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Built Environment & Greenness

Hamilton, ON

Greenness exposure can come in many forms, including tree cover, parks, and gardens. Positive benefits of increased exposure to greenness may include an increased opportunity for physical activity and social interaction, reduced air pollution and noise, and improved psychological well-being.


  • Evaluate the impact of urban greenness on the development of chronic diseases

  • Investigate potential interactions between built environments/greenness and other harmful environmental risk factors such as air pollution and noise

We have on hand different measures of green space using land-use/classification data and satellite-based Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI). NDVI was formulated as the ratio between the difference of near-infrared radiation and visible radiation, and the sum of the two measures, with greater values reflecting more greenness1. The NDVI data covering Ontario are available at 30m and 500m spatial resolutions2.

Several studies are currently underway using ONPHEC to assess the effects of greenness on the new onset of major chronic diseases.


1 Loveland T, Merchant J, Brown J, Ohlen D. Development of a land-cover characteristics database for the conterminous U. S. Photogramm Eng Remote Sensing 1991; 57:1453–63.

2 Villeneuve PJ, Jerrett M, Su JG et al. A cohort study relating urban green space with mortality in Ontario, Canada. Environ Res 2012; 115:51–58.