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Designing urban environments that create vibrant communities and enhance quality of life is now a focus of new laws that will make the planning system simpler.

Recent changes to the Environmental Planning and Assessment (EP&A) Act 1979 now mean that good design is a prominent feature of the legislation.

 

NSW Department of Planning and Environment’s Deputy Secretary for Policy, Strategy & Governance, Alison Frame, said the new legislation advocates for better design for our state, cities and towns.

 

“Over the decades design principles have been an afterthought. We now have the opportunity to create spaces that are functional, but also inspiring and attractive,” Ms Frame said.

“Adaptability and flexibility is important. We can’t just design for now, we need to be able to create spaces that can be renewed and updated to reflect the needs and desires of future communities.

“The look and feel of a place is important to people and the best way to achieve that is with thoughtful and skilful design. With any new development, maintaining character and heritage is vital and having green, open spaces is a right for all.”

Good design is now a new “object” in the amended EP&A Act and would be complemented by the recently launched Better Placed design policy, the state’s award winning, first-ever design policy.

Better Placed was drafted with input from architects, urban designers and planners to set out the principles and directions essential to creating better places for new developments in built environments across Sydney and the regions.

“The Act will facilitate the NSW Government’s initiatives around good design and fits hand in glove with the Better Placed policy that the Government introduced in August,” Ms Frame added.

NSW Executive Director of the Australian Institute of Architects, Joshua Morrin, said the amendments give legislative weight to Better Placed.

"The most far-reaching change affecting architects is the inclusion of ‘good design of the built environment’ as a new object of the Act,” Mr Morrin said.

“This now gives legislative weight to the recently published NSW Government integrated design policy 'Better Placed', and the seven objectives that establish a policy framework for defining, assessing and achieving 'good design'.

“The Institute applauds this very welcome innovation, as it places good design alongside other economic and social objectives in the creation of sustainable communities."

To download a copy of the Better Placed policy, please visit http://www.governmentarchitect.nsw.gov.au/thinking/integrated-design-policy

Media: mediaunit@planning.nsw.gov.au

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