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  #1  
Old Posted Sep 27, 2007, 8:03 PM
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A better comparison of density for Canadian cities

Using population and area of census tracts from the 2006 census, I've calculated some densities. The first column lists the density of the top 10% of highest density census tracts for each city's CMA. The second column is the density of the first quartile (25%), then the second quartile (50%), third quartile (75%), and finally density of the entire urban area as defined by Statistics Canada. This data gives us a feel for the distribution of density in a city.

All densities are population/km2



Using this data we can make a density profile for each city:



Here's another way to compare the cities:


On this graph, each line represents the density profile of a city.


Finally, these are stacked density profiles.
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  #2  
Old Posted Sep 27, 2007, 8:16 PM
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Old Posted Sep 27, 2007, 8:19 PM
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I found it interesting.

Thunder Bay:

10%: 3,071.8
25%: 2,794.4
50%: 2,516.4
75%: 2,059.8
UA: 574.5

(Had nothing better to do..)
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Last edited by vid; Sep 27, 2007 at 8:31 PM.
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Old Posted Sep 27, 2007, 8:21 PM
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Is there a way to measure employment density in a similar way? Population density only tells half the story.
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Old Posted Sep 27, 2007, 8:21 PM
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Are the top 10% of census tracts contiguous?
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Old Posted Sep 27, 2007, 8:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harls View Post
Are the top 10% of census tracts contiguous?
No, just the densest in the CMA. But in all likelihood most, if not all of them, are located in the city's core.

I don't know about employment density
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Old Posted Sep 27, 2007, 8:26 PM
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Demographia has 2001 profiles.

By "top X%", do you mean percentage of the total CMA population or percentage of the census tracts? Some tracts are much more populated than others.

In general I'm not convinced that this is a "better" method because many census tracts are very poorly defined.
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Old Posted Sep 27, 2007, 8:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by someone123 View Post
Demographia has 2001 profiles.

By "top X%", do you mean percentage of the total CMA population or percentage of the census tracts? Some tracts are much more populated than others.

In general I'm not convinced that this is a "better" method because many census tracts are very poorly defined.
% of population might be a better way to do it. % of census tracts was just quicker. They results will look very similar though.
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Old Posted Sep 27, 2007, 8:36 PM
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How about something like SimCity, where you draw a grid of 100m2 (or 250m2, or 500m2, whatever) and measure the density of each one? It would probably be near impossible but that would solve our problem of coming up with an answer that everyone will accept.
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Old Posted Sep 27, 2007, 8:37 PM
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This confirms as I suspected, Edmonton is the least dense in major cities in Canada. Next follows Calgary. No surprises here, and look, Winnipeg is right there too! (sssh don't tell them that...they'd have you believe they are one of the densest in Canada)

The moral of the story? Sprawl happens everywhere.
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  #11  
Old Posted Sep 27, 2007, 8:46 PM
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Actually demographia doesn't use % of population either, they've ordered it by the area of the census tracts (land area decile). I've used density of the census tracts.

If it's not too difficult I'll make new graphs showing deciles of the total urban area population by density of census tracts.
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Old Posted Sep 27, 2007, 9:22 PM
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Sorry flar, this is still missing something. Again, some of the cities look comparable, but Toronto is likely missing some tracts, where as Edmonton has way too much included.

BTW - how did you get all the census tract info aside from using the geosearch map...I can't imagine you did that way, since Mtl and TO would take forever.


Did you include ALL of the CMA's census tracts for each city mentioned, or just those in defined within a CMA that are also defined as an urban area?
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Old Posted Sep 27, 2007, 9:23 PM
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For Montreal it shows that the older parts of the city will remain the densest for a while in Canada, while the new burbs are the least dense and by far.
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Old Posted Sep 27, 2007, 9:26 PM
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These are very interesting numbers. So, though the core of Vancouver is the third densest, overall it falls between Hamilton and Ottawa. And even though Quebec City has the fourth densest core, it is the least dense overall.
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Old Posted Sep 27, 2007, 9:26 PM
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Not really news, but this is a study that relates directly to Canadian cities. All the previous studies focused on American cities. This relates to this topic I suppose.

New communities contributing to fatter children, researcher says
Meghan Waters, Calgary Herald
Published: Thursday, September 27, 2007

Your neighbourhood could be making your kids fat, a new study suggests.

Although the rise in childhood obesity rates has a number of causes, a University of Calgary study says neighbourhood design might be one of them.

New communities, often advertised as family-friendly, are the most likely to expand kids' waistlines, said Meaghan Nolan, a recent kinesiology graduate who wrote the study.

Parents go in with the best of intentions, but if we're a little more critical, we'll see we're not actually creating child-friendly communities as much as we like to think," Nolan said.

So-called curvilinear neighbourhoods -- those with wide, winding streets favoured by most developers -- can hinder the "playability" of a neighbourhood, Nolan found.

Big garages that block views of the street from inside the house, wide streets that allow traffic to speed, and the danger of crossing busy streets all encourage parents to keep their kids indoors.

Nolan studied four communities: Hillhurst, Glamorgan, Temple and Somerset, built between 1914 and 1995.

She looked at the number of playgrounds as well as how accessible they were, and found Hillhurst, the oldest, came out on top.

"If you go to some of the older communities that have more of a grid (street) pattern and sidewalks on either side of the streets, and where streets are narrower, all of these things help reduce danger from traffic," Nolan said.

Denise Watt and her children, Alexandra, 2, and Luke, 1, were busy burning off energy Wednesday at the Riley Park playground in Hillhurst.

"There are four or five parks within walking or biking distance," said Watt.

The Watts moved to Hillhurst before they had kids because they wanted to be close to downtown and liked the feel of an older neighbourhood, Watt said.

"Since having kids, it (the parks) have been a great discovery," she said.

"We don't like to have to drive everywhere."

Tish Doyle-Baker, a kinesiology professor who oversaw the study, said she hopes the results will push planners and developers to rethink community design.

"Kids don't play in the streets out there, there's less informal play," she said of Calgary's newer suburban communities.

A future study could use an odometer to measure the activity of children in new and old communities, she said.

The study also showed green spaces in new developments were mostly designed for small children, which leaves teenagers sitting inside around the TV and PlayStation.

Features such as picnic tables, firepits, basketball courts and toboggan hills, which would help get older kids outdoors, are missing from new communities, Nolan discovered.

mwaters@theherald.canwest.com
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  #16  
Old Posted Sep 27, 2007, 9:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IntotheWest View Post
but Toronto is likely missing some tracts, where as Edmonton has way too much included.

How can you tell this from the data presented? All census tracts in the respective CMAs were used in the analysis. I got the data from Stats Canada through E-stat, which is not publicly available, but anyone affiliated with a university can access it.
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Old Posted Sep 27, 2007, 9:43 PM
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I call bullshit on that article. Community design doesn't create fat kids. Laziness on the kid's behalf, poor diet, and lax parenting creates fat kids. I have lived in suburbia all my life and it is true that most destinations require a car and you don't burn calories walking place to place. But formal play is very doable. My little brother and I have always participated organized sports, in the suburbs. In the suburbs, you can also drive to the grocery store and buy healthy food. The most fattening aspect of community design is the lack of neighborhood parks in most new subdivisions. Developers don't want to pay for them and neither do cash-strapped municipalities. Back to the point, this article is using suburbia as a scapegoat to the obesity epidemic, which can easily be controlled by the driven individual.
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Old Posted Sep 27, 2007, 9:53 PM
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Those numbers all look pretty accurate to me.
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Old Posted Sep 27, 2007, 9:55 PM
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^Because you mentioned CMA...and I still firmly believe TO's sprawl goes beyond the defined CMA borders - Oshawa being the best example (IMO).

Also, as mentioned, there are also tracts included/excluded in other centers which will have a large affect on overall numbers. One such one that has puzzled Calgarians for the longest time is the exclusion of Okotoks, and actually any area directly south of what most would visually say is the end of the city (the city limits to the south now). Properly including this would drop Calgary's numbers...I'm sure Calgary isn't the only city.

As for large open areas in other cities beyond the obvious "visual" borders, or urban areas are disproportionate to the city itself.

For example, here's a shot of west of Edmonton...one of many areas (tract 165.01) well outside the urban limits of Edmonton that would be included:



The center of this area is already 40kms outside what most anyone would consider "city"...and Edmonton's CMA still includes more tracts west, south, and north of this.

As well, these cities have these ridiculous areas included in 360 degrees around the city - something that won't affect TO's numbers (obviously).


I'm not trying to argue that in anyway Canada's small-medium sized cities are anywhere as dense as Mtl, To, or even Vancouver - they shouldn't be expected to. I'm arguing that these numbers still may not be completely fair - especially with regards to TOs being so much higher, and Edm being that much lower.
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Old Posted Sep 27, 2007, 9:58 PM
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Cambridgite: That's perhaps the point of the article. In a well-designed community that encourages walking and transit usage, it doesn't take a "driven individual" to combat obesity. Your argument also doesn't pan out in reality as almost every new community in Calgary has a neighbourhood park.
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