Healthy Spaces & Places Healthy Spaces & Places

Design Principles

Environments for All People

 Federation Square, Melbourne
Federation Square, Melbourne
Source: Planning Institute of Australia

Environments for all people means that neighbourhoods, towns and cities are safe and easily accessible for all members of the community regardless of age, ability or income, with a suitable range of facilities and services that are available to all. The aim is for people to feel connected to, and part of, a community.

How to Achieve?

  • Promote a sense of wellbeing and involvement  through interventions and initiatives, such as walking groups for older people, walking school buses and activities and facilities for young people
  • Ensure there are opportunities for all members of the community to interact and that plans and designs acknowledge and are responsive to local communities.
  • Ensure there are opportunities for participation by all user groups in planning and decision-making
  • Plan well designed public spaces where people can meet and congregate
  • Include facilities such as children’s’ playgrounds, picnic areas, shade, shelter, seating, toilets, drinking fountains, facilities and equipment and activity spaces for youth such as basketball hoops


  • Provision of community infrastructure and facilities that is accessible by public transport and with good pedestrian and cycle connections
  • A range of community services targeting specific needs groups such as children, young people and older residents
  • Local education facilities as well as child care,  recreation and community facilities to increase social capital by providing opportunities for residents to connect
  • Adaptable and flexible buildings so use can change to meet changing community needs and expectations


  • Unsuitably sited facilities that are remote from the communities they serve and difficult to access except by car
  • Provision of community facilities without adequate resourcing and management.
  • Barriers that divide residential areas, such as heavily trafficked roads or large commercial uses
  • Rough surfaces and gradients that make use difficult or impossible for wheeled transport users

Click here for more detailed information on design and planning for Environments for All People.

Download Full Text
Environments for All People.pdf


Access and Universal Design

Build for All

The Landcom Guidelines - Community Centre and Universal Housing Design

Related Design Principles
Safety & Surveillance

Social Inclusion






Last updated on 17th August, 2009

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