Toronto Metropolitan University
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Does Land Use and Landscape Contribute to Self-Harm? A Sustainability Cities Framework

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journal contribution
posted on 2024-02-20, 17:44 authored by Eric de Noronha VazEric de Noronha Vaz, Richard Ross ShakerRichard Ross Shaker, Michael D. Cusimano, Luís Loures, Jamal Jokar Arsanjani


Self-harm has become one of the leading causes of mortality in developed countries. The overall rate for suicide in Canada is 11.3 per 100,000 according to Statistics Canada in 2015. Between 2000 and 2007 the lowest rates of suicide in Canada were in Ontario, one of the most urbanized regions in Canada. However, the interaction between land use, landscape and self-harm has not been significantly studied for urban cores. It is thus of relevance to understand the impacts of land-use and landscape on suicidal behavior. This paper takes a spatial analytical approach to assess the occurrence of self-harm along one of the densest urban cores in the country: Toronto. Individual self-harm data was gathered by the National Ambulatory Care System (NACRS) and geocoded into census tract divisions. Toronto’s urban landscape is quantified at spatial level through the calculation of its land use at different levels: (i) land use type, (ii) sprawl metrics relating to (a) dispersion and (b) sprawl/mix incidence; (iii) fragmentation metrics of (a) urban fragmentation and (b) density and (iv) demographics of (a) income and (b) age. A stepwise regression is built to understand the most influential factors leading to self-harm from this selection generating an explanatory model.




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