Visualizing Density Investigating the density challenge facing the United States
A Bird's Eye View
4. Measuring Density
What is the density of the street you live on? The answer is not any one number but several, depending on how you measure density and how broad an area you include in your calculation. Density can be expressed in different ways-persons per square mile, units per acre, or floor area ratio. Residential density is typically expressed in housing units per acre and measured as net or gross. Commercial or mixed-use density is more accurately expressed as a floor area ratio. The density of your "street" will depend on how you define the boundaries. Does it include the apartment building on the other side of the block? If so, the number will bump up. Are you including park on the next block? The number will drop.
For step-by-step instructions on how to measure density using the US Census online click here.
These images shown below should be layered in sequence so that the line jumps around and the captions change but the photograph stays the same. Here's an example of how density numbers can vary. Click on the image to see how varying the measurement area affects the density level.
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