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Cities, Towns and Neighbourhoods

The location and design of cities, towns and neighbourhoods can influence the way people travel and therefore support active lifestyles. Best practice planning and design of urban areas must address critical design considerations that will encourage walking, cycling and public transport, particularly for local trips.

A major consideration is the location and design of local destinations (or trip attractors) which are the focus of daily activities, such as work, school, shopping and recreation. Destinations such as food stores, schools, health and community facilities and cafes provide local focal points for people to walk or cycle within their neighbourhoods. Accessible centres (from city centres through to neighbourhood centres and corner shops) provide a focus for a mix of uses and walking, cycling and public transport routes, thus reducing the number of trips required, especially by car.

Local centres also provide public transport nodes, such as rail stations or bus stops, to which people can walk or cycle. The co-location of public transport nodes and a mix of land uses support walkable centres and neighbourhoods, as well as attracting a range of people of all ages into the community. Community spirit and social networks are encouraged in vibrant, mixed-use centres and in walkable neighbourhoods.

Design objective

  • To provide diverse, mixed use cities, towns and neighbourhoods which are walkable with integrated activities and facilities clustered in accessible centres and local destinations.

Design considerations

  • Concentrate the highest appropriate densities of housing, employment, services and public facilities in integrated, mixed use centres within an acceptable walking distance - 400-800 metres - of major public transport nodes, such as rail stations and high frequency bus routes.
  • Encourage a mix of housing, employment, services and public facilities in accessible centres, to provide opportunities for social interaction and activity at different times of the day and night. Provide infrastructure to support exercise, be it sports, walking or cycling.
  • Locate key land uses within safe and convenient walking distance of each other to encourage linked trips (e.g. shops, childcare centres, bus/rail interchanges).
  • Align centres within corridors to support high frequency public transport services and further boost the effectiveness of centres.
  • Provide an attractive, interconnected and legible street system which creates a sense of place, and provides a focus for community interaction.
  • Manage the location, supply and availability of parking to support walking, cycling and public transport access to major urban centres.
  • Link centres and major destinations with regional walking and cycling networks to provide safe and convenient transport links between homes, jobs, shops and recreation facilities.
  • Integrate new development with the adjoining urban structure to improve connectivity and reduce local travel distances. For example, connect housing to local bus routes and community facilities through the street and cycle network.

Key references

Additional resources

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