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Last edited 09 Oct 2020
Floor area ratio
The floor area ratio (FAR), also known as the plot ratio, is a measure of the total permitted floor area of a building, in relation to the total area of the lot (or plot) on which the building stands:
A higher ratio indicates a higher-density environment.
The concept emerged in Europe in the 19th century, and was then taken up in the USA in the 20th century as a form of zoning control for rapidly developing cities. FAR is now often used by urban planners, particularly in the USA, for assessing, or restricting, planning permissions, setting a limit on the 'load factor' generated by new developments, beyond which undue stress is placed on a city and its infrastructure.
Bradford City Centre Design Guide, Supplementary Planning Document, published in 2006, defines plot ratio as: ‘A measure of density for non-residential use. This is expressed as a ratio in which the first number relates to the floor area of the building and the second to the area of the site. A 2:1 ratio therefore denotes a building that has two times the floor area of the site. This could be a two storey building covering the entire site or a four storey building covering half of the site.’
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