80 % of Canadians live in cities

cities are broken up into 6 major land-use groups – residential, transportation, institutional and public buildings,  open space and recreational land, industrial, and commercial

Residential Land Use

Where people live includes low (houses), medium (town houses) and high density (apartment buildings)

Takes up 40% of land in cities

Residential density (# of housing units/hectare) is affected by cost of land, and the age of the neighbourhood (older neighbourhoods have higher densities)

Transportation Land Use

Takes up 33% of urban areas

Three main parts – vehicles, travel paths, and terminal facilities

Vehicles include both private and public.

Private vehicles range from bikes to motorbikes to cars and trucks. Public vehicles include mass-transit systems such as bus, subway, or light rail line

Mass-rapid transit far more economical and practical. Large use of private vehicles cause massive traffic problems

Travel paths include expressways, arterial roads (main city rds such as Kennedy or Dixie), and local roads

Terminal Facilities include parking lots, train stations, airports and bus stations

Commercial Land Use

Takes up only 5% of urban areas, but are very important to local economies

Buying and selling of goods (plazas, shopping malls), banks, or anything classified as ‘business’

Three levels of products

Low order products – daily, or almost daily, convenience store items such as candy bar, milk, lottery tickets, newspaper

Medium order products –  products purchased less often, include CD’s, clothes, sporting goods

High order products – can be expensive, niche markets, includes TV’s, rock climbing gear, bikes

Five main types of commercial land use –Local convenience stores, Neighbourhood plazas, community shopping malls,  regional shopping malls, Central Business District (CBD) also known as downtown

Industrial Land Use

Takes up about 6% of developed land – Includes factories, warehousing, and shipping products

Institutional and Public Buildings

10 % of urban land – includes schools, hospitals, government offices, churches

Open space and recreational land

Takes up 7% of land. Includes parks, playgrounds,  playing fields, golf courses, arenas

Land use patterns are affected by land value (downtown worth more than the suburbs – where would you build a golf course), Zoning – cities can pass laws restricting types of development. Can zone an area for residential buildings only, or just commercial, or light commercial (restaurants)

Rural Urban Fringe – surrounds every city in Canada, where urban land uses replace rural activities

e.g. sandalwood bridge has farms to the north

urban sprawl -Is this a good or bad thing, and why – urban expansion vs urban development?

author avatar
William Anderson (Schoolworkhelper Editorial Team)
William completed his Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts in 2013. He current serves as a lecturer, tutor and freelance writer. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, walking his dog and parasailing. Article last reviewed: 2022 | St. Rosemary Institution © 2010-2024 | Creative Commons 4.0


  1. what about the land use pattern of other cities like North America, Western European, Eastern european, developing countries, Asiatic as well as african cities

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