The issue of density has received very little attention from our planners and from councillors as a whole. Yet it is crucial to an understanding of what is happening and what is forecast. Remember that Glen Eira is already one of the densest municipalities in the state and it would seem that council is gearing up for even more!

According to Victoria in Future, 2016 Glen Eira’s density (persons per square km) was 3,544 based on 2011 Census figures. If we look at the 2016 Census data this figure has now risen to 3,621 per square km across the entire municipality. What these figures don’t tell us is ‘residential density’ – that is, the number of persons per square km of residentially zoned land. This measure provides a far more realistic reflection of liveability and ‘capacity’ for that matter. It also reveals those areas that are probably under extreme pressure in terms of infrastructure, traffic, etc.

Our figures are based on the State Government’s spatial mapping facility and date from soon after the introduction of the residential zones in August 2013. Since this time there have been plenty of changes to industrial zoned land to either Mixed Use or Commercial. These latter zonings allow residential development as opposed to the former ‘industrial’ zoning. Hence, our figures are in all likelihood an underestimation of what is the current situation.

Our calculation of ‘residentially zoned land’ includes the following – Commercial 1; Mixed Use; Neighbourhood Residential (NRZ); GRZ ; RGZ. Parks, roads, public utilities, etc. have been excluded. We concentrate exclusively on land that is deemed suitable for ‘residential’.

Our analysis reveals several fascinating results that are a major cause for concern.

  • Many of our ‘neighbourhood centres’ are the densest in the municipality – some exceeding the so called major activity centres (ie McKinnon, Ormond, Caulfield North, Murrumbeena).
  • If this is indeed the case, then it reveals again the disaster of the 2013 zoning where developers exploited the zoning in these smaller centres rather than the major activity centres (apart from Carnegie that is).
  • Yet, when work on these neighbourhood centres will be completed is anyone’s guess. In the meantime the zoning remains and that means more development if current trends continue.
  • There is absolutely no excuse for council not to address the zoning in these neighbourhood centres – especially if the plan is to increase the potential for more development in the major activity centres.


In 2013 Bentleigh had 4,123,990 square metres of residentially zoned land. Converted to square km, this equals 4.123 square km or 412.39 hectares. The 2016 census tells us that Bentleigh’s current population stands at 16,153. That means that Bentleigh has a residential density of –3,917 per

The same process has been used for the following neighbourhood centes –


1,793,474 sq.m of residentially zoned land converts to 1.793 SQ.KM. Population is 8417 = 4,694 PERSONS PER SQUARE KM


1,392, 499 = 13.92 square km – 6064 POPULATION = 4,356 PERSONS PER SQUARE KM


2,237,382  – 22.27 – 9926 POPULATION = 4457 PERSONS PER SQUARE KM


3,798,341 = 3.798 SQ.KM = 15269 POPULATION = 4,020 PERSONS PER SQUARE KM

This data flies in the face of council’s past strategic planning. And it should have been obvious 12 months into the new zones. When huge swathes of our neighbourhood centres are zoned for 3 storeys, why wouldn’t developers go for these areas instead of the more expensive and problematic commercial zoning in the major activity centres? Leaving neighbourhood centre planning to the end is not a solution – not whilst more and more development is occurring in these centres.