Healthy Spaces & Places Healthy Spaces & Places

Development Types

Rural and Regional Development

Quirindi, New South Wales
Source: Edge Land Planning

Rural and regional Australia is made up of a large number of communities of varying sizes. There are large regional cities like Ballarat, country towns including Albany in Western Australia to small country towns and villages like Maleny in Queensland and Millthorpe in NSW. They all have an individual character which is based on their history, location and development pattern.

Like metropolitan areas, urban areas in rural Australia offer a wide range of services and facilities to the people who live and work there and to the residents and workers in the town’s hinterland. Access to many of the services required for daily living is easier in these towns than in larger metropolitan areas, because of the towns’ smaller size and development patterns.

For regional centres public transport in the form of regular bus services can provide alternative transport options for the population to access services and facilities. However, in towns and villages public transport is limited to taxis and community transport providers. There are also limited bus services between the towns and villages and regional centres and limited rail transport available to most of these people.

Roads are often not sealed and do not have kerb and guttering which makes it difficult to have on-road cycle paths. In addition the surface of the roads is not as smooth as in metropolitan areas and this too is a challenge. Pedestrian and cycle routes in regional and rural towns are important transport options for residents that need to be planned and maintained.

Health & Planning Fact
The importance of encouraging active lifestyles such as walking, cycling and public transport has the same importance for communities living in rural and regional Australia as for those living in metropolitan areas.  From a public health perspective, a recent study found that those living in high walkable neighbourhoods spent almost twice as much time weekly (137 minutes) walking for local errands compared with those living in low walkable neighbourhoods, and about half as many residents were overweight (Saelens, Sallis, Black and Chen 2003Íž and Saelens, Sallis and Frank, 2003).

Click here for more detailed information and practice advice on health and planning for Rural and Regional development.

Download Full Text
Rural and Regional.pdf


Centre for Sustainable Regional Communities

Urban Ecology Australia: Walkable Cities

Regional Entry Point for the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government

National Institute for Rural and Regional Australia

Case Studies
Bendigo City Centre, Victoria

Macedon Ranges Guidelines for Residential Subdivision, Victoria

Renwick Subdivision, New South Wales

Related Design Principles
Active Transport


Supporting Infrastructure

Last updated on 16th June, 2009

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