DEICKE RICHARDS

Architecture Urban Design Community Design
NEIGHBOURHOOD
Subtropical
DESIGN
NEIGHBOURHOOD
Subtropical
DESIGN
DEICKE RICHARDS
Architecture Urban Design Community Design
NEIGHBOURHOOD
Subtropical
DESIGN
The Subtropical Neighbourhood : Introduction
This document describes eight principles that can create an appropriate neighbourhood design for a subtropical location. Each
could be considered an example of good design that could be applied anywhere but these principles have particular relevance
in a subtropical place. They are:
The Subtropical Neighbourhood is a neighbourhood
Subtropical Neighbourhoods aggregate to form a subtropical town and city
The Subtropical Neighbourhood has a distinctive relationship to its site and landscape
The Subtropical Neighbourhood is characterised by its parks and open spaces
The Subtropical Neighbourhood has subtropical streetscapes
The Subtropical Neighbourhood creates sites for subtropical buildings
The Subtropical Neighbourhood has a subtropical landscape and allows one to grow
The Subtropical Neighbourhood has walkable journeys that are comfortable.
Each is now described in turn.
NEIGHBOURHOOD
Subtropical
DESIGN
Idealised neighbourhood
Parks incorporated into neigh-
bourhood
Neighbourhood Centre with a
mix of uses creating a vibrant
community heart
Higher density and variety of
housing closer to neighbour-
hood centre and along busier
streets and open spaces
Areas of neighbourhood
within a five minute walkable
catchment
Interconnected street
network provides direct
routes and choices of
routes to Centre.
Through-streets with
public transport routes
linking to adjacent
neighbourhoods
Green spaces and
wildlife corridors
are integrated into
neighbourhoods
DEICKE RICHARDS
Architecture Urban Design Community Design
The Subtropical Neighbourhood is a neighbourhood
In order to achieve more sustainable urban outcomes, all residential developments should be seen as part of a neighbourhood
or creating a new neighbourhood. The neighbourhood is characterised by a neighbourhood centre as an identifiable, vibrant and
memorable community heart. The centre contains a mix of uses, with retail, commercial, community facilities and parks with
surrounding housing within easy walking distance. Neighbourhoods are scaled upon a walkable catchment, generally a five
minute walk – 400 metres. A vibrant neighbourhood centre encourages (and justifies) the incorporation of a greater variety of
housing types and densities integrated close to the centre, for enhanced housing choice and a broader social mix.
The street network, which also forms the public transport routes, is designed for the centre in an accessible location on higher
order streets. Transitions of land uses are compatible. Different land uses and housing forms from higher to lower densities are
achieved through the street patterns and along rear boundaries. Streets generally have like uses facing each other across the
street.
NEIGHBOURHOOD
Subtropical
DESIGN
Clustering of neighbourhoods defined by
local landsape features (Mt Coot-tha)
community focused corner store focused convenience centre focused single supermarket based
Neighbourhoods with Varying Scales of Centres.
Inner western area of Brisbane shown
as a cluster of neighbourhoods based
on a five minute walk
Clustering of neighbourhoods defined
by regional landsape features (Brisbane
River)
Neighbourhoods within Brisbane’s west
DEICKE RICHARDS
Architecture Urban Design Community Design
Subtropical Neighbourhoods aggregate to form a subtropical town and city
A series of interlinked neighbourhoods that are defined by the regional and local landscape elements such as river systems,
coastlines, hills and ridges and other unique features, will aggregate to form a town and city.
Neighbourhoods should also be seen in the broader regional context. A range of neighbourhood types are possible. Some may
focus upon a park and community use, such as a child-care centre, and other neighbourhoods may focus on a corner store
in addition to the park and childcare. The next scale of neighbourhood centre would have enough retail to form a small main
street. At the largest scale, the neighbourhood integrates a supermarket with associated community and employment and a
greater amount of mixed uses, density and variety of housing.
Good neighbourhood design is robust and allows incremental growth over time from one type to the other.
community focused corner store focused convenience centre focused single supermarket based
Neighbourhoods with Varying Scales of Centres.
NEIGHBOURHOOD
Subtropical
DESIGN
View over valley View from hillside to shelter on ridgeline Bridge over watercourse
Houses are raised over sloping land
Main Street type neighbourhood
focused on a ridgeline.
DEICKE RICHARDS
Architecture Urban Design Community Design
The Subtropical Neighbourhood has a distinctive relationship to its site and landscape
Neighbourhood design has a distinctive relationship to the topography of the site, eg. ridgelines, valleys, hilltops, strengthening
local character and identity.
Centres and community facilities and parks are located in distinctive locations such as ridgelines, hill tops adjacent riparian
corridors or stands of significant vegetation in order to enhance the contrasts between natural and developed areas. High land
allows views over the landscape, riparian corridors are the places where water flows and collects.
Where not located in centres, community facilities are located near distinctive parts of the landscape and open space network.
Centres adjacent to significant green areas create strong contrasts between urban and natural areas and assist in creating
urban amenity. Green areas have public frontage with streets forming the edge and development fronting green areas. The
neighbourhood then opens to its setting and landscape and does not privatise it.
Neighbourhood collector streets are located along distinctive landscape elements such as ridge lines, hill tops, stands of signif-
icant vegetation, valleys and riparian corridors to reveal the landscape qualities of the locality and demonstrate the relationship
between the developed and natural areas. Streets run down towards riparian corridors ‘opening’ the neighbourhood to green
areas and creating long views down streets to the treed backdrop. Street edges form frontage to riparian corridors. Landform
topography is respected with cutting and filling minimised.
NEIGHBOURHOOD
Subtropical
DESIGN
Park as community focal point Shade structures in parks
Parks act as focal places within
the neighbourhood
Active public open spaces are interspersed
with mature shade trees
Existing vegetation is
preserved
Streets edges to open spaces
Green corridors
DEICKE RICHARDS
Architecture Urban Design Community Design
The Subtropical Neighbourhood is characterised by its parks and open spaces
Parks are located in distinctive parts of the landscape along riparian corridors or hilltops where there are existing trees. Parks
act as welcoming, safe places that provide adequate shade through vegetation and other shade structures, gazebos, pergolas
etc.
Existing vegetation is retained and parks are designed as positive shapes and are located to be additional focal points of the
neighbourhood, surrounded by streets with houses enfronting, and not as leftover spaces behind predominantly rear fences of
dwellings.
The network of parks form a key component of the subtropical journey of the neighbourhood.
NEIGHBOURHOOD
Subtropical
DESIGN
Large informal street trees on public and private land shade footpaths.
Building setbacks from streets allows from trees planted on private land
Views from street between
individual houses through to
vegetated backyards
Stands of trees are preserved and
incorporated into street reserves
Higher density forms are broken down
as a collection of buildings
DEICKE RICHARDS
Architecture Urban Design Community Design
The Subtropical Neighbourhood has subtropical streetscapes
Street trees shade footpaths and road surfaces. Street design incorporates substantial avenue planting to assist in the creation
of a memorable street and to provide shade of the bitumen to lower ambient air temperature. Trees and plantings along the
footpath provide psychological safety and protection for street users. Social interaction is enhanced through the provision of
seating and other street furniture.
Setbacks between buildings and street are varied to allow the planting of substantial vegetation. Front facades are articulated to
incorporate substantial vegetation in some front street facing locations. Buildings face and overlook all types of streets including
higher order through streets (collectors and sub-arterials) with entrances to buildings accessible and visible from the street.
Buildings and front garden design form a rich transition of outdoor to indoor space with layered facades and sheltered outdoor
spaces between street and building entry. Building footprints allow substantial vegetation in rear gardens so a vegetated back-
drop to dwellings is achieved.
Higher density housing forms are developed with rear vehicle access to achieve high quality streetscapes. Higher density
housing is broken down in mass and scale and configured as collections of buildings with gaps for ventilation and light and to
enhance the landscape setting of buildings. Higher density housing with limited site cover allows for the planting of substantial
vegetation.
Lots are sized to allow retention of significant vegetation and other site features. On steeper land, lots are wide enough to mini-
mise the use of retaining walls above ground. Retaining walls are no greater than 1.2 metres in height and are not constructed
on property boundaries.
NEIGHBOURHOOD
Subtropical
DESIGN
N
S
E W
20º north of east
30º south of east
20º west of north 30º east of north
20º south of west
30º north of west
20º east of south
30º west of south
Neighbourhoods with appropriate street orientations with streets generally running north-south or east-west
DEICKE RICHARDS
Architecture Urban Design Community Design
The Subtropical Neighbourhood creates sites for subtropical buildings
The appropriate orientation of streets creates building sites that allow for better energy efficiency and good subtropical design of
the various housing types and densities in the neighbourhood. To achieve this, streets are generally between 20º west of north
and north of east and 30º east of north and south of east.
NEIGHBOURHOOD
Subtropical
DESIGN
Paddington, 1902 - Land cleared for subdivision
Paddington, present - Backyards
vegetated
Small building footprint allows a
vegetated backyard
Median strips are planted Areas of existing vegetation are
integrated and preserved
Active public open space with mature
trees
Building setbacks allow significant
and diverse vegetation
DEICKE RICHARDS
Architecture Urban Design Community Design
The Subtropical Neighbourhood has a subtropical landscape and allows one to grow
Building footprints on lots are sized to allow the subtropical planting at the rear and front and, to some extent, sides of buildings.
This limits site cover and building practices that construct buildings to cover the entire site.
Vegetation includes a mixture of native and non-native species to ensure biodiversity is maintained. Monocultures of a limited
number of species are not recommended as they encourage the likelihood of disease and pest outbreaks. Native plants are
particularly vulnerable as these organisms are present in the environment. Subtropical and tropical plants are particularly at risk
to pest organisms as they tend to grow in more biodiverse environments.
NEIGHBOURHOOD
Subtropical
DESIGN
Streets are shaded Public structures and memorable
features are included and are
appropriate to the subtropical climate
Stands of trees are preserved and
incorporated into street reserves
Stormwater detention basins have
scenic value
Idealised neighbourhood showing
legible, comfortable journeys through
the neighbourhood and to community
focal points
DEICKE RICHARDS
Architecture Urban Design Community Design
The Subtropical Neighbourhood has walkable journeys that are legible, memorable and
comfortable
The street layout has a legible pattern that provides choices of direct routes to the centre, focal points and public transport
routes within the neighbourhood. The street network provides a safe environment for all street users and minimises impacts of
through traffic. Streets are interconnected in a modified grid. Streets define blocks are generally between 1-1.5 Ha, 70-120m
deep and 150-220m long to encourage walkability.
Alternate pedestrian and cycle routes away from the major through vehicle and public transport routes form subtropical journeys
through the neighbourhood. These routes form linkages between parks, riparian corridors, centres and community facilities such
as schools.
NEIGHBOURHOOD
Subtropical
DESIGN