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Floor area ratio (FAR) is the ratio of a building's total floor area (gross floor area) to the size of the piece of land upon which it is built. It is often used as one of the regulations in city planning along with the building-to-land ratio.[1] The terms can also refer to limits imposed on such a ratio through zoning.

As a formula FAR = gross floor area/area of the plot

Terminology

Floor Area ratio is sometimes called floor space ratio (FSR), floor space index (FSI), site ratio or plot ratio.

The difference between FAR and FSI is that the first is a ratio, while the latter is an index. Index numbers are values expressed as a percentage of a single base figure. Thus an FAR of 1.5 is translated as an FSI of 150%.

Regional variation

The terms most commonly used for this measurement vary from one country or region to the next.

In Australia floor space ratio (FSR) is used in New South Wales[2] and plot ratio in Western Australia.[3]

In India floor space index (FSI) and floor area ratio (FAR) are both used.

In the United Kingdom and Hong Kong both plot ratio and site ratio are used.[4][5]

In Singapore the terms plot ratio and gross plot ratio (GPR) are more commonly used.

In the United States and Canada, floor space ratio (FSR) and floor area ratio (FAR) are both used.[6]

Use ratios are used as a measure of the density of the site being developed. The ratio is generated by dividing the building area by the parcel area, using the same units.

History

One of the purposes of the 1916 zoning ordinance of New York City was to prevent tall buildings from obstructing too much light and air. The 1916 zoning ordinance sought to control building size by regulating height and setback requirements for towers. In 1961, a revision to the zoning ordinance introduced the concept of floor area ratio (FAR). Buildings built before 1961 often have FARs that would be unachievable today, such as the Empire State Building which has an FAR of 25 - meaning that it earns considerably greater rent than a newer building on the same land could hope for.[7]

Purpose and use

The floor area ratio (FAR) can be used in zoning to limit urban density. Wh

As a formula FAR = gross floor area/area of the plot

Floor Area ratio is sometimes called floor space ratio (FSR), floor space index (FSI), site ratio or plot ratio.

The difference between FAR and FSI is that the first is a ratio, while the latter is an index. Index numbers are values expressed as a percentage of a single base figure. Thus an FAR of 1.5 is translated as an FSI of 150%.

Regional variation

The terms most commonly used for this measurement vary from one country or region to the next.

In Australia floor space ratio (FSR) is used in New South Wales[2] and plot ratio in Western Australia.[3]

In India floor space index (FSI) and floor area ratio (FAR) are both used.

In the United Kingdom and Hong Kong both plot ratio and site ratio are used.[4][5]

In Singapore the terms plot ratio and gross plot ratio (GPR) are more commonly used.

In the United States and Canada, floor space ratio (FSR) and floor area ratio (FAR) are both used.[6]

Use ratios are used as a measure of the density of the site being developed. The ratio is generated by dividing the building area by the parcel area, using the same units.

New South Wales[2] and plot ratio in Western Australia.New South Wales[2] and plot ratio in Western Australia.[3]

In India floor space index (FSI) and floor area ratio (FAR) are both used.

In the United Kingdom and Hong Kong both plot ratio and site ratio are used.[4][5]

In Singapore the terms plot ratio and gross plot ratio (GPR) are more commonly used.

In the United States and Canada, floor space ratio (FSR) and floor area ratio (FAR) are both used.[6]

Use ratios are used as a measure of the density of the site being developed. The ratio is generated by dividing the building area by the parcel area, using the same units.

One of the purposes of the 1916 zoning ordinance of New York City was to prevent tall buildings from obstructing too much light and air. The 1916 zoning ordinance sought to control building size by regulating height and setback requirements for towers. In 1961, a revision to the zoning ordinance introduced the concept of floor area ratio (FAR). Buildings built before 1961 often have FARs that would be unachievable today, such as the Empire State Building which has an FAR of 25 - meaning that it earns considerably greater rent than a newer building on the same land could hope for.[7]

Purpose and use

In India FAR and FSI are both used. FAR regulations vary from city to city and generally it is from 1.3 to 3.25. In Mumbai 1.33 is the norm but higher FSI is allowed along the Metro rail line and slum areas like Dharavi. In Bangalore, 40 feet streets allow only an FAR of 1.75 but 100 feet streets allow 3.25 FAR.

Impact on land value

Andres Duany et al. (2000) not

Andres Duany et al. (2000) note:[8]

  1. Abdicating to floor area ratios (market forces) is the opposite of aiming a community toward something more than the sum of its parts.
  2. FAR, a poor predictor of physical form, should not be used when the objective is to conserve and enhance neighborhood character; whereas traditional design s

    Clarifying Duany's second criticism in reference to "lot coverage": If localities seek to regulate density through floor area ratio, the logical consequence is to encourage expansive one story building with less green space, as single story construction is less expensive than multi-story construction on a per square foot basis. On the other hand, if density is regulated by building coverage ratio (a.k.a. lot coverage or site coverage[9]) then green space can be preserved and multi-story construction becomes financial advantageous. This outcome is demonstrated in the illustration comparing FAR to BCR.

    Footnotes

    1. ^ Caves, R. W. (2004). Encyclopedia of the City