Healthy Spaces & Places Healthy Spaces & Places

Development Types


children crossing at Canberra school
Safe crossing points at schools are important
Source: Pamela Miller Photographer

Schools are located in most neighbourhoods in Australia and with appropriate design, siting and access they can support active lifestyles for children.  School buildings and grounds can also provide facilities for the broader community, where suitable.

When identifying new sites or designing new schools, consideration should be given to the school being:

  • centrally located for the school catchment
  • on accessible and through streets but not heavily trafficked to minimise traffic congestion around the school
  • co-located with other community facilities (libraries and performing arts) to develop a focal point for the community
  • co-located with and sharing with public playfields,

and having

  • appropriate design of surrounding roads, and pedestrian and cycle networks to provide safe access routes to the school
  • links to public transport where suitable, especially for secondary schools
  • bike storage facilities on site
  • adequate vehicular access and drop off and parking arrangements
  • adjoining land uses and resultant traffic generation that will be compatible with safety considerations for school aged children
  • access to the school facilities by the broader community to ensure active use after hours
  • overlooking and surveillance opportunities from adjoining uses, and
  • space for suitable playing fields and sports facilities within the school grounds.

When upgrading an established school site, many of the above considerations also apply.

Click here for more detailed information and practice advice on health and planning for schools.

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Australian Research Alliance
for Children and Health

NSW Department of Education Healthy Kids web site

Shared use of school facilities

Travel Smart Australia Walking School Bus

WA Liveable Neighbourhoods

Case Studies
Brisbane Council School Travel Programs

Related Design Principles

Environments for All People

Safety and Surveillance 



Last updated on 1st April, 2011

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