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Building height and Density

Metropolitan Centres under the Auckland Plan and Draft Unitary Plan

URBDES 702: URBAN DESIGN THEORY AND PRACTICE TIM WRIGHT - 6058318

Contents
Introduction - 3

The Auckland Plan and Draft Unitary Plan - 4

Theories of building height and density - 9

Ways to increase population density - 25

Conclusions - 37

Recommended Interventions to Increase Densities - 38

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Introduction
The height of built form is an essential element of urban design. It is something which can evoke emotion and often criticism. Higher heights are often wanted by developers to maximise returns. Whilst the general public often seek lower building heights arguing that amenity will be compromised. Auckland is currently changing the rules on building heights, through the Auckland Plan and Draft Unitary Plan. The rules surrounding heights in Metropolitan Centres in particular if the Draft Unitary Plan is adopted will allow heights up to 18 stories. This report provides an overview of the policy changes proposed for Auckland surrounding building height. Theories of building height and density are then examined as well as the various ways in which density can be increased. Finally some conclusions and recommendations are provided in light of the reports content.

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The Auckland Plan and Draft Unitary Plan


The Auckland plan The Auckland plan provides a long-term strategic direction for Auckland for the next 30 years. One of the fundamental goals of the Auckland plan is to contain 60-70% of future population growth within the existing urban limits. The infill growth is planned to be concentrated within a hierarchy of urban centres, as shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1: Hierarchy of centres under the Auckland Plan, (Auckland Council, 2012).

Key Intervention If densities are going to increase within these nominated centres, then the character of these centres will change. Figure 2, shows the key functional intervention proposed by the Auckland Plan to achieve the goal of increasing densities within the centres, which is to increase building heights in relation to the hierarchical level of centre. This is turn it is argued will produce various levels of aspirational density for each type of centre in the hierarchy, the higher the building height the higher the density.

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Figure 2: key functional intervention proposed by the Auckland Plan, (Auckland Council, 2012).

The other key goal of creating different building height allowances for different levels of centre is to reinforce a clear visual hierarchy of centre importance. As Figure 3 demonstrates, business use and strong dominate corporate imagery that centres attempt to display is closely aligned with higher building heights. The higher the level of centre importance, the higher the built form.

Figure 3: Business use and corporate imagery linked with building height, (Auckland Council, 2012).

Draft Unitary Plan In relation to building form the Draft Unitary Plan continues the theme of the key intervention proposed by the Auckland Plan to achieve higher density, although it specifies the detail built form could potentially take. Figure 4, illustrates the maximum potential form of development, in terms of URBDES 702: URBAN DESIGN THEORY AND PRACTICE TIM WRIGHT - 6058318 5

building height and setbacks, along a street within a Metropolitan Centre, while Figure 5 shows the cross-section of a potential street within a Metropolitan Centre.

Figure 4: Maximum potential form of development within a Metropolitan Centre, (Wright, 2013).

Figure 5: Cross-section of a potential street within a Metropolitan Centre, (Wright, 2013).

To illustrate the disparity between the heights allowed in various centres, Figures 6 and 7 illustrate the same composition for a large town centre. A large Town Centre is the next level down from a Metropolitan Centre; however the difference in allowable height is extreme.

Figure 6: Maximum potential form of development within a large Town Centre, (Wright, 2013).

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Figure 7: Cross-section of a potential street within a large Town Centre, (Wright, 2013).

Aside from the above controls which outline the major envelops for development the Draft Unitary Plan also outlines other what could be considered softer interventions that are most likely in place to influence amenity, however could have a side effect of influencing density, they include: Imposing a minimum percentage whereby a new building must front a site, as shown in Figure 8. The purpose being to ensure buildings define the street edge and contribute to providing an attractive streetscape, enhancing pedestrian amenity and making buildings accessible. A side effect of this is that lots will be used more efficiently and therefore densities may increase. The required minimum percentage ranges from 100% to 50% depending on the place. For example where a place is primarily planned for retail a 100% building frontage is required.

Figure 8: minimum percentage whereby a new building must front a site, (Auckland Council, 2013).

Imposing minimum ground floor, floor-to-ceiling heights and room depths to ensure a range of uses can occur over time. Providing for mixed uses provides more flexibility in use, which ensures vacant units are easily filled, ensuring a more stable tenant base. A reduced vacancy rate means that more activity and therefore a higher population density at any one time.

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As the centres are mostly located in well-established and developed areas, the potential form of buildings outlined in the Unitary Plan will be constrained by existing lot sizes and shapes as well as fragmented land ownership. Therefore it is likely that we will see a vast range of building forms and heights within centres. Furthermore taller buildings will likely be placed sporadically rather than uniformly within centres, as shown in Figure 9.

Figure 9: Taller buildings being placed sporadically rather than uniformly within centres, Takapuna, Auckland, (Googlemaps.com, 2013).

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Theories of building height and density


Visual and Morphological In terms of building height and density a lot of theorists observe existing places that are considered to be visually attractive. McLennan (2012) refers to a sweet spot of building height of between 4-8 stories as being ideal, as shown in Figure 10.

Figure 10: sweet spot of building height of between 4-8 stories, (McLennan, 2012).

Perhaps several thousand years of continuous civilization means we got things right. The most sort after places to visit - the cities we view as cultural legacies of humanity - always fall within our sweet spot of height and density. Paris, Barcelona, Rome, Kyoto... (McLennan, 2012, p139). But what is it about older European and other cities that make them so dense yet at the same time so visually attractive? A key component is the balance and relationship between built form, open space and other built form. If balance is not considered then detrimental relationships can emerge. Figure 11, illustrates the poor relationship between different built forms and open space. From a visual point of view, the larger building would have been more acceptable if a sizable amount of open space were provided around it to provide a visual buffer for the lower built form abutting.

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Figure 11: Poor relationship between different built forms and open space, (Campoli and MacLean, 2007).

After extensive research of squares in European Cities, Sitte (1945) derived some principles for the successful relationship between built form and open space or squares as he saw them based on traditional as opposed to modern urbanism. Sitte explains, squares provide a place where there are no distractions to our thoughts, peace reigns over the place and it is void of movement, business and chaos. It provides a sensory escape from modern life. It is difficult to determine the exact relationship that ought to exist between the magnitude of a square and the buildings which enclose it, but clearly it should be a harmonious balance. (Sitte, 1945, p 26) As Figure 12 demonstrates, if the square is too small then the importance of it and the magnitude of the built form is lost, on the other hand if the square is too large for the surrounding built form, then the magnitude of the built form becomes diluted and dwarfed by the expanse of the open space. From the European experience an approximate ratio suggests that the minimum dimension of the square should be equal to the height of the principle building, which is almost always the tallest and the maximum dimension should not exceed twice the height of the principle building. (Sitte, 1945)

Figure 12: The relationship between building height and open space, (Wright, 2013).

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Although Sitte did not allude to an exact ratio that the balance between building height and square should be, he did provide a ratio that should not be exceeded, as shown in Figures 13 and 14. The plan of a public square should not have dimensions where the lengths of its enclosing walls are greater than the ratio 3:1. Beyond this limit insistent, converging rooflines vanishing towards the horizon suggest movement, the dynamic urban space most suitable to the path. ( Sitte, as cited in Moughtin, 2003, p 135)

Figure 13: Ratio between building height and open space of a square that should not be exceeded, (Wright, 2013).

Figure 14: Converging rooflines vanishing towards the horizon suggest movement, (Wright, 2013).

Other theorists come to the same conclusions as Sitte did about the ideal ratio of building height and square although for different reasons. Aristotle and other renaissance thinkers (as cited in Moughtin, 2003) believed it important to be able to view the wholeness and unity of a building at a glance. In order to do this, without tilting your head, the maximum angle is 27 degrees or about twice its height, as shown in Figure 15. This is about consistent with the dimensions of many European squares, which have horizontal distances ranging from about equal to or twice the height of the height of buildings which surrounded them.

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Figure 15: Minimum ratio required between building height and open space to the view the wholeness and unity of a building at a glance, (Wright, 2013).

Another visual element important to the visual appreciation of urban form is the need to provide a sense of consistency in scale, particularly in regard to building height. The art of urban design is to use these scales appropriately: to invent mechanisms for the smooth transition between scales the equivalent of the clutch for gear change so that the change of scale is achieved with elegance, avoiding the visual chaos (Moughtin, 2003, p42). Maintaining a consistent roofline, i.e. building height is important for maintaining unity in the urban environment. The roofline establishes a lid for the space and the greater the variation in its height the more unstable the volume, (Moughtin, 2003, p144). However too much control can also cause monotony and make the space boring. A range from about half a storey to 2 stories in variation, depending on the established street height, is considered a reasonable balance to maintain unity and avoid monotony, (Moughtin, 2003). Martin and March (1972) investigated the relationship between built form and space in the context of density. They found that different layouts of built form within the same grid pattern can produce different urban forms. Figure 16, illustrates that if built form is arranged as a series of pavilions, the buildings will have to be much higher to achieve the same amount of building space then if the built form was arranged around open courts. No thought is given to movement around the court scenario.

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Figure 16: The relationship between built form and space in the context of density, (Martin and March, 1972).

Figure 17, introduces a third arrangement, the street. The graph shows the efficiency of the built form in relation to the size of the land when building height is increased. The efficiency of the court model is much greater than the other two scenarios and increases when storeys are added.

Figure 17: The efficiency of the built form in relation to the size of the land when building height is increased, (Pont and Haupt, 2009).

Figures 18 and 19, illustrate just how different forms of development can produce different densities. The 2-4 storey low rise example produces between 20-90 units per hectare and requires a minimal amount of building separation to produce a harmonious relationship between building and open space, while the 5-12 storey medium rise example produces a relatively similar density of between 50-100 units per hectare because the amount of separation required is greater. However most surprising is the 10 storey plus high rise example, which only produces a density of 60 units per hectare. This is because the amount of separation required is enormous to ensure balance.

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Figure 18: Low and medium rise development, (Campoli and MacLean, 2007).

Figure 19: High rise development, (Campoli and MacLean, 2007).

Figure 20, depicts the different ways a block could be developed to produce the same residential density (dwellings per hectare). Here movement is given consideration; the diagram shows how motor vehicles and pedestrians would move around.

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Figure 20: Different ways to produce the same residential density, (Carmona et al, 2010).

From a visual point of view, the appeal of the court model as opposed to the pavilion model is that is the buildings when attached in rows create edges to the street which enclose space as illustrated in Figure 21. This can produce a similar effect as enclosing squares as Sitte suggests that a street should function like a public square to create a sense of place. the ideal street must form a completely closed unit! The more ones impressions are confined within it, the more perfect will be its tableau: one feels as ease in a space where the gaze cannot be lost in infinity. (Sitte, as cited in Moughtin, 2003, p 135)

Figure 21: buildings when attached in rows create edges to the street which enclose space creating outdoor rooms, (Campoli, 2012).

Notwithstanding the visual balance considerations of built form and open space, another main functional consideration is solar access and orientation. Gropius (cited in Martin and March, 1972) looked into this relationship. Figure 22, depicts his work and demonstrates his development of Heiligenthals rule, which states that the distance between parallel blocks must be 1.5 times the building height when the blocks are orientated north-south or 2.5 times the building height when the blocks are orientated east-west to achieve adequate solar access. URBDES 702: URBAN DESIGN THEORY AND PRACTICE TIM WRIGHT - 6058318 15

Figure 22: Relationship between building height and open space to achieve solar access, (Martin and March, 1972).

Pont and Haupt (2009) modeled two senarios to look at the effects of solar access when building heights and spacing between buildings are manipulated. Figure 23, depicts (A) with different buildings and a constant spacing between buildings, while (B) shows a greater spacing between buildings as heights increase. The resulting graphs show that for senario (B) solar access is constant compared with (A), which shows a greater loss in solar access as buildings increase in height.

Figure 23: The effects of solar access when building heights and spacing between buildings are manipulated, (Pont and Haupt, 2009).

Block sizes and shapes as well as street widths can have a major influence of the density of a place. Area of road can improve permeability within a place, but conversely it can adversely affect the amount of developable land. The shape and dimensions of blocks influences the shapes and heights of built form, which can also affect the resulting density. Figures 24 and 25 show how different fabrics can influence built form differently.

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Figure 24: Street widths and block sizes can influence density, (Pont and Haupt, 2009).

Figure 25: Subdivision patterns and existing built for can influence density, (Pont and Haupt, 2009).

Perceptual The perceived environmental meaning and symbolism that an urban area can create is an important aspect of urban design. A key notion of meaning and symbolism in relation to building heights is the perceived adverse effects. However this perception changes from place to place and this is reflected by the balance of various components that go in to make up the structure of urban fabric. Desired character changes dramatically from different local, regional, national and international contexts. Shelton (1999) explains .Japans urban forms are informed by ways of thinking and seeing that are both rooted URBDES 702: URBAN DESIGN THEORY AND PRACTICE TIM WRIGHT - 6058318 17

deeply in the wider Japanese culture and quite different from those in the west, (cited in Carmona, 2010, p 50). Figure 26, depicts a random streetscape in Japan.

Figure 26: A streetscape in Japan, (commons.wikimedia.org, 2013).

In Australia and New Zealand even the mention of higher buildings, which is often linked with higher density can spark a negative emotional reaction. The negative stigma is often a result of poor existing examples of high built form or a negative memory of a place visited or lived in. However while higher density is linked to the negative stigma, because it is not a tangible visual thing, it is often misrepresented in a negative way. Figure 27, shows that often what we think is high density if often not the case. In this scenario the higher buildings depicted on the left actually produce an overall lower density over a given area then the much lower buildings on the right.

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Figure 27: Higher buildings do not always achieve a higher density, (Pont and Haupt, 2009).

As Carmona (2010) suggests these reactions are usually brought about by the threat of change. The threat of change can bring about placelessness, whereby people are disassociated from the environment that they have a strong connection with. Carmona (2010) suggests another key notion of symbolism is the layering of meaning, whereby an objects function has different layers of meaning. Often an object can have different meanings and sometimes the secondary function can be overshadowed by is secondary function. The example given by Eco (as cited in Carmona, 2010) is that of a chair, which has a primary function of providing setting. If the chair is now turned into a throne, its secondary function, to display power is perceived to outweigh its primary function. Similarly the height of a building within the urban fabric can be seen to have various layers of meaning. Its primary function is to provide higher densities by increasing building height. However a secondary perceived meaning could be to demonstrate a places hierarchy within the broader urban environment. For example a regional centre may build higher buildings then a lower order town centre. Another perceived meaning of building height could be that of emotion. As Moughtin (2003) explains, Monumental scale of buildings can take on two forms; it can either relate to the proportion of human scale, or it can break the bounds and move into a superhuman scale. The later can either be ennobling and spiritually uplifting or it can be overpowering, oppressive and destructive to human dignity. (p 39) Another perceptual aspect of urban design is the idea of sense of place. This can be conceived as the elements that go in to make up a place and that make it distinctive from other places. Figure 28, shows the various elements that can provide a unique sense of place. URBDES 702: URBAN DESIGN THEORY AND PRACTICE TIM WRIGHT - 6058318 19

Figure 28: Various elements that can provide a unique sense of place, (Carmona et al, 2010).

Building heights and density are elements that can define a sense of place, however it is important to note that there are many other elements as well that can define a sense of place that may have a lesser, equal or greater effect of a particular places character.

Social Carmona (2010) explains that urban design needs to respond to the social needs of people, described as the need to create environments that are at a human scale, visually attractive, safe, legible, socially diverse and inclusive. Building height and density are two aspects that can have a significant influence on the social dimension of the urban environment. Increasing density can have a positive effect on the social needs of people, by obtaining a critical mass of people within an area, local services can become viable. Furthermore higher densities can increase the interest and vibrancy in a place. The UKs urban task force (as cited in Carmona, 2010) notes that Barcelona, which has a very high density of 400 dwellings per hectare, is regarded as the most compact and vibrant European city. Jacobs (as cited in Carmona, 2010) was a key advocate of high densities. She considered high density to be essential to vibrant and interesting urban life. Furthermore she suggested that high density environments can make an area safer by increasing passive surveillance. The idea of human scale in terms of building height is an important aspect of urban design from a social dimension to provide a human connection to the environment. As Bans and Blumenfeld (as cited in Moughtin, 2003) suggest structures that are of a non-human scale often can only be viewed from a distance or from a fast moving vehicle; they have little association with the pedestrian scale.

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The scale is comparable to the ocean, a forest or a mountain range and is only accessible to the human sense in parts. At a more intimate scale the ability to recognise people is considered to be an important aspect of providing social connection. Maertens (as cited in Moughtin, 2003) related the scale of man to building design. He suggests that the nasal bone is a critical feature to perceive a person. At a distance of 35m the face becomes featureless. We can perceive facial expression at 12m, recognise people at 22.5m, make out body gestures (waving) and distinguish between a man and a woman at 135m and at a distance of 1,200m we can recognise people. McLennan (2012) suggests maximum building heights are relative to a concept known as Prospect and Refuge whereby people relate to an evolutionary psychological comfort of locating their shelter high up enough in the landscape to capture good views to see threats coming, yet never to high up to be disconnected from the landscape to escape if need be. He further explains that this concept relates to humans evolutionary history on the Savannah where people would climb Acacia trees (Figure 29) to a height of 12-18m, which is about half the maximum height that these trees grow to, to keep a look out for threats.

Figure 29: Example of an Acacia Tree, (savannaenvironment.wordpress.com, 2013).

McLennan describes a building height sweet spot derived as being between 4 and 8 stories as being the optimal for ensuring Prospect and Refuge, as shown in Figure 30.

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Figure 30: Sweet spot of building height of between 4-8 stories, (McLennan, 2012).

So as we move out of our sweet spot above the ground, we are unable to visually process our fellow humans who stroll along the sidewalk below... What happens to our connection to life when people and all of the natural world are rarely more than a mere blur? This, I believe, creates a dangerous disconnection within the species. (McLennan, 2012, p141). McLennan suggests that our connection with the ground is important not only to connect with other humans but to also connect with the natural world. At a certain scale we become strangers to the things we create and strangers to nature itself. We are decreasingly connected to the natural world, which makes us increasingly apathetic to its destruction. (McLennan, 2012, p150) The distance removed from the street also has safety consequences. The Queensland Government (2007) state that passive or natural surveillance is a central idea of CPTED. The idea is to have eyes on the street from private properties and vice versa to deter crime. If a building contains units beyond that of which humans can see then the effectiveness of this principle is reduced, as shown in Figure 31.

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Figure 31: Building height effects passive surveillance of the street, (Queensland Government, 2007).

Functional The main function of increasing building heights is to increase density. Density looks at the concentration of something within a given area. In relation to urban design and planning there are two main types of density, that which discuss the concentration of people and that which discuss the concentration of dwellings or units. Urban design and planning often refer to the later, also known as residential density. Residential density is easier to define and to work into policy, particularly at the start of a strategy. For example direct and indirect measures of controlling density, such as limits to lot sizes, unit numbers, building heights, setbacks and carparking numbers, can manipulate the density of a place. However the actual usefulness of residential density is limited. If your purpose is to assess service viability or urban centres, then population or activity density is a more reliable measure than residential density. Net residential density does not correlate directly with net population density because occupation rates vary for different housing types and socio-economic factors. A higher net residential density does not always deliver a higher population density, (Landcom, 2011). Density discussions often only centre on the residents living or the workers working in a particular place. This correlates strongly with private space. However it is important to consider the nonresidents or visitors who use a particular place. Visitors can add immensely to the vibrancy and viability of a place and are use the public spaces within an area as opposed to the private spaces. Therefore the provision of quality public spaces can add to the overall population density of a place albeit only in a temporal form. This is something that is difficult to quantify.

What is the function of density? Primarily increasing density is concerned with maximising the efficiency of space. As Carmona (2010) explains increasing densities across spatial scales is a common sustainability measure to improve the

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economic, environmental and social aspects of urban areas. Although there are some who criticise it, there is a broad consensus that measures to increase density should be adopted. According to Llewelyn-Davies (as cited in Carmona 2010) density should be high enough to reach a critical mass of people to make viable local shops, schools and public transport.

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Ways to increase population density


Although increasing building height is a factor that can influence population density, there are multitudes of ways to increase population density, including: Building height Provision of open space Mixed use Building coverage Attached/detached Occupancy rates Dwelling and land size per person Car infrastructure Variety Adaptability Provision of a quality place

Building height Building height is one clear factor that can influence population density. The higher the building, the more floors available and as a result more units or bedrooms can be built, as shown in Figure 32.

Figure 32: Building height can influence density, (Wright, 2013).

Building height controls usually focus on maximum heights in relation to protecting the amenity of surrounding properties. However setting a minimum height limit can be an effective way to increase densities by ensuring a minimum scale is met, as shown in Figure 33. The below development was partly achieved by controlling not only the maximum, but also the minimum building heights allowed along the street. The effect creates uniformity within the streetscape, while also allowing for a degree of flexibility to break up the monotony in height.

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Figure 33: Example of a development where minimum building heights are imposed, East Perth WA, (Googlemaps.com, 2013)

Provision of open space The amount or area of open space in a place affects the amount of space that can be used for built form, which in turn affects density. The more open space provided the less space available to build buildings, as shown in Figure 34.

Figure 34: Two areas with vastly different amounts of open space effecting density, (Googlemaps.com, 2013).

Mixed use Non-residential uses including offices, shops and services can take up considerable space in the urban fabric if they are separated spatially from other uses as shown in Figure 35. However if woven well and mixed into the urban fabric with residential and other uses, the built form component of an urban place becomes much more efficient and densities increase as a result, as shown in Figure 36.

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Figure 35: Example of non-residential uses separated from other uses, (Googlemaps.com, 2013).

Figure 36: Example of mixed use development, (pedshed.net, 2013).

Building coverage The area of which a building consumes on a given parcel of land affects density. The greater the building footprint the greater the amount of internal building area can be used for human habitation, as shown in Figure 37.

Figure 37: The efficiencies of building coverage influences density, (Landcom, 2011).

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Attached/detached Attached buildings providing no separation is a way of reducing the required width of lot sizes, while still achieving the same building footprint. Therefore densities can increase substantially be providing row or terrace housing as opposed to single detached housing, as shown in Figures 38 and 39. Although it can be argued that access to light and ventilation are reduced by attaching housing, heating substantially increases.

Figure 38: Attached built form increases density, (Campoli and MacLean, 2007).

Figure 39: Attached built form increases density, (Campoli, 2012).

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Occupancy rates How many people each unit actually contains affects density, as shown in Figure 40. For example a three bedroom dwelling may only be used by one person. On the other hand a one person dwelling may be used two people.

Figure 40: Different residential densities can produce the same population density, (Landcom, 2011).

Dwelling and land size per person The size of a dwelling and land required per person impacts the density of a place, as shown in Figure 41. The bigger the dwelling and/or lot per person results in less efficiency of land.

Figure 41: Big lots and houses can house the same population as small lots and houses, (Googlemaps.com, 2013).

Car infrastructure The entire infrastructure related to motor vehicles, including roads, driveways and carparks consumes a lot of space. The differing designs of this infrastructure can affect density in different ways, as shown in Figures 42, 43, 44, and 45. URBDES 702: URBAN DESIGN THEORY AND PRACTICE TIM WRIGHT - 6058318 29

Figure 42: Off-street parking consumes a lot of space that reduces developable land, (Landcom, 2011).

Figure 43: Spread out ground level parking consumes a lot of space that reduces developable land, Auckland (Googlemaps.com, 2013).

Figure 44: Parking contained within the development is more efficient, Auckland (Googlemaps.com, 2013).

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Figure 45: Stacked parking with active uses at ground level provides efficient use of land as well as activating the street, Fremantle WA, (Googlemaps.com, 2013).

Variety Variety in unit stock, both in terms of residential dwellings and non-residential units can affect density. If there is sufficient variety to suit a range of differing household groups and non-residential needs, as opposed to a homogenous built form stock, then efficiencies in space can be made, which in turn can increase density, as shown in Figures 46 and 47.

Figure 46: Homogenous built form producing little variety, (Landcom, 2011).

Figure 47: Built form containing a lot of variety in built form, (www.amgencorp.com, 2013).

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Adaptability The ability of a building to adapt can affect density in the present and over time. If a building or a unit is highly inadaptable then it may not be used as efficiently as it could. For example a standard four bedroom family house, housing a couple and two children, would start off with a good level of efficiency. However when the children leave home the same size dwelling is only housing two people and as a result the efficiency of the dwelling decreases. If the dwelling had a good level of adaptability then the dwelling could be converted to provide for example a studio apartment to be used by another person. A similar thought process should be given to converting uses, such as from residential to retail or office. Carmona (2010) lists the main attributes that can affect adaptability of a building typology as being:

The cross-sectional depth of a building If a building is too wide then only a limited number of uses can be accommodated as most buildings require natural sun and ventilation, as shown in Figures 48 and 49. Conversely if a building is too narrow then the room shapes and sizes will be limited.

Figure 48: The depth of a building can affect adaptability, (allfreelogo.com, 2013).

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Figure 49: Elements that require change during refurbishment related to cross-section depth, in particular heating, ventilation and air conditioning, (Kincaid, 2002).

Access The number of access points or potential access points into a building, from floor to floor and within floors to different units can dictate how adaptable a building is, as shown in Figure 50. Different building codes will have different standards in relation to access also from place to place, particularly in relation to the event of fires.

Figure 50: Building access is one of the most important factors affecting sales, (Kincaid, 2002).

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Room shape and size The sizes of rooms need to be universal to accommodate a range of uses. Brand (as sited in Carmona, 2010) suggests that the rectangle is the only shape that grows and subdivides well as is efficient to use.

Horizontal and vertical grain The ability to adapt buildings by growing or subdividing space can be thought of in relation to the horizontal and vertical grain of built form, as shown in Figures 51, 52, 53 and 54. Mixing uses and variety in unit sizes are all considerations of adaptable built form.

Figure 51: The vertical and horizontal grain of built can affect its adaptability, (Carmona et al, 2010).

Figure 52: Single storey, detached dwelling has little ability to contain differing units or uses both vertically or horizontally, (lethbridge.affiliatedrealtors.com, 2013).

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Figure 53: Terrace housing has the ability to contain differing units or uses horizontally, however due to limited access points, differing vertical grain becomes difficult, (heritageconnectlincoln.com, 2013).

Figure 54: The above type of development has the ability to contain differing units or uses both vertically and horizontally, (englekirk.com, 2013).

Provision of a quality place This factor relates to the visitor population of a place as opposed to the population that either live or work in a place. The quality of the public space and semi-public place as opposed to private space in a place can affect visitor population density, which in turn can have a great effect on the vibrancy and viability of a place, as shown in Figures 55, 56 and 57.

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Figure 55: The provision of quality place can increase visitor population, (saverome.wordpress.com, 2013).

Figure 56: The provision of quality place can increase visitor population, (lincolnroadmall.com, 2013).

Figure 57: The provision of quality place can increase visitor population, (barcelona-tourist-guide.com, 2013).

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Conclusions
As discussed, there are a range of visual, morphological, perceptual and social considerations surrounding building height. Additionally it has been discussed that there are a range of functional factors that can influence density. What is clear is that the theories that relate to building height and density do not align very well with the some of the interventions proposed by the Auckland Plan or the Draft Unitary Plan, in particular the building heights proposed for Metropolitan Centres. The building height limits and other controls proposed for Metropolitan Centres are considered excessive for any environment and will most likely produce detrimental effects on the amenity of any place. By intrinsically linking building height with density, the Auckland Plan and the Draft Unitary Plan act to reinforce the negative stereotypes of density within the community, which will greatly affect its potential for implementation. It is clear that different types of intervention could be imposed that would not only increase density but also align with other contemporary urban design theory, such as the need to create walkable communities, which is also a goal of the Auckland Plan. The following section outlines what are considered more effective ways of increasing densities within centres that would also not jeopardise but improve amenity.

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Recommended Interventions to Increase Densities


The below recommendations could apply to all centre zones identified by the Draft Unitary Plan. The recommendations could be adapted into rules or specific design guidelines within the Unitary Plan. 1. Create minimum and maximum building height limits ranging from 4-8 stories in height, this will ensure buildings are high enough to create a dense environment, but not too high to affect amenity. 2. Ensure lots are developed to their full potential without affecting amenity. Proposed nil side setbacks and minimal front street setbacks that maximise the width and length efficiency of a lot, while also creating outdoor rooms along a street or area of open space. The rear portion of the lot can then be used for private open space, carparking, solar access or ventilation. 3. Ensure buildings are adaptable. Specify minimum/maximum floor widths, lengths and floorto-ceiling heights as well as other service infrastructure. This will ensure built form can be used for a variety of different uses that are compatible with the particular zone. This will help to reduce vacancy rates and better align buildings with uses over time, which will increase the efficiency of built form and therefore increase density. 4. Ensure units within a building are adaptable and can be combined, divided, enlarged or decreased. For example the combination of two 1-bed units to form a 2 or 3-bed unit or by dividing a 4-bed unit into a 1-bed and 2-bed unit. This will allow buildings to be flexible to changing circumstances overtime and also ensure that buildings are being used to their maximum efficiency by not wasting space. 5. Ensure that the space required for car infrastructure (including driveways, manoeuvring space and carparks) is used as efficiently as possible. This includes maximising communal as opposed to individual infrastructure and looking at ways the mix uses to ensure activity (which equates to parking and car use) is spread throughout the day to avoid infrastructure being overuses during some hours or days and under used during other hours or days. Maximise the development of on-street carparking spaces, as roads act as driveways and manoeuvring space and therefore additional space is not required for its provision. 6. Ensure a quality place is provided. If a place is designed well and is appealing to people, then it will be well used and visited. A vibrant visitor population can add vibrancy and interest to a place and ensure the viability of local services.

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References

Auckland Council, 2012, The Auckland Plan, Auckland Council, New Zealand. Auckland Council, 2013, The Draft Unitary Plan, Auckland Council, New Zealand Campoli. J, 2012, Made for Walking: Density and Neighbourhood Form, Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, USA. Campoli. J and MacLean. S, 2007, Visualizing density, Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, USA. Carmona. M, et al, 2010, Public Places Urban Spaces the Dimensions of Urban Design, Oxford: Architectural Press, UK. Kincaid. D, 2002, Adapting buildings for changing uses: Guidelines for change of use refurbishment, Spon Press, London. Landcom, 2011, Residential density guide for Landcom project teams, Landcom, NSW, Australia. Martin and March, 1972, Urban space and structure, Cambridge University Press. McLennan. J, 2012, Transformational Thought, Ecotone Publishing, Portland. Moughtin. C, 2003, Urban Design: Street and Square, Architectural Press, UK. Pont. M and Haupt. P, 2009, Space, Density and Urban Form, Netherlands. Queensland Government, 2007, Crime prevention through environmental design: Guidelines for Queensland, The State of Queensland, Australia. Sitte. C, 1945, The art of building cities: City building according to its artistic fundamentals, Reinhold publishing institute, New York.

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