The Institute is partnering with the Toronto Foundation on a new research initiative to map the level of social trust and community engagement among Toronto residents, and provide a foundation for strengthening the social capital of the city.
The research is part of the Toronto Foundation's 2018 Vital Signs Program, and a final report will be published in early November 2018.
“Social capital” is the term used to describe the vibrancy of social networks and the extent to which there is trust and reciprocity within a community and among individuals. It is the essential “lubricant” that makes it possible for societies to function, and for people to get along peacefully even when they have little in common. To what extent do Torontonians feel connected to, and actively engage with, their neighbours and community organizations? How well do they trust their neighbours? These questions matter because social trust and engagement are critical to a good quality of life, a healthy population, safe streets, and economic prosperity.
Based on the principle of “you can only manage what you measure”, this project will provide the public, private, not-for-profit, and philanthropic sectors with the empirical basis for data-driven policies, programs initiatives, and investments that will sustain and strengthen the community’s social capital, social cohesion and subjective well-being, and the benefits that flow from them.
The study is being conducted by the Environics Institute for Survey Research, in partnership with Toronto Foundation, as well as TAS Design Build, Community Foundations of Canada/Canadian Heritage, United Way Toronto & York Region, MLSE Foundation, Ontario Trillium Foundation, and the Wellesley Institute, with additional support from National Institute on Ageing and Canada Helps.
Brannon Senger joined the Environics Institute team in June 2018 to work on the project through September as a Research Associate.
Brannon has cultivated a broad interest in many topics within the social and biological sciences. He has previously participated in interdisciplinary research projects which examined the relationship between economic characteristics like social capital and economic inequality and societal well-being. Brannon is deeply interested in investigating Social Capital as a determinant of healthy, happy, and effective communities.
Brannon completed a B.Sc. in Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour from McMaster University. In September, Brannon will begin pursuing an M.Sc. in Public Health at McGill University where he hopes to deepen his understanding of the role that various social factors play in determining the physical and psychological health of populations.
Reach him at [email protected]