Step 6: Social Patterns Assessment

May 2021 → May 2022
Status: Complete

The Community Connectors are volunteer residents that live at Collingwood Village, a Concert Properties multi-unit building in Vancouver. The Community Connectors meet regularly to plan activities and events that bring neighbours together for meaningful social interactions. Happy Cities’ role is to evaluate the impact of these activities on resident wellbeing. 

In Step 3: Baseline Survey, we evaluated Collingwood Village residents’ perceptions of their own wellbeing using eight variables: engagement, social connectedness, resilience, perceived health, spatial inclusion, tenure, sense of belonging, and sense of safety. In this step (6), the Social Patterns Assessment, we use the same eight variables to collect data before, during and after each Community Connectors activity. We survey and interview residents to understand their experiences at each event, and the impact of each event on their wellbeing. This step’s Social Patterns Assessments will inform our final post-programming survey, to be completed in Step 7. 

Some of our evaluation methods are outlined below.

Pre-activity evaluation: What do participants expect from the activity? 

These evaluation methods include short surveys or polls prior to the start of each activity. They provide insight into people’s expectations and needs, and ask how they learned about the event. 

Evaluation during the activity: How are people interacting? 

These evaluation methods include activity observation and question intercepts. These methods allow us to observe how participants are using the space and capture residents’ perceptions of the activity in real time.

Post-activity evaluation: How are participants feeling after the activity? 

These evaluation methods include surveys, short interviews, or focus groups. They provide a more anecdotal record of memorable moments during the events. These methods can help clarify collective areas of wellbeing that the activities addressed.

We apply a combination of these evaluation methods to each event, depending on the location (online or in-person), the number of participants, and the duration. The events are summarized below: 

illustration of people connecting virtually with on another through technololgoy

Event 1: Speed Neighbouring 

This event took place online, via Zoom. Neighbours signed up and were assigned to breakout rooms to chat with a few other people using conversational prompts designed by the Community Connectors. These conversations aimed to provide a casual opportunity for people to socialize with their neighbours, recognizing that COVID-19 has made many of these opportunities more difficult.  

Wellbeing variables measured: 

Inclusion, social connectedness, sense of belonging, resilience, level of engagement, perceived health, sense of safety, tenure. 

Evaluation methods used:

  • Post-activity survey
  • Post-activity interviews 

Preliminary findings: 

  • Digital activities are highly inclusive. 
  • Participants would like to have five to 10 friends in their neighbourhood.
  • People would like to participate in two events per month.
  • People felt that the activity boosted their happiness.
  • People are interested in being part of in-person events that are longer and include physical activities.
graphic of people playing volleyball

Event 2: Volleyball

This event took place in-person, in a nearby park. Neighbours were invited to participate in a volleyball game hosted by the community connectors. This was the first event that took place in-person, after COVID-19 restrictions were eased to allow outdoor gatherings. Community Connectors organized two volleyball games on separate evenings.  

Wellbeing variables measured: 

Inclusion, social connectedness, sense of belonging, level of engagement, perceived health, sense of safety. 

Evaluation methods used:

  • Passive observation during the activity
  • Post-activity survey 

Preliminary findings: 

  • Participating in physical activities with neighbours boosts residents’ perceptions of their own health. 
  • Hosting multiple events allows people to form stronger relationships. 
  • Different schedules and needs must be accomodated, particularly to make room for pets and kids to attend. 
  • Posters placed around the buildings are an important method of communication, as many residents found out about the event this way.
Graphic of two people connecting with one another while drinking coffee

Event 3: Community café

The Community Connectors organized an in-person community café to bring Collingwood Village neighbours together over coffee and treats. The event was marketed as a casual session that residents could drop by and attend for as long or as short of a visit as desired. The first event took place on Oct. 30, 2021, and was a family-friendly event that encouraged residents to come by in costume. The second event took place Mar. 12, 2022. Both events were held at the Bradford Lounge at Collingwood Village. 

Wellbeing variables measured: 

Inclusion, social connectedness, sense of belonging, level of engagement, perceived health, sense of safety. 

Evaluation methods used:

  • Passive observation during the activity
  • Passive question boards 
  • Post-activity survey 

Preliminary findings: 

  • Most residents found these events easy to participate in.
  • Most residents met a new neighbour through the event.
  • All residents were interested in participating in future events.
  • All residents felt welcome at the event.
  • It is still challenging for residents to navigate people’s varying comfort levels for indoor social interaction in the context of COVID-19.
  • The building slack channel has become an important means of communication for residents.

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