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Spatial aggregation and compactness of census areas with a multiobjective genetic algorithm: a case study in Canada


  • Dilip Datta
  • Jace Malczewski
  • José Rui Figueira


The paper focuses on a case study of delineating census tracts (CTs) in the Census Metropolitan area of London, Ontario, Canada. The procedure for defining the actual pattern of CTs by a local committee and Statistics Canada has involved such consideration as the compactness of CTs and their population-based and area-based uniformity as well as some subjective aspects. The actual pattern shows that compactness of CTs has been achieved at the expense of uniformity in population and areal sizes. The paper proposes an integer-coded multiobjective genetic algorithm for aggregating census units with the expectation of obtaining a higher level of compactness and population/area uniformity of CTs through an optimization technique. Square-shape and circular-shape compactness of CTs are examined under different scenarios. The results indicate that the proposed genetic algorithm can provide solutions that are considerably better in terms of the Pareto-optimality principle than the actual pattern of CTs. Keywords: census tracts, compactness, uniformity, multiobjective optimization, genetic algorithm

Suggested Citation

  • Dilip Datta & Jace Malczewski & José Rui Figueira, 2012. "Spatial aggregation and compactness of census areas with a multiobjective genetic algorithm: a case study in Canada," Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 39(2), pages 376-392, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:pio:envirb:v:39:y:2012:i:2:p:376-392

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    1. Steiner, Maria Teresinha Arns & Datta, Dilip & Steiner Neto, Pedro José & Scarpin, Cassius Tadeu & Rui Figueira, José, 2015. "Multi-objective optimization in partitioning the healthcare system of Parana State in Brazil," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 53-64.

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