Healthy Spaces & Places Healthy Spaces & Places

Design Principles


Footpath, Adelaide
Attractive pedestrian paths can encourage walking
Tree-lined footpath, Adelaide
Source: Planning Institute of Australia

Aesthetics is the study and appreciation of beauty and good taste. 

In relation to public spaces and places aesthetics relates to the attractiveness of an area and in particular the combined effects of various elements such as the quality of the architectural and landscape design, the quality of views and vistas, and the arrangement of elements such as furniture in the public realm.  It requires a connection between architectural and landscape quality, the experiencing of attractions, and the use of the city.

Attractiveness of the neighbourhood environment is associated with overall experience and use such as walking, cycling, viewing and conversation.  If a neighbourhood is attractive it invites people to use and enjoy its public spaces and places and to feel safe in doing so.

When people use community spaces and associated assets they feel part of a community and develop a sense of place.  These two elements are important in promoting wellbeing as they can form part of an individual’s identity, increase an individual’s perceived quality of life and motivate people to be even more active and participate in group programs.

How to Achieve

  • Create attractive and welcoming streets by designing active, interesting and welcoming street frontages with contiguous development
  • Use buildings to frame public places and form a distinct street frontage which creates a pleasing pedestrian edge and human scale
  • Planting of broad canopy trees along streets to provide shade, improve the visual amenity of the street and create a pleasant environment for pedestrians and cyclists
  • Creation of stimulating and attractive routes by designing walking and cycling routes to, and around, local landmarks and points of interest.
  • Parks and open spaces designed to provide pleasant places for people to sit, meet and talk.
Rule of thumb
Recognise the connection and relationship between people and their spatial setting and the role that attractive public spaces and good building design play in creating a sense of place and promoting an individual’s wellbeing.


  • Inactive development, such as carparks, service areas, and blank facades fronting streets and pedestrian and cycling routes
  • Spaces with no seating or other elements for sitting
  • Street verges with insufficient space for street tree planting and public furniture.
  • Poorly maintained parks and open space

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Healthy by Design: healthy, active communities

Public Art Guidelines - Landcom 

Standards Australia

Related Design Principles
Parks and Open Space




Last updated on 10th February, 2016

Sponsors This project was funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing.