Urban areas are statistically defined areas without administrative or legal basis. They are characterised by high population density with many built environment features where people and buildings are located close together for residential, cultural, productive, trade, and social purposes.
Urban areas are delineated using the following criteria. They:
- form a contiguous cluster of one or more SA2s
- contain an estimated resident population of more than 1,000 people and usually have a population density of more than 400 residents or 200 address points per square kilometre
- have a high coverage of built physical structures and artificial landscapes
- have strong economic ties where people gather together to work, and for social, cultural, and recreational interaction
- have planned development within the next 5–8 years.
Their hierarchical subdivision is into:
- major urban areas
- large urban areas
- medium urban areas
- small urban areas.
Urban boundaries are independent of local government and other administrative boundaries, that is, an urban area may be contained within one or more local government region or administrative areas. The Richmond urban area, which is mainly in the Tasman District, is the only urban area that crosses territorial authority boundaries and includes an SA2 that is in the Nelson City territorial authority.
See also ‘Major urban area’, ‘Large urban area’, ‘Medium urban area’, ‘Rural area’ and ‘Small urban area’ in this definitions group.