most creative ground level thinkers and doers on public religion and urban policy.

Read a Review!


- Introduction by Michael Van Pelt, President of Cardus
- Bev Sandalack, Director Urban Lab (University of Calgary)
- Cheri DiNovo, MPP Parkdale-High Park
- Chris Cuthill, Art Chair Redeemer University
- Dani Shaw, Lawyer - former advisor to Stephen Harper
- David Smith, C.E.O. and Executive Director of Scott Mission
- Fr. Pier Giorgio Di Cicco, Poet Laureate City of Toronto
- Eric Jacobsen, Author Sidewalks in the Kingdom
- Faye Sonier, Legal Counsel Evangelical Fellowship of Canada
- Geoff Ryan, 614 Salvation Army, Cardus
- Gideon Strauss, President of Center for Public Justice
- Glenn Miller, Vice-President Education Canadian Urban Institute
- Glenn Smith, Executive Director Christian Direction
- Greg Paul, Sanctuary Toronto
- Heikki Walden, Real-Estate Agent
- Karen Hamilton, General Secretary Canadian Council of Churches
- Ray Pennings, Director of Research Cardus
- Russ Kuykendall, Director of Policy, Minister of Natural Resources
- Mark Peterson, Executive Director Bridgeway Foundation
- Joe Mihevc, Councillor City of Toronto
- Paul MacLean, Executive Director Potentials
- Paul Rowe, Associate Prof of Political Studies (Trinity Western)
- Peter Menzies, Commissioner CRTC
- Tim Sheridan, Pastor First Hamilton Christian Reformed Church
- Timothy Epp, Associate Prof of Sociology (Redeemer)
- James Watson, Salvation Army
- Conclusion by Robert Joustra, Cardus

Renewing Canada's Social Architecture
Renewing Canada's Social Architecture

In this landmark speech, President Michael Van Pelt lays out the task of what he calls "renewing Canada's social architecture." He argues that civic, social, cultural and economic flourishing requires a new and different arrangement of our social institutions. This can only happen with a different understanding of culture-change and a new openness to public exchange which allows the sharing of our most deeply held convictions.

Toronto the Good
Toronto the Good

Introducing the new marquee study for the WRF’s Stained Glass Urbanism Project, Toronto the Good. This investigative report brings urban centres and their religious institutions back into the dialogue of city building. Inside Toronto the Good you will find substantial, qualitative and original investigations with bearing on the problems and potentials in the city of Toronto, and its communities of faith and hope.

Toronto the Good is designed to connect hundreds of municipal, business, social service and municipal leaders with an interactive research initiative meant to change their understanding of city building, and the place of the church in the city.

Living on the Streets
Living on the Streets

Times in Hamilton are changing. Theories of secularization have been discredited in many circles as unable to account for the true complexity of human life. People are taking a renewed interest in the role played by religion, both in theoretical perspective and in personal commitment.

Living on the Streets suggests that established religious communities—churches, synagogues, mosques, and the like—are institutions with a critical role to play in the urban life of Hamilton. In this study researchers Michael Van Pelt and Richard Greydanus work through several case studies of churches in the city of Hamilton, and examine in what ways they contribute to urban life. Working from within New Urbanist models this study presents the idea that churches transcend social boundaries, sustain immanent community engagement and services, draw membership back into urban downtowns, cultivate private investment and protect sacred spaces. The ideas from Living on the Streets can inform many different urban contexts, and were used as the basis for our presentations at the World Urban Forum, 2006.

Published by Cardus, formerly known as Work Research Foundation.

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