Victoria

New guidelines for urban design and apartment design released by Victorian Government

THE Victorian Government last week announced the release of the Urban Design Guidelines for Victoria and the Apartment Design Guidelines for Victoria, which seek to provide assistance to applicants, architects, building designers and planners in the delivery and assessment of buildings and projects.

The guidelines have been introduced to all Victorian planning schemes via Amendment VC139, which was gazetted last week and includes the following changes:

  • Clauses 11.03-2 (Activity centre planning), 15.01-2 (Urban design principles) and 16.01-1 (Integrated housing) have been amended to introduce the Apartment Design Guidelines for Victoria as a reference document;
  • Clauses 11.03-2 (Activity centre planning), 15.01-2 (Urban design principles) and 15.01-4 (Design for safety) have been amended to introduce the Urban Design Guidelines for Victoria as a reference document;
  • The introduction of a new clause 15.01-6 (Healthy neighbourhoods) into the State Planning Policy Framework to support the introduction of the Urban Design Guidelines for Victoria;
  • Removal of the reference to the Guidelines for Higher Density Residential Development in clause 11.03-2 2 (Activity centre planning);
  • Removal of the reference to Design Guidelines for Higher Density Residential Development in clauses 15.01-2 (Urban design principles), 32.04 (Mixed Use Zone), 32.07 (Residential Growth Zone), 32.08 (General Residential Zone) and 37.08 (Activity Centre Zone);
  • Removal of the reference to Safer Design Guidelines for Victoria in clauses 11.03-2 (Activity centre planning), 15.01-2 (Urban design principles), 15.01-4 (Design for safety) and 37.08 (Activity Centre Zone); and
  • Removing the reference to Activity Centre Design Guidelines in clauses 11.03-2 (Activity centre planning), 15.01-2 (Urban design principles) and 37.08 (Activity Centre Zone).

Minister for Planning Richard Wynne said the apartment design guidelines will help developers meet their obligations and assist council decision-making following the introduction of new standards earlier this year as part of the Better Apartments Design Standards.

"The bar has been raised and the industry is responding. There has already been a vast reduction of apartments with saddleback bedrooms, increases to floor area, and a greater mix of dwellings all over Melbourne," Mr Wynne said.

Urban Design Guidelines for Victoria

The guidelines provide additional explanation of the apartment standards and guidance on matters to consider to meet the objectives of the apartment standards.

To support developers, the State Government is also planning a Design Advisory Service to offer specialist advice. The voluntary process will be aimed at larger-scale apartment developments and will include advice from experienced apartment design specialists such as architects, building designers, urban designers and planners.

An Apartment Buyers and Renters Guide has also been developed to provide prospective apartment buyers and renters up-to-date information about apartment standards.

The apartment design guidelines are complemented by the Urban Design Guidelines for Victoria, which provide best-practice knowledge and advice to inform the design of buildings in relation to the function and amenity of the public realm.

The urban design guidelines have been developed as an easy-to-use, interactive, online source of information with specific advice on the design of public spaces; building design in relation to a building's interface with public spaces; and the layout of cities, towns and neighbourhoods.

The guidelines condense and streamline information from three former guidelines: Activity Centre Design Guidelines (DSE 2005), Safer Design Guidelines for Victoria (DSE 2005) and Guidelines for Higher Density Residential Development (DSE 2004). They also include much used information in the Interim Guidelines for Large Format Retail premises (DPCD 2007).

More information on the Apartment Design Guidelines for Victoria is available from the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning's 'Better Apartments' website at <https://www.planning.vic.gov.au/policy-and-strategy/planning-reform/better-apartments>.

More information on the Urban Design Guidelines for Victoria is available from the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning website at <https://www.planning.vic.gov.au/urban-design/urban-design-guidelines>.

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