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The Lab

Social and institutional resources to give our cities meaning.

Charity

How can we do good together?

Social Capital

How do social connections impact quality of life in cities?

Subsidiarity

How can we balance freedom and responsibility today?

Case Studies

Who are the organizational pioneers of our time?

City Soul

Why are religious communities so vital to our cities?

Our cities and communities are expected to provide for our physical needs—clean water, safe bridges, effective transportation, and so on. But those provisions are not enough. We also need places that foster meaning, purpose and belonging. The relational networks we are part of powerfully shape these less tangible aspects of our lives. When we are isolated or don't feel that we belong, our well-being can dramatically decline. When we do feel we belong and are involved in meaningful work, family life and circles of friends, we do much better. The organizations, agencies, and businesses of our communities provide important settings for these relational dynamics.

Latest

Religious Communities are Part of a Healthy Society

Cardus Social Cities Program Director Milton Friesen shares his thought experiment via the Winnip...

Religion is Important to a Healthy Society

Milton Friesen, Program Director of Social Cities at Cardus, writes in the Times Colonist on the ...

Make City Travel Much More ‘Sociable’

Milton Friesen, Program Director of Cardus Social Cities, writes in the Toronto Star that "we nee...

Religious Communities Are Integral to Our Mix

Program Director Milton Friesen writes in Ottawa Life Magazine on the importance of religious con...

Too Many Doors are Closed to Urban Explorers

Milton Friesen, Cardus Program Director of Social Cities, writes in the Hamilton Spectator on the...

'Have you thought about leaving?' A reflection on not selling your house

Doug Sikkema, Cardus Senior Researcher and Managing Editor of Comment Magazine tells the CBC abou...

Religion and the Good of the City: Report 3

Much academic research and popular media coverage neglects the vital role of religion and religio...

Religion and the Good of the City: Report 2

Much academic research and popular media coverage neglects the vital role of religion and religio...

Cardus What Makes A Good City Forum

At the Cardus What Makes A Good City Forum we asked Cardus experts Milton Friesen, Andrew Bennett...

Planning for Social Environments

This report is the first chapter of a dissertation project that examines how one might better und...

Religion and the Good of the City: Report 1

Popular communication and even academic research have tended to think it proper to overlook the c...

Milton Friesen in Engage!: The Halo Project

Milton Friesen, Program Director of Social Cities at Cardus, writes about the Halo Project in the...

Building the Social City

The networks of relationships needed to make a community not only liveable but also sociable can ...

Why we can’t afford to take charities for granted

Milton Friesen: Imagine you're the crew of a ship sailing from Italy to Canada. You arrive in Ham...

We can't afford to take charities for granted

Milton Friesen writes that many forms of caring and cultural enrichment need lots of dedicated pe...

Who's Reprogramming Your City?

A LEXICON OF TECHNOLOGICAL ETHICS At 5:30 a.m. on July 16, 1945, United States government offic...

Valuing Toronto's Faith Congregations

Churches and faith communities of various traditions have a great deal to offer to society and to...

Cambridge City Soul: Context Report April 2016

Following a series of meetings, consultations and document reviews over the past two years, Cardu...

Can Data Standards Improve Our Common Lives?

This piece was originally published in Municipal World. Are data standards what our communities a...

Can Data Standards Improve Our Common Lives?

Good decision making depends on good information. Municipal leaders need a reliable way to evalua...

Planning in Good Faith: A Cambridge Evening Symposium

Faith communities have made and continue to make significant contributions to the well-being of C...

Sustainable Cities and Social Capital: Common Dilemmas and Hopes

We need to spend more time and energy in answering that participant’s insightful question and its...

Opening the Soul of the City: Talking About Cities with Noah Toly and Milton ...

In part I of Brian Dijkema's conversation with Milton Friesen and Noah Toly, they discussed the f...

Urban Drama: Talking about Cities with Noah Toly and Milton Friesen, Part I

In conjunction with the Redeemer University Centre for Christian Scholarship annual conference, C...

Increasing Our Ability to Evaluate Complexity

Milton Friesen, Program Director of Social Cities at Cardus, writes in FSG on evaluating complexi...

Law, Design, and the Human Habitat: Part II

By the end of the day, working amid the street noise, sun, and constant collegial exchanges, we h...

Law, Design, and the Human Habitat: Part I

As teams we spent time debating, puzzling, and sketching how the SmartCode could guide a strongly...

The Faith-Based Gap in the Institutional Landscape of Cities

There exists in Calgary, as in most other municipalities, an institutional gap that reduces the w...

Cities at a Human Scale: An Interview with Andreas Dalsgaard

Andreas Dalsgaard is a documentary filmmaker and director of The Human Scale, a film directly inf...

Milton Friesen: How Buildings Boss Us Around

Social Cities director Milton Friesen wrote about how much design matters for The Seekers Journal...

Faith in the City: Part IV—American Muslims and the Civic Good

In Part III of the Faith in the City series, Common Place interviewed Milton Friesen about City S...

Faith in the City: Part III, City Soul

The Common Place blog spoke with Milton Friesen recently about how he believes faith-based organi...

Faith in the City: Part III, City Soul

Milton Friesen is Program Director for Social Cities with Cardus, "a think tank dedicated to the ...

The Magic of Mayors?

When identifying potential leadership for global challenges, we often neglect history. Specifical...

The Skyscraper Problem

"Everything's up to date in Kansas City; They gone about as fer as they can go; They went an' bui...

The Urban Turn

Tim Keller is a preaching philosopher, a new urbanist missionary, an intellectual evangelist, a c...

Converging Trends in the City

The city is a complicated place. It's a unique combination of history, geography, cultural charac...

The City is Complex: Lessons from The Wire

It is fashionable these days to be enthused about cities: about how many of us now live in them, ...

The Other Side of the City

I would never have imagined that the city could get into my bones and under my skin. I grew up in...

Is Social Capital Measurement Still Relevant?

This 2014 paper seeks to explore both the current and potential means for evaluating the role tha...

Edmonton City Soul

The City of Edmonton is planning for continued rapid growth and therefore considerable effort has...

Strengthening Vital Signs Through Urban Religious Communities

The Social Cities research report "Strengthening Vital Signs Through Urban Religious Communities"...

Saviors at City Hall?

City residents may well shudder (or laugh) at the thought of their beleaguered mayor at the helm ...

Milton Friesen on the Social Enterprise World Forum blog

Milton Friesen, Program Director, Social Cities is published on the Social Enterprise World Forum...

David Greusel: The Work of Architects and the Common Good

David Greusel has worked as an architect for more than thirty years with several Midwestern firms...

3D Cities: Tower, Slum, and Sprawl

But in light of growth projections, more innovations will be critical for informal development sp...

Habits of Engagement: Faith Based Organizations and the Life of Cities

Urban planning isn't something that most people spend time thinking about. The arrangement of our...

Persistence, Underwritten by Hope

Lynn Randall, Paul Johnson, Paul Born, and other leaders gave us particular instances of local ef...

Calgary City Soul: A Story of Urban Thriving

When Cardus, a think tank engaged in the study of social architecture, began in 2009 examining th...

Disruptive Innovation or Passing Oddities?

It is possible that disruptive innovations like digital lending platforms, mobile banking, or the...