Vibrant streets generate positive social, economic, cultural and environmental outcomes. Great streets, avenues, boulevards, squares and plazas, pavements, passages and galleries are our towns’ and cities’ connectors. In our urban areas, they provide places where people can walk, ride a bike and socialise, activities that add vitality to neighbourhoods, creating better places to live.
As public spaces, our streets have become a focal point during the pandemic. Communities across NSW are using streets differently, to ensure safe physical distancing to walk between green open space, and the ability to exercise and enjoy an outdoor lifestyle.
The Greener Public Spaces Premier’s Priority was announced in 2019. It aims to increase the proportion of homes in urban areas across NSW within 10 minutes’ walk of quality green, open and public space by 10 per cent by 2023.
Improving streets to become places where people can walk, ride a bike, socialise and add vitality to neighbourhoods supports this Premier’s Priority and helps to create better places to live and work.
In early 2020 the NSW Government announced the $15 million Streets as Shared Spaces program to deliver temporary demonstration and pilot projects to support the community and test ideas for more permanent improvements to local streets, paths and public spaces.
48 successful projects were announced in August 2020. The program won the Greater Sydney Commission Planning Awards’ Chief Commissioner’s Award in October 2020.
Building on the strength of the Streets as Shared Spaces program, the $15 million Your High Street program was announced in November 2020. Projects will boost high street economic recovery, improve comfort and amenity and increase footfall.
19 successful projects were announced in April 2021.
As part of the Government’s response to the pandemic, the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment engaged the community on their use and attachment to public spaces, with a survey and other engagement activities. The findings were published in the Public Spaces: Streets as Shared Spaces Engagement Report ((PDF 4.5 MB)).
A year on, the Department launched a refreshed survey to explore how the use of public spaces, including high streets, might have changed as the pandemic continues. Results from the survey are coming soon.
Insights from both surveys will inform the Department to better plan and deliver streets as public spaces that meet community needs both now and into the future.