Berlin Environmental Atlas

06.06 Population Density (Edition 2013)

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The term population density is a measure of how many people live in a given area. Population density as used here is the number of inhabitants per hectare (1 hectare is an area about 86 yards on a side. 1 hectare = 2.47 acres, or 1 acre = 0.4047 hectare. 640 acres = 1 sq. mile). The population density of Berlin's entire urban area is 37 people/hectare (p/ha). This figure is in the middle range for German and European cities. Hamburg has an average of 39 % fewer people per hectare. In the inner city of Paris the population density on the same area is almost twice as high (cf. Fig. 1).

Fig. 1: Population Density of Berlin compared to other Cities, in People per Hectare (Data from 2007-2010) (Data sources)
Data status: Berlin / Munich / London: 31.12.2010; Hamburg / Frankfurt: 31.12.2009; Paris: Inner City: 01.01.2008, Unité urbaine: 01.01.2007; Warsaw: 30.06.2010.
In Paris the inner city and the municipal border of the city area are overlaying; a reference value to the urban areas of the other cities is the goegraphical unit "Unité urbaine" with 10,197,678 inhabitants and 2,723.03 km² (37.5 p/ha).

[Statistical base of this Figure is also available as Excel-File (MS-Excel is required).]

The 111.5 p/ha population density of the Berlin inner city, i.e. within the so called "Inner Rapid-Railway (S-Bahn) Circle", is above average and even overtops the according value for London.

The Map of Population Density depicts population density in terms of statistical blocks or segment of blocks (cf. Methodology). Therefore this presentation is directly comparable to the last edition 2012.

High population density causes great environmental stresses, such as noise from traffic and air pollution from heating facilities. Residents are dependent on a small number of public green areas for relaxation. These areas are mostly small, heavily visited, often overused, and loud. Private green areas exist only to a limited extent. Some densely populated areas of Berlin are attractive residential areas in spite of this. Some late 19th-century block-style constructions are especially attractive when they have living quarters of generous size, and are complemented by a good infrastructure of small businesses, restaurants, cultural facilities, services, and an extensive public transportation system. Rich urban life flourishes here. This urbanity is missed by many living in the purely residential areas at the edge of the city. These areas have a relatively low population density, a high ratio of open space, and less air and noise pollution.

The inner city boroughs of Mitte, Tiergarten, Wedding, Prenzlauer Berg, Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg reached their greatest population density in 1910 with 312 p/ha. Today, the population density of these boroughs has dropped to 106 p/ha, one-third of the peak value (cf. Fig. 2).

Figure 2
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Fig. 2: Development of Population Density for Selected Berlin Boroughs (people/hectare within Berlin boroughs)
Population figures for inner city boroughs existed only as a total sum for the years 1871 and 1900. No population data for the eastern city boroughs was available between 1949 and 1975. This prevented a calculation of population density for inner city boroughs for these years.

[Statistical base of this Figure is also available as Excel-File (MS-Excel is required).]

In contrast, the population in the outer boroughs rose continuously, except for a drop in 1945 caused by general war-time conditions. In 1933, the Tempelhof borough had an even higher average population density than the Kreuzberg borough.

While in 1996 a continuous growth in population of up to 300,000 people was expected by 2010, a more complex development took place: After a peak in 1993 with nearly 3,48 Million inhabitants the number decreased to 3,44 Million in 2000. Since then, the number has increased quite continuously to 3,47 Million inhabitants (relating to mandatorily registered residents who have stated Berlin to be their main place of residence, date: 31.12.2012, State Statistical Institute Berlin-Brandenburg).

Lower population density results not only from high proportions of green and open spaces and lesser degrees of development. Lower density can also be due to a large amount of small business, trade and service use, as well as public facilities, etc.. These property areas are included in calculations of population density, as long as they are not separated in an own segment of a block.

Detailed and current data bases of population density in specific urban areas are useful for the planning of various public departments. The Department of Urban Planning, for example, uses these figures as a basis for planning such infrastructure facilities as schools, businesses and playgrounds. Landscape Planning uses these figures for analyzing the number and accessibility of green spaces near to residential areas (cf. Map 06.05, SenStadt 2009). Knowledge of population density also allows conclusions to be drawn regarding environmental stresses, such as calculating the number of persons exposed to road traffic noise in their dwellings (cf. Map 07.05, SenStadtUm 2013).

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