Healthy Spaces & Places Healthy Spaces & Places

Design Principles

Safety and Surveillance

Good lighting and active street frontages can improve the perception of safety at night time
Lighting and active street frontages can improve the perception of safety
particularly at night time
Source: Pamela Miller Photographer

Perceptions of safety influence the nature and extent that people use spaces and places. Street and place design that aims to reduce crime can enhance the physical, mental and social wellbeing of a community.

Public spaces, walking and cycling routes, entrances and exits to buildings and public transport facilities that are designed for safe use can improve perceptions of safety and encourage people to use them and therefore be more physically active.

The provision of well-designed and maintained places and facilities where all members of the community can meet and socialise can also enhance social capital and increase the likelihood of people feeling safe and secure.  

How to Achieve

  • Sightlines – ensure that routes have good sightlines to entrances and exits with landscaping pruned to ensure that sightlines are clear and opportunities for surveillance enabled
  • Lighting - lighting of public spaces and routes used at night can improve safety and surveillance and increase useage
  • Active frontages – design buildings to provide natural surveillance of the street. For example, windows overlooking footpaths, and building entrances facing the street that are easily visible and accessible from the street frontage and other building exits that are lit and have direct links to car parks and footpaths
  • Public open space - locate parks, play areas and public open spaces so they are visible from adjoining buildings such as houses, streets and schools
  • Car parks - design car parks to maximise natural surveillance and pedestrian visibility and ensure that there is safe and convenient pedestrian access
  • Street crossings  - Provide street crossings on busy streets, along direct, preferred routes for pedestrians and cyclists, to schools, shops, parks and public transport stops


  • Neighbourhoods with a mix of land uses and a high level of activity on the street
  • Shopping centres and public transport settings with good connections for pedestrians and cyclists to adjoining neighbourhoods for safe use during the day and after hours use
  • Active surveillance and visibility of public spaces and parks
  • Buildings to have windows that face streets, public spaces and car parking areas
  • On-street car parking as it helps to calm traffic speeds, supports retail and commercial businesses and provides a buffer between pedestrians and roads


  • Isolated, physically segregated residential developments or ’gated communities’ or a ‘fortress’ approach to neighborhood and shopping centre design
  • Use of pedestrian underpasses that reduce opportunities for natural surveillance
  • Blank walls and fences, car parks and service areas which separate the fronts of buildings from the street, and excessive widths of garage doors fronting streets
  • Dissection of residential neighbourhoods by heavily trafficked roads
  • Dense vegetation and shrubs around pedestrian routes

Click here for more detailed information on design and planning for Safety and Surveillance.

Download Full Text
Safety and Surveillance.pdf


International Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) Association 

Hedland Safety Newtork

CPTED Guidelines for Queensland

Safer Design Guidelines for the City of Perth

Safer Design Guidelines for Victoria

Safer Places: The Planning System and Crime Prevention

Safe Speed: Promoting walking and cycling by reducing traffic speed

Your Development - Safety 

Related Design Principles

Social Inclusion

Development Types
Retirement Accommodation


Last updated on 1st April, 2011

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