1. Open and welcoming
Public space belongs to everyone
Public space is free, open and welcoming for people of all ages, genders, backgrounds and abilities to use and enjoy. It should be designed and maintained to ensure that it has the highest possible level of accessibility. It should be easy to get to by walking, by cycling or on public transport.
Watch the NSW Public Spaces Charter: Open and Welcoming video.
Public spaces are where communities forge the ties that bind them
They are places for people to meet gather and interact. They support us to create the connections and experiences together that build shared histories and community and a powerful sense of belonging.
Public space allows for the expression of shared values, participation in public and civic life, and the celebration of all its diverse members. It should enable people and groups to engage in community activity that facilitates interpersonal connection and fosters the growth of mutual respect, understanding, empathy and compassion for one another.
Watch the NSW Public Spaces Charter: Community-focused video.
3. Culture and creativity
Public space is where we share our stories and values
It has layers of history and memory that are deeply embedded and accessible. It helps us understand who we are, connecting the past with the present and inviting new ways of thinking. All public space is on ancient Country and should acknowledge and celebrate the profound and enduring culture of First Nations Australians. It should provide opportunities for cultural expression and for people of all backgrounds to connect to the history of their community, while feeling included in the shaping of its future.
Watch the NSW Public Spaces Charter: Culture and Creativity video.
4. Local character and identity
Public spaces make us proud of where we live
Public space has character and identity that reflects and celebrates what is unique about its local community. They should be authentic, consistent with the physical form of their surrounding area and bring a sensitive understanding of what their community values and cherishes. They should be inclusive, capable of evolving and visibly representative of their community’s diversity so that all users feel pride, attachment and a sense of belonging.
Watch the NSW Public Spaces Charter: Character and identity video.
5. Green and resilient
Public space can help us adapt and thrive in a changing climate
Public space that is softer, greener and more connected to nature can cool towns and cities, providing relief and respite and reducing the impacts of extreme weather conditions. It can provide a network of essential hubs that bring communities together and provide refuge and escape and build our capacity to withstand shocks during times of crisis.
Watch the NSW Public Spaces Charter: Green and resilient video.
6. Healthy and active
Public space supports healthy lifestyles and refreshes our spirits
Public spaces should be easily accessible so we can build healthy activities into everyday life. They should be well connected to each other to encourage a culture of walking and cycling. They should include spaces and facilities for physical activities such as sports and recreation as well as tranquil places for sitting and relaxing. Public space should be fun and spontaneous, integrating elements of play for people of all ages, and offering both physical and mental health benefits.
Watch the NSW Public Spaces Charter: Healthy and active video.
7. Local business and economies
Public space supports more dynamic and exciting local economies
Public space should connect people to businesses and support vibrant retail and hospitality precincts. Our streets, laneways and plazas should support the local and visitor economies by creating vitality through how they look and feel. Public space can host low-impact businesses and activities, such as food and retail outlets that make places more appealing and enjoyable.
Watch the NSW Public Spaces Charter: Local business and economies video.
8. Safe and secure
Everyone should feel safe using public space at all times of the day
The design, management and programming of public space should create a feeling of safety, including pedestrian-friendly lighting, clear sight lines, and signage. They should give special consideration to the experience of women, children and vulnerable people in public space and their perceptions of safety. Activating public space at night and encouraging stewardship can help make them feel safer.
Watch the NSW Public Spaces Charter: Safe and secure video.
9. Designed for people
Public space that’s flexible can meet the needs of our diverse population
Public space should be comfortable and fit-for-purpose, designed with an understanding of its function within its area so it can accommodate a broad and rich range of social activities. It should encourage formal and informal interaction and provide places and facilities that encourage people to stop and use the space. It should have complementary uses whenever possible and be well-connected to surrounding areas to provide a richer experience for its users.
Watch the NSW Public Spaces Charter: Designed for people video.
10. Well managed
Public space is more inviting when it’s well cared for
Public space that is well-managed and cared for makes us proud, encouraging us to feel a sense of ownership and become stewards of the place. It should stay clean, well-maintained and appropriately lit; offer shade, shelter and places to stop and rest; and provide public amenities that reflect local needs. These spaces should be easy to get to and get in and, once in, should be easy to freely move around. Public space should have rules that restrict only those activities and behaviours that it must to ensure its safe management.
Watch the NSW Public Spaces Charter: Well managed video.