Melbourne Housing Density Map

Melbourne has more than 1.5 million private dwellings. About 9% of them are unoccupied, according to Census 2011. Of occupied private dwellings in Melbourne, 73% are separate houses, 15% are flats/units/apartments, and 12% are semi-detached/townhouses. With the rapidly growing population, there is obviously a need for more housing. There are two general housing development trends in Melbourne: 1) building more high rise apartments in the inner city and 2) more housing developments on the urban fringe. Each has its own advocates and critics.

This project uses household dwelling data at the Mesh Block level from Census 2011 to visualize the spatial distribution of housing density in Melbourne. What is missing in many debates about housing density is the level of aggregation. The interactive map on the right shows a 5km ring map of dwelling density taking two different approaches. One is dividing the number of dwellings by the total area including all land uses and the other is dividing the number of dwellings by the residential area only. When all land uses area is used, a significant variation in housing density is noticed where the average densities decrease as we go farther out from the city center. However, this does not necessarily mean a neighborhood (more precisely, Mesh Block) in the inner city is always denser than a neighborhood on the fringe. One reason that outer suburbs have much lower average housing density is the existence of vast amount of undeveloped (or non-residential) lands between neighborhoods.

Click on the arrow on the right to view the housing density map of Melbourne at the Mesh Block level.

This project is funded by the Faculty of Engineering Seed Funding and the Immersive Analytics Project at Monash University.

Data Source: ABS Census 2011

Xianghui Hong and Meead Saberi

Dwelling density by
all land uses area
Dwelling density by
residential area only