Adelaide Design Manual

Design Feature
Type of Project
Local Government Initiative
South Australia

The City of Adelaide is the capital and dynamic heart of South Australia, with a current population of 23,169 (ABS 2011). Over 200,000 people visit the city daily, with many working in offices and the restaurant and café industry. The city is an exciting and lively place to visit, live, or work and offers an amazing quality of life. You can get around safely and easily on foot, on a bike and on efficient public transport. Walkways and public spaces are shaded by beautiful trees and the city is surrounded by Park Lands. The waterways support wildlife and provide an attractive backdrop for recreational activities. 

The Adelaide Design Manual is a toolkit for designing the streets, squares, laneways, Park Lands and public spaces in the city. It directly supports Adelaide City Council’s Smart Move Strategy 2012-2022: Interim Action Plan 2016 - 2018, in particular the outcome: Walking and Great Streets.

An inviting environment

The Design Manual was created in partnership with the State Government's Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure through the Places for People Grant program. It is also the result of extensive research and analysis, as well as significant community engagement through Smart Move and Picture Adelaide, and of consultation with Council’s Access and Inclusion Advisory Panel.

The Adelaide Design Manual sets the direction and standards regarding the design and management of high-quality, durable, flexible, accessible and sustainably designed public spaces in the City of Adelaide.

A couple enjoying their neighbourhood with crossings built for people and dedicated bike lane
A couple enjoying their neighbourhood with crossings built for people and dedicated bike lane

The Manual builds on the city’s current strengths and draws from past experiences, locally, nationally and internationally, in urban design and sustainability principles providing future design direction for public spaces.

Safer streets for people have appropriate speed limits for cars with attractive pathways for pedestrians
Safer streets for people have appropriate speed limits for cars with attractive pathways for pedestrians

The principles in the Manual provide the foundation for the design of all projects in the city’s public realm to create welcoming, authentic and high-quality spaces. The Manual has been designed to be used by government staff, design professionals, members of the community and others with an interest in public life.

It is divided into a number of sections:

  1. Street Types, which defines the major streets by their function, use and movement, reinforcing their unique character and scale, and creating a long-term vision for the city.
  2. Street Design, which provides a range of technical and strategic approaches for creating integrated and sustainable streets that support and encourage city life.
  3. Furniture and Materials, which contains guidance on the elements used in the city's streets for a consistent, complementary and high-quality approach to selection and placement
  4. Greening, which provides the technical and strategic guidance for increasing trees and plantings in the city in a sustainable way, contributing to environmental and lifestyle benefits.
  5. Building Frontages, which explains how private buildings that face public spaces can contribute to a rich and diverse city experience through detailing and thoughtful design.       
  6. Lighting, which provides approaches to lighting that complements the city environment, improves safety and amenity, promotes sustainability, and builds on the city’s lifestyle and character. 

Project team

  • ACC - Design & Strategy Program
  • ACC - Information Management Program
  • ACC - Infrastructure Program
  • ACC - Planning & Development Program
  • ACC - Public Realm Program
  • ACC - Sustainability Program
  • Project Steering Group
  • Internal working groups
  • External Steering Group
  • Access and Inclusion Advisory Panel
  • Frame Creative (web developer)
  • Consultants: Created key documents to inform the principles and approaches outlined in the ADM
    • Six Degrees Urban: Small Streets and Laneways Analysis and Case Studies
    • ASPECT Studios: Green Infrastructure Guidelines
    • Six Degrees Urban: Building Interface Guidelines
    •  Webb Australia: DRAFT Adelaide Public Realm Lighting Guidelines Acknowledgments: Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure Office for Design and Architecture
    • SA Consultants: ARUP Aspect Studios FRAME Creative Masthead Studios (CityMag) Owen Lindsay Six Degrees Urban Webb Australia

Project cost


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