2Points of difference

Design Outcome

​​​Subdivisions exhibit a clear identity, which differentiates them and their residents.​

​​​​​​​​​​No subdivision will be successful if it does not allow residents to establish a clear sense of their own community that is distinct from nearby subdivisions or suburbs. 

Subdivision design is an essential tool in the process of creating amenity, character, and identity in new developments. The creation of identity is a key factor in building a link between people and a place. This is what drives social contact, neighbourliness, a sense of ownership and belonging, and the willingness to accept a personal risk to investigate, for example, what a stranger is doing wandering around the windows next door. This common cause is the essence of a community.

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Better Design Practice

  • Subdivision design should use the opportunities available to make a subdivision unique or memorable, especially if there is a historical significance, natural landform feature, or significant experience (such as a rare view) on offer. 
  • Physical and ecological features on the site, including significant trees, should be retained or enhanced. 
  • Subdivisions should allow for future landmarks, including significant trees, to establish over time. 
  • Residents should get a strong sense of identity and community from the layout, amenities and integration of the subdivision with the wider neighbourhood.
  • Subdivisions should integrate successfully into their wider neighbourhoods through:
    • road connections and urban structure
    • design cues, such as block sizes and sizes and shapes of sections, that refer to historical or adjacent developments
    • providing new amenities that complement adjacent ones, rather than duplicating them o continuing any established themes, such as landscaping style using the new subdivision to improve the wider area, e.g. opening up a more convenient road or route through the subdivision.

Rules of Thumb

1. The identity and character of a subdivision should be informed by local landform and landscape character.


2. Subdivisions should be guided by a clear vision of the built form and benefits that residents will get, such as more attractive streets, more aesthetically distinct dwellings, larger or more affordable sites, and so on.

These benefits should be comparable to nearby alternatives.

3. Aim to use distinctive street trees, paving materials, road and place names and street furniture to complement the sense of place.

 A bold statement of character should also be made at subdivision entry points