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Urban design

City of Gold Coast is committed to upholding quality design and urban design principles in conjunction with our goal of protecting and enhancing our natural environment.

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Successful urban places

The Gold Coast is a sophisticated young city boasting some of the world’s most innovative and well-designed buildings, streetscaping and urban parklands. Discover the essential ingredients that make up the 15 qualities of successful urban places.

MacIntosh Island Pedestrian Bridge

Architect: Cox Rayner Architects
Photo by: Christopher Frederick Jones

Ferry Road Markets

Architect: Cox Rayner Architects
Photo by: Christopher Frederick Jones

  1. Connectivity - Greater connectivity allows a high number of movement and access connections between places, making them more accessible. Accessible places offer maximum choices and are more desirable.
  2. Variety - A variety of experiences is a key ingredient for successful spaces. Places with varied forms, uses and meanings give that experience.
  3. Adaptability and versatility - Successful places easily and economically accommodate a large range of uses and activities each day, week and season, and offer flexibility.
  4. Space and space making - People intuitively respond to well defined spaces. A successful place will contain interesting spaces where people feel comfortable.
  5. Human scale and richness - A successful urban place celebrates the centrality of the individual. The use of human dimensions (physical as well as non-physical) helps us to relate to, interpret and appreciate the building environment.
  6. Understanding - People feel more comfortable in a space if they understand it, interpret it, and find meaning in it. Its layout must allow the construction of clear mental maps of it.
  7. Edges - The arrangement of the edges of successful public spaces is extremely important. Dynamic, vibrant and interesting spaces are likely to have active vibrant edges.
  8. Community enhancement - Successful urban places enhance the sense of community and social interaction while strengthening the self-image of those who use it.
  9. Public and private sides - Utility areas diminish public spaces if they are placed immediately adjacent, as they have incompatibilities that are difficult to resolve.
  10. Sustainability - Successful urban spaces help sustain economic as well as social, cultural, energy and ecological outcomes.
  11. Urban greenscape - The natural landscape of the city is an integral and essential part of the urban fabric, bringing shade and comfort and visual amenity.
  12. Safety - A successful urban place is not only safe but is perceived as being safe. The physical arrangement of a place greatly contributes to personal safety.
  13. Environmental sensitivity - A successful urban place is sensitive to the environment and responds to its natural and geographical conditions.
  14. Human needs - A good place will consider and provide for all human needs.
  15. Access - Good places are accessible to all members of the community.


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