Principle 9: Designed for place

Public space is flexible and responds to its environment to meet the needs of its community.

Design multipurpose, connected and flexible open spaces and facilities that many people can use, for many activities, both day and night. By incorporating universal design, we can design places that everyone can enjoy, regardless of their age, ability and mobility.

Where possible, co-locate public space with other uses, such as education, health or cultural facilities. This might mean including a library within a community centre or creating open space near a school.

Design public space for the unique context, community and environment in which it is located, so that it serves the right purpose and suits how it will be used and who will use it.

This might require designs that can change to meet new uses or demands. Sometimes, public space might be used for formal occasions, other times for informal gatherings. People will likely use public space in different ways, so aim to design it for complementary uses whenever possible.

Think about how people connect from public space to the ground floor of buildings – this might see the public space extending into outdoor dining areas, laneways or surrounding streets. It should feel like a continuous network of pathways and experiences that are easy and safe for people to move around.

Engage early with Aboriginal Knowledge Holders, organisations and communities to make sure knowledge about Country is considered. This could include identifying stories or narratives connected to a place that can inform its design, or to understand key movement paths or Songlines that can direct how people move in and through the public space.

This is an edited version of the charter. For the full text, please download: NSW Public Spaces Charter (PDF, 3.34 MB).