Urban design principles & guidelines

Key design principles

The Gold Coast is a sophisticated young city that has some of the world's most innovative and well-designed buildings, streetscaping and urban parklands. Excellence and innovation in urban and architectural design makes a positive contribution to the Gold Coast's image and results in development that is responsive, connected, engaged, subtropical, aesthetic and adaptable.

Discover the 6 key design principles that will inform urban design and built form outcomes in the city. The application of these principles will ensure buildings and places support local identity and achieve excellence in urban and architecture design to make a positive contribution to our city's image.

  1. Responsive: Development is designed to respond to the existing built form character, landscape, climate and neighbourhood character to reinforce a strong sense of place and identity.
  2. Connected: Development provides for connected, safe and accessible places to activate street life and pedestrian-friendly spaces.
  3. Engaged: Development is interesting, aesthetically pleasing and provides activated building edges to contribute to a vibrant, safe and inclusive public environment.
  4. Subtropical: Development is designed to respect and function efficiently, with integrated landscaping design that optimises our unique indoor and outdoor lifestyle.
  5. Aesthetic: Development is high quality, with attractive buildings and public spaces that exhibit design excellence and enrich our neighbourhoods and amenity.
  6. Adaptable: Development is flexible, diverse and efficient and supports resilience of people and places over time.

Download our booklet: Six key design principles(PDF, 4MB)

Urban design guidelines

The Gold Coast has many places, each with distinct character and subtropical lifestyle. The city values high quality, design-led solutions to reinforce local identity and sense of place. These urban design guidelines help foster better design outcomes across the city.

Resilient home design guidelines

Resilience through design and development is a critical part of the City’s response to natural hazards. Building resilience through preparedness helps communities to live through flood and fire events when they occur.

Our bushfire and flood resilient design guidelines focus on building community resilience. The guidelines provide resources and resilient design options that can be considered in the design of new dwellings, as well as renovation and improvement ideas for existing dwellings. 

Effective resilient site planning and building design will better prepare communities and their properties to mitigate bushfire and flood risks and reduce potential property damage costs.

Streetscape design guidelines

The streetscape design guidelines provide clear direction for the development industry about the desired design and spatial layout of streetscapes in front of new developments within specific parts of our city.

This includes:

  • type of streetscape arrangement
  • width and materials used for footpaths
  • street furniture
  • street tree species.

The guidelines streamline the process for developers by clearly articulating Council's preferred outcomes, ensuring developers deliver high-quality streetscapes with low maintenance costs for Council.

The citywide streetscape design principles define the key design principles and provide guidance in the development of more localised and detailed guidelines.

The guidelines are delivering improved streetscapes for the city. The Southport Priority Development Area streetscape guidelines were published in 2014. In 2019, an audit showed that over 1.3 kilometres of improved streetscapes have been delivered as part of new developments. These improvements are delivered by a developer at no cost to rate payers.

For more information, please contact us on 07 5582 8875