Definitions

Better Placed sets a standard for the whole of NSW. Key terms of this policy have been defined to allow for consistency of language in the communication of design across NSW. GANSW will continue to build upon this resource of terminology and definitions.

Given existing processes and expectations, it is important to understand Design Excellence and Design Review as two existing NSW processes, their relation to Better Placed and future GANSW work. You can read more about Design Excellence and Design Review here.

Adaptable
a building, place or space that is able to adjust to new conditions, or to be modified for a new purpose.

Adding value
leveraging and building on the existing characteristics and qualities of a building place or space to increase social, economic and environmental benefits to the community

Attractive
a building, place or space that is aesthetically-pleasing, or appealing.

Brief (design brief)
a set of instructions, aspirations and requirements that outline the specific task or job to be completed. The design brief outlines the ambitions, objectives and needs of the project (without prescribing a solution or aesthetic). A good design brief is an evolving document becoming more complex and detailed as the project develops.

Built environment
comprises the extent of our human-made environment, as distinguished from the natural environment. It includes all aspects of our surroundings made by people that provide the place for human activity. The built environment can be understood to include cities and towns, neighbourhoods, parks, roads, buildings and even utilities like water and electricity.

Case Study
a specific building, place or space that has been researched and analysed in order to demonstrate and evaluate its worthiness. A case study can assist in the design of new spaces by understanding best practice as well as lessons learned.

Cities and towns
a large urban structure with complex and multiple considerations required for development including layout of streets, buildings, infrastructure and open space.

Comfortable
a building, place or space that provides physical and emotional ease and wellbeing for its people

Competitive design process
involves multiple teams who offer ideas, solutions and/or services to a brief to encourage multiple innovative outcomes. A competitive design process may involve a design competition.

Connected
a building, place or space that establishes links with its surrounds, allowing visitors and residents to move about freely and sustainably

Contextual
a building, place or space that responds to the context in which it is designed

Context
the physical, social, cultural, economic, environmental and geographic circumstances that form the setting for a place or building.

Creating value
conceiving and designing in new opportunities to a building, place or space for increased social, economic and environmental benefits to the community

Design
see What is design for full description.

Design competition
a design competition is a competitive process in which an organisation or government body invites designers to submit a proposal for a precinct, site or building. An independent panel of design professionals selects the winner based on an agreed selection criteria.

Design Excellence
See ‘Design excellence in NSW’ for full description.
Design Excellence is most commonly used to describe a competitive design process used in NSW and brought into effect by statutory planning regulations such as LEPs. It is often also used as an ‘umbrella’ term in planning legislation to describe ‘good design’.

Design guide
a set of standards outlining the application and implementation of given information in order to achieve best practice outcomes.

Design process
see Design Process for full description.
A design process involves a series of actions or steps taken to achieve a particular end. Design processes are not linear; they are iterative, collaborative and circular where feedback and ideas are intertwined and continual. Design processes help provide solutions to complex problems where many inputs/concerns are needed to be resolved.

Design Review Panel
a panel comprising a diverse group of people with expertise in design and the built environment. The panel offers independent, impartial advice on the design to achieve the best built outcome for stakeholders

Design thinking
refers to creative strategies designers use in the process of designing

Diverse
a building, place or space that embraces a richness in use, character and qualities

Durable
a building, place or space that is built to be able to withstand wear and pressure.

Efficient
a building, place or space that is constructed and functions with minimal wasted effort

Engaging
a building, place or space that draws people in with features that arouse interest.

Equitable
a built environment that is fair and accessible for all citizens

Fit for purpose
a building, place or space that works according to its intended use

Functional
a building, place or space that is designed to be practical and purposeful

Green infrastructure
Green infrastructure describes the network of green spaces and water systems that deliver multiple environmental, economic and social values and benefits to urban communities.
This network includes parks and reserves, backyards and gardens, waterways and wetlands, streets and transport corridors, pathways and greenways, squares and plazas, roof gardens and living walls, sports fields and cemeteries
Green infrastructure is the web of interrelated natural systems that underpin and are integrated into our urban fabric

Healthy
a building, place or space that promotes positive social, emotional and physical health for its people.

Inclusive
a building, place or space that embraces the community and individuals who use it.

Integrated
a built environment that links communities and functions and activities within a cohesive place

Inviting
a building, place or space that is welcoming to visitors, community and individuals.

Liveable
a built environment which supports and responds to people’s patterns of living, and is suitable and appropriate for habitation, promoting enjoyment, safety and prosperity.

Local
a building, place or space that relates to an area, or neighbourhood

Manual
an instructive document to direct how an action is best performed

Master plan
a framework document showing how development will occur in a given place and includes building parameters like height, density, shadowing and environmental concerns. It is a visual document that details a clear strategy or plan for the physical transformation of a place, supported by financial, economic, and social policy documents which outline delivery mechanisms and implementation strategies

Of its place
a building, place or space that relates to its surrounds

Outcome
the result of a process, generally having a final product

Place
is a social and a physical concept –a physical setting, point or area in space conceived and designated by people and communities. In this sense, place can describe different scales of the built environment – for example, a town is a place, as well as a building can be a place.

Place-making
proposes a multi-faceted approach to the planning, design and management of public spaces. ‘Place-making’ looks at understanding the local community with the intention of creating public spaces that promote health and well-being.

Precinct
a designated area within real or perceived boundaries of a specific building or place. A precinct can be of different scales and usually responds to a study area of a particular place.

Public realm
public realm is the collective, communal part of cities and towns, with shared access for all. It is the space of movement, recreation, gathering, events, contemplation and relaxation. The public realm includes streets, pathways, rights of way, parks, accessible open spaces, plazas and waterways that are physically and visually accessible regardless of ownership.

Quality
the standard of something, measured comparatively against things of a similar kind.

Resilient
a building, place or space that can withstand or recover from difficult conditions

Responsive
buildings and spaces that are react positively to place and local character and context.

Safe
a building, place or space that protects its people from harm or risk of harm

Scale
the relative size or extent of something – scale is a device used to quantify objects in a sequence by size; for example a city scale, or a building scale. In architecture, scale is also used to describe a ratio of size in a map, model, drawing, or plan.

Spatial framework
is design and research document that is produced to provide background understanding and analysis to a particular area or place. It is completed prior to traditional design stages or master plan phases of a project. The framework follows a process of analysis, data collection and reporting in order to propose a delivery strategy and vision for the area being analysed

Sustainable
to the endurance of systems, buildings, spaces and processes – their ability to be maintained at a certain rate or level, which contributes positively to environmental, economic and social outcomes

Typology
typology is the comparative study of physical or other characteristics of the built environment into distinct types.

Value (of design)
a measure of what design is worth. Value is not merely related to economics, but includes the understanding of social, and environmental factors as components contributing to the value of good design