The placement and arrangement of street furniture, utilities and small structures within the public realm.
Objects in the public realm include those items located in streets and public spaces that are either for public use and convenience, or for utilities infrastructure and services. Objects include street furniture, service cabinets, trees and planting, barriers and fencing, lighting, signs and small public buildings and structures. Some objects for people to use are seats, drinking fountains, post boxes, payphone cabinets, kiosks and public toilets; some objects enhance the amenity and safety of a space, such as trees, lighting, barriers and signage. Other objects, such as service cabinets, power and telecom poles are not directly used by the public although they are located within the public realm.
Street furniture and utilities infrastructure are installed and managed by many public bodies, agencies and service providers. Locating objects in the public realm can affect the accessibility, functionality and safety of a place. The location, design and management of objects in a public space, can support street function, complement existing activities and contribute to a sense of place. Poorly located objects can contribute to diminished safety, and physical and visual clutter.
These guidelines introduce general principles for the placement, integration, form and management of objects in the public realm. Further guidance on the placement of specific utilities can be found in other technical publications and codes, noted in Guidelines sources and references.
Element 4 Public transport environs
Seats, drinking fountains, bins, automatic teller machines, and public art and sculpture, payphone cabinets.
Street and park furniture includes seats, waste bins, drinking fountains, café furniture, bicycle parking hoops, post boxes, parking meters, payphone cabinets, vending and ticket machines. This element also includes public art, play and active recreation equipment.
Street and park furniture and public art support the function and vitality of public places. Equally important is their contribution to the enjoyment of being in public spaces.
The presence of seats and other amenities invites people to gather and linger in a place. Public spaces are also safer and more attractive when people are present. Seats and other amenities should be located where as many people as possible will want and be able to use them.
Seating is the most frequently used type of furniture, followed by waste bins and bicycle hoops.
Planting trees, shrubs and ground covers in urban areas contributes visual interest and microclimate moderation. Trees can provide shade, shelter, and cool air pockets; they can screen an unsightly view, act as landmarks, or provide a sense of enclosure with leafy walls and ceilings.
Trees are frequently the most important element for setting the character of an area. A tree-lined street can be beautiful even when the architecture is mundane. Trees lining streets and paths in parks make the space comfortable and desirable. Places with trees tend to attract more people. A landscape changes with the seasons and gives people a sense of passing time and dynamic vitality.
In selecting plants, have regard to the landscape heritage, size of plants at maturity, microclimate and soil conditions.
Walls, fences and bollards.
Barriers such as bollards and fences can define boundaries and protect people from traffic hazards and level changes. They also protect trees and shrubs from people and vehicles. A barrier may be made as bollards, screens, rails, fences, kerbs and walls. Barriers and fences can provide an opportunity for public art or to communicate local stories. They may also provide opportunities for seating.
Lighting for the public realm.
Lighting performs a number of functions, from supporting way-finding, orientation and safe movement at night to providing a decorative effect for building facades, landmarks and paths. Lighting systems can be large-scale and utilitarian or small scale and ornamental. They may use overhead lamps, bollards, up-lights, bulkhead or veranda lighting, feature and facade illumination. Shop display lighting can also contribute to overall public realm lighting levels.
Lighting is critical to creating a public realm that is safe and inviting for users. Well-located lighting can enable the use of public spaces for active recreation during the evening, especially in winter. These guidelines focus on public space lighting design for safety and amenity.
Path and street lighting should, as a minimum, meet Australian Standard 1158 Road Lighting.
The overall lighting level in public spaces may comprise light from a combination of sources including street lights, signs, adjacent shops and buildings.
Information, instructions and advertising.
Signs give information about way-finding, directions, place and street names, cultural identity, buildings, uses and activities, or for advertising products.
They can also act as a landmark. Signs may vary in scale and appearance, and may use maps, text, images or symbols to convey information.
These guidelines focus on designing and locating signs in the public realm, particularly for pedestrians and cyclists.
Road signs are often designed to inform drivers. However, pedestrians and cyclists may find information on road signs misleading or unintelligible. It is important to provide signage useful to people on foot or bicycle.
Shelters, toilets and kiosks.
Small public buildings and structures include kiosks and vendor stalls, shelters, toilets, bicycle storage cages and utility buildings, such as electrical substations, which are most often located in public spaces. While most small public buildings and structures are permanent, some may be temporary or relocatable to allow for the flexible use of public spaces.