What is neighbourhood character?

Neighbourhood character is what makes a neighbourhood different from others. This includes the way a neighbourhood looks and feels.

It is created by a combination of elements and how they interact.

Click on the spots to learn more about elements of Neighbourhood Character.

An illustration of a neighbourhood. There is a road that winds from the top to the bottom of a grassy hill. There are different kinds of houses all along the road, some are weatherboard bungalows, some are modern townhouses and some are brick two-stories.

It’s important for us to understand what the community values about their neighbourhoods and how they would like them to look in the future.

It's also important to understand what does not make up neighbourhood character. It is not based on the features of a single building or even a single street. The same features across a wide area of houses and streets forms the character of an area.

Neighbourhood character should guide change within urban environments. New developments should consider the valued features of an area while shaping a preferred future character.

Neighbourhood character and heritage

Neighbourhood character is different from heritage.

Heritage is about the conservation of culturally significant places. There are specific criteria that determine this. Character is about how an area looks and feels and the qualities that make it distinct from other areas.

Neighbourhood character and amenity

Neighbourhood character is about an area’s sense of place and community value. Amenity is about the pleasantness, ambience, and liveability of an area.

There are standards of amenity that apply to all residential development. These include things like privacy from neighbouring properties and protecting sunlight. While sometimes these amenity standards can impact on neighbourhood character, they should be looked at on their own.