Connecting: Sustainable Cities  |  Green Infrastructure  |  GIS 

news flash

publishing research in early 2012 (anticipated)

Company website now launched:


Bradley Doff is a recent Master’s graduate from Lakehead University and is the Principal Consultant of SMARTGreening, a young, dynamic company that provides municipalities and planning firms a meaningful approach to using green infrastructure as biotechnology to mitigate the challenges cities face. Brad has spent a decade working with and studying urban trees, rediscovering them as effective living technology in cities, and developing new ways to integrate them into the urban fabric to make communities more sustainable, healthy and livable. Brad holds MES and HBSc degrees and has seven years experience in private and municipal urban forest planning. He speaks regularly about the benefits of green infrastructure in cities.


For SMARTGreening’s new website please click here

Recent Speaking Engagements

Doff, B. and Randall, T. 2011. SMARTGreening: urban sustainability through GIS decision-supported greening. ESRI Canada User Conference, Oct 4, 2011. Toronto, ON.

Doff, B. 2011. A GIS-based decision-support model linking urban forest benefits with sustainability goals: an application to Thunder Bay, Ontario. Master’s Research Defence. The Department of Anthropology and Geography. September 16, 2011. Lakehead University.

Doff, B. and Randall, T. 2011. The urban forest benefits model: furthering a city's goals towards sustainability through GIS decision-supported greening. 47th SMA International Urban Forestry Conference. September 29, 2011. Milwaukee, WI.

Doff, B. 2011. Smart Greening: GIS Decision-Supported Planning. ESRI Canada User Conference, April 19, 2011. Thunder Bay.

Doff, B. 2011. The Urban Forest Benefits Model: A prototype development tool to optimize the potential of living greening infrastructure. Green Infrastructure Training and Expert Consultation Workshop. April 5, 2011. Thunder Bay.

Doff, B. and Randall, T. 2011. The Urban Forest Benefits Model: Growing Community Sustainability through GIS Decision Supported Greening. Graduate Student Research Conference and Competition, February 17, 2011. Lakehead University.

Doff, B. 2010. The Urban Forest Benefits Model: a prototype decision support tool linking green infrastructure and healthy communities. Ontario Urban Forest Council 2010 Conference, November 5, 2010. Thorold, ON.

Doff, B. 2010. Research overview speech at the 9th Canadian Urban Forestry Conference awards gala. October 6, 2010. Truro, NS.

Doff, B. and Randall, T. 2010. Maximizing urban tree benefits: a case study making the link between the urban forests and community sustainability. Graduate Student Research Conference and Competition, February 22, 2010. Lakehead University.

Doff, B. 2010. The urban forest benefits model: furthering a city's goals towards sustainability through GIS decision-supported greening. 24th Annual CONFOR Conference, January 22-24, 2010. Thunder Bay.

Note: Underlined name indicates speaker

The Urban Forest Benefits Model: furthering a city's goals towards sustainability through GIS decision-supported greening. 

Bradley N. Doff


Urban forests are a key piece of a city’s green infrastructure, highly valued for their socioeconomic and environmental benefits. Current research demonstrates their structure and function are considerable assets to the health and livability of a city (, energy savings, stormwater mitigation, decreased crime rates). Cities are also now beginning to recognize the importance of these benefits in managing and maintaining their urban forests. However, the ways in which these benefits are tabulated fall short of providing city foresters and municipal planners schemes by which to prioritize tree planting and tree care regimes that will optimize benefits to the community. This project proposes a method by which this may be accomplished.

An Urban Forest Benefits Model (UFBM) has been developed to integrate the research on the benefits of an urban forest into a GIS decision-supported tool. The UFBM is intended to guide cities in prioritizing their greening efforts so as to maximize the level of net environmental, economic and social benefits. It will also help municipalities integrate green infrastructure in a way that contributes toward their urban sustainability objectives.

There were three key objectives associated with this research: (1) to develop an inventory and framework of urban forest benefits calibrated for a specific city; (2) to develop a prioritized list of the city’s sustainability goals and identify how greening efforts contribute toward these goals through use of a link table; and (3) to develop the GIS-based UFBM that will assist with the sequencing of greening activities (planting, maintenance and protection) in order to optimize community benefits and attain long-term community sustainability goals. 

The prototype UFBM was applied using a case study approach to the City of Thunder Bay, Ontario. Review of urban forestry and sustainability literature and several focus groups aided in the development of seven custom standard and link table tasks to help achieve a variety of Thunder Bay’s sustainability goals through decision-supported greening. The seven management tasks chosen were: (1) stormwater mitigation; (2) planting near higher population concentrations; (3) emerald ash borer crisis management; (4) economic development; (5) greening of Central Business Districts; (6) greening for children engaging in active-commuting to and from school; and (7) greening for those with special needs. Each task was modeled individually using ESRI’s ArcGIS, producing an independent set of recommended planting, maintenance and/or protection locations based on the task’s objective (e.g., stormwater mitigation). These recommended locations for each of the seven management tasks were then combined to form a final comprehensive map demonstrating optimum locations for greening (planting, maintenance, and protection) in Thunder Bay. The combined results indicate areas requiring a high level of tree cover to ensure an optimal level of desired environmental and socioeconomic benefits. The most important areas identified in this study that require sustained greening are the two downtown cores of Thunder Bay and significant areas in Carrick, Vickers and West End neighbourhoods. Recommendations for operationalizing the model’s results to the City of Thunder Bay are provided as well as for applying the UFBM to another jurisdiction.

Many thanks to my funding partners:


Most recent research: