Take a look at Sandy Hill’s profile

Ottawa Neighbourhood Study

John Cockburn

Interested in how Sandy Hill compares to other Ottawa neighbourhoods on key social and demographic factors that contribute to a happy, healthy and productive life? The Ottawa Neighbourhood Study (ONS) website does just that. Or, perhaps you are interested in how far you have to walk to a grocery store or the number of coffee shops in the hood compared to say the Glebe or Westboro. Have a look at:

ONS is based at the Centre for Research and Education in Community Services at Ottawa University. It maintains a database that municipalities, community organizations, health and social service agencies, and citizens can use for evidence-based community planning and thereby improve the places in which we all live, work and play. The database has been supported by contributions from a number of Ottawa social agencies.

Examples of the themes around which the comparative data is organized are Arts & Culture, Economy and Employment, Education and Learning, General Demographics, and Health and Wellness.

The data base is fairly easy to use if you spend some time on it so be patient. The background and philosophy underlying ONS are well described in the ONS Information section of the website. There are some counter-intuitive findings though. For example, median pre-tax income for Sandy Hill residents is reported as about a third lower than the city as a whole or neighbourhoods such as Centretown and Old Ottawa East. This may be the impact of the large student population as we all know that students are typically income challenged and thus median income data may not be reflective of permanent residents. Potentially this may affect other attributes as well.

As for the future, the ONS five-year plan identifies the following goals:

  • To provide relevant, useful, and trustworthy information about Ottawa neighbourhoods that will support place-based planning and evaluation, program development, service delivery, advocacy, and community action;
  • To advance and share evidence about how neighbourhood determinants of health contribute to health and promote well-being in the City of Ottawa;
  • To provide opportunities for dialogue about healthy neighbourhoods.

ONS is currently reaching out to Ottawa’s social-funding agencies for continuing support to address these worthy goals.

Whether you are a policy wonk, a community activist or an interested resident seized by knowing the incidence of coffee shops, the site is worth a visit.

Sandy Hill: General demographics

An example of one of the many charts for Sandy Hill. Under the heading General Demographics, population and age in the neighbourhood is compared with that in the city as a whole. Note the large percentage of people from 15-24. All our Ottawa U students, no doubt.
Ottawa Neighbourhood Study