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Urban Design Guidelines for Victoria


What are the Urban Design Guidelines for Victoria?

The Victorian State Government developed the Urban Design Guidelines for Victoria to support state agencies, local government and the urban development sector to deliver, functional and enjoyable places for people to live, work, and spend leisure time. The guidelines aim to create neighbourhoods that foster community interaction and make it easy for people of all ages and abilities to live healthy lifestyles and engage in regular physical activity. These places may be urban areas in metropolitan Melbourne and in regional cities and towns.

What do the guidelines aim to achieve?

The Urban Design Guidelines for Victoria assist in creating places that are:

  • accessible, safe, diverse and provide choice
  • enjoyable, engaging and comfortable to be in and move around
  • conducive to people being more physically active
  • accommodating of people of all abilities, ages and cultures
  • distinctive and celebrate their social, cultural and natural heritage.

Why we need urban design guidelines

High quality places support the social, cultural, economic and environmental wellbeing of our communities, and are critical to the development of competitive and efficient cities and towns. New development and changes in land uses should respond to their context and enhance places of value to the community. Good urban design delivers places that are safe, healthy, functional and enjoyable.

What is urban design?

In these guidelines, urban design focuses on the design of the public realm, its public spaces, streets, parks and paths. Urban design informs the design of infrastructure and buildings in as far as they affect the function and amenity of the public realm.

What is the scope and statutory role of the Urban Design Guidelines for Victoria?

The Urban Design Guidelines for Victoria are policy guidelines within the State Planning Policy Framework of the Victoria Planning Provisions. The guidelines must be considered when assessing the design and built form of new development where relevant.

The guidelines use best practice knowledge and advice underpinned by sound evidence.

When to use the guidelines

Decisions affecting the public realm

The guidelines assist decision making and are intended for use by those initiating urban development and public realm works, by those assessing or reviewing development proposals for planning in so far as they affect the public realm, and by members of the public who have an interest in urban development and public realm design.

Investing in the public realm

The guidelines may be used to inform strategic investment in community infrastructure and public realm assets. The guidelines may also be used to develop area specific urban design policies and frameworks.

Applying the guidelines in context

In applying the guidelines, designers and decision-makers need to determine the relevance of the specific guideline in the context of the proposed development.

However, there may be ways to achieve the objectives other than through the responses described in these guidelines.

Where designers believe that a guideline should not apply, they should be able to express clear reasons why this is so and put forward an alternative way to meet the objective