Best practice for creating quality placesPrint

A good fit from the start

  • Go beyond the minimum requirements. Everyone benefits from a good quality and attractive design – not only will it attract more visitors, but it is also less likely to require retrofitting in the future. 
  • Identify whom the users of the space will be and make sure that amenities and activities are designed around them. 
  • Design attractive and functional communal spaces in the buildings to encourage social interaction.
  • Reflect the local context. The choice of design and materials should complement the existing character of the environment.

Appropriate materials

Public spaces should be constructed using robust materials that are:
  • easy to clean, fix or replace as part of regular maintenance. This will also help them to withstand vandalism and graffiti
  • durable against weather conditions, including UV radiation
  • visually attractive and coherent with the character of the surrounding neighbourhood. 
Strike a balance between the quality of materials and maintenance costs. Sometimes, an initial investment in long-lasting materials decreases the cost of future maintenance. This particularly applies to furniture in public outdoor spaces or communal spaces in buildings.​

Plan for maintenance

Even good designs need maintenance, and continued upkeep of a space should be considered from the beginning.
  • The durability of the construction should be considered during the design phase. For instance, question whether street furniture will withstand skateboarders, or if a BBQ area should use flame retardant materials.
  • Maintenance needs to be an on-going activity and is critical for creating a safe atmosphere. A well-kept environment is more inviting and cultivates a stronger sense of pride from the community. 
  • Regular servicing will help to maintain the original design of a place for longer.
  • On-going maintenance is often less costly than major servicing. Online resources, such as the BRANZ website, can help with planning for maintenance costs, and provide tools for a number of different users.
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