Density, affordability and quality of life
Housing density refers to the number of housing units that exist within a given unit of land area. Generally, housing density is discussed in terms of Dwelling Units per Acre (du/acre).
Residents often have questions about the effects of housing density on property values, neighborhood feel, and quality of life. The information on this page is meant to provide a broad overview of housing density and several of the main issues that are often discussed with it.
How housing density is calculated
Typically, housing density calculations exclude land and parcels that are not developable (like roadways, lakes, etc.) or that are used for non-residential purposes (like offices, shopping areas and schools). The resulting density without these is called the net residential density.
In Golden Valley there are 9,540 housing units. The total land dedicated to housing in the City is about 3,164 acres (out of a total area of 6,752 acres).
Therefore, the net housing density for the City overall is about 3.0 dwelling units per acre (abbreviated as "3 du/acre").
It is important to note that in Golden Valley - just like in all cities - housing density varies across different neighborhoods and locations. In some parts of the City (for example, where lots are larger), the net residential density will be lower, while in other areas (for example, where there are multi-family condominiums and apartments), the net residential density will be higher.
What are some concerns neighbors have about housing density?
Sometimes, residents raise concerns when higher density housing is proposed in their neighborhoods. Although concerns vary, there are common questions or issues that are often mentioned:
Are there benefits to neighborhoods from higher density housing?
Some commonly listed benefits of areas with higher population density are:
What's the relationship between housing density and housing affordability?
Housing at higher density per acre spreads the land cost among more homes, thereby reducing the overall cost for each household. Similarly, infrastructure costs such as street assessments are shared among more homes, making the cost to live there less expensive than in low density areas.
What does density look like?
Many times, people are concerned that building housing at higher densities will look out of place in their community. Here are some example of higher density development in our region:
7 dwelling units per acre:
10 dwelling units per acre:
15 dwelling units per acre: