parklands are wonderful places for social interaction, recreation,
leisure, sporting activity, exercise, rest and relaxation.
important that all communities have equal access to good quality
parkland that creates a sense of place and enhances feelings of social
attachment and cohesion, identity and belonging.
parklands are valuable community assets that require well-considered
planning, design and management to achieve optimal levels of amenity and
functional performance. While initial establishment costs may be high,
the long-term return to today and tomorrow’s communities is beyond
To achieve this it’s important to:
Western Australia, a growing population is increasing demand for access
to good quality parklands. At the same time, climatic trends are
resulting in lower allocations of water resources being made available
to irrigate new and existing public parklands.
consider challenges and opportunities unique to Western Australia and
offer good practice planning and design principles and case studies to
assist in the creation and care of our parkland assets.
the water necessary to support the development and maintenance of
parklands for community sport and recreation is an important focus for
the State Government.
In the State’s south west, the drying
climate and rising population means we are conscious of the need to
effectively identify and share groundwater to meet community needs.
dryland areas of regional Western Australia, parklands irrigated with
treated wastewater and harvested stormwater have been integral in
maintaining our outdoor lifestyle and amenity over many years.
communities have shown the way and we are embracing innovation in all
parts of the State to continue to supply the water that’s needed for
these important public spaces.
We are investigating new water
sources and how we can use our existing water resources to create the
right number of high quality parklands across our communities,
particularly in some of our newer urban neighbourhoods.
rethinking our approach to parkland planning and design and the options
available for water sources, storage, irrigation systems and
The Department of Water and the Department of Sport
and Recreation have collaborated with turf industries, planners, urban
designers and local governments to develop a guide which responds to the
unique challenges in meeting Western Australia’s parkland in the 21st
This guide provides valuable information on water
sensitive urban designed communities that match water use to levels of
activity, including the environmental benefits that parklands provide.
good planning, sensitive design and appropriate management, we should
be able to create parklands which are attractive, adaptable, accessible
and resilient, whilst making the best use of the available water.
and collaboration are essential as we move forward. It’s only by
working together that we can continue to provide quality parklands
supported by sustainable water sources in which our community can relax,
interact, rest and play.
Our parklands are important community assets that help keep us
healthy, active and socially connected. To maintain these valuable
assets, it is important that parklands being planned now continue to
meet the needs of current and future generations through user-focused,
sustainable design and efficient use of our water resources.
Public parkland enhances urban amenity and provides landscapes that
can positively impact community health and social connectivity,
biodiversity, local water quality and water management, air quality and
mitigation of the urban heat island effect.
Parkland refers to land that has been reserved for the purpose of
formal and informal sport and recreation and/or preservation of natural
environments such as bushland, wetlands, river and coastal foreshore
systems.Public parklands include places with conservation and heritage value,
and natural landscape features that can engender a unique sense of
place. Parkland for sport and recreation may include sporting fields and
physical activity spaces; open areas with picnic, playground and
barbeque facilities; and quiet places to rest and reflect.
In order to achieve community benefits, it is important that all
those involved in parkland planning and design understand the common
functions of parklands within urban and regional areas. Various parkland functions that must be considered during all stages of parkland provision include:
Most parkland in Western Australia is currently irrigated by
groundwater. Groundwater has historically been regarded as an abundant
resource, conveniently located just beneath the surface, easily tapped
to keep our parklands green year-round.
Water is an increasingly scarce resource across the South West of
Western Australia, with rainfall, groundwater-recharge and dam inflow
all declining markedly since the mid-1970s. This has coincided with
growth in urban development, population and demand for water, including
for irrigation of public parkland. It is essential that consideration of
alternative water sources and maximum efficiency of water use is
incorporated into parkland planning and design.Therefore, this guide to good parkland planning and design encourages
consideration of Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) principles,
fit-for-purpose water sources and efficient water use, while maintaining
high levels of parkland function and usability.
This guide is intended to inform those working in planning and design
about principles and practices to assist in achieving parkland that:
This guide may be used as a reference point for discussion between
planners, developers, designers and associated agencies and authorities
throughout the planning and development process. Addressing issues
relating to planning, design and diversity of public parklands will
ensure optimal provision that meets community needs into the future.
It is envisaged that use of this guide will assist to:
It is expected that this guide will be relevant to:
This guide is presented in three sections.
Case studies are included in planning and design sections and provide
examples of how key aspects described within this document have been
applied effectively in Western Australia.
A list of relevant policies, strategies, guidelines and other resources is also included at the end of this document.
To ensure optimal allocation of land and water resources to provide a
well-distributed and connected suite of parklands that can be adapted
to meet changes in social and environmental conditions.
To ensure access to high quality, well-activated, sustainable
parkland systems that meet diverse community needs and expectations.
Public open space (parkland) is often defined in hierarchical terms
using criteria related to size. Within many parkland hierarchies, areas
for structured, organised sport have traditionally been described as
“active open space”, with “passive open space” used to describe areas
for recreation and more informal activity. This criteria and terminology
is now generally regarded as inadequate and confusing.
To counter this, a cross-industry classification framework based on
agreed terminology was developed by the Department of Sport and
Within the Classification Framework for Public Open Space, different
types of parkland are categorised by primary function: recreation, sport
and nature space; and by expected catchment: local, neighbourhood,
district or regional open space.
Descriptions of primary function comprise:
Catchment category descriptions are based on expected purpose,
typical size and how far a user might travel from their home to visit
parkland, and include:
Larger areas of Regional Open Space are expected to serve one or more
geographical or social regions and attract visitors from outside any
one local government (LG) area. Size will be variable and dependent on
function. When sport space is identified as a necessary regional
function, land allocations for playing fields and sports facilities are
expected to be upwards of 20 hectares in area.
This resource has been developed by the Department of Sport and
Recreation and the Department of Water, with financial assistance from
the Western Australian Planning Commission.
The Department of Sport and Recreation and Department of Water would
like to acknowledge the contribution of AECOM and PlaceScape.
has been published by the Department of Sport and Recreation. Any
representation, statement, opinion or advice expressed or implied in
this publication is made in good faith and on the basis that the
government, its employees and agents are not liable for any damage or
loss whatsoever which may occur as a result of action taken or not
taken, as the case may be, in respect of any representation, statement,
opinion or advice referred to herein. Professional advice should be
obtained before applying the information contained in this document to
© State of Western AustraliaPublished by theDepartment of Sport and RecreationPublished March 2014ISBN:978-1-921648-40-3
Western Australia. (2014). Public Parkland Planning and Design Guide WA.
Perth Western Australia, Department of Sport and Recreation.
Do not submit enquiries with this form.