Open Spaces

Easily accessible parks and public open spaces provide places for people to walk and cycle to, in and around. Public open space is increasingly important with the decline in private open space and the reduced capacity to pursue active leisure at home that entails. The contribution of the public domain (streets, civic spaces, commercial areas) should also be considered as part of a diverse open space network.

Parks and open spaces provide active recreation and play as well as social opportunities for children and youth. They also offer pleasant places for older adults to walk to and meet in. The value of parks and open space corridors (such as foreshores and greenways') can be enhanced by the provision of paths and trails.

As parks attract many trips, they should be located with other community facilities where possible and have clear and direct walking and cycling routes to them. This will improve their accessibility and hence their value to the community.

Design objectives

  • To provide a range of public open spaces within walking distance from dwellings.
  • To design open spaces which are flexible, providing the opportunity for a variety of uses and activities to occur (such as community events), and responsive, to the diversity of the surrounding community (ie catering for different ages and social groups).
  • To clearly define walking and cycling routes that pass through open spaces and to incorporate these routes into the broader walking and cycling network.

Design considerations

  • Provide open space within safe, comfortable walking distance from dwellings, as well as in or adjacent to key destinations, such as town centres.
  • Connect public open space to the local and regional walking and cycling network with safe pedestrian crossings leading to or near park entrances. Surround open space with a high quality urban environment to encourage walking and cycling to it.
  • Encourage active recreation through the provision of a range of well-designed facilities such as children's play equipment, basketball rings, cricket practice nets, netball courts and tennis courts. Design open space which is conducive to walking (ie a 'route' of adequate length), not just organised sporting activites.
  • Create and maintain useable, attractive and pleasant places for people to walk, cycle, train, sit, meet and talk.
  • Promote safety and amenity through good design, such as drought-resistant shade trees, natural surveillance from surrounding uses, seating, lighting, regular maintenance and clear and convenient entry points. Parks should be landscaped to create interest and maximise visibility. Where appropriate, parks should be well lit to cater to increasing demands for use outside of traditional hours.
  • Cluster compatible land uses within or at the edge of parks or open space corridors, such as cafes and restaurants, child care centres and indoor leisure/sports centres. This will help reduce the land required for parking and improve accessibility.

Key references

Additional resources

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