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Public-images-osm logo.svg landuse = residential
An area with predominantly houses or apartment buildings. Edit or translate this description.
Rendering in OSM Carto
Group: Landuse
Used on these elements
may be used on nodesshould not be used on waysmay be used on areasshould not be used on relations
Useful combination
Status: de facto

An area of land dedicated to, or having predominantly residential buildings such as houses or apartment buildings.

If there is a small (one company/property) area of commercial (or similar) landuse within an otherwise residential area, you can still decide to use landuse=residential for the outline of the whole larger area as a preliminary solution. You could later draw a separate area tagged with landuse=commercial for that commercial establishment.

The landuse tag is mostly used for larger areas and not at parcel granularity; as described above, a single shop in a residential area might not always warrant an extra "commercial" landuse.

Of course, if the change in landuse is significant, then it makes sense to map it. Significance can either come from size - if there is a whole shopping mall in a residential area, one would probably map this separately - but even something small can be relevant. This is the mapper's decision. If you want to make a hole for another landuse inside a residential area, you can use a multipolygon relation for that (but usually it will not be needed, if you map at a detailed level you will not include the streets so that the commercial landuse will always be at the edge of the landuse).

The extent of the area should mark the boundary of known residential use, not the extent of the whole town or village.

Separation from roads

It is disputed whether a (small) road leading through a residential area should be included in the landuse, but generally (public) roads are a different landuse than private land. Some mappers split residential areas into blocks that do not contain any streets; others restrict such splitting to major thoroughfares, and still others draw one big residential area around a whole town (which is considered preliminary by the majority of mappers).

If you choose to let a landuse area end at a road, you have a choice of either re-using the nodes of the way representing the road, or drawing the boundary using new nodes next to the road. Both methods have their advantages and disadvantages, and neither is clearly "wrong" as long as highway landuse is not mapped. Still it is suggested to let the residential landuse end at the actual border and not extend it to the centre of the road for various reasons, e.g. to simplify later refinements (highway landuse), not to locate things on the public land (road) in adjacent landuses and to avoid inexperienced mappers accidentally connecting roads to landuses rather than other roads.

If you had access to land parcel data, you'd probably draw the ways with landuse=residential along the parcel edges, which extend up to the right-of-way of the road. Though note that there could be parcels or part of parcels that are designated for residential use, but not yet used for residential purposes. For example farmland or forest which is scheduled for being turned into a residential area is not landuse=residential - even if split into parcels already. Also, parcel can be Template:Landuse only in part.

Named residential areas

Most landuse=residential objects in OSM are nameless, simply indicating general areas used for residences. However, housing estates and other specific residential areas are also often given their own landuse=residential area plus the correct name=*. "name" in that context is the name of the particular residential development or housing estate, not the name of the whole town or village. For housing estates you might also like to use operator=* to indicate who runs the estate (e.g., the local government).

There are also place tags such as place=neighbourhood, place=quarter and place=suburb, normally used on a node, for named parts of a town, city or large village.

Apartment complexes

In many areas, apartment complexes are mapped as landuse=residential, residential=apartments. This can be combined with name=* for named apartment complexes.

When not to use

This tag should only be used for areas dedicated to and actually used for residential purposes. It should not be used

  • for areas with buildings of unknown use
  • as an abstract wrapper around buildings grouping them without a difference between residential landuse within and other landuses around being observable
  • as additional tag for urban administrative units

Related tags

See also