Understanding Our Changing Urban Neighbourhoods

Winnipeg's Central Park

Winnipeg’s Central Park

WINNIPEG, MB – University of Winnipeg researchers are participating in three national projects which this week each received $2.5 million grants from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), for a total of $7.5 million in new research funding.

Dr. Jino Distasio, Director of the Institute for Urban Studies is the Winnipeg leader in a University of Toronto-led study that will examine what drives change in seven cities. UWinnipeg political science professor Dr. Chris Leo and Dr. Tom Carter (retired, past Canada Research Chair in Urban Change and Adaptation) are also participants, with United Way Winnipeg as community partner. Winnipeg is one of the seven cities being studied to see what makes Canadian neighbbourhoods unique and what binds them together.

“In the case of Winnipeg, we will be looking at what has driven change at the neighbourhood level over past 35 years, and what we can learn about how Winnipeg is evolving,” said Distasio. “This can include examining population patterns, income, poverty, racial dynamics. The research gathered has policy implications, in helping us to better structure communities at the municipal level.”

The second study, based out of the University of Trent, involves Distasio as well as UWinnipeg’s Dr. Evelyn Peters, Canada Research Chair in Inner-City Issues, Community Learning, and Engagement and Dr. Dawn Sutherland, Canada Research Chair in Science Education in Cultural Contexts. A national network of researchers, along with provincial partners and community organizations including the Manitoba Association of Friendship Centers, will look at establishing an Aboriginal knowledge network. The focus will be on understanding how to improve the quality of life of Aboriginal people in urban settings across the country.

The third study will be carried out by the Manitoba Research Alliance (MRA), a community-based team whose partners include researchers from The University of Winnipeg, University of Manitoba and a large number of inner-city, northern and Aboriginal community-based organizations, and which is headed by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives-Manitoba (CCPA-Mb). The research project, titled “Partnering for Change: Community-Based Solutions for Aboriginal and Inner-City Poverty”, is the third large SSHRC grant won by the MRA/CCPA-Mb in the past decade. UWinnipeg participants include Lorena Fontaine (Indigenous Studies), Dr. Parvin Ghorayshi (retired, Sociology), Dr. Evelyn Peters, Dr. Dawn Sutherland and Dr. Jim Silver (Chair, Department of Urban and Inner-City Studies).

“The objective of this research project is to work closely with community-based organizations to develop a deepened understanding of the new poverty of the past 30 years, to figure out what works well and what does not in solving poverty-related issues, and to develop, from the grassroots up, appropriate policy tools and funding mechanisms to promote solutions,” said Silver.

In total, more than $70 million is being invested by the federal government over seven years to support 92 research teams across the country through SSHRC’s Partnership Grants and Partnership Development Grants.

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Diane Poulin, Communications Officer, The University of Winnipeg

P: 204.988.7135, E: d.poulin@uwinnipeg.ca

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