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Tue October 27 2020

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Queensland sets rules for building healthy neighbourhoods

16 Dec 19 More footpaths, trees and parks will have to be included in new residential developments in Queensland, Australia, under changes set out by the state government.

Minister for planning Cameron Dick said the changes followed extensive consultation with the community, industry and local government. “Earlier this year we released our proposed model code for neighbourhood design and asked Queenslanders which elements should be made mandatory,” he said.

“There was an overwhelming response to this, with more than 20,000 pieces of feedback received,” he added. Residents, industry groups and councils all agreed we could do more to create active and healthy neighbourhoods for Queenslanders. So we’ve listened and acted, introducing five mandatory elements, while leaving cul-de-sacs in the hands of councils to determine standards best suited to their local areas.”

The five mandatory neighbourhood design elements being introduced are:

  • an average of one tree every 15m on both sides of all streets;
  • footpaths on at least one side of residential streets and both sides of main streets;
  • each lot must be within a five-minute walk – approximately 400m -of a local, district or regional park or other open space area;
  • blocks must be a maximum of 250m;
  • there must be connected street patterns that respond to the landscape of local areas.

Heart Foundation Queensland CEO Stephen Vines said it was important new neighbourhoods were designed to get Queenslanders moving. “Good design is at the heart of healthy living, and the way our neighbourhoods are designed is connected to how much physical activity we do,” he said. “With exercise levels low and obesity on the rise, we must create walking-friendly environments that encourage Queenslanders to be more active, more often.

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“Introducing minimum standards across the state will go a long way towards encouraging residents to be more active. It will also help to reduce the risk of heart disease, our single biggest killer, and other chronic conditions.”

Dick said the model code and the mandatory elements were about getting the fundamentals of new development right, in a consistent manner across the state. “This is a step in the right direction to enhance quality of life for all Queenslanders, regardless of where they live,” he said. “These changes prioritise people and walking, and will ensure the foundation of neighbourhood design in Queensland is right.”

Further consultation will now take place with industry and local government to finalise the technical aspects of how mandatory elements of the model code will be implemented.

The revised model code is expected to come into effect in the first half of 2020.

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