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2C Land Use Mix

Description | Specific Indicators | Ontario Public Health Standards (OPHS) | Corresponding Health Indicator(s) from Statistics Canada and CIHICorresponding Indicator(s) from Other Sources | Data Sources |  Survey Questions | Alternative Data Sources |  Analysis Check List | Method of Calculation |  Basic Categories | Indicator Comments | Definitions| Cross-References to Other IndicatorsCited References | Other References  | Changes Made  | Acknowledgements


  • Proportion of total area that is dedicated to a certain land use
  • Ratio of the areas dedicated to the different types of the land use within a total area
Specific Indicators
  • Land Use
  • Land Use Mix
Ontario Public Health Standards
The Ontario Public Health Standards (OPHS) establish requirements for the fundamental public health programs and services carried out by boards of health, which include assessment and surveillance, health promotion and policy development, disease and injury prevention, and health protection. The OPHS consist of one Foundational Standard and 13 Program Standards that articulate broad societal goals that result from the activities undertaken by boards of health and many others, including community partners, non-governmental organizations, and governmental bodies. These results have been expressed in terms of two levels of outcomes: societal outcomes and board of health outcomes. Societal outcomes entail changes in health status, organizations, systems, norms, policies, environments, and practices and result from the work of many sectors of society, including boards of health, for the improvement of the overall health of the population. Board of health outcomes are the results of endeavours by boards of health and often focus on changes in awareness, knowledge, attitudes, skills, practices, environments, and policies. Boards of health are accountable for these outcomes. The standards also outline the requirements that boards of health must implement to achieve the stated results.

Outcomes Related to this Indicator
  • Board of Health Outcome (Chronic Disease Prevention): There is increased awareness among community partners about the factors associated with chronic diseases that are required to inform program planning and policy development, including the following: the importance of creating healthy environments.
Health Promotion and Policy Development Requirement Related to this Indicator 
  • The board of health shall work with municipalities to support healthy public policies and the creation or enhancement of supportive environments in recreational settings and the built environment...
Assessment and Surveillance Requirements Related to this Indicator
  • Board of Health Outcome (Foundational Standard): The board of health shall conduct surveillance, including the ongoing collection, collation, analysis, and periodic reporting of population health indicators, as required by the Health Protection and Promotion Act and in accordance with the Population Health Assessment and Surveillance Protocol, 2008 (or as current, which includes population health data and information pertaining to physical environmental factors).

Corresponding Indicator(s) from Statistics Canada or CIHI
  • None
Corresponding Indicator(s) from Other Sources 
  • None
Data Source(s)
Numerator and Denominator: Digital Assessment Parcel Fabric (DAPF) (including property code classification)
Original Source: Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC)
Distributed by: MPAC, City/Town/Municipality planning department
Suggested citation (see Data Citation Notes): Digital Assessment Parcel Fabric [month, year], Extracted: [date]

Survey Questions
  • None
Alternative Data Sources
  •  None
Analysis Checklist
  • This information is most valuable at the neighbourhood level (i.e. Generally speaking, when not using this indicator for a specific site, municipal planning district should be used to collect data at a neighbourhood level). In addition, data can be collected for the purposes of assessment of a nodal area or a major corridor (transportation or utility) within a municipal jurisdiction.
  • Review of both the land use and land use mix indicators should be done simultaneously to clarify the types and number of land uses that are contributing to the ratio.
  • The Land Use Mix Ratio should only be used in urban areas.
  • The types of land use included in the ratio are dependent on the needs of the health unit and project. For comparison across areas, the same number and types of land uses should be used.
Method of Calculation
Land use

area designated to a specific land use


total area

 Land Use Mix

 - Σ Pn * ln (Pn)

        ln (N)

where n is the land use classification, P is the proportion of area dedicated to the nth land use and N is the number of different land uses
ln = natural logarithm


Basic Categories
  • Geographic areas: Census geography (i.e., Dissemination Areas, Census Tracts), planning areas, neighbourhoods, network buffers.
  • Land Uses: MPAC codes specify the following categories which can be aggregated further:
    • 100 - Land
    • 200 - Farm
    • 300 - Residential
    • 400 - Commercial
    • 500 - Industrial
    • 600 - Institutional
    • 700 - Special purpose
    • 800 - Government
  • Land use mix scores range from 0 to 1. 0 represents a single land use and a score of 1 represents even distribution of the number of land use classifications included in the ratio.
Indicator Comments
  • The manner in which the built environment impacts health outcomes is complex and varied, since human behaviour is influenced by multiple factors. The value of an individual indicator is strengthened when considered in combination with other built environment indicators. A range of built environment indicators, such as population density, proximity to community focal point, land use mix and job density, can be used to better appreciate the relationships among the built environment, health outcomes and health behaviours within your region.
  • The value of Land Use and Land Use Mix ratio indicators are strengthened when considered in combination with other built environment indicators such as population density, proximity to community focal point, intersection density, job density.
  • When doing analysis keep the geographic area of analysis consistent to ensure that the different indicators can be used in conjunction with each other.
  • Review of both the ‘Land Use' and ‘Land Use Mix' indicators should be done simultaneously to clarify the types and number of land uses as well as the number of parcels that are contributing to the ratio.
  • The types of land use included in the ratio are dependent on the needs of the health unit and project. For comparison across areas, the same number and types of land uses should be used.
  • MPAC was chosen because of property codes are uniform and data is available at all municipalities.
  • It is not clear how to handle mixed use designation. Since it is already ‘mixed' it does not seem appropriate to include as one of the land use types. An additional challenge is that there can be a more than one type of land use on one parcel but it is designated by one code. In MPAC data there is a primary record as well as subordinate records. The primary record has the parcel code, however a property can have different attributes (i.e., a commercial property can have more than one type of retail on the main floor and apartments on the upper floors). In this case a dwelling unit code or unit class is determined from the subordinate records but not the primary record.
  • With more detailed data, not readily available at the health unit level, square footage of building space can be used as the measure of area in the calculation. This allows for separation of different types of use within a building as well as across different properties.
  • Urban areas are designated in local official plans (policy). The official plans may also indicate areas that have been designated for urban development but that have not yet been developed. Land not yet developed should be eliminated in the application of land use mix ratio.
  • Note that MPAC records may be different for properties that are similar in structure but different in ownership.  For example, for co-ops and rental apartments, MPAC creates a primary record for the entire property. However, MPAC creates a separate primary record for each unit in a condominium.  To make the rental, co-op and condominium records similar would require a procedure to amalgamate condominium records based on location
  • The MPAC designation of a property is contextual. For example, farmland would appropriately be designated single use. Farmland designated mixed use may represent a misclassification.
  • The geographic level of analysis will depend on the specific needs of the health unit and project but the information is most valuable at the neighbourhood level. There will be different implications based on the boundary type selected: 
    • The preferred reference geography is the DA, (see Appendix A), as this allows integration of census variables.
    • Other reference geographies can be used to match other data sources as needed. For example, if looking to assess correlations with CCHS data summarized at the postal code level, then the LUM can be calculated for postal codes instead.
      • Note that the DA's can be converted to other geographical areas using conversion protocols, or the summaries by postal code can be derived directly in the GIS analysis.
    • A network buffer can be used as an alternative boundary type, defined by a walking distance from a specific point (see Appendix B). This is appropriate for analysis of point locations such as schools or individual residences.
  • Land Use: The types of buildings and activities that exist in an area or on a specific site
Cross References to Other Indicators
Cited References
  •  None
Other References
  1. Bergeron  K,  MacIsaac  S, Richardson K. Designing Active Communities Together: Public Health, Municipalities and Universities. Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit, Port Hope, Ontario, 2007.
  2. Cerin E, Leslie E, du Toit L, Owen  N, Frank L. Destinations that matter: Associations with walking for transport. Health and Place. 2007;13(3):713-724.
  3. Evaluating the Public Health Impacts of Land Development Decisions in Peel. Lawrence Frank & Company Inc., 2009.
  4. Frank, L.D, Land Use and Transportation Interaction: Implications on Public Health and Quality of Life. Journal of Planning Education and Research. 2000;20(1):6-20.
  5. Frank LD, Andersen MA, Schmid TL. Obesity relationships with community design, physical activity, and time spent in cars. Am J Prev Med. 2004; 27(2): 87-96.
  6. Frank LD, Greenwald MJ, Winkelman S,  Chapman  J, Kavage S. Carbonless footprints: Promoting health and climate stabilization through active transportation.  Preventive Medicine.  2010; 50 (Supplement): S99-S105.
  7. Municipal Property Assessment Corporation. Available from: (Accessed October 28, 2011).
  8. Ontario Parcel. Available from: (Accessed October 28, 2011).
  9. Tucker P, Irwin J, Gilliland J, He M, Larsen K, Hess P. Environmental influences on physical activity levels in youth. Health and Place. 2009;15(1):357-363.
  10. Williams M, Wright M. The Impact of the Built Environment on the Health of the Population: A Review of the Review Literature. Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, Barrie, Ontario, 2007.
Changes Made


Formal Review or Ad Hoc?

Changes made by


Created November 4, 2011

Formal Review




Lead Authors 

  • Sean Galloway, Middlesex-London Health Unit
  • Jackie Gervais, Niagara Region Public Health
  • Sarah Maaten, Elgin St. Thomas Public Health
  • Ryan Waterhouse, Niagara Region Public Health 

Contributing Authors

  • Built Environment Subgroup


  • Paul Belanger, Kingston Frontenac Lennox and Addington Public Health
  • Mary-Anne Pietrusiak, Durham Region Health Department (Core Indicators Work Group Member)
  • David Stinton, Incite Planning and Lakeland District representative of the OPPI Recognition Committee


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