A University of Calgary (U of C) professor hopes that a recent mapping project will begin an inclusive dialogue about how city policies impact our health.
“When we looked at community engagement for some of the planned changes to develop the city and create a more healthy and vibrant city… we weren’t actually hearing the voices from migrant groups,” said Suzanne Goopy, a U of C Faculty of Nursing professor, in a recent interview.
“We needed to hear the voices of newcomers to Canada.”
To achieve that goal, Goopy and a team of researchers worked on an empathic cultural mapping project for more than two years. It combines the personal stories of newcomers to Calgary with big data from groups like Statistics Canada to create an online interactive tool.
“It’s a way to engage people that would normally shy away from lots and lots of numbers and statistics,” Goopy explained.
The tool can be accessed at the U of C or online. It looks at how our overall health can be impacted by how a city is designed.
“Health has its basis in the every day,” Goopy said.
“If you can’t get around the city, if you can’t make it to your job, your health will suffer.”
Goopy said the project has sparked a policy dialogue with groups like Alberta Health Services and the City of Calgary. Her hope is that the project will bring the voices of Calgary’s newcomers into these discussions going forward.
“It’s actually bringing the siloed elements that we’ve always known affect our well-being into a conversation, into a dialogue.”