Good Urban Design a Priority for NSW Regional Areas: Government Architect


Urban design has a crucial role to play in regional New South Wales to ensure everyone has the opportunity to enjoy a great quality of life and to help create healthy, happy and prosperous regional communities.

Regional NSW is home to many vibrant and diverse cities, towns and villages next to sandy beaches, rolling tablelands, alpine snow fields and the vast outback.

The unique conditions of each of these regional towns are very different from each other and from those in metropolitan centres.

Changes to population, industry, how people work, and climate all have impacts on how these regional areas need to adapt for the future.

Through the 2018-19 budget, the NSW government is providing an additional $2.1 billion in Restart NSW funds to infrastructure projects in regional NSW.

We’re working with local councils, architects, developers and communities to ensure this investment helps to enhance and create great places to live, work and play.

The NSW Government Architect’s Office recently released the draft Urban Design for Regional NSW for community feedback.

The guideline builds on the principles in our Better Placed design policy for improving the built environment and provides practical guidance to councils that aims to help with the response to the challenges and opportunities facing regional NSW.

The guide provides advice to local councils to help them achieve the best outcomes for their towns through improving the design of public domain and open spaces, town centres and main streets, new homes in existing areas and the creation of new neighbourhoods.

It puts good urban design front and centre to create healthier built environments, improve liveability and help regional NSW communities reach their potential.

Good urban design means takes broad view of the ongoing creation of cities and towns, balancing social, environmental and economic factors.

This means making sure infrastructure, open space, buildings and the public domain that connects them all together are all managed in a coordinated way.

Good urban design protects and enhances the unique natural and cultural assets of a place, which in turn can attract new residents, businesses, jobs and investment.

Good urban design provides people with safer, more sustainable and more attractive places to live and work that positively influence community identity and help to promote longer term health benefits.

Good urban design creates better places that are healthy, responsive, integrated, equitable, and resilient.

The draft guidelines are on exhibition until 31 October 2018.


Olivia Hyde is the NSW acting government architect with over 25 years of experience in Australia and overseas.

Olivia has overseen the development of a range of measures to support and promote greater design quality in the built environment across the state, including most recently the pilot State Design Review Panel.

The Urban Developer will occasionally publish opinion pieces written by outside contributors representing a wide range of viewpoints.

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