A good fit from the start
- Go beyond the minimum requirements. Everyone benefits from a good quality and attractive design – not only will it attract more visitors, but it is also less likely to require retrofitting in the future.
- Identify whom the users of the space will be and make sure that amenities and activities are designed around them.
- Design attractive and functional communal spaces in the buildings to encourage social interaction.
- Reflect the local context. The choice of design and materials should complement the existing character of the environment.
Public spaces should be constructed using robust materials that are:
- easy to clean, fix or replace as part of regular maintenance. This will also help them to withstand vandalism and graffiti
- durable against weather conditions, including UV radiation
- visually attractive and coherent with the character of the surrounding neighbourhood.
Strike a balance between the quality of materials and maintenance costs. Sometimes, an initial investment in long-lasting materials decreases the cost of future maintenance. This particularly applies to furniture in public outdoor spaces or communal spaces in buildings.
Plan for maintenance
Even good designs need maintenance, and continued upkeep of a space should be considered from the beginning.
- The durability of the construction should be considered during the design phase. For instance, question whether street furniture will withstand skateboarders, or if a BBQ area should use flame retardant materials.
- Maintenance needs to be an on-going activity and is critical for creating a safe atmosphere. A well-kept environment is more inviting and cultivates a stronger sense of pride from the community.
- Regular servicing will help to maintain the original design of a place for longer.
- On-going maintenance is often less costly than major servicing. Online resources, such as the BRANZ website, can help with planning for maintenance costs, and provide tools for a number of different users.