Mapping Rural Residential Expansion


In 2003, Miistakis published Spatial Analysis of Rural Residential Expansion in Southwestern Alberta. The report summarizes what we learned from analyzing half a century's worth of municipal tax assessment data, and describes the patterns and possible drivers of exurban expansion in southwestern Alberta. The data and maps this project produced are some of our most frequently requested resources. In 2006, we revisited the original data in attempt to better understand the spatial distribution of this type of development. Our analysis suggests that rural residences are more likely to occur on sites with scenic views, and with close proximity to golf courses and urban centres.


In 2011, Miistakis collaborated with Dr. Michael Quinn at the University of Calgary in an effort to update and expand the Rural Residential Data Set. Work was completed in early 2012, and we now have a complete historical record of more than a century of rural residential expansion for 12 Municipal Districts and Counties in southern and central Alberta.

Click on the map to enlarge.

Assessment data is collected and stored differently from one municipality to the next, so it is time-consuming to expand the spatial extent of the data set. However, we have developed a replicable method for mapping exurban development, and we hope to build the data set in the future. We also plan to add the updated data set to our Resource Library in the near future.

Click on the image below to see an animation of 100 years of rural residential growth in the area surrounding Calgary, Alberta:

Miistakis Institute works on many different types of projects which have been organized into eight research areas. By expanding on the symbols below you may view projects in that research area, as well as one that identifies projects initiated by Miistakis.

Transportation Ecology

GIS for Conservation

Ecosystem Services

Sustainable Landscapes and Communities

Private Land Conservation

Citizen Science for Conservation

Wildlife Management

Market-Based Instruments

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