Open space planning standards in Australia: In search of origins

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Australian Planner, 2013, 50 (3), pp. 224 - 232
Issue Date:
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While national standards for open space planning have long been subject to criticism, their use is still advocated in a number of Australian state planning guidelines, even if only as a 'starting point'. This suggests that the British and American origins of open space standards commonly used in Australia are believed by some to have at least a modicum of credibility. This paper seeks to establish documented evidence of the link between Australian standards and their British and American origins and to examine the scientific basis for the latter. It was found to be impossible to establish clear, explicit and documented statements of such links. Furthermore, it was found that, in the case of American standards, the responsible organisation was itself unable to explain their basis and abandoned their use in 1996. In the case of British standards, it is found that they were based on estimated demand for sport in Britain in 1925, have remained substantially unchanged since the 1930s and do not include standards for informal open space. No evidence was found of any efforts to establish Australian standards based on contemporary Australian recreation demand patterns. © 2013 Planning Institute Australia.
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