Resources: Research

Research has been integral to Action for Neighbourhood Change at a number of levels.

Research into the composition and characteristics of communities informed the selection of neighbourhoods as well as the visioning and action planning processes.

An examination of the interaction and impact of policies and programs at a neighbourhood level informed policy and program development at all levels of government as well as in the voluntary sector.

Social engagement was enhanced through the use of video and internet reflections. Made with and by community members, media helped to inform and identify critical issues, develop discussions and provide forms for dialogue as well as leave a legacy of the process.

Broad dissemination of the project’s findings and learnings to the public, private and voluntary sectors throughout Canada continue to maximize the impact of this project and support other neighbourhoods and communities wishing to undertake or advance renewal processes.

Useful Resources

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Caledon Papers

The Caledon Institute's publication list includes many papers related to neighbourhood development. Here are just a few:

Community Stories:

Year 3:

  • ANC in Thunder Bay: Simpson-Ogden Comes Alive. The Caledon Institute of Social Policy. Anne Makhoul, May 2007. This story summarizes the progress made in the Simpson-Ogden neighbourhood of Thunder Bay over the two years of the ANC project. It gives highlights of the work accomplished, and includes reflections from project staff and residents on ANC and its impact. Read more here: English, Français
  • ANC’s Second Year in Regina: The Core Neighbourhood. The Caledon Institute of Social Policy. Anne Makhoul, May 2007. This story gives a summary of ANC’s involvement in Regina’s North Central and Core neighbourhoods over the two years of the project. It gives highlights of the work accomplished, and includes reflections from project staff and residents on ANC and its impact. Read more here: English, Français
  • ANC in Surrey: Bridgeview is Still in Motion. The Caledon Institute of Social Policy. Anne Makhoul, May 2007. This story summarizes Bridgeview’s involvement in ANC over the two-year project. It gives highlights of the work accomplished, and includes reflections from project staff and residents on ANC and its impact. Read more here: English, Français

    Year 2:

  • A Return to ANC in Spryfield: Fresh Ideas Spring into Action. The Caledon Institute of Social Policy. Anne Makhoul, April 2006. This story summarizes the progress in Halifax’s ANC project in the neighbourhood of Spryfield between February 2005 and March 2006. It captures the perceptions of residents, organization representatives and project staff who have laboured to enrich and enliven the community. Read more here: English, Français
  • ANC in Toronto: Scarborough Village Grows in a Positive Direction. The Caledon Institute of Social Policy. Anne Makhoul, April 2006. This story summarizes the progress in Thunder Bay’s ANC project in the neighbourhood of Simpson-Ogden between February 2005 and March 2006. It captures the perceptions of residents, organization representatives and project staff who have laboured to enrich and enliven the community. Read more here: English, Français
  • Thunder Bay’s Simpson-Ogden Neighbourhood: Gifts in Unexpected Places. The Caledon Institute of Social Policy. Anne Makhoul, April 2006. This story summarizes the progress in Thunder Bay’s ANC project in the neighbourhood of Simpson-Ogden between February 2005 and March 2006. It captures the perceptions of residents, organization representatives and project staff who have laboured to enrich and enliven the community. Read more here: English, Français
  • North Central in Regina: Keeping the Focus Where It Belongs. The Caledon Institute of Social Policy. Anne Makhoul, April 2006. This story summarizes the progress in Regina’s ANC project in the neighbourhood of North Central between February 2005 and March 2006. It captures the perceptions of residents, organization representatives and project staff who have laboured to enrich and enliven the community. Read more here: English, Français
  • A Return to ANC in Surrey: Bridgeview in Motion. The Caledon Institute of Social Policy. Anne Makhoul, April 2006. This story summarizes the progress in Surrey’s ANC project in the neighbourhood of Bridgeview between February 2005 and March 2006. It captures the perceptions of residents, organization representatives and project staff who have laboured to enrich and enliven the community. Read more here: English, Français

    Year 1:

  • Spryfield Chooses ANC Halifax . The Caledon Institute of Social Policy. Anne Makhoul, October 2005. Instead of drawing up a list of candidate neighbourhoods, United Way of Halifax Region chose to invite community organizers to get involved with ANC if they felt the program was a good fit for their residents. Spryfield, a neighbourhood with a long history of community activism, stepped forward to participate. This story describes how the standard approach was turned around – and how the neighbourhood came to choose the project. Read more here: English, Français
  • ANC in BC Selects Bridgeview. The Caledon Institute of Social Policy. Anne Makhoul, October 2005. The location for the Surrey ANC project is the Bridgeview neighbourhood, chosen in part because of the already strong sense of community felt by its residents, and because it met the criteria of having a balance between needs and assets, as defined by the selection committee. Read more here: English, Français
  • Regina Inner City Community Partnership (RICCP) Welcomes ANC. Anne Makhoul. The Caledon Institute of Social Policy. October 2005. ANC is about real people helping one another to make their neighbourhoods better places to live. In North Central Regina that means focusing on three pillars: housing, employment, and neighbourhood safety. And it means working with the Regina Inner City Community Partnership (RICCP), a community revitalization effort underway in the neighbourhood. ANC in Regina is a companion piece to RICCP. The two initiatives share common purpose and a way of working. Read the Caledon story here: English, Français
  • ANC Begins in Scarborough Village . The Caledon Institute of Social Policy. Anne Makhoul, October 2005. Scarborough Village is the Toronto neighbourhood chosen for inclusion in ANC, in part because it represents the new reality of poverty in Toronto – a former suburban neighbourhood designed around the automobile which now must meet the challenge of providing supports for a growing low-income population. Read more here: English, Français
  • Action for Neighbourhood Change in Thunder Bay. The Caledon Institute of Social Policy. Anne Makhoul, October 2005. Simpson-Ogden, Thunder Bay’s second oldest neighbourhood, was selected for inclusion in ANC. Though groups and individuals have worked to improve the neighbourhood’s appearance and appeal, residents are optimistic that ANC will provide an opportunity for them to envision and realize coordinated, comprehensive change. Read more here: English, Français
  • ANC in BC Selects Bridgeview. Anne Makhoul. The Caledon Institute of Social Policy. October 2005. The location for the Surrey ANC project is the Bridgeview neighbourhood, chosen in part because of the already strong sense of community felt by its residents, and because it met the criteria of having a balance between needs and assets, as defined by the selection committee. Read the Caledon story here: English, Français

Reflection, Analysis, and Policy Papers:

  • Final Reflections from the Action for Neighbourhood Change Research Project. The Caledon Institute of Social Policy. Cheryl Gorman, June 2007. Action for Neighbourhood Change began as an action research project in February 2005 to explore resident-led neighbourhood revitalization. This paper presents the highlights of the project’s achievements. Its people legacy includes the broad scope of participation in the initiative in both its local and national events. ANC leaves an extensive product legacy in terms of policy papers, community stories, organizing tools and film clips. Its process legacy includes the local governance bodies that were established in each neighbourhood and important shifts in the way in which the federal government conducted its business to support this effort. Finally, the ANC sites were able to leverage investment from a broad range of sources in support of neighbourhood renewal. Read more here: English, Français
  • Asset-based, Resident-led Neighbourhood Development. The Caledon Institute of Social Policy. Eric Leviten-Reid, July 2006. This paper presents insights derived from the initiative’s first 14 months of operation. It highlights the asset-based, resident-led approach pursued on the ground in the five participating neighbourhoods. It also considers the roles that government and voluntary sector partners at the national level can play in support of such initiatives. Read more here: English
  • Orienteering Over New Ground: A Neighbourhood Theory of Change. The Caledon Institute of Social Policy. Cheryl Gorman, June 2006. This policy dialogue tool describes ANC’s action learning regarding the inter-relationships and role of transformational change among neighbourhoods, bridge builders, and the “systems of support.” Knowledge about why strong neighbourhoods matter sets the stage for a theory of change. Blending ANC experience and international research, a preliminary neighbourhood well-being index and logic model are provided. Read more here: English, Français
  • Government and Communities: Strengthening Neighbourhoods Together. The Caledon Institute of Social Policy. Cheryl Gorman, June 2006. Policy dialogue is a relatively new technique for building a shared vision and operational frameworks among governments and communities. In the spirit of action research, ANC created a policy dialogue to intentionally explore the neighbourhood strengthening process across the continuum of collaboration: sharing information (easiest level of difficulty), setting common directions, consolidating administrative procedures and solving problems (hardest level of difficulty). Results, lessons learned and insights for future public policy are described. Read more here: English, Français
  • Remaking Neighbourhood Renewal: Towards Creative Neighbourhood Renewal Policies for Britain. The Caledon Institute of Social Policy. Duncan Maclennan, February 2006. This is the fourth in a series of policy papers developed in support of Action for Neighbourhood Change (ANC). The paper focuses upon the policies and strategies for implementing neighbourhood renewal in England. It presents a brief review and evaluation of UK policies and practices and proposes some lessons for Canada. Read more here: English
  • Rethinking Neighbourhood Renewal: Review of the US Experience and Possible Lessons for Canada. The Caledon Institute of Social Policy. Steve Pomeroy, February 2006. This is the third in a series of policy papers developed in support called Action for Neighbourhood Change (ANC). ANC is a pan-Canadian project that involves four national and five local partners in an effort to revitalize and improve the quality of life in five selected neighbourhoods across the country. The five local partners are United Ways in Halifax, Thunder Bay, Toronto, Regina and Surrey. This paper presents a brief overview of the historic influences, early attempts and current program framework for neighbourhood renewal in the US. It discusses the mechanics of renewal strategies in that country, their effectiveness and possible lessons for Canada. Read more here: English
  • Reading, Writing and Neighbourhood Renewal. The Caledon Institute of Social Policy. Sherri Torjman, February 2006. Renewal efforts in communities typically concern themselves with bricks and mortar. Safe, decent and affordable housing comprises the core of a healthy community. But there has been growing recognition of the equally important social components of revitalization. Improved literacy lies at the heart of these efforts. This paper discusses recent findings on the status of literacy proficiency in Canada and describes various measures that communities can take to promote literacy. Read more here: English
  • Neighbourhood Change through a Housing Lens. Steve Pomeroy, Focus Consulting. September 2005. This paper is the second of three policy papers developed in support of a new national initiative called Action for Neighbourhood Change (ANC). The purpose of this paper is to inform the discussion of neighbourhood change with a particular focus of the role of housing, both as a central feature of neighbourhood fabric and as an agent of influence on neighbourhoods. The paper first presents an overview of the processes and factors that influence neighbourhood decline. It then reviews how housing policies and programs have reinforced – often inadvertently – this process of decline. Finally, the paper identifies how proactive, purposefully designed housing policies can be effective tools in fostering neighbourhood regeneration. Read more here: English, Français
  • Comprehensive Community Initiatives. Sherri Torjman, Eric Leviten-Reid. The Caledon Institute of Social Policy. March 2003. This paper explores the emerging theory and practice on comprehensive community initiatives. It is one of a series of papers written in support of the Vibrant Communities project, which has embraced the comprehensive community initiatives approach. Comprehensive community initiatives have emerged in response to recent practices that have proven ineffective and as a reformulation of approaches to community development that have been tried in the past. They also reflect views on the changing role of government and the place that communities play in promoting economic and social well-being. Read more here: English
  • The Social Role of Local Government. Sherri Torjman, Eric Leviten-Reid. The Caledon Institute of Social Policy. March 2003. The Social Role of Local Government is the second in a series of Caledon papers to support the Vibrant Communities initiative. The current paper focuses on the contribution of one key player to this work. In recent years, local government has emerged as an important institution for addressing complex social issues through its roles as exemplary employer, service provider, investor, leader, champion, convener and partner. The paper describes the challenges municipalities face as they seek to tackle these issues. Read the paper here.
  • Community Renewal. Sherri Torjman. The Caledon Institute of Social Policy. January 2004. This paper explores the renewal of communities through rethinking the use of community resources and building relationships among these resources for mutually beneficial problem-solving. The ‘enabling’ role of government is a strategic function that seeks to bolster the capacity of communities to meet their economic, social and environmental objectives. The enabling role includes convening, support for technical assistance, the promotion of learning, research and policy development, and coordination – each of which is described in the report. Read the paper here.
  • Who Does What in Comprehensive Community Initiatives? Sherri Torjman, Eric Leviten-Reid and Mark Cabaj. The Caledon Institute of Social Policy. February, 2004. This paper explores the role that various sectors play in comprehensive community initiatives, including governments, social services, business, labour, educational institutions and anti-poverty groups. Read the paper here.
  • Action for Neighbourhood Change Begins Anne Makhoul. The Caledon Institute of Social Policy. May 2005. The Caledon Institute is proud to announce its involvement in Action for Neighbourhood Change (ANC), a 14-month community revitalization project announced by Labour and Housing Minister Joe Fontana on May 9, 2005. ANC brings together representatives from several federal government departments, United Way – Centraide Canada, five local United Way organizations, Tamarack – An Institute for Community Engagement, the National Film Board and Caledon. Operating in the cities of Surrey, Regina, Thunder Bay, Toronto and Halifax, ANC will develop community engagement strategies while working with government partners to address policy issues which affect neighbourhood health. Read more here: English

Visit the Caledon website for more great publications!

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Relevant Papers

  • From Restless Communities to Resilient Places: Building a Stronger Future for all Canadians is a landmark report by the federal government. The report was prepared by the External Advisory Committee on Cities and Communities, which was established in February 2004 under the Chairmanship of the Honorable Mike Harcourt. Over two years, the Committee met with local leaders, community agencies, stakeholders and experts on issues that exist every day in Canadian cities and communities. The underlying message of the report is that global challenges need local responses. Download the paper here: English, Français
  • Managing Complexity: The Lessons of Horizontal Policy-Making in the Provinces Ian Peach turns to the important issues of “horizontal” policy processes across Canada, comparing them to that of similar American jurisdictions and the United Kingdom. Peach identifies new ways to effectively address multi-faceted social and economic challenges through policy development. Download the paper here. [Source: University of Regina]
  • Giving Root to Collective Action: In a speech made at a Community Mobilization conference in Montréal (October 2005), Paul Born addresses the question, how can we make sure a community-based collaborative initiative gets a good start in life? Access Paul's speech here: English, Français
  • Learning from the Journey: Reflections on the Rebuilding Communities Initiative by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. This document reflects on and captures the "lessons learned" in the Annie E. Casey Foundation's Rebuilding Communities Initiative (RCI). This papers identifies six lessons learned in RCI journey from the vantage point of those who lived it - the Foundation staff, technical assistance providers, lead agency executives and personnel, and community residents who came together to create RCI. [Source: Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2002]. Access the paper here.
  • Research on Thriving Neighbourhoods by Pew Partnerships for Civic Change. Pew Partnerships for Civic Change has a valuable section of their website dedicated to highlighting the types of work that result in positive change within communities. One of the areas they highlight is “Thriving Neighbourhoods”. Throughout this section on their website they specifically discuss affordable housing and neighbourhood safety. Access the research here.
  • Revitalizing Commerce for American Cities: A Practitioners Guide to Urban Main Street Programs by the Fannie Mae Foundation. This publication aims to help community development practitioners successfully implement a Main Street program in their neighborhoods. It offers guidance on applying Main Street principles to city neighborhoods and expanding those principles to effectively address two key urban challenges: improving public safety and securing services from a fragmented city government. By culling effective practices from seven Main Street programs in three cities, this guide offers a version of Main Street practice geared to the special needs of inner-city commercial districts. This urban model embraces many standard Main Street practices, but both alters and augments these practices to ensure their applicability and relevance in an urban setting. [Source: Fannie Mae Foundation, 2004]. Access the paper here.
  • CED & Social Economy in Canada: A People’s History by Mark Cabaj. This paper provides a comprehensive history of community organizing in Canada. It illustrates how generations of Canadian citizens have gathered together to form communities and how community economic development emerged as a strategy to assist struggling neighbourhoods. Throughout the paper numerous examples of community based initiatives are highlighted. Access the paper here.
  • The 21st Century NGO: In the Market for Change. S. Beloe et al. SustainAbility, London UK. The 21st Century NGO is a survey of the current NGO landscape. It looks at various issues facing today’s NGO’s including, market and political changes that are driving a paradigm shift, which in turn is transforming the NGO market. It also addresses key questions about the role and operations of NGO’s, identifies some challenges facing NGO boards, and provides a set of 21 internal and external challenges for international NGOs. Learn more about the paper here.
  • From this Earth: NECRC & the Evolution of a Development System in Winnipeg’s North End. Michelle Colussi, Stewart E. Perry, Mike Lewis, Garry Loewen. Making Waves. Vol. 13, No.1. This paper details the ongoing efforts of Winnipeg’s North End Renewal Corporation (NECRC) in revitalizing Winnipeg’s North End. The paper describes the beginnings of the NECRC as a community development corporation, including building a base of support and gathering initial project funding. It also describes the significant accomplishments of the NECRC in areas such as commercial and housing development, community safety initiatives, training and employment services and tax deductions on local properties. Read the paper here.
  • Building Strong Neighbourhoods. This document contains a guide that can be used by community development practitioners who wish to organize study circles in their neighbourhoods. The guide is broken down into four sections, each designed to provide background and information on a certain aspect of study circle creation. The first section provides users with an opportunity to discuss their connections to the neighbourhood as well as hear the neighbourhood connections of others. Section two provides a list of neighbourhood issues for study circles while section three provides a forum to discuss long-term methods of strengthening the community. The final section helps individuals discuss future directions in community strengthening and contains a list of best practices in strengthening neighbourhoods. Access the document here.
  • Reflections on Community Organizing and Resident Engagement. This document describes the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Rebuilding Community Initiative. The document contains a number of reflections, lessons and insights learned from the Rebuilding Communities Initiative. Topics contained in the report include barriers to effective community organizing and resident engagement, RCI’s community building lessons, the five essential capacities for effective community organizing, understanding the field of community organizing, and more. Access the document here.

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Relevant Books

  • The Nimble Collaboration: Fine-tuning your collaboration for lasting success. Karen Ray, Amherst H. Wilder Foundation, 2002. The Nimble Collaboration describes key elements for successful collaborations including how to identify and evaluate results, how to build trust, and how to use the 10 principles of resilience that make a collaboration more sustainable. It also discusses real-life applications and case studies, which help readers easily understand the concepts presented in the book.
  • Learn more about the book here.

  • Collaborative Leadership: How Citizens and Civic Leaders Can Make a Difference. David D. Chrislip, Carl E. Larson. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1994. The leaders who are most effective in addressing public issues are those who have the credibility to bring together the right people to create visions and solve problems. Drawing on their extensive research, as well as on the advice and guidance of the leading scholars and practitioners in the field, David Chrislip and Carl Larson show how elected officials and other civic leaders can generate the civic will to break through legislative and bureaucratic gridlock, deal with complex issues, and engage frustrated and angry citizens. They also describe how to design, initiate, and sustain a constructive, collaborative process. This groundbreaking book provides insight and answers to the major challenges facing communities today. [Source: Wiley Publications, 2005].
  • Learn more about the book here.

  • Community Visions, Community Solutions: Grantmaking for Comprehensive Impact. Joseph Connor, Stephanie Kadel-Taras. Amherst H. Wilder Foundation, 2003. Community Visions, Community Solutions describes a grantmaking process where funders focus on solutions – first by helping communities uncover their highest aspirations, and then by supporting and sustaining systematic efforts to reach community goals. In this way, funders can help create the lasting change they want to see. Filled with fresh ideas, concrete strategies, wisdom from the field, compelling case studies, and contact information so you can find out more, this book provokes both thought and action, fosters new ideas, and leads to solutions. [Source: The Collaboratory for Community Support, 2003].
  • Learn more about the book here.

  • Strengthening Nonprofit Performance: A Funder’s Guide to Capacity Building. Paul Connolly, Carol Lukas. Amherst H. Wilder Foundation, 2002. Funders who want to maximize their grantmaking are turning to capacity building - funding core activities that help their grantee's organizations function well. This practical guide synthesizes the most recent capacity building practice and research into a collection of strategies, steps, and examples that funders can use to get started on or improve their funding to strengthen nonprofits. [Source: Amherst H. Wilder Foundation, 2004]. Learn more about the book here.
  • Building Communities From the Inside Out: A Path Toward Finding and Mobilizing a Community’s Assets. John P. Kretzmann, John L. McKnight. ACTA Publications, 1993. (Note that this book is one in a series.) This guide to what the authors call "asset-based community development" summarizes lessons learned by studying successful community-building initiatives in hundreds of neighborhoods across the United States. It outlines in simple, "neighborhood-friendly" terms what local communities can do to start their own journey down the path of asset-based development. This book will be helpful to local community leaders, leaders of local associations and institutions, government officials, and leaders in the philanthropic and business communities who wish to support effective community-building strategies. [Source: Institute for Policy Research, Northwestern University, 1993]. Learn more about the book here.

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Action for Neighbourhood Change was in operation from 2005-2007. This site exists to capture and share the learnings that emerged from this initiative, but new material is no longer being added on a regular basis. ANC is not responsible for the content of external links, which may change; however, if you find a broken link, please let us know.