Happy Homes: Sparking Neighborliness and Social Connectedness

Workshop Intro:

10:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

Gain insight into the benefits of increased social connectedness amongst neighbours.

Workshop Date:

Workshop Location:

Workshop Type:

Workshop Duration:
2.0 Hrs

Madeleine Hebert (Happy Cities) and Leah Karlberg (Happy Cities)


A sense of community, formed through shared experiences, exists at the heart of co-op housing. Yet the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated social isolation, chronic loneliness, and anxiety across our cities ─ making it difficult for people to meet friends and neighbours. As the pandemic eases, we need concrete strategies to rebuild in-person social connectedness.

Social connectedness with neighbours brings many benefits, from decreasing loneliness to sharing resources to better resilience through hardship. Over the last seven years, Happy Cities’ has studied factors impacting social connectedness and wellbeing in multi-unit housing. We’ve developed a comprehensive toolkit through the Happy Homes project. Using the Happy Homes concepts as a launching point, we’ve piloted and measured the impact of many design and programming strategies, such as the Happy Neighbours project.

Participants who join this workshop will gain insight into the benefits of increased social connectedness amongst neighbours. Happy Cities will provide practical case studies, frameworks, and strategies to help housing co-ops revive social connectedness and encourage equitable participation. The workshop will include co-creative activities where participants can apply the Happy Homes concepts to their community.

Workshop Leaders

Madeleine Hebert, B.Ends, M.Arch, Intern Architect AIBC

Housing Researcher & Designer, Happy Cities

Madeleine leads housing research projects at Happy Cities, working with professionals and communities to develop solutions to improve social connectedness, resilience, and wellbeing. Her work promotes collaborative approaches and ensures spaces provide equitable opportunities for everyone. Madeleine has experience designing educational facilities and housing projects across the province of BC. Her educational background includes a multidisciplinary Environmental Design degree from the University of British Columbia and a Masters of Architecture from Carleton University.

Leah Karlberg, BA, Gcert

Urban Planner & Designer, Happy Cities

Leah brings a background in development planning and public engagement. She is particularly interested in designing the built environment to allow for social connections within communities—leading to resilient outcomes daily and in the face of a climate crisis. She has contributed to innovative planning processes across Metro Vancouver in sectors including municipal, non-profit, co-operative, and institutional (at the University of British Columbia), in addition to community development work in Costa Rica. Leah is a pre-candidate with the Canadian Institute of Planners.

This session is sponsored by: