Research

Urban Social Issues Study (USIS)

PURPOSE

The purpose of the Urban Social Issues Study is twofold:

  1. Through a survey that is administered on a quarterly basis, we are measuring the observations and experiences of business owners/managers whose businesses are in the downtown area, over a period of two years.
  2. Through data from police, ambulance/fire, needle pickup teams, security teams, homeless outreach teams, transportation outreaches, and sentinel sites, we are comparing objective measurements of social disorder with subjective experiences of social disorder by those who may be exposed to it.

Specific concerns often voiced by those who work or live in downtown and other central areas include:

  • Illicit drug trade activity 
  • Localization of drug activity to the area
  • Public disorder
  • Antisocial behaviour
  • Discarded drug paraphernalia
  • Criminal activity

People who work or live in the downtown area have concerns for the safety, orderliness and livability of the area.

INSTRUMENT

The Urban Social Issues Survey is available as an instrument to measure social disorder as experienced by those operating businesses or as an instrument to measure social disorder as experienced by people living in residential areas that experience social disorder. It is currently being tested for validity and reliability statistics.

METHOD

In January 2018, a team of research assistants went door to door to Lethbridge businesses in the study area outlined in black (below). The first survey was delivered to businesses and completed in paper format. Subsequent quarterly surveys are being administered every 3 months, for a period of 1 or 2 years, for those participants who opted in during the baseline data collection.

The purpose of ongoing data collection is to enable those who work downtown to tell us how the different seasons/times of year, or how social developments in the area during the year, change what happens around peoples' business or home.

STUDY AREA

The study area runs from Scenic Drive along 6 Avenue South, to 13 Street South, then North to 3 Avenue North, and finally back to and along Scenic Drive.

Please contact Dr. Pijl for more information (em.pijl@uleth.ca).