Creating space for transformative conversations
Hey Neighbour Collective
Building social connectedness and resilience in multi-unit housing
In many of BC’s densifying communities, multi-unit housing is becoming the norm; however, these housing types can have disproportionately lower levels of connection and community between neighbours, which has significant impacts on health, well-being and community resilience.
Hey Neighbour Collective (HNC) brings together housing providers, researchers, wellbeing experts, local and regional governments, housing associations and health authorities to experiment with and learn about ways of effectively building community, social connectedness and resilience in BC’s fast-growing vertical communities.
This multi-stakeholder community of practice will also pursue systems-oriented dialogue to look at improving the regulatory and funding environment to better support the sociable design of multi-unit housing, and programming that improves health and well-being outcomes.
The Collective emerged from collaboration between staff involved in the City of Vancouver’s 2018 Hey Neighbour! pilot project and a number of advisory committee members working on similar projects. It has now grown into a multi-stakeholder collaboration across BC. It soft-launched July 2019.
CITY OF VANCOUVER’S 2018 HEY NEIGHBOUR! PILOT
The Hey Neighbour! pilot was designed as an experiment to learn about the potential of resident-led leadership in creating more socially connected buildings.
Two rental buildings took part in the pilot. In each building, two residents stepped forward to work with City of Vancouver project staff and their building managers to organize social activities.
The pilot aimed to:
- Increase a sense of community amongst residents within their buildings
- Decrease the frequency and intensity of loneliness among residents
- Support participating buildings to feel like home, and not just a temporary place of residence
- Increase sense of responsibility and care over common property amongst residents
The pilot was preceded in 2017 by research into friendly buildings that produced a series of case studies, and culminated in a tour of friendly buildings attended by a diverse group of stakeholders from the housing, public health, municipal, private and non-profit sectors.
The tour provided an opportunity for the attendees to hear directly from residents and property managers, and see local best practices first-hand.
It also started a conversation around the importance of working collaboratively across industries to support increased sociability among neighbours living in multi-unit buildings.
To learn more about the Hey Neighbour! pilot, visit the City’s project site, or check out the following reports:
Hey Neighbour! Photo Gallery
Resident Animators Akiko (left) and Vincent (right) taking a selfie while planning their first build ing event. Also featured is a "Junior" Resident Animator.
Resident Animators used a simple white board and fun questions to engage busy residents in their building, who otherwise have no time to connect with each other.
Resident Animator, Juliana (left) and her partner, Alex (right) made lemonades to connect with neighbours during the building's annual barbecue.
Resident animators Juliana and Harry chat with neighbours
HEY NEIGHBOUR COLLECTIVE: PARTNER RESEARCH AND REPORTS
In addition to the City of Vancouver’s Hey Neighbour! Pilot resources listed above, the Collective’s current partners have also produced a body of related work:
Building Resilient Neighbourhoods (SHIFT Collaborative)
- Building Resilient Neighbourhoods program: https://resilientneighbourhoods.ca/
- Building Resilient Neighbourhoods toolkit: http://resilientneighbourhoods.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Resilient_Streets_Toolkit.pdf
- Connect & Prepare program: https://resilientneighbourhoods.ca/connect-prepare-program/
Catalyst Community Developments Society
Brightside Community Homes Foundation
We aim to broaden our community of partners and funders. Interested in learning more? Contact Project Director, Michelle Hoar at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Core HNC Organizing Team
- Michelle Hoar, Project Director (SFU Dialogue Associate)
- Stacy Barter, Director of Learning & Evaluation (Partner, SHIFT Collaborative)
- Francis Heng, Director of New Pilot Projects (Independent, past Coordinator for City of Vancouver’s Hey Neighbour Pilot)
- Dr. Meg Holden, SFU Research Co-Lead (Director and Professor, Urban Studies)
- Dr. Meghan Winters, SFU Research Co-Lead (Associate Professor, SFU Health Sciences)
- Dr. Paty Rios, Housing & Sociability Specialist (Partner, Happy City)
Pilot Site Partners
- Catalyst Community Developments Society
- Brightside Community Homes Foundation
- Concert Properties
- Building Resilient Neighbourhoods’ Connect & Prepare program (SHIFT Collaborative)
- City of Vancouver
- City of Victoria (emergency readiness program)
- City of New Westminster
- Metro Vancouver
- Vancouver Coastal Health
- BC Non-Profit Housing Association
- Janet Moore, Professor of Professional Practice and Associate Professor, SFU Semester In Dialogue
- Claire Gram, Population Health Policy and Projects Lead, Vancouver Coastal Health
- Erin Rennie, Senior Regional Planner, Metro Vancouver
- Peter Marriott, Social Planner, City of Vancouver Healthy City Strategy