In April 2010 the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada awarded a Public Outreach Grant to the University of Toronto based Neighbourhood Change research team.
Principal Investigator: Daniyal Zuberi, Social Work & Public Policy , University of Toronto
Canadian Association of Neighbourhood Services
St. Christopher House,
Public Interest Research,
United Way Toronto
Social Planning Toronto
In an attempt to understand why some neighbourhoods have more success in addressing the effects of social-spatial inequality researchers have pointed to the role of neighbourhood processes in shaping social, educational, health, safety and crime, and economic. Evidence suggests that one such process, “collective efficacy” – the ability of neighbours to cultivate trust amongst each other, to generate shared expectations, to draw productively from social networks, and to collectively mobilise for action – plays a significant part in enhancing resilience amongst neighbours and neighbourhoods.
Plausible explanations to account for the presence or lack of collective efficacy are:
• systemic barriers (e.g., concentrations of poverty and disadvantaged ethno-cultural groups);
• behavioural and attitudinal factors; and
• the role of existing social networks and other forms of pre-existing social capital.
More policy and program oriented research is required to comprehend how community based organisational conditions and initiatives can enhance community members’ collective capacity to effect change in social inclusion, local control over assets, civic engagement, neighbourhood improvement, and the securing of resources.
There are two key questions we hope to answer:
1) What are the collective- and neighbourhood-level impacts of community-based organisations (particularly those in low-income and disadvantaged neighbourhoods), beyond their programmatic outcomes at the individual and household level?
2) What are the strategies that CBO’s can use to foster and sustain capacity for collective efficacy in these neighbourhoods? OR: How do organisations, community groups and individuals mobilise to enact and effect change in social inclusion, local control over assets, civic engagement, neighbourhood improvement, and the securing of resources, and what are the factors that contribute to their success?