About Healthy Communities Research Network

What makes a healthy community?

The Healthy Communities Research Network (HCRN) at the University of Waterloo operates under the basic premise that health means something more than simply the absence of disease. In a more holistic sense, health embodies a crucial resource upon which we draw to fulfil our desires and needs in everyday life. Being "healthy" implies enjoying our quality of life.

Whether we think of them as the places in which we live or the social networks to which we belong, communities have significant material, psychological, and behavioural effects that influence our well-being and quality of life. They control access to resources, influence our sense of belonging, and shape our identities. Accordingly, understanding what makes a healthy community requires exploring the civic, social, cultural, environmental, and economic determinants of our well-being.  

With this in mind, HCRN researchers focus their research and outreach initiatives on matters of equity, livability, conviviality, sustainability, prosperity, and governance, the features of a healthy community. In so doing, HCRN brings together faculty and graduate students who are committed to producing socially relevant findings and recommendations to:

  • advance social science,
  • guide social innovation,
  • build capacity in local communities, and
  • improve the overall quality of community life.