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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
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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

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

May 25, 2015 - Columns & Opinions
Helping people make connections
Failing to pay attention to our social infrastructure yields a result similar to neglect of bridges ...
May 13, 2015 - Cardus News
Milton Friesen talks about transit for Tamarack's Seeking Community blog
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May 13, 2015 - Columns & Opinions
Wheels, Walking and the Absence of Wings
"My experiment was driven by a desire to learn: what kind of place is the Amtrak pathway?"...
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...