Public spaces

We know that public life needs to be at the top of our agenda and we are taking great care to accommodate for the people populating our cities - our residents.


Why this is a focus for us

With the human dimension as a starting point Jan Gehl has through the last 30 years worked to improve city environments in Denmark and abroad.

In support of the Sustainable Sydney 2030 vision for city spaces that are connected, safe and attractive, we have looked at Gehl’s ideas of creating a stronger ‘coherence between the life lived and the planned or existing building structures’. 

We know that public life needs to be at the top of our agenda and we are taking great care to accommodate for the people populating our cities - our residents.

How we are achieving this

There are a number of strategies and plans that guide public domain improvements in the local area to bring life and vitality into our public spaces.

Public domain improvement works are guided by 3 types of documents:

  • strategies and plans
  • design codes
  • technical details

Gehl Architects' studies

Gehl Architects has been commissioned to undertake various studies in the city.

One of the studies analysed public life and space to help create quality urban environments. The report provides a blueprint to transform our city centre into a welcoming, public transport-orientated, green, connected, and distinctive place.

Strategies and plans

These documents help guide the planning and design process across our city.

Transforming Sydney, city centre public domain plan: The innovative and transformative ideas from Sustainable Sydney 2030 will progressively make changes to city life. This plan is currently being developed to set the strategy and programming behind city centre transformations.

Place specific plans and design codes

Our design codes set the guidelines for all public domain improvements in our area, including:

  • streets
  • footpaths
  • landscaping
  • public spaces.

The following design codes apply to development applications for public domain works:

The Sydney Streets Technical Specifications 2013 is the companion document to the public domain design codes.

Several public domain strategies have been prepared for place-specific developments within the local area.

Inclusive and accessible public spaces

The inclusive and accessible public domain policy guides an inclusive and accessible public domain and enables people with disability who live, work in or visit the city to experience greater independence and dignity, and more equitable opportunities for social and economic inclusion.

The policy and guidelines provide a framework to apply relevant Australian access standards consistently. This includes best practice approaches in the design, maintenance and management of public domain spaces such as streets, footpaths, parks and open spaces, and infrastructure including street furniture.

The policy and guidelines apply to all new and upgraded public domain spaces and infrastructure built by us or third parties such as contractors or developers as part of voluntary planning agreements. They:

  • set out minimum requirements for access and examples of best practice to strive for
  • provide flexibility for managing design challenges with guidance on design and decision making, including how to seek expert advice
  • support us and others using public spaces to maintain access by setting minimum requirements
  • describe best practice for inclusion and access during temporary disruptions such as construction, events, markets, filming and other activities.