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The Collaboratory for Research on Urban Neighbourhoods, Community Health and Housing (CRUNCH) is a cluster of research equipment and facilities and a network of affiliated researchers.

Housed at McMaster University, CRUNCH is dedicated to examining the complex interactions between housing, neighbourhoods and health.

Along with our partners in government, the charitable and nonprofit sectors, community groups, and industry, we collaborate on a number of studies that seek to understand neighbourhood-level, population-based health and child development their social determinants.


The Collaboratory for Research on Urban Neighbourhoods, Community Health and Housing (CRUNCH) began as an internationally-unique, five-year chair to examine the complex effects of housing, neighbourhood-level, population-based interventions on health and its determinants, particularly for children. The Chair is funded until 2014 by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Public Health Agency of Canada.

The Collaboratory is an extension of the Chair’s activities, and will enable continuing innovation in neighbourhoods housing and health research, operating under Dr. Dunn’s supervision.

Since 2009, the research program has reviewed existing evidence on the health effects of neighbourhood interventions from Canada and other countries, developed and refined methods to investigate the effects of neighbourhood interventions on health, and conducted an ambitious program of primary research evaluating the health effects of housing and neighbourhood interventions.

CRUNCH provides: 

  • Leadership in the development of a knowledge base for action;
  • Facilities for innovative research, including software and hardware for surveys, and equipment for video-based neighbourhood research
  • Training and mentoring for current and future practitioners of neighbourhood-based intervention research; and 
  • Knowledge mobilization for effective use by decision-makers, practitioners and the community.

The central focus of CRUNCH is understanding how complex, population-based interventions focusing on urban residential neighbourhoods may have positive effects on the health of residents. We believe that successfully applying interventions across contexts requires an understanding of how interventions work, for whom and under what conditions, not simply if they work.

Click here to download a two-page summary (.pdf format) describing CRUNCH and its facilities.


The Poverty and Employment Precarity in Southern Ontario (PEPSO) research project is a joint university-community initiative led by United Way Toronto & York Region and McMaster University.

This initiative is a partnership of over 30 university, community sector, labour, government and media partners. Starting in 2010, the goal of the PEPSO project has been to meet the research need of data on trends in precarious employment and to encourage policy debate and further research. PEPSO has successfully met these goals in multiple areas by garnering significant media coverage, influencing and impacting key policy decisions, expanding existing knowledge and serving as a foundation for further research.