Communal outdoor space Print

Desi​gn Checklist

  1. Communal outdoor spaces are overlooked by adjacent apartments and provide for residents’ recreation 
  2. Outdoor spaces are designed to be accessible, useable and attractive for all residents
  3. Outdoor spaces are easy to maintain and have well defined boundaries with no ambiguity or leftover area
  4. Outdoor spaces provide a pleasant outlook and visual amenity for all users​
​​Comm​unal outdoor space refers to the spaces that can be shared by more than one apartment within the development. It can be shared by residents of a small number of apartments, by residents on a single floor, or by residents in a whole building or development.

Better Design Practice

Design communal outdoor spaces as ‘outdoor rooms’ that require the same amount of careful design and furnishing as any other room in a development.

Design for both day and night time use. Good lighting helps to ensure that communal spaces are attractive and aids surveillance after sundown.

Provide appropriately sized, furnished and located formal and informal play spaces that are suitable for the intended apartment mix and future resident demographics, particularly children of different ages.

Design outdoor spaces appropriately for their location (i.e. inner urban, suburban) using relevant open space types. Urban settings where space is at a premium may require more structured or efficient types of space that are integrated with other built elements such as car parks. The provision of open space should be informed by the availability and type of public open space that is nearby. Buildings next to a park may require less communal open space than those further away.

Use a water sensitive design approach and locate outdoor areas to suit the natural overland flowpath.

Size the outdoor spaces relative to the number of residents; making sure that these are appropriately landscaped and contain the appropriate facilities, e.g. trees for shade in summer. 

Communal outdoor space may be accommodated above the ground floor level, provided that adequate amenity and universal access can be achieved.

Consider providing both communal and private outdoor spaces depending on the type of development and nature of the apartments.

Design communal spaces so there is a clear distinction between any areas designated for servicing (rubbish collection, outdoor washing-drying spaces) and communal amenity spaces.

Use both soft landscaping (trees, shrubs, grass, planted beds etc.) and hard landscaping (paving, furniture, fixtures etc.) to define areas.

Locate outdoor spaces to ensure direct solar access between March and September, and to provide appropriate shading in summer.

Use productive gardens and trees to aid amenity.

Locate ventilation duct outlets from basement car parks to avoid contamination, noise and the loss of amenity of open space.
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