Hey Neighbour Collective

About Hey Neighbour Collective

Building Social Connectedness and Resilience in Multi-Unit Housing
Hey Neighbour Collective (HNC) is a systems change project that brings together housing providers, researchers, 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  also pursues 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 2018-2019 Hey Neighbour! pilot project (more below) and a number of advisory committee members working on similar projects. It soft-launched July 2019.

The core of Hey Neighbour is a group of rental housing providers and non-profit organizations that are experimenting with different ways of building community, social connectedness and emergency preparedness in multi-unit housing contexts. You can learn a bit about them and their programs through these one-page partner profiles:

We connect each partner with researchers at SFU and Happy City to investigate the impacts of the various programs on resident well-being, their own organizational health, and the role and impact of built form.

You can learn about our current Theory of Change here and access a conceptual chart of the project here.

Want to learn more? Check out some of our recent work:

Developing Truly Complete Communities: Social equity, social connectedness and multi-unit housing in an age of public health and climate crises. This discussion paper and set of policy recommendations was created to inform Metro Vancouver’s review of Metro 2040 – our current regional growth strategy - and the drafting of Metro 2050.

Together, Apart Toolkit: Happy City led the charge on creating this toolkit of ideas for connecting with neighbours in multi-unit housing contexts during COVID with input from other Hey Neighbour Collective partners. Please note this was released in early fall 2020 before public health restrictions in BC intensified. Download it from Happy City’s website here.

Recording of Being Kind: How Much Does Sociability Matter: Webinar hosted by SFU Urban Studies. Project Director Michelle Hoar presents about HNC and suggests how related strategies might be built into housing policies at different levels. Part of the SFU series Pandemonium: Urban Studies and Recovering from COVID-19.

Recording of COVID-19 Recovery and Preparing For Future Crises: The Role of Social Resilience and Connectedness in Multi-unit Rental HousingThis HNC webinar co-hosted by BC Non-Profit Housing Association featured HNC partners Building Resilient Neighbourhoods, Catalyst Community Developments Society and Brightside Community Homes Foundation.

Partners Research and Reports:

Happy City

Building Resilient Neighbourhoods

Catalyst Community Developments Society

Brightside Community Homes Foundation

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:

Photo Gallery

Contact Us

Michelle Hoar
Project Director

We aim to broaden our community of partners and funders. Interested in learning more? Contact Project Director, Michelle Hoar and follow Hey Neighbour on Twitter.

Core Organizing Team

  • Michelle Hoar, Project Director (SFU Dialogue Associate)
  • Stacy Barter, Director of Learning & Evaluation (Partner, Building Resilient Neighbourhoods)
  • Luna Aixin, 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. Atiya Mahmood, Associate Professor, SFU Gerontology
  • Dr. Paty Rios, Housing & Sociability Specialist (Partner, Happy City)

Advisory Committee     

  • Wes Regan, Population Health Policy and Projects Lead, Vancouver Coastal Health
  • Claire Gram, Public Health Consultant
  • Erin Rennie, Senior Regional Planner, Metro Vancouver
  • Peter Marriott, Social Planner, City of Vancouver Health City Strategy
  • Keltie Craig, planning consultant
  • Paula Carr, Intercultural Community Development Consultant and Coach
  • Janet Moore, Professor of Professional Practice and Associate Professor, SFU Semester In Dialogue