As shown in Fig. 6, the more suitable, dark green areas are predominantly within the priority neighbourhoods of Onward Willow, Brant and some parts of West Willow Woods, St. George’s, and Two Rivers neighbourhoods. On the other hand, the red areas signify the areas that have a higher average income. This finding is significant as it re-affirms the areas where urban farms are needed to support low income households.
As shown in Fig. 5, the red areas represent the least populated areas while the green areas depict a greater population density. The more suitable, green areas are found within four of the priority neighbourhoods: West Willow Woods, Onward Willow, as well as parts of St. George’s and Grange Hill East. This finding supports our objective to target communities with a higher population density (in the green areas) so that the urban farm location can be easily accessible to more of Guelph’s population.
As shown in Fig. 8, most of the city of Guelph is has a suitable slope for construction of urban farming. The priority neighbourhoods have a predominantly optimal slope, except for a few small areas depicted in red.
Distance to Priority Neighbourhoods
As shown in Fig. 2, the darker green areas which demonstrate the most suitable locations based on this factor are found closest to the priority neighbourhoods: West Willow Woods, Onward Willow, St. George’s, Grange Hill East, Brant and Two Rivers. Areas that are less suitable according to this factor are coloured in yellow and red, and are found further away from the priority neighbourhoods.
Distance to Bus Stops
As depicted in Fig. 7, the darker green coloured areas depict areas closest to a bus stop and thus demonstrates a greater overall access to and from the locations of the urban farming sites. On the other hand, areas which are coloured in yellow are further away from a bus stop and red areas signify the lack of bus stops. Since the urban farm site is geared toward low income Guelph residents, it is possible to assume that the primary method of transportation would be by bus (Mougeot, 2006). So this factor ensures the sites are suitable assuming that the majority of people that will be making use of the urban farm site use busses as their primary mode of transportation to access this site.
As shown in Fig. 3, green areas are the most suitable and the red are least suitable for developing an urban farm. Red areas constitute a very low chance of being used for urban agriculture, mostly due to a building or house already being used on this land. Orange areas have the potential to be developed into urban farm sites but still have a fairly low suitability, such as parking lots and recreational centres. The lighter green areas have more potential for implementation of urban farm sites. These would include schools and churches that may be willing to accept an urban farm site on their property. The St. Joseph’s Health centre in Guelph is an example of this, as it has recently accepted the development of an urban farm on their property prior to this project (Gavin Dandy, Personal Communication, 2017). Finally, the dark green areas being public parks and vacant land, have the highest potential for urban farm development.
Meanwhile, the patterns in Fig. 4 show land use as a constraint. This map depicts the most suitable areas in the south-east (predominantly green areas) with the unsuitable areas (larger red areas) located in the north-west area of Guelph. However, interspersed within the unsuitable areas in the north-west of Guelph are some suitable sites.
Pattern Analysis for MCE Suitability Maps
As seen in Fig. 10 and Fig. 11, most of the suitable sites (as shown as a shades of green are located north-west area of Guelph, while the least suitable sites are located in south-east area of the city shown through shades of red. The main difference between Fig. 10 and Fig. 11 is that Fig. 10 includes slope. In Fig. 10, greater slope is indicated as red areas.
Figure 10: Land use as a Criteria Suitability Raster (Produced by Emily Agar).
Figure 11: Land use as a Criteria Suitability Raster (No Slope) (Produced by Emily Agar).
As seen in Fig. 12 and Fig. 13, the most suitable sites (in dark green) are found within the north-west area, while some somewhat suitable areas (in light green) found within the south-east portion of Guelph. The main difference between Fig. 12 and Fig. 13 is that Fig. 12 includes slope. As depicted in Fig. 12, slope does present a significant amount of unsuitable land but is still important to take into consideration.
Figure 12: Land use as a Constraint Suitability Raster (Produced by Mark Ohashi).
Figure 13: Land use as a Constraint Suitability Raster (No Slope) (Produced by Mark Ohashi).
Using land use as a constraint (see Fig. 12 and Fig. 13) causes a lot of the land in the north-west area of Guelph to be considered unsuitable in comparison to land use as a criteria (see Fig. 10 and Fig. 11). The main benefit of using land-use as a constraint is that it advances the decision-making process since it narrows down areas that are considered suitable areas for development. However, using land use as a criteria shows the gradual variations between site suitabilities which provides more options for determining which sites can be developed into urban farms.
The multi-criteria evaluation chosen for this study was the MCE model which used land use as a criteria and slope as a constraint (see Fig. 10). Despite the fact that MCE models that used land use as a constraint might have added a more objective view, using land use as a constraint demonstrates a more subtle variation in the suitability of locations across Guelph. This MCE was also chosen because it clearly demonstrates which areas would be difficult to develop due to its large slope.
Five sites were determined to be most suitable for urban farming in Guelph (see Fig. 15).
Figure 15: Top 5 suitable sites for urban farming in Guelph (Produced by Avery Qua)
The first site is a vacant space located within the southern section of St. George’s neighbourhood. This site is also within the CLI Class 2 soil range, which as shown in Fig. 16 means that it has moderately significant limitations to ground cultivation. This area is within reasonable traveling distance from 4 of the priority neighbourhoods and approximately 2.48 km away from the downtown bus loop as shown in Fig. 17. However, this location is not within a reasonable distance of Grange Hill East and Brant. Furthermore, it has the lowest suitability score (92.54%) in comparison to the other 4 suitable sites. In addition, this site has an area of 36.8 acres with minimal obstructions for development to get an urban agricultural farm started.
The next site is a small park located to the north of Guelph. Unfortunately, this location does not fall within any of the priority neighbourhoods. Although suitability-wise, this area has a very high score of 96.85%, it has the smallest area of 5.86 acres compared to the other chosen sites which makes for an urban farm site that is limited in size. The site is still of an adequate size for community members to grow and cultivate produce. However, it may be a problem if there is future plans to expand the farm. Predominantly there are no significant limitations for ground cultivation (CLI Soil Class 1), however some parts have moderately significant limitations (CLI Soil Class 2) as shown in Fig. 16. The site is approximately 2.64 km away from the downtown bus loop and located along the borders of 3 of the priority neighbourhoods (Brant, St. George’s, and Grange Hill East) as shown in Fig. 17.
This site is an 18.68 acre park located within the Grange Hill East neighbourhood. As seen in Fig. 16, there are predominantly no significant limitations for ground cultivation (CLI Soil Class 1), however some parts have moderately significant limitations (CLI Soil Class 2). This location is within reasonable travel distance of approximately 2.33 km to downtown bus loop and relatively close to 4 of the priority neighbourhoods as shown in Fig. 17. However, a limitation exists due to the recreational park activities (soccer field, tennis court, basketball court) available within the larger space, in which community members would require more consultation to see if they would be willing to develop an urban farm within their recreational space. This park has a suitability score of 94.56% which is the second lowest suitability score among the other sites selected. A benefit to this site is that it is also the closest site to the downtown core making it very accessible to many other areas of Guelph.
This location is within the Grange Hill East neighbourhood and is one of the furthest locations from downtown being 3.71 km away from the downtown bus loop (see Fig. 17). However, it is still within the priority neighborhoods and is vacant land with a suitability score of 95.81%. Compared to the other vacant land location, this area is covered with forest and may require some extra deforestation work before an urban farm can be developed. A benefit of this site, is that it is also the largest site of 51.12 acres which allows for many options when it comes to urban farm development. In addition, as shown in Fig. 16, it is predominantly organic soil, and some parts have no significant limitations for ground cultivation (CLI Soil Class 1).
Finally, there is a site located between St. Peter’s Catholic School and Stonehenge Therapeutic Community with the highest suitability score of 97.71%. This area is located within the West Willow Woods neighbourhood and is easily accessible from 2 other priority neighbourhoods, Onward Willow and St. George’s neighbourhoods (see Fig. 17). This is the second largest area of 43.03 acres of all the sites chosen which allows for multiple urban agriculture projects to occur, however it is one of the furthest sites from downtown being approximately 3.26 km away from the downtown bus loop. However, one of the limitations of this area is that it would require consultation from both the school and the therapy centre before planning about what projects may be developed in this location. If one or both do not agree to the implementation of urban farm then this area is completely obsolete despite having the highest score of all the chosen sites. This location has a CLI Soil Class 2 soil suitability (see Fig. 16) which means that it has moderately significant limitations to ground cultivation. However some parts have no significant limitations for ground cultivation (CLI Soil Class 1).
Final Best Site Selection
Through analyzing each of the 5 most suitable sites, it was determined that most suitable location for urban farm development is site 1. The only limitation to this location was that it had the lowest suitability score of 92.54% compared to the other most suitable sites, however the suitability of this site was still quite high regardless. As mentioned previously, site 1 is a vacant area which is located within the priority neighbourhood of St. George’s. It is 2.48 km away from the downtown core and has a reasonable walking distance from 2 of the other priority neighbourhoods, West Willow Woods and Onward Willow (see Fig. 15). It also has a fair travelling distance from the other 3 priority neighbourhoods (Brant, Grange Hill East and Two Rivers) since it has multiple bus stops within walking distance. In addition, the population density in this area is the second highest (see Fig. 5). The site has an area of 36.8 acres with minimal obstructions for urban agriculture development, unlike the other sites. This site is also within CLI Soil Class 2 (see Fig. 16) which means that it has very few significant limitations for possible ground cultivation. Overall, site 1 is the most suitable location to start an urban farm because it is easily accessible to the priority neighbourhoods and development can occur without much need for prior preparation of the site for urban farming.
Figure 16: Soil suitability for top 5 sites (Produced by Avery Qua)
Figure 17: Travel distance from top 5 sites (Produced by Mark Ohashi)