Category Archives: News

Population density in Hamilton 2018 Census

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Hamilton’s 1956 population density was 1,346 people per km2 (35,941 people, in an area of 26.7 km2 or 6,618 acres*). Today, the 2018 census puts Hamilton at 1,450 people per km2 (160,911 people, in an area of 111 km2). In the past (Hamilton city centre Louis Wirth measure), I was basing my estimates of density on Hamilton having an area of 98km2 and a population of 150,200, giving a population density of 1,532 people per km2 (ppkm2). *Hamilton District Scheme 1963 page 2

Greensboro, near Waikato University, is the stand-out ‘Statistical Area’ (SA2) at 8,138 people per km2 (3,795 people, in an area of 0.47 km2). This is followed by Swarbrick at 4,746 ppkm2 (2,400 people, in an area of 0.5 km2) and Melville North at 4,027 ppkm2 (2,772 people, in an area of 0.69 km2). In all these neighbourhoods, everyone lives within walking distance of local dairies and great open spaces. Note: Census 2018 uses ‘Statistical Area 2’ which is smaller than the 2013 census ‘unit areas’; as an example the Swarbrick unit area was previously 1.5km2.

Looking for ‘towns’ within Hamilton, the Nawton / Crawshaw area supports a population of 11,124 residents (with an area of 3.27 km2 this equates to 3,402 ppkm2). Everyone living in this area is reasonably near to retail, schools and employment.  The next largest town-sized residential area is the Enderley/Fairfield neighbourhood with its 9,642 residents (2.86 km2 = 3,372 ppkm2). Hillcrest/Greensboro combined has 9,555 people, surrounding the university campus (with a total area of 2.35 km2 meaning there is a density of 4,059 ppkm2). Melville / Deanwell with its very high number of schools and dairies supports a population of 8,642 (area of 2.35 km2 = 3,680 ppkm2) and the Swarbrick/Kahikatea area has a population of 8,211 (3.27 km2 = 3,402 ppkm2).

When it comes to bench-marking density against Germany’s medium-sized cities we are pretty similar to Hamilton.  Looking to the Netherlands, my impression is that while my cousins moved to towns with lower population densities, their adult children are moving back to higher density areas in cities, and as in New Zealand, they find themselves priced out of the housing market and will often need their parents financial assistance to help them get started.

Links – 2018 Census Population Map and Area Map

Category: News

Groningen – Introduction to Traffic Circulation Plan (VCP)

When Max van den Berg [then aged 31] proposed a plan in 1977 that made the centre of Groningen virtually impenetrable by car, his party was the subject of outrage, protests, and death threats. Now not a single resident misses the days when cars choked their streets. Fortune favours the brave.

From the 1970s through to the 1990s Groningen’s population was just below 170,000 people – as Hamilton’s is now.

Groningen Nov 2018

How Groningen invented a cycling template for cities all over the world In the end, the younger generation won. Four local politicians resigned, saying it was impossible to work with Van den Berg. Their successors were very young and very left-wing, and they shared Van den Berg’s vision. Angry shopkeepers painted slogans on their store windows, collected signatures and demonstrated at city hall – to no avail

go to minute 15 for Groningen

Groningen – Traffic Circulation Plan (VCP) – Verkeers circulatie plan (VCP)

This is my summary of key facts from a report by Shinji Tsubohara: The effect and modification of the Traffic Circulation Plan (VCP) – traffic planning in Groningen in the 1980s. [Please read full report to check context]

From the start businesses published reports in rapid succession showing the harmful influence of the removal of cars on the inner city economy. According to “small businesses” they suffered from “a decrease in sales of 25 to 40 percent”. (p11)

Concerning sales, the Businesspeople’s Association of Groningen estimated a decrease of 30 percent just after the VCP was introduced. (p11)

The Chamber of Commerce investigated sales at shops in the inner city for the first three months of the VCP. Half of the responding shops experienced a decrease in sales. (p11)

Walking & biking: A survey of citizens outside the inner city and residents in the region showed that those who completely agreed that safety was adequate had increased from 35% to 45% for walking and from 19% to 30% for cycling. (p16)

The Business Association argued that it was estimated that visitors to all businesses decreased, because of the VCP, by 2.2% on an annual basis. (p26)

The effect on traffic: private cars reduced by 47%. Bus passengers to the inner city showed a 12% increase on weekdays and 17% increase on Saturdays. (p16)

The effect on the economy: The number of visitors to the whole inner city decreased by as much as 9%, while visitors to the core increased by 22%.(p18)

Business organisations had claimed that the regional function of the city would be lost, with a decrease of as much as 30% in per capita expenditure at the inner city shops. (p18)

Visitors to the core: those younger than 30 increased by 2%. (p18)

According to an annual nationwide survey: 19% of businesses in the Province of Groningen increased their net profits from 1977 to 1978, and 24% in the inner city of Groningen showed increases. (p19)

Opinions from businesses: 51% of businesses regarded the VCP as “more or less negative”. Those businesses emphasised the negative effects of the VCP regardless of the facts. (p19)

Residents’ groups asked for “green streets”, “residential streets”, and measures to prevent through traffic. (p24)

A survey conducted two years and four months after the VCP was introduced showed that:

Businesses:While the first survey revealed that there were 16 businesses that planned to move out the inner city or close down their business within two years, it turned out that only four among these businesses put their plans into practice. Compared to preceding two years, more businesses were located in the inner city, the number of vacancies decreased, and the term of being vacant became shorter. (p26)

Parking: the proposed Sledemenner-straat parking garage was ‘completely scrapped’ (p35)

Conclusion: The VCP had drastically reduced cars in the inner city. This improved the environment there, and substantially contributed to facilitating the bustling, so-called ‘encounter function’ of the city centre.

Compare to: Hamilton, where from 1985 to 1990 three car-parking buildings were opened. The 1991 annual pedestrian survey, Introduction, page 1, states“Results since 1981 – Some of the changes over this period are: general pattern of increasing pedestrian movement until 1985 but since then a decline in numbers”

Category: News