Sustainable subdivision framework

Sustainable Subdivisions

A sustainable subdivision is not hard to achieve, and it is definitely more than just having energy efficient dwellings in the estate.

A sustainable subdivision starts with the masterplan. The subdivision street layout has to encourage walking, cycling, scootering and the electric versions of these as the means to get to local destinations. Any alternative to almost solely relying on a car to get around. Supporting active personal transport options to get to key destinations (shops, transport hubs, schools, sports grounds, gyms, community centres):

  • is more democratic – if you are under 18 years old you can’t drive, some families can’t afford a second car, and often retirees may not want to drive. Allowing these groups of people to get around delivers an inclusive community
  • reduces financial stress, reducing the need for a second car in families
  • builds exercise into people’s transport option providing overall physical and other mental health benefits
  • increases opportunities for incidental social interaction. When you are out of your car ‘bubble’ you get to talk to neighbours not just wave to them, and create more opportunities to get to know a bit more about them. With the advent of automated roller doors and built-in garages connected to most new dwellings there are reduced opportunities for interacting with neighbours as you are not outside in your driveway. Contrast this with places where cars are parked in the street and you regularly chat to a neighbour on the way to of from your car
  • help build strong communities and reduce the loneliness and isolation we hear people are often suffering
  • help get our kids outside. Communities that encourage kids to safely ride to the shops with their friends on direct, continuous and safe off road paths create more opportunities for our kids to exercise and socialise
  • saves on carbon emissions so is good for the environment

So the masterplan must encourage connectivity, sustainable transport, supporting local features, and diversity.

Following on from a good masterplan is a requirement for good detailed design of the public realm – the so called third space apart from home and work. This is the space people happily inhabit if subdivisions are designed right. It is not hard to do, but all too often the opportunities for positive design outcomes are missed because they aren’t considered.

Other components of the sustainable subdivisions framework include:

  • Energy
  • Ecology
  • Integrated Water Management (IWM)
  • Urban Heat
  • Circular economy (Materials and waste)

We prepare subdivision sustainability management plans along with ESD design guidelines for new dwellings in subdivision. Most current estate dwelling design guidelines have very little sustainability included in them, but it is simple to improve on this, differentiating to deliver cheaper homes to live in, with a better future for the community.

Before you bed down your subdivision masterplan call us for a chat about delivering a subdivision sustainability management plan according to the sustainable subdivisions framework. We generally provide quotes within 24 hours.


Shared paths facilitate activity and people getting out into the community
Active paths are good for businesses and creating social hubs
Effective, appropriate street trees shade and biodiversity benefits
Attractive well used lush green park