Mapping the Dimensions of Suburbanisms

Our team of Canadian researchers affiliated with the Global Suburbanisms project has been busy investigating the evolving and highly variegated links between the metropolitan built environment, suburbanisms as ways of life, and the socio-demographic characteristics of residents in Canada’s largest metropolitan areas.

In the latest addition to the Atlas Maps and Data section, Pablo Mendez (UBC) presents a written analysis of the latest mapping outputs added to the project. Project lead Markus Moos, with the assistance of graduate researchers Anna Kramer and Robert Walter-Joseph, offer a series of compelling mapping visualizations of socioeconomic data across 23 cities and 3 dimensions of suburbanism. A few sample maps from Toronto offer an example of what has been mapped for the entire list of cities:

Built-form/Commute-mode dimension
homeownership, occupancy of detached single-family housing, and reliance on the private automobile
Domesticity dimension
incidence of couples with children at home, average house size expressed in number of rooms per dwelling, and time spent doing unpaid housework
Social Status dimension
incidence of high income, high levels of formal education, and employment in high-level managerial occupations

 

The complete set of analysis and maps can be found at the “Mapping the Dimensions of Suburbanism” page, under the “Atlas Maps & Data” main menu.

Estimating Canada’s suburban population

It is often noted that around 80 percent of the Canadian population lives in urban areas — but new research suggests Canada is actually a “suburban nation”.

A research team lead by Prof. David Gordon, Director of the School of Urban and Regional Planning at Queen’s University, is contributing to the conversation on the changing nature of Canada’s suburbs. Gordon and his team have used census data from 1996 and 2006 to analyse all Census Metropolitan Area’s (CMAs) across the country, as well as a sample of Census Agglomerations (CAs). They apply multiple definitions to GIS data at the census tract level in order to produce a series of maps and tabular data by city that estimate the suburban population.

The team notes that the statistic that most of us live in cities rests on a division between urban and rural: if you are not living in a rural area, then you are said to be part of the urban population. While this can be a useful distinction to help us understand changes in settlement patterns, it tells us very little about how people are living within urban areas. The work done by Gordon’s team points to the reality that while the majority of us live in cities, this does not necessarily mean we are living in the same type of context. Their research helps us estimate how many people are living urban versus suburban kinds of lives. Their work recognizes that there are multiple definitions of what constitutes “suburban” but that for the purposes of measurement, ultimately a definition must be chosen. They estimate that around two-thirds of Canadians are living in what would be considered suburban neighbourhoods based on definitions using commuting patterns and density as indicators of suburbanisms.

We have included several sample maps for Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. The maps use two different methods based on the 2006 census data:  the “Density” method classifies census tracts by their potential for transit use based on population density, whereas the “Transportation” method classifies census tracts by the dominant mode of transportation used to travel to work.  Using these two methods, Gordon and his team divide cities into four areas: “Active Core”, “Transit Suburb”, “Auto Suburb”, and “Exurban”.  In addition to PDF map files of census tract maps, Gordon’s team has also presented their data using Google Earth.

Montréal

Toronto

Vancouver

 

To read more about David Gordon’s project, or to access the original PDF maps and Google Earth files, head over to the project website.

Michael Seasons
School of Planning, University of Waterloo

Continuity & change: Elvin Wyly on Suburbs

Elvin Wyly explains the preliminary findings of the Canadian suburbanisms research

Elvin Wyly explains the preliminary findings of the Canadian suburbanisms research (click for video)

Elvin Wyly explains preliminary findings from our analysis of suburbanisms using Statistics Canada spatial and micro-data files

Commuter rail transit in the suburbs

Socio-spatial organization around rail transit in Toronto and Vancouver - Robert Walter-Joseph

Socio-spatial organization around rail transit in Toronto and Vancouver - Robert Walter-Joseph

Robert Walter-Joseph explains his work on commuter rail transit in Toronto and Vancouver

Robert Walter-Joseph explains his work on commuter rail transit in Toronto and Vancouver (click for video)

See and hear about Robert Walter-Joseph Department of Geography, University of Waterloo describe his mapping of transit serviced areas in Toronto and Vancouver: YouTube presentation

Robert Walter-Joseph
Department of Geography,
University of Waterloo

Vancouver: Gender of Work

Gender of Work in Vancouver, Pt. 1 - Elvin Wyly

Gender of Work in Vancouver, Pt. 1 - Elvin Wyly

 

Gender of Work in Vancouver, Pt. 2 - Elvin Wyly

Gender of Work in Vancouver, Pt. 2 - Elvin Wyly

 

See the full PDF mapset here

Elvin Wyly
Department of Geography,
University of British Columbia 

School of Planning | University of Waterloo

Faculty of Environment | University of Waterloo

This research was supported by SSHRC through funding from the MCRI Global suburbansims: governance, land, and infrastructure in the 21st century (2010-2017)