An Update from Cardus Social Cities
How do we best tackle loneliness as a health issue? Could the support of organizations and individuals who operate at a neighbourhood level be key to tackling this pressing social issue? Earlier this month, I sought to apply the work of our social cities program in consideration of this important question in the Hamilton Spectator. This op-ed was picked up by 15 media outlets, reaching 555,000 people.
I've further considered this question in the upcoming issue of Comment, out in June. Watch for its release and explore along with me as I ask: How can we design research to better understand the patterns that shape our social isolation and connections?
What is the role of faith based institutions in our cities? Today, we return to this clip that explains, in a little more detail, the unique space that Cardus Social Cities occupies in the public square.
Have you downloaded your very own City Soul Explorer Toolkit? We are working on developing this initial offering by making it more accessible online. This will include an opportunity to recommend additional resources, projects and ideas that you may have. Explore this unique resource that offers four modules and practical tools to facilitate communication and closer collaboration between city planning and faith-based organizations.
Finally, I will be participating in the Federation of Canadian Municipalities tradeshow in Halifax next week. While there I will have opportunity to talk with Councillors, Mayors, administrators and community leaders about our work and to hear from them the issues that are prominent within their respective spaces. With more than 2000 delegates from across Canada, it is an ideal chance to get a sense of what is happening at a local level across the country.
Thank you for your support of our work,
Milton Friesen and the Social Cities Team
What Is Milton Doing?
I delivered a lecture on April 6 on the topic of "The Church as Institutional Citizen" as part of the inaugural Heart and Head lecture series organized by University of Waterloo Chaplain, Brian Bork. This talk was designed to bring university research and urban planning into contact with congregational members across a range of Reformed churches including Community CRC Church in Kitchener. "The reach and responsibility of the local church goes beyond personal needs and includes institutional roles and responsibilities in the wider community. What does it mean to think about our local church as an institutional citizen? What can we learn from current research and practice? What are the possibilities, dangers and challenges of this kind of institutional citizenship?"
I also delivered a paper at the Complexity and Policy Studies conference in Washington DC. just last month. The paper proposes a way of thinking more fully about physical and social infrastructure in urban development including the use of computer modelling to help us understand complex dynamics. The paper will be published in an upcoming issue of the Journal on Policy and Complex Systems.
I will also be presenting two papers in June at the University of Waterloo Conference on Modeling Complex Urban Environments. Geoffrey West, distinguished professor and past president of the Santa Fe Institute will deliver the keynote at the gathering.
The first paper I will be presenting, entitled Comparing Social Capital and Spatial Use Patterns in Urban Environments, will examine the results of a new social capital measurement instrument developed for neighbourhood scale measurement of citizens social network and trust levels. The second paper, co-authored with Srikanth Mudigonda of Saint Louis University, is entitled Institutional Emergence and the Persistence of Inequality in Hamilton, ON 1851-1861, and it seeks to examine the long-standing reality of economic inequality by using a computational model we have developed. You can see a very early example here (use Chrome to run model).
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