Ottawa

What makes a neighbourhood work for newcomers? Researchers want to know

Local researchers are hoping a close look at three neighbourhoods in Ottawa-Gatineau will help people better understand what makes it possible for new immigrants to succeed in Canada.

3 local universities studying 3 neighbourhoods in Ottawa-Gatineau

Researchers are looking at the Overbrook neighbourhood in Ottawa to try and determine why it works (or doesn't work) for newcomers. (Lily Xia)

Local researchers are hoping a close look at three neighbourhoods in Ottawa-Gatineau will help people better understand what makes it possible for new immigrants to succeed in Canada.

A team from Carleton University, the University of Ottawa, and the Université du Québec en Outaouais is studying what makes a neighbourhood work for newcomers.

"We're looking at how the context of the neighbourhood, the environment of a particular neighbourhood may provide amenities or may lack amenities that have an impact on how well a newcomer can do," said the U of O's Luisa Veronis on CBC's All In A Day.

The researchers are looking at Mont-Bleu in Gatineau, Que., as well as Overbrook-Cummings and Ledbury-Herongate in Ottawa.

Veronis said they chose these neighbourhoods because they have a high number of immigrants, but also because they offered lots of things to consider.

"All three neighbourhoods have a mix of housing types: rental, home ownership and subsidized housing," she said.

Veronis. an associate professor of geography who's leading the project, said finding what works and doesn't work for newcomers will ultimately help everyone.

"We know very well that newcomers have a tough time finding jobs in Canada," she said.

"It can take them many years with an impact in the long term."

In addition to interviewing newcomers about their neighbourhood and what they value, the team is also encouraging new immigrants to take pictures of their community. 

She said at the end of the study they hope to showcase those images.

"We hope to have a community town hall meeting where we will have an exhibition of the photographs."

The Mont Bleu neighbourhood in Gatineau, Que., is a neighbourhood that has traditionally attracted many new immigrants. (Lily Xia)

The researchers are still hoping to collect new participants to the survey.

More information can be found on the project's Facebook page.