Metro Vancouver’s green spaces provide a great venue for building healthy communities. Our greatest obstacle is finding the time to participate.
What we asked
Metro Vancouver is defined by a unique mixture of diverse cultures, urban and suburban communities, natural beauty, public spaces, and transport connections.
We believe the strength of our communities can be improved by understanding the way that social, physical and natural systems interact with each other to support the people who live here. Building community occurs when we take part in something together. We asked people what community activities they participate in, and about the obstacles to getting more involved. We also asked about the shared spaces they prefer, and who has enough room to create their own community-building activities.
Lastly, we asked if people feel a sense of belonging to their town or city, and if they feel a sense of connection among the people or places in their community. We wanted to know more about how they get around for local errands, and how far it takes them to reach one of Metro Vancouver’s green spaces.
What we heard
Residents are less involved in community-related activities than five years ago, apart from volunteering.
Across almost every measure in our survey, people in Metro Vancouver are taking part less in community-related activities. However, volunteering has remained relatively stable. In 2017, 45% of Metro Vancouver residents report participating in volunteer work, compared to 48% in 2012.
Most people take part in at least one activity to make their community a better place to live.
Three-quarters have done one or more activities in the past year to help neighbours or to maintain common spaces to enhance the collective good. The top five neighbourly activities include picking up litter (39%), shovelling snow from a common area (38%), lending or giving an item to a neighbour (33%), feeding a pet, collecting mail or watering plants (23%) and reporting something of concern in the neighbourhood (22%).
The main obstacles people identify to becoming involved in community activities are not enough time, not enough awareness of opportunities or activities, and not enough money.
Other barriers include a feeling of not having much to offer, and feeling unwelcome. In 2012, many residents said they felt they do “not have much to offer”, while in 2017 only 19% identified this as an obstacle.