Benchmarking Density

Benchmarking population density targets

On 6 April, Christopher Kelly gave a presentation at the 7x7 talks evening hosted by Nick Gerritsen at the Ministry of Environment.


The presentation supported the aspirational low rise density proposed for the new residential Unitec campus announced by the Government in Auckland this month.  The 4000 new dwellings proposed for the 29 hectare site provides:

  • 105-140 dwellings per hectare
  • 40,000 people per square kilometre
  • three times the density of Hobsonville

Paris and Barcelona have densities about 50,000 people per square kilometre in their central areas.  This contrasts with Sydney's densest area around Potts Point with 15,000 residents.

The New World currently accepts lower population densities.  In Australia, Sydney has 114 sq km with a population density of over 5,000 people per kilometre compared with Melbourne which has 34 sq km and Brisbane only 3 sq km. 

In New Zealand, Auckland's Freemans Bay has a density of 25 dwellings per hectare and this is mirrored in Wellington's Mt Victoria.

Kiwis need to record and monitor similar density figures for Wellington and Auckland so we can continue to benchmark.


Architecture Workshop has done two high density projects in the Auckland suburb of Hobsonville. The first project is Universal Homes which is a masterplan for a subdivision. The second project Axis  Small Home was last year picked by the public as the preferred “Home of the Future”.

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