The GIS model developed for this project identifies three neighbourhoods in Montreal where vulnerability is greatest and municipal tree-planting would most improve heat mitigation. These three neighbourhoods are the Ville-Marie borough, Montreal Nord/Saint Leonard, and LaSalle. Ten census tracts are identified within these boroughs as highest priority tracts for increased tree-cover within those neighbourhoods. This model supports prioritizing tree-cover increased in the ten highest-vulnerability tracts.
This model has many strengths as a tool for municipal planning. Namely, the model is accurate for the City of Montreal. Ground-truthing confirmed that the model accurately predicted areas of high vulnerability based on socioeconomic and tree-cover parameters. Additionally, the main visual and statistical outputs are comprehensible to a variety of audiences, and may be presented to both planning professionals and citizens involved in municipal decision-making.
The primary weaknesses of the method relate to data availability. Census data are available at the census tract level. As a result, outputs can only identify most vulnerable census tracts rather than a smaller spatial unit. Use of data at the larger-scale dissemination area-level would improve the specificity of the outputs, and provide a stronger tool for municipal planners. Additionally, LiDAR data availability limits the capacity to apply this model to other Canadian cities. Application would be limited to cities where LiDAR data are available, or extensive tree-coverage data exists.
Taking into consideration the strengths, limitations, and accuracy detailed previously the model proves to be a reliable tool in identifying priority areas to increase tree coverage and mitigate heat vulnerability. Improvements to the model may include aggregating data to a finer scale to more accurately predict areas of highest vulnerability.