Public space tools for all

Published: 20 October 2020

Public space tools for all

The NSW Government today launched the draft NSW Public Spaces Charter and the draft Evaluation Tool for Public Space and Public Life - two initiatives that will enable more quality public spaces for every community across NSW.

The draft NSW Public Spaces Charter is a resource to support the planning, design, management and activation of public spaces in NSW. The draft Evaluation Tool will help government, councils, industry and communities identify how to deliver more and better quality green, open and public space.

Alex O’Mara, Group Deputy Secretary at the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment, said community input is now sought for the draft Charter and Evaluation Tool.  Both support the Premier’s Priority for Greener Public Spaces, which aims to increase walkable access to quality public space.

“COVID-19 is changing the way we use public space and has shone a light on how vital these places are to support healthy, happy, resilient communities. We want to use everything in our toolbox to consolidate and improve what we have and create more. We’re asking the community to help us design a tool that will allow people to tell us what they like about public spaces and where we can improve”, Ms O’Mara said.

The draft Charter identifies ten principles, developed with evidence-based research and consultation with public space experts, that will guide planning, delivery and management of quality public space. The principles are: open and welcoming; community-focused; culture and creativity; local character and identity; green and resilient; healthy and active; local business and economies; safe and secure; designed for people; and well-managed.

A series of videos will promote the ten principles of the NSW Public Spaces Charter, including one featuring NSW Resilience Commissioner, Shane Fitzsimmons, supporting the ‘green and resilient’ principle.

The draft Evaluation Tool is a simple site survey, developed with an international peer review panel, that anyone can use to evaluate a public space and identify its strengths and areas for improvement. The free download from the Department’s Festival of Place website is the first step to identify how to improve and optimise our public space.

The draft NSW Public Spaces Charter and draft Evaluation Tool will be on public exhibition 20 October – 17 November 2020. All NSW Government agencies will be asked to endorse the final Charter. Local government, industry and groups caring for and using public space across NSW will be encouraged to adopt the principles in their strategies and planning.

The draft NSW Public Spaces Charter and draft Evaluation Tool are components of the year-long Festival of Place.

The draft NSW Public Spaces Charter and draft Evaluation Tool are available at: www.dpie.nsw.gov.au/festival-of-place

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