The research is being led by Ann Dale, Principal Investigator, Science, Technology & Environment Division, Royal Roads University, and supported by Co-Investigators Jenny Onyx, Professor, School of Management, University of Technology Sydney, Australia, and Nina-Marie Lister, Assistant Professor, School of Urban and Regional Planning, Ryerson University.

The goal of this research is to investigate the network mechanisms by which social capital contributes to sustainable development at the local (or regional, national, global) level. The evidence is mounting that social capital may function as a key catalyst to sustainable development, and this initiative explores that connection, pursuing two explicit research objectives:

  1. to characterize the properties of networks that generate social capital and of network formation; and
  2. to analyze the mechanisms by which social capital contributes to sustainable development.

The project has a particular policy focus, as one anticipated research outcome will be to determine at what levels, if any, governments should be intervening to enhance social capital development. As such, the research will seek to identify the best policy opportunities for enhancing social capital in the context of sustainable development.

Four case studies will be undertaken, 3 in Canada and 1 in Australia. Further information on the research methodology is available in the research proposal.

A key component of the research process and dissemination of research results involves the Public Research Forum. This Forum is an experiment in doing research in a new way: sharing intellectual capital and on-going work with an interested community of scholars and practitioners from all sectors,Public Research Forum thereby opening the research to discussion and mutual learning. We also hope to facilitate communication between the communities joining our study, building new networks, and hence social capital, across geographic and sector divides.

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