GTA Greenery & Transit Wellness Index – ArcGIS Dashboard

Geovis Project Assignment @RyersonGeo, SA8905, Fall 2021 – Takoda Chance Kemp

This index seeks to delineate areas within the Greater Toronto Area that are characterized as being in close proximity to greenery and wellness entities.

From Green Trees With Red Line, by Justin, June 28th 2021.

In this model, greenery and wellness entities are considered as those that are wooded, in some cases recreational, and offer potentially efficient transportation opportunities. Here, distance metrics are created and joined to census geography to create a novel planning tool for planners and interested researchers.

Link to Dashboard

ArcGIS Dashboard – Toronto Greenery & Transit Wellness Index

Data Sources

The variables chosen for this model are spatial statistics that are available for an area the size of the Greater Toronto Area. More nuanced spatial databases are available at the city level, though, anecdotally, it can prove difficult to find similar data sets across the municipalities’ open data portals.

  1. Greater Toronto Area (GTA)
    • created by DMTI Spatial Inc. on August 15th, 2012.
  2. Federal Electoral Districts (FEDs)
    • created by Statistics Canada on November 16th, 2016.
    • clipped to the GTA boundary
  3. Land Use Cover
    • created by DMTI Spatial Inc. on September 15th, 2020.
    • ‘Park’s and Recreation’ vectors selected and exported.
  4. Transit Line
    • created by DMTI Spatial Inc. on September 15th, 2020.
    • detailed polylines of all available transit options in the GTA.
  5. Wooded Area
    • created by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources on September 1st, 2006.
    • a woodland data set.
  6. Trails Line
    • created by DMTI Spatial Inc. on April 1st, 2015.
    • polylines of walking, hiking, and biking trails.


The methodology for this analysis is quite straightforward. Firstly, Distance Accumulation is used in ArcGIS’s toolbox – an improved version of Euclidean Distance that is now found in ArcGIS Pro.

A Distance Accumulation raster is created for each of the spatial entities.
The resulting Distance Accumulation raster.

After the process, the cells of each raster are converted into points so that they may be normalized to a range of 0 to 1.

Raster to Point Geoprocessing tool.
The resulting Raster to Points layer.

Lastly, the FED cartographic boundary file is clipped to the GTA boundary file, and then the values of these points are spatially joined to the vectors. Ultimately, the mean values of the points contained within each polygon are retained.

  • Proximity to wooded areas is weighted 50%,
  • parks and recreational areas – 25%,
  • trails – 15%,
  • and public transit lines – 10%.

The variables are weighted and combined linearly in the final Greenery and Transit Wellness Index. The dashboard allows the user to select and view the Greenery and Transit wellness statistics of any FED within the GTA. On the left side of the window one can see a graph of each factor grouped by FED.

Zooming into, or selecting any FED on the map, or list on the right side of the screen changes the features of the graph. Finally, on the bottom right of the dashboard, a legend with the choropleth’s colour classification scheme can be found in the first tab . The second tab details the statistics of user selected FED’s, while the third lists this project’s data sources.


The methodology of this assignment is based off the following literature where links between access to green space and health outcomes are explored.

Markevych, I., Schoierer, J., Hartig, T., Chudnovsky, A., Hystad, P., Dzhambov, A. M., de Vries, S., Triguero-Mas, M., Brauer, M., Nieuwenhuijsen, M. J., Lupp, G., Richardson, E. A., Astell-Burt, T., Dimitrova, D., Feng, X., Sadeh, M., Standl, M., Heinrich, J., & Fuertes, E. (2017). Exploring pathways linking greenspace to health: Theoretical and methodological guidance. Environmental Research, 158, 301-317.

Twohig-Bennett, C., & Jones, A. (2018). The health benefits of the great outdoors: A systematic review and meta-analysis of greenspace exposure and health outcomes. Environmental Research, 166, 628-637.

O’Regan, A. C., Hunter, R. F., & Nyhan, M. M. (2021). “Biophilic cities”: Quantifying the impact of google street view-derived greenspace exposures on socioeconomic factors and self-reported health. Environmental Science & Technology, 55(13), 9063-9073.

Roberts, M., Irvine, K. N., & McVittie, A. (2021). Associations between greenspace and mental health prescription rates in urban areas. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, 64, 127301.

Data Bibliography

Greater Toronto Area (GTA) Boundary

DMTI Spatial Inc. (2012, Aug 15). Greater Toronto Area (GTA) Boundary. Scholar’s Geoportal.

Land Cover Region

DMTI Spatial Inc.(2020, Sep 15th). Land Cover Region. Scholar’s Geoportal.

Trails Line

DMTI Spatial Inc. (2020, Sep 15th) Trails Line. Scholar’s Geoportal.

Transit Line

DMTI Spatial Inc. (2020, Sep 15th). Transit Line. Scholar’s Geoportal.

Cartographic Boundary Files (CBF), 2016 Census
Federal Electoral Districts, 2013 Representation Order

Statistics Canada. (2016, Nov 16th). Cartographic Boundary Files (CBF), 2016 Census. Scholar’s Geoportal.

Wooded Area

Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. (2006, Sep 01). Wooded Area. Scholar’s Geoportal.