Sunday, February 03, 2008

Community Research

I've been involved in a couple of groups that are doing community research. Specifically we are looking at Indicators of a transformed city. I have mentioned this before (here and here). It provides us a way of determining if we are actually being effective in our church and religious activities. Does it really make any difference when we worship and pray? Can we influence our culture? If so how do we measure that influence? The research is trying to find ways of quantifying that influence.

Therefore as a start, I have been compiling a list of websites that help us get some sense of where to look for information on community change. This page may not be of interest to everyone. Actually at times it is downright tedious. But for our team and perhaps for some others who may want to browse around in city and community websites there are some real gems of information. Most municipal leaders really do want to have healthy cities and we need to partner with them and contribute to the shaping of our cities. Christians have a significant voice in helping our communities become healthy and healing places where lives are transformed.

This is just a start and I will be organizing and categorizing this further. The highlighted names of the organizations will lead you to the site directly. I also included the actual site address if you want to record it without going there first.

Official Municipal Sites

City of Toronto Related Sites

City of Toronto Website (
The City of Toronto website has a wealth of information - very specifically geared to neighbourhoods and city wards. Lots of info here on social profiles of the area (age, ethnicity, income, etc.).
Toronto Maps (
Portal to go to all Toronto Neighbourhoods (140) (
Each Neighbourhood has its own site and demographic statistics.
Portal to all Toronto Wards (44) (
Each Ward has its own site and demographic statistics.
Strong Neighbourhood Task Force (
Demographic Atlas (Census Canada Info)
including religious affiliation by census tract (
Absolutely fascinating stuff here.

GTA Regional Municipality Sites

York Region's Website (
York Region Reports on Regional Issues
Links to the official websites of all the municipalities in York Region.
City of Vaughan
Demographics for Vaughan (

Durham Region Website (
Link to the official websites of all the municipalities in Durham Region.

Regional Municipality of Peel Website
Peel's Statistics Website
Peel Ward Profile Maps
Mississauga, Brampton, and Caledon websites.

Halton Region Website
Link to all Halton community websites including historical research links and municipality webpages.

Other Ontario Sites

Social Planning Network of Ontario (SPNO ( has useful research in a number of Ontario communities including the GTA.

Closing the Distance ( is a project of the SPNO that has a number of reports for various communities in Ontario.

Urban Research Sites (mostly focused on Toronto)

The Centre for Urban and Community Studies (CUCS (, part of University of Toronto, it was established in 1964, and promotes and disseminates multidisciplinary research and policy analysis on urban issues. The Centre’s activities contribute to scholarship on questions relating to the social, economic and physical well-being of people who live and work in urban areas large and small, in Canada and around the world.
This is a very helpful site committed to research of all kinds of urban issues. Lots of articles here too.
Greater Toronto Urban Observatory (
- monitors and evaluates regional urban conditions and trends.
Urban Research Links (
connecting to Websites of other Urban and Housing Research and Policy Organizations

Cardus (formerly Work Research Foundation)
Cardus' mission is to influence people to a Christian view of work and public life. Cardus seeks to explore and unfold the dignity of work, the meaning of economics, and the structures of civil society, in the context of underlying patterns created by God. Includes reports on:
Stained Glass Urbanism
Toronto the Good

Toronto Community Foundation (
TCF is a local centre for philanthropy and a leader in the community, working with individuals, families, corporations and not-for-profit organizations to carry out their charitable objectives and address emerging community issues.
Toronto Vital Signs (
Each year, the Toronto Community Foundation monitors the health of Toronto and shares the results through Toronto’s Vital Signs®. This annual check-up looks at important indicators of our City’s quality of life, using information gathered from current statistics and special studies. Vital Signs shows us the trends that are emerging in Toronto and some of the new realities of how we live, work and play.

The Canadian Urban Institute (CUI) (
is a non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing the quality of life in urban areas across Canada and internationally.

The Toronto City Summit Alliance (
is a coalition of civic leaders in the Toronto region. The Alliance was formed to address challenges to the future of Toronto such as expanding knowledge-based industry, poor economic integration of immigrants, decaying infrastructure, and affordable housing.

Strong Neighbourhoods Task Force (
An ongoing study researching what elements make for strong neighbourhoods.
Issues Facing Our City ( provides policy reports on various City Issues.

Canada 25 (
- a site chronicling a youth research coalition that produced a number of interesting reports on healthy cities - now disbanded, but the site is still up and links to the reports and findings.

The Community Social Planning Council of Toronto (
is committed to independent social planning at the local and city-wide levels in order to improve the quality of life for all people in Toronto. It is committed to diversity, social and economic justice, and active citizen participation in all aspects of community life.

25-in-5 (
This is a Network for Poverty Reduction and is a multi-sectoral network comprised of more than 100 provincial and Toronto-based organizations and individuals working on eliminating poverty. We have organized ourselves around the call for a Poverty Reduction Plan with a goal to reduce poverty in Ontario by 25% in 5 years and 50% in 10 years.
Lots of links to homelessness and poverty resources.
Part of The Community Social Planning Council of Toronto

United Way of Toronto
Includes reports on poverty by postal code, and recommendations for strong neighbourhoods.
Strong Neighbourhoods Task Force (

National Sites

Statistics Canada (
Canada's national site for all kinds of statistical research - especially things like official census reports and electoral district stats.

The Metropolis Project in Canada (
Metropolis is an international network for comparative research and public policy development on migration, diversity, and immigrant integration in cities in Canada and around the world.

The Ontario Metropolis Centre (part of CERIS) (
This is a consortium of Toronto-area universities and community partners.

Census Data at Metropolis (

Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (
This is Canada's national housing agency. They are committed to helping Canadians access a wide choice of quality, affordable homes, while making vibrant, healthy communities and cities a reality across the country. CMHC works to enhance Canada's housing finance options, assist Canadians who cannot afford housing in the private market, improve building standards and housing construction, and provide policymakers with the information and analysis they need to sustain a vibrant housing market in Canada.
For research info check out the Library link.

Find A Thesis lists every thesis on file at the national archives.

Christian Research Sites

Canadian Pentecostal Research Network
This is part of Trinity Western University. They are committed to developing research networks for all the major streams of evangelicalism. This is only part of a much larger site (most of which is still in development).

Centre for Research on Canadian Evangelicalism.
The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC) has established the Centre for Research on Canadian Evangelicalism (CRCE), which seeks to enhance the effectiveness of ministry carried out by Evangelicals in Canada and shed light on the character and role of Evangelicalism in Canada.

Outreach Canada
Outreach Canda works together with local churches and denominations in promoting a nationwide strategy of church planting and revitalization to reach Canada for Christ. a site that lists and locates every church in Canada (or at least 24 or so thousand of them). Part of Outreach Canada.
Canadian Denominations - a page at Outreach Canada with links to all the Canadian denominational websites.

This is a fairly new initiative. is a critical initiative that has grown out of a broader collaboration between various networks and researchers. They hope this website will become a valuable tool in an effort to connect people and share resources that will facilitate Christian ministry and mission among the diverse peoples of the Greater Toronto Area and beyond. They offer a good links page for ethnographic research under the link "Understanding Demographics".

Cardus ( (formerly called "The Work Research Foundation) Cardus’ mission is to influence people to a Christian view of work and public life. They seek to explore and unfold the dignity of work, the meaning of economics, and the structures of civil society, in the context of underlying patterns created by God. Includes reports on:
Stained Glass Urbanism
Toronto the Good

ARDA - The Association of Religion Data Archives
A great national religious info archive - unfortunately only for the US.

The Pew Forum is another American research site where many surveys have been done on religion, mostly in the USA, but also a number of surveys concerning the church around the world.

There is an interactive map of the world's Muslim population by nation also found on one of the The Pew Forum subsites.

The Barna Group does a great deal of research on faith and its interaction with culture. This material is used by many sacred and secular sources.


Anonymous said...

You might be interested in, a community website that in addition to community content, publishes news stories about the region and its municipalities.

Toronto neighbourhood guide said...

It is interesting idea to group all sources of information about neighbourhood community topics, but you should include also pages with some personal survey about Toronto neighbourhoods into your list. I found many of them and it could be really worth reading them through.