Street setbacks and layouts Print

Design Outcome

​​​​​​​Design Checklist​

  • Building setbacks respond appropriately to the current or proposed future street form
  • Setbacks assist in creating a relationship between the building and the street


How a building is setback from the footpath influences the pedestrian and vehicular experience on the street and the perception of the street from inside the building.
The setback also needs to take into account the building occupants privacy, while also creating opportunities for overlooking, (eyes on the street) which improves neighbourhood safety.

Building setbacks can maintain and enhance an area's character. In new areas, setbacks can establish the character of a street by providing a consistent building line for adjacent buildings to align with.

​​Setbacks and front yards can provide privacy for ground floor apartments. Passersby are not able to look directly into  windows as the setback provides space for screening. It can be preferable to have non-residential ground floor uses at the street frontage of a mixed use development.

Commercial ground floors should adjoin the street frontage to maintain a consistent building line. Retail uses rely on this direct interface with the street to attract passing trade.


Better Design Practice

Use a front yard setback to establish or reinforce the desired streetscape character, particularly the general height-to-width ratio of the street.

The setback also helps to define the qualities of the street edge. It can achieve variation or punctuation in the streetscape by altering the setback at specific locations (e.g. at important points or junctions, or outdoor spaces). ​

Clearly differentiate between public and private space.

Any space between the building and the street becomes a transitional space between the public street and the private building.

Rules of Thumb

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