Needs and Preferences
A Recreation department was directed by its Council to identify recreation gaps throughout the city and to develop a business case to address these gaps. In response to this request, the department prepared an integrated recreation services plan that will attend to service gaps with strategic initiatives and planning through service delivery, leisure advocacy and public education.
To support these developments, HarGroup was commissioned to engage citizens to better understand their perspectives on recreation and leisure service provision, and determine facility and amenity requirements throughout the community. Conducted in two phases, the Recreation Amenities Gap Analysis Studies examined needs and preferences of citizens in twelve areas of the city.
Surveys were conducted with a total of 6,024 randomly selected households situated in the study areas (approximately 500 interviews gathered within each of the twelve study areas). These data were supplemented with focus group interviews conducted with community leaders and various segments of the population and information sourced from published reports about recreation and leisure activities and various planning initiatives.
A consortium of social organizations commissioned HarGroup to conduct a comprehensive community needs assessment survey with 3,100 households applied to 15 areas of a city. Building upon previous work, the consortium identified a need to organize community assessment information on a city-wide basis that would contribute to a variety of planning and development initiatives. The information would greatly benefit agencies that use data about social issues within Calgary.
To guide the development of the Survey, the following objectives were established:
- To identify the assets, social service needs and barriers to accessing services for residents within the city and its constituent districts to direct policy and program planning
- To provide a baseline of data to allow for comparison of expressed need of the city and its constituent districts over time
- To provide comparable data to allow the comparison of different districts within the city in order to identify areas of need and ensure equity in the delivery of city programs and services.
The Comprehensive Community Assessment Survey was undertaken by the consortium with the acknowledgement that the survey process could be further developed with other surveys that are conducted by social and health agencies in Calgary. As such, the Survey may be viewed as a pilot project to assess the feasibility and benefits of further integration of research initiatives.
A public library conducted a services assessment study to examine community needs and expectations for library services, both now and in the longer term.
An extensive public engagement and consultation process was undertaken to assess community needs, including interviews with community leaders and Library staff, an online consultation survey, an 800 respondent telephone survey of randomly selected community households and focus groups with residents.
The results of the needs assessment identified key users and latent markets for the library, the impact of population growth to the library, interest in publicly accessible technology, and the need for additional services and space at the library. It was also recommended that the library consider a branch system to address residents' needs in outlying areas of the community.
The findings of the Community Needs Assessment Study contributed to a master planning process, which was also prepared by HarGroup consultants, that guided future development of the public library.