Research Findings and Conclusion
Research Findings and Conclusions
The result of the MCE analysis yielded, through a combination of Figure 10 and Figure 11, the final suitability map Figure 13. Within the models, a series of elements from both the environment and provincially based policies were ranked and compared. Looking at Figure 10 it shows areas highlighted as best suitable for development as ranked high (light green). Considering that through our model and pairwise comparisons agriculture and protected land constraints (binary) were the top priority to protect, Figure 10 illustrates that these areas resulted in the lowest suitability for development (grey) and did prove to be most the protected.
Figure 10. The output of the Environmental Model; Land suitability for urban expansion based on environmental factors within previously described sub-models.
Shown in Figure 11, a similar color scheme represents the most suitable land for development and protection derived from the manipulation of policy data through our models. In the rankings of the three overarching policies involved the Greenbelt was the weakest, thus prone to the most influence of development. Making the NEP ranked the highest priority protection and least susceptible to any form of land use change in the future.
Figure 11. The output of the Policy Model; Land suitability for urban expansion based on policy factors within previously described sub-models.
Finally combining these two factors the resultant Figure 12 can take all these elements and apply them spatially to highlight areas based on our criteria. We found that the area's best for development were closest to existing urban centers and not within rural communities. The areas that were only governed by one policy (i.e. the Greenbelt), did not have any agricultural land, protected parks or water resources and were not located within rural communities, are shown in light green. These light green areas are highlighted so that if any future proposals of development within the Greenbelt were made, which areas will promote the desired economic growth while maintaining the health of the environment.
Figure 12. The output Final Map Model; Land suitability for urban expansion based on both environmental and policy factors within previously described sub-models.
Performing the hot spot analysis allowed for identifying the municipalities where the most developable land exists within the greenbelt and the municipalities where the most protection should occur. The municipalities that have the most potential for protecting features of importance include the cities of Burlington, Niagara Falls, St. Catherines, Hamilton, Thorold and the towns of Oakville, Lincoln, West Lincoln, Niagara on the lake, Pelham and Grimsby. Areas that could be opened to development, if required, include the cities of Oshawa and Vaughan and the towns of Caledon, Mono, Erin, Adjala-Tosoronto, Mulmur, and Amaranth. Amaranth was found to have the highest spatial correlation of high values, representing the best area to be opened to development. Even then, the highest mean values obtained lie below 5 for any municipality. This indicates that there are important features identified within the Greenbelt throughout all municipalities and development should proceed with caution. There are no areas that are ideal for development, with some approaching an absolute necessity of protection. Should development occur in the future, other areas should be considered thoroughly before considering the hotspots identified within (Figure 15).
Figure 15. Optimal municipalities suited for either development or environmental protection based on a hotspot analysis of figure 14.