Last edited 31 May 2021


Land measurement for planning and development purposes, Guidance Note, Global 1st edition, Published by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) in May 2021, defines density as: ‘…measured on either a gross or net basis, and for residential schemes can be expressed in various ways, including dwellings per hectare/acre, habitable rooms per hectare/acre or bedspaces per hectare/acre. Plot ratio, floor area ratio, floorspace ratio and site coverage are also expressions of density that can be applied to all uses, but are most appropriately used for commercial premises. Density should always be expressed in terms of gross areas (based on site area), while net density can provide an additional measure to assist with the interpretation and assessment of the intensity of a development.’

It defines gross density as: ‘…a measure that includes all aspects of a site of any size, including the housing, commercial space, roads, open and public realm, schools and their grounds, and other uses. It is calculated using site area.’

And net density as: '...a measure that includes everything that is developed but excludes
major roads, open and public realm, schools and their grounds, and commercial and
community buildings. It is calculated using net development area.'

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