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

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:

Happy City

Building Resilient Neighbourhoods (SHIFT Collaborative)

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 michelle.hoar@gmail.com.

Core HNC Organizing Team

Pilot Site Partners

Other Partners

Advisory Committee

  • 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

Funders