Communal outdoor spaces Print

​​​​​​​​​Design Checklist

  1. ​​Where beneficial, provide communal outdoor spaces that are attractive, useable and safe.


Communal outdoor space for play, relaxation or recreation should be considered in a mixed use development, especialy where private outdoor areas for individual units are not able to be provided. It is important to get the design of communal outdoor areas right as they risk becoming underutilised if they do not feel safe and comfortable to use.​​​

Better Design Practice

Design communal outdoor space to enable a sense of identity and community within a development.

Communal outdoor space can play an important role in fostering and maintaining a sense of identity and community for the residents of a development. Providing multiple communal outdoor spaces within a larger development encourages different communities or neighbourly interactions within the development to form . For example, communal outdoor space can be shared by a few nearby occupants, by occupants of a single floor, or by occupants in a whole building or development.​

Design communal outdoor spaces to suit the needs of the occupants.

They may be configured, sized, furnished, located and made accessible to be suitable for different ages and abilities. Facilities such as swimming pools, play equipment and barbeques can be provided communally and tailored to the resident demographic. 

The provision of communal outdoor space can come under pressure on smaller sites and as building coverages increase. Where communal outdoor space is difficult to accommodate on site the adequacy of private outdoor space and existing public outdoor space in the neighbourhood become important amenity factors.

Provide safe and secure outdoor spaces by incorporating casual surveillance.

Casual surveillance or natural surveillance describes a person's ability, whether a resident or a member of the public, to survey (overlook) public or private spaces. This is an effective way to reduce criminal or antisocial behaviour because if people believe they're being watched they're less likely to commit a crime. Casual surveillance is a very effective way to promote personal safety and minimise opportunities for concealment (hiding). Casual surveillance of common outdoor spaces within a development can make these spaces feel safer and more secure and can also be valuable for the supervision of children.

Ensure communal outdoor spaces have cleary defined ownership and management structures.

Occupants of a development need to be provided with a clear understanding as to their rights and responsibilities around the ownership and management of a communal area. Without clear ownership, management and maintenance rules spaces may not be used or looked after by occupants. This can be particularly important when an outdoor space can be accessed by anyone directly from a public street.
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