Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts




Dr. Jason Gilliland


Patterns of urban development in North America have changed drastically over time: from dense urban cores to sprawling subdivisions. This study investigates changes in residential forms of Southwestern Ontario cities by characterizing numerous individual features which make up the built environment, and then evaluating spatial patterns and statistical relationships. Using high-quality data regarding the social and physical elements of Ontario cities within a geographic information system (GIS), this research provides improved methods to quantitatively characterize urban development forms at the micro level. Results show that the majority of morphological variables have systematic spatial patterns and are highly correlated. Most variables tend to either increase or decrease from the city centre outward, or have their extreme values in the oldest residential neighbourhoods. Results show that social and historical variables of a neighbourhood are highly correlated with morphology. This research has implications for planners, land developers, and other agents of urban change.



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