Community Voices addresses the following core research questions:
- What neighbourhood characteristics are valued by residents living in lower socio-economic status (SES) inner suburban neighbourhoods in Toronto?
- To what extent do these characteristics align with policies believed to promote the social determinants of health?
- How do residents view the role of government at the neighbourhood level?
- What factors drive residents’ neighbourhood preferences?
Community Voices demonstrates the tremendous diversity of perspectives and priorities within Toronto’s inner suburbs. Nevertheless, across the sample of residents we surveyed and interviewed, there was consensus on three core priorities:
- Safety. Residents value living in neighbourhoods where they do not feel threatened by either interpersonal violence or by unsafe road conditions.
- Transportation and Mobility. Residents prefer neighbourhoods with shorter commutes, nearby and frequent transit service, and ample opportunities for walking.
- Local Services and Amenities. Residents prioritise neighbourhoods with rich sets of amenities such as restaurants, libraries, grocery stores and other retail, as well as community centres and health clinics.
In addition to these three broadly shared priorities, we also identified secondary priority areas that, while important to many residents, were not as consistently expressed. These include affordable and well-maintained housing and living in diverse communities. The report elaborates on each of these priorities, highlighting the range of views residents hold and specifying what they believed made that priority important for their neighbourhoods.
The figure to the left shows the proportion of respondents who indicated they were “very satisfied” with each category of amenity or resource (whiskers show 95% confidence intervals). More information about these findings can be found in the section on satisfaction with local amenities and resources and also the key theme of neighbourhood services and amenities.