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Here are some of frequently asked questions about this site, its content and its technology.

About Neighbourhoods

About the Project

About the Portal and Technology

Following are the answers to these questions.

How many neighbourhoods are there in Winnipeg?

There are 236 official neighbourhoods in the City of Winnipeg. See here for an A - Z listing of them.  Neighbourhoods are the smallest unit of geographic division within Winnipeg. Approximately 183 of these are residential neighbourhoods which typically average approximately 5,000 people. The remainder are industrial neighbourhoods. Neighbourhood boundaries are defined through the City's urban planning process and formally approved by City Council. The neighbourhoods are often bounded by rivers, main streets, railways and bridges that influence the formation of natural geographic areas or neighbourhoods.

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What are wards, community areas and clusters?

Neighbourhoods are the smallest unit of division of geographic areas within Winnipeg. For different purposes they are then grouped into larger aggregates such as wards,community areas and clusters.

  • Wards - The City of Winnipeg is divided into 15 political wards.  See here for a listing of them.  The composition of City Council is legislated under Part 3 of The City of Winnipeg Charter and consists of 15 Councillors and the Mayor. Each Councillor represents an individual ward while the Mayor is elected by a vote of the city-at-large.
  • Community Areas and Clusters - Neighbourhoods throughout Winnipeg have also been grouped into 12 Community Areas. The twelve Community Areas have been further broken down into 22 Clusters.  See here for a listing of Community Areas and here for Clusters. Each are groupings of neighbourhoods that have natural boundaries, common characteristics, and are geographically located around area-wide service amenities. Both Community Areas and Clusters were defined and are utilized by the City of Winnipeg, Province of Manitoba and the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority for integrated service planning and delivery. Data is presented by each Community Area and Cluster in order to faciliate convenient data analysis.

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Are the number of neighbourhoods growing or shrinking in Winnipeg?

The number of neighbouhoods in Winnipeg are growing due to significant residential development in recent years. Within the boundaries of the City of Winnipeg there are currently 236 neighbourhoods. Approximately 183 of these are residential neighbourhoods with the remainder classified as industrial neighbourhoods. As larger rural areas designated for residential expansion are undergoing new development they are being re-defined into smaller logical neighbourhoods, thereby increasing the total number of neighbourhoods within Winnipeg.

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Who is sponsoring this project?

The City of Winnipeg sponsors the NOW ('Neighbourhoods of Winnipeg') portal as part of its Neighbourhood Profiles Initiative. The portal is a means for City Government to communicate information about our neighbourhoods with people and businesses in the Winnipeg region and the rest of the world. The data provided on the portal is a foundation for planning services that are responsive to local community needs. The NPI also supports the efforts of OurWinnipeg: It’s Our City, It’s Our Plan, It’s Our Time, See http://speakupwinnipeg.com/ourwinnipeg/. OurWinnipeg is the City's official 25 year development plan which was passed by Council On July 20, 2011.

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What are the objectives of this project?

The purpose of NOW ('Neighbourhoods of Winnipeg') is to meet the demand for neighbourhood information that is accessible, understandable, and useful for neighbourhood residents, service providers and public policy makers in the support of policy development, planning, research, informed decision making, resource allocation, private investment, and community building.

Information on the portal supports the principles of OurWinnipeg: It’s Our City, It’s Our Plan, It’s Our Time, See http://speakupwinnipeg.com/ourwinnipeg/. Examples include:

  • helping you to get to know your neighbourhood and the resources available;
  • providing information for working together collaboratively to build sustainable neighbourhoods;
  • presenting data that can be utilized to plan services that are responsive to the community's needs;
  • providing an overview of each neighbouhood so that service planners can better ensure equitable access to a base level of Recreation, Culture and Leisure services for all Winnipeggers;
  • providing a means for City Government to communicate about our neighbourhoods with businesses in the Winnipeg Region and the rest of the world; and
  • profiling the rich legacy of Winnipeg's heritage.

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Are there future plans to add to or expand this project?

The portal is built on a dynamic content management system that will facilitate the regular addition of new data in response to the community's current information needs. As this new portal grows, the intent is to foster direct interaction with neighbourhood citizens and groups regarding the happenings within their neighbourhoods; and provide useful data to support their grass-roots neighbourhood development initiatives.

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As an external organization, can we contribute data to the portal?

Yes, we are actively seeking quality neighbourhood information. We have specific mechanisms for staging data for use in the NOW ('Neighbourhoods of Winnipeg') portal and welcome contributions. Please contact us directly with details on your potential contribution.

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How can I get directly involved in helping the project or keeping it updated?

We welcome the contributions of specific individuals in such areas as neighbourhood events, local pictures, stories about neighbourhoods or general assistance for occasional writing for the NOW ('Neighbourhoods of Winnipeg') portal. Please contact us directly with details on your potential contribution.

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We have suggestions for new features or information; where shall we send them?

Please send your suggestions directly to us via email or post with a subject line that includes the word "suggestions." The plan is to actively maintain the NOW ('Neighbourhoods of Winnipeg') portal, so expect new information and features on a periodic basis. Your suggestions are an important source for setting the priorities for next changes.

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How do I learn more about the project?

First consult the About page on this portal. For further background information, see OurWinnipeg: It’s Our City, It’s Our Plan, It’s Our Time, July 15, 2010, 100 pp. See also http://speakupwinnipeg.com/ourwinnipeg/. Also, you may want to learn more about the technology involved in this site.

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What is the content management system (CMS) used by the portal?

The NOW portal is built upon the open source Drupal (v. 6) content management system. It uses a large number of third-party modules and specialty modules to give it its unique functional abilities. The site has its own custom theme called 'NPI' designed according to the City's specifications by Tactica Interactive, a Winnipeg Web design firm.

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How is the data organized on the site?

The NOW ('Neighbourhoods of Winnipeg') site and its information is organized according to an ontology *, a structured way to describe and relate the various concepts that describe our community. The NOW (Neighbourhoods of Winnipeg) ontology contains nearly 3000 concepts, all linked and related to one another in a coherent manner. You can see this ontology in zoomable graph form on the NOW Ontology page.

* Ontologies are the structural frameworks for organizing information on the semantic Web. Much like taxonomies or relational database schema, ontologies work to organize information. Ontologies often have a linked or networked "graph" structure. Multiple things can be related to other things, all in a potentially multi-way series of relationships. Here is a good introduction to learn more.

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How can I learn to use the site effectively?

See the various topic pages in the How To Guides section of this site.

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Who or what organizations have provided the data?

Most of the information on this newly launched site currently comes from official City of Winnipeg sources. However, some external data has also been provided. See the Credits page for a current listing of contributors. The intent over time is to build partnerships with community groups in order to include new and relevant neighbourhood data.

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Who or what organizations have provided the technology?

The major contractor for this site, which provided the framework (called the open semantic framework) for the technology on this site and developed many of its specific components, is Structured Dynamics LLC, Iowa City, Iowa, USA. About 20 different organizations and developers provided the remaining open source components integrated by the contractor.

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Are there other site examples of the approach used by the NOW portal?

One of the exciting and innovative things about the NOW portal is that it is one of the first examples in the world of this integrated information approach. One of the precursors to this portal is the MyPeg portal, here in Winnipeg, spearheaded by the United Way of Winnipeg and the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD). There is also the Citizen Dan example sandbox that showcases many of the same approaches and tools. Based on the leadership of NOW, other portals are now presently under development for other domains at a few sites worldwide.

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What are some of the other major technology components of the site?

Besides Drupal (see above), some of the other major technology components of this site include: the conStruct modules to Drupal, part of a suite of tools and capabilities called the open semantic framework, or OSF; the Apache Solr full-text engine; and the Virtuoso triplestore, there are about 20 other leading open source applications in data management and visualization used within the NOW ('Neighbourhoods of Winnipeg') portal.

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Where can I learn more about the technology?

See further the page on How to Learn More About the Technology.

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