Ivanhoé Cambridge: Social Value of Buildings

Ivanhoé Cambridge is a global developer and investor in real estate that has a sustainable impact on local communities. As part of a commitment to sustainability and social impact, Ivanhoé Cambridge asked CANCEA to measure the social impact on individuals and communities of including affordable housing units within the residential properties in its portfolio.

The benefits of affordable housing extend beyond the number of units built or households housed; they can include impacts on health, employment, GDP and broader social implications for the wider region. Affordable housing provides households with the opportunity to improve their circumstances, for instance, by living in a location that may be closer to their place of work, to schools and to the services they access. It can improve the well-being of individuals and communities by offering households better alternatives to what is available and affordable to them in the wider housing market. Many of the benefits that affordable housing provides relate directly to the socioeconomic determinants of health.

Social return on investment (SROI) offers a viable way to demonstrate the impact of Ivanhoé Cambridge’s investments in affordable housing by empirically quantifying the benefits that housing brings to residents and the local economy.

CMHC’s recommended framework, which CANCEA helped develop[1], includes the following eight categories:

  • Health care
  • Access to amenities
  • Social support and connectedness
  • Education and literacy
  • Affordable housing
  • Environment
  • Justice
  • Social services spending

The objective of the research was to perform a demonstration study to quantify the community, household and government-level benefits of including affordable housing units as part of one of Ivanhoé Cambridge’s residential properties. This approach would then serve as a road map and be replicated in a second-stage study to quantify the aggregate social benefits of the affordable housing units within Ivanhoé Cambridge’s portfolio.

[1] See the full report on CMHC’s website.



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