Land Assessment Tool

Identifying public lands to build non-profit housing. The HART Land Assessment Tool offers an easy-to-use, replicable, and comparable approach to identifying well-located government land for non-profit housing development.

Numerous international reports have identified the use of government land for non-profit housing as one of the most effective means for meeting targets.

What is the Land Assessment Tool?

Land assessments conducted in communities across Canada have generally examined only underutilized or surplus municipal land, and many have lacked a locational focus. Our land assessment considers land owned by federal, provincial/territorial, and municipal governments, and we identify well-located land based on proximity to various amenities and services. The development of a standard approach to land assessment applied across the country enables ready comparison between communities.

Like CMHC, we recognize the definition of well-located housing used in United Nation’s Adequate Housing Implementation guidelines:

“Housing is not adequate if it is cut off from employment opportunities, health-care services, access to transit, schools, childcare centres and other social facilities, or if located in polluted or dangerous areas.”

CMHC provides a set of ten social inclusion proximity services and amenities it uses in scoring land. In our methods we have combined several of these to derive an amenity proximity score, which considers the proximity of candidate parcels to each of the following amenities:

  • Childcare
  • Primary & secondary schools
  • Healthcare
  • Pharmacies
  • Libraries
  • Community centres
  • Parks
  • Grocery stores
  • Public transit

Our proximity analysis utilizes the Proximity Measure Database published by Statistics Canada and CMHC. Drawing on various open data sources, the Proximity Measures Database reports on ten measures of proximity at the dissemination block level with national coverage. The measures capture the possibility of multiple points of access to a given amenity, and accounts for the size of service provision where relevant (for instance, weighting proximity to transit stops by trip frequency).

 In collaboration with our partner communities, we have produced a series of interactive maps to display well-located public land for housing in each jurisdiction. For communities that wish to replicate our analysis, we will be publishing a detailed methodology and supplemental training materials. You are welcome to contact us if you would like to see your community’s public land mapped but do not have access to a GIS specialist.

The HART Land Assessment Tool assists communities to use land holdings for social benefit. It also identifies strong candidate sites for the co-location of services and non-profit housing, and empowers communities to advocate for better land use to meet affordable housing targets. 

To view more information about the parcels of land included in the map, and to filter parcels by ownership, occupancy, nearby amenities, and more, visit the full-screen tools below:


The HART Land Assessment Tool represents an initial estimate of government-owned land that might be suitable for non-profit housing development. It is not intended to be a site-level analysis of feasibility. The objective is to encourage an expansive view of the options available for affordable housing. Promising sites identified through the assessment should be evaluated by local governments to determine the feasibility of development. Due to data constraints, the HART Land Assessment Tool focuses specifically on government-owned land. Future land assessments should consider land owned by non-profit organizations as potential sites for non-profit housing development. The accuracy of the HART Land Assessment Tool is limited by the accuracy and completeness of the available data.

Want to understand how we made it?
View our Land Assessment Methodology
Learn more with our e-learning