Understanding Residential Density

Understanding Residential Densities: A pictorial handbook of Adelaide examples is a professional reference published by Planning SA (now DPTI) to assist in understanding, through visual examples, the residential densities defined in the Planning Strategy for Metropolitan Adelaide (August 2006). The Handbook provides a density table that has include four “density categories” and sets clear numerical guidelines for net and gross density, and provides an indicative indication of what forms of development come under each category.

Net density refers to the number of dwellings per hectare on land devoted solely to residential development. While it includes private driveways and private open space, it does not include public roads and areas of public open space.

Gross density means the density of a given area, including infrastructure such as public roads, public open space and in some instances non-residential development such as schools and shops.

The following table defines residential density, as defined in the Planning Strategy for Metropolitan Adelaide and still has relevance with respect to the 30 Year Plan for Greater Adelaide.

  Approx Gross Density
Approx Net Density
Less than 11 dw/ha   Less than 17 dw/ha
LOW DENSITY 11-22 dw/ha     17-33 dw/ha
23-45 dw/ha     34-67 dw/ha
HIGH DENSITY  Greater than 45 dw/ha Greater than 67 dw/ha

The Handbook also provides an outline of characteristics and examples of the four density categories. The Handbook can be found here.