As described in the draft Protocol, “Urban design concerns the physical arrangement, appearance and functioning of towns and cities, and their relationship to the natural environment. Good urban design supports the social, cultural, economic and environmental well-being of communities that live in cities and towns, or that are affected by them. Urban design is as concerned with the process of change as it is with the actual product of development.” Urban design can play a critical role in achieving more sustainable cities in the context of pressures from climate change.
The Draft Australian Urban Design Protocol in its current form is modelled largely on the highly successful New Zealand Urban Design Protocol launched in 2004. Since that time the New Zealand Protocol has garnered significant stakeholder support with over 150 signatories to the document.
POG envisages that the Australian Urban Design Protocol could serve as a useful framework for the development of individual State/Territory Urban Design Charters where they do not yet exist or where a review of an existing Charter might be timely.
The Protocol could also serve as a contribution to the emerging national agenda on major cities and sustainable development.
The Australian Urban Design Protocol includes sections on: what is urban design? and why is urban design important? It sets out the social, cultural, economic, and environmental benefits, and addresses climate change. It also includes a mission statement on what is acknowledged and agreed.
The New Zealand Principles
The New Zealand Urban Design Protocol identifies seven essential design qualities (the Seven Cs) that create quality urban design. These have been adopted for the draft Australian Urban Design Protocol: context; character; choice; connections; creativity; custodianship; and collaboration.
The Urban Design Protocol is more than just a statement of the importance of quality urban design. It seeks to make a real difference to the quality of Australia’s towns and cities through concerted action by all stakeholders. Making it happen requires action by the signatories to the Urban Design Protocol, leadership from the Federal Government, adoption of the framework and development of specific State/Territory Urban Design Charters, identification of resources to support its implementation, monitoring and reporting, and raising awareness across Australia of the value of quality urban design.