Quality of the public realm

Hill St, Emu Park – QLD, AUS ( facilitated the stakeholder workshop for this street improvement on the Capricorn Coast. We ended up with the majority of the town there with plenty of great ideas and comments!  They would remind me about their issue/idea every time I went back!  We were able to underground the power-lines, widen footpaths and provide pedestrian amenities. Unfortunately, they really wanted palms (which don't provide a lot of shade).


Quality of the public realm: sense of well-being & amenity.


The creation of places for people is a fundamental outcome for urban design. Quality public realm provides a sense of well-being and amenity for locals and visitors alike.

For places to be well-used and well-loved, they must be safe, comfortable, varied and attractive. They also need to be distinctive, and offer variety, choice and fun. Vibrant places offer opportunities for meeting people, playing in the street and watching the world go by.

(Llewelyn-Davies, 2000, p. 14)

As a lot of our favourite places are pretty plain and sometimes 'gritty' (grotty) - this quality is in the place preference category. We appreciate places for different reasons. Therefore, we must design places which meet the existing and expected needs and aspirations of all users. To do this we must ask them. Place roles discusses user surveys and Place tools discusses psychographic profiling – one approach to achieve this.

Derived from the Qualities of Successful Places in the Councillor's Guide to Urban Design (Urban Intiatives, 2003).  

Place Drivers

  1. Character
  2. Diversity
  3. Accessibility
  4. Fit & function
  5. Animators
  6. Continuity and enclosure
  7. Consistency & variety
  8. Legibility
  9. Structure
  10. Features
  11. Social Fabric
  12. Sustainability

Place Preference

  1. The quality of the public realm
  2. Safety
  3. Creativity
  4. Sensory pleasure

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