Area types are categories in to which areas are grouped. For example, 'ward', 'town centre' and 'park' are all area types. There are all sorts of characteristics that can define a area’s type: town centres, school catchment areas, crime hotspots and Neighbourhood Watch areas are just some examples of areas types you might wish to create. Alternatively, you may simply want to map new ward boundaries for neighbourhood planning.

Follow these steps to create an area type.

  1. Visit Natural Neighbourhoods and sign in to your account.
  2. Click the Add New Area button.
  3. Click 'create your own area type'.
  4. Once you've read the text, click 'Create the area type'.
  5. Give your area type a name, e.g. Neighbourhood planning area, Hamlet, High street, etc.
  6. We provide default identifiers but feel free to customise it. The code will appear in URLs and open data.
  7. Describe your area type (optional), which can help other people understand why you use it.

Now we need to set up how your area type fits in to the hierarchy. Your area will sit inside a parent area, for example, wards sit inside their parent local authority. Any areas which span across boundaries need the correct parent. For example, a park that sits on the border of England and Wales (both countries) needs the parent 'World'. If your areas are not generic and are specific your council, choose 'Local authority' as they don't need to span your boundaries.

  1. Select a parent area type.
  2. Leave the box ticked if your areas will cover the entire parent without gaps, otherwise untick.
  3. Tick the next box if it's possible your areas could be overlapped by others of the same type, e.g. when drafting multiple versions of new ward boundaries. Otherwise leave unticked.
  4. Click 'Add'.
  5. Add more parent areas or click 'Create area type'.
You only need to add child areas if you want to see their underlying data. Child areas are the little bits that you'll use to build your area. It's advisable to add at least Ward and LSOA, but add anything that could be relevant.
  1. Select a child area type.
  2. Leave the box ticked if your area type will be filled without gaps, otherwise untick.
  3. Tick the next box if it's possible your areas could be overlapped by others of the same type, e.g. when drafting multiple versions of new ward boundaries. Otherwise leave unticked.
  4. Click 'Add'.
  5. Add more child area types or click 'Start adding some areas to this type'.
You're done! Now you can add an area.