Last updated: 25 June 2014
Quantitative Data
Spatial Quality
Lot / Block
Academic / professional work
Authors: MIT School of Architecture + Planning
Reviewer: Camila Pinzon


Floor Area Ratio FAR

"Floor Area Ratio (FAR) is the ratio of built area (a building's total size) to the lot area (the property upon which the building is built). It is a measure used by planners, regulators, and developers to discern the intensity of a development. By itself, however, it is not sufficient to define density." This measure is combined with the measure of Coverage


"Coverage is the relationship between the ground floor area of enclosed buildings and the area of the lot. Development scenarios with the same FAR but different coverage will produce varying types of development: for example, low-rise or high-rise."

Dwelling Units DU

number of dwelling units built on the lot

Unit: housing units/hectare

Population POP

this measure counts the amount of people in the area and the amount of people per hectare 

Unit: people/ha
The Density Atlas


The density atlas is a resource to compare urban densities: It uses the measures of: floor area ratio, dwelling units per area and people per area. Apart from explaining the way to measure urban density, the resource contains a large amount of case studies through the world in which urban density is analysed in the same way in order to facilitate comparisons.


coverage, dwelling density, population density, comparison, density, atlas, floor area ratio, scale, measurement
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