Planning and Design Tools

Urban design framework


The Urban Design Framework is a design tool that provides a physical interpretation of the City of Perth’s vision and strategies. It helps to ensure that the built environment we create reflects the community’s vision and the Council’s strategies, and it underpins an integrated approach to better physical environments.

The Urban Design Framework focuses on the broad scale and the long term, and sets an overall planning and design context within which more detailed and localised strategies, studies and projects can be coordinated. It also identifies administrative actions, economic initiatives and social initiatives that have a bearing on the creation of a great city.

The Urban Design Framework is not a definitive blueprint or detailed master plan for the city’s growth, and, whilst broad-ranging, it cannot be expected to cover in detail every element required to create a great city. In practice, the Urban Design Framework will provide guidance and illustration on a range of elements that together make up a city environment, which, in turn, will:

• Provide guidance on how development contributes to the city’s identity, structure, common interest and culture, and how such development is described in the statutory planning process

• Increase developers’ appreciation of the expected built form outcomes across the city

• Enable better integration of policy-making regarding public spaces and the public-private interface

• Inspire responsive design of new buildings, spaces and their interfaces, focusing on architectural quality and place-making principles

• Provide Council with a reference tool in the coordination of capital works program to incrementally achieve the built form and public realm vision.


Design Brief


A coherent description by the client to the design team that sets out the desired physical design criteria and outcomes for an urban design project.


Used by all developers, including local authorities, to outline their vision and desired design outcomes.

(Urban Design Toolkit – Ministry for the Environment )


Urban design guide


A guideline that describes in words and illustrations the principles for achieving quality urban design. Design guides can be either non-statutory or statutory in relation to a district plan.

Guiding decision-making and providing a consistent approach on urban design projects. A statutory design guide makes design criteria explicit, provides consistency for the developer and community, and allows for a robust assessment and decision-making process. Design guides may be applied to specific areas, such as character areas, town and city centres, development types (for example, multi-unit housing), or to design issues (for example, design for streetscape quality or safety).

(Urban Design Toolkit – Ministry for the Environment )

Design Code

A precise description of parameters for designing buildings and open space on each lot within a

development, which may also include specification of material and detail. Effectively, this is

three-dimensional form-based zoning.

Used by local councils and private sector developers to control the site planning and design quality on individual lots within a larger development.

(Urban Design Toolkit – Ministry for the Environment )

Urban Design Strategy

A written policy document that describes in words and images a vision for developing a

neighbourhood, town or city

Used to direct the physical development of a neighbourhood, city or town where an overarching vision is required to direct and coordinate different design initiatives.


The focus is on general configuration and design direction, design qualities or principles and

their means of implementation. An urban design strategy is based on an appraisal of the

physical context, is informed by community and stakeholder participation, and provides a longterm and high-level comprehensive vision that is the basis for shaping policies and

implementing design initiatives. An urban design strategy may apply at a range of levels: to an entire city or settlement; to a part (for example, a central area design strategy); or to one aspect

(for example, a streetscape or lighting strategy) of either all or part of a town or city. An urban design strategy may be implemented through a range of mechanisms including urban design frameworks for parts of a town or city, district plan policies and rules, design guides, and open space development projects and capital works through long-term council community plans.

(Urban Design Toolkit – Ministry for the Environment )



Urban Design Framework

A document that describes an overarching vision and the intended outcome for an entire urban area and gives direction to direct subsequent policies and site-specific initiatives within that area.


Used in areas undergoing change or where growth or change needs to be promoted. Provides a vision and flexibility to guide large complex projects that are implemented over time. Usually applied to large or complex sites by both the private and public sectors in order to set design, management and delivery parameters.

(Urban Design Toolkit – Ministry for the Environment )