[Tagging] building = house vs detached.

Colin Smale colin.smale at xs4all.nl
Mon Jul 23 15:02:49 UTC 2018

Martin, you might not agree with some of the past architectural choices
in the UK, but the point is that a "single-floor dwelling" (i.e. ground
floor only) is a called a bungalow, and this can exist in many forms. It
can be detached, terraced, end-of-terrace or semi-detached. The last two
can be only subtly different - if there is a terraced house in the
middle, you would call it end-of-terrace and not semi-detached; if there
are only two dwellings joined together, they are semi-detached. All as
per (British) English usage of course. An end-of-terrace house may also
have an identical layout to the terraced house next door - it might not
have any extra windows or land at the side. 

There are also houses which are joined only at the first floor level (or
possibly some other combination of levels), which I learnt to call

The point is that whether a dwelling is a bungalow or not, is orthogonal
to whether it is {detached, semi-detached, terraced, end-of-terrace}. It
is perfectly possible for a semi-detached bungalow to be attached to a
semi-detached non-bungalow. 

So "bungalow" as an attribute is actually just an alias for something
like "floors=1" where the floor is the ground floor. 

The RICS (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors) ought to know:


Let's stop conflating concepts and worrying about what things are
"called", and describe indisputable characteristics of objects, in this
case how many floors and how/whether the dwelling is connected to its
neighbours. The use of house=terrace may be justified for a transitional
situation where a whole terrace has been mapped as a single building and
not yet split into individual units. When it is split, it is just a
house - the geometry (shared nodes) will show that it connects to the
adjacent properties and allow you to derive that it is terraced. 

To help you visualise what terraced bungalows look like, here's an


Let's ban house=bungalow. It's a house because it is intended for people
to live in it. 

By the way, the Dutch national register of buildings allows for a
complex mapping of dwelling units to physical buildings. A dwelling,
which has an address, may be composed of multiple building units (e.g. a
granny flat or outbuilding can be part of the same dwelling). A building
may be composed of multiple building units (e.g. apartments). Not all
buildings are part of a dwelling unit, and not all man-made
constructions are buildings. How do we link parts of a dwelling together
in OSM? I guess a relation with type=house containing the parts as

On 2018-07-23 15:00, Martin Koppenhoefer wrote:

> sent from a phone
>> On 23. Jul 2018, at 14:13, Colin Smale <colin.smale at xs4all.nl> wrote:
>> The owner would say he lived in a bungalow. No stairs, ground floor only.
>> I don't think "terraced bungalow" exists as a phrase, but as a concept it certainly does.
> it does not seem to be a very promising concept though. Terraced houses are usually seen as a compromise for people who want an independent house, but cannot afford a detached one. Terraced houses are cheaper because they need less ground (i.e. you can usually find them where the ground is expensive to buy), expensive ground means you'll try to use it intensively, which is contradicting the bungalow concept.
> Terraced houses are almost always narrow, deep and relatively high.
> Maybe in the UK with its tradition of terraced houses there could be a cultural interest in something like terraced bungalows and there is also an energetic advantage from reducing external walls, but overall there's little danger this will become a widespread concept for housing. 
> Cheers,
> Martin
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