Project status: Closed

Final Framework Released

The final City and Gateway Urban Design Framework was jointly launched on 19 December 2018 by Mick Gentleman MLA, Minister for Planning and Land Management, and Senator the Hon Zed Seselja.

The Framework recognises the significant opportunities the city centre and the gateway corridor of Northbourne Avenue and Federal Highway presents for urban renewal, growth and investment in the city centre, by enabling more people to live and work close to sustainable transport options, services and infrastructure.

The Framework builds upon feedback from Stages 1 and 2 of community engagement and utilises a people-first approach to ensure high-quality design in buildings, public places and streets in the city centre and gateway corridor of Northbourne Avenue and the Federal Highway.

To find out more about the final Framework and next steps visit the City and Gateway Urban Design Framework website information.

What we heard

Key messages from the Stage 2 community engagement included:

The first stage of community engagement was undertaken by the ACT Government during 2015-16 and the findings are summarised in a Stage 1 Community Engagement Report. Consistent messages and concerns that helped develop the Draft Framework are:

  • Support for improving the safety and convenience of walking and riding bicycles for people of all ages and abilities.
  • Support for high architectural quality and sustainable building design that contributes positively to public places and streets.
  • A desire for convenient access to and provision of well-maintained open spaces and landscape amenity to support a diverse range of passive and active recreation, in particular related to Sullivans Creek, Haig Park and urban place activation, such as pop-ups and curated outdoor events.
  • A desire for adequate community facilities and social infrastructure to support a diverse community.
  • A lack of housing choice with poor built form and sustainability outcomes in new developments.
  • Increased traffic congestion and impacts on local traffic flows and parking.
  • Lack of pedestrian amenity, especially related to east-west connections across Northbourne Avenue.
  • Changes to bus services following the introduction of light rail.
  • A people-first approach to the planning and design of the Northbourne corridor, with priority for walking and cycling, good quality public spaces and social infrastructure to foster active and healthy communities.
  • A placemaking approach to create public places and streets as people-friendly destinations with high amenity, supported by investment in the open space networks and urban parks.
  • A 'city in the landscape' approach ensuring development contributes to the landscape setting with most building heights sitting below the tree line of the urban forest.
  • A planning and design framework guiding development to incentivise design quality and innovation in sustainability.
  • A city and gateway movement network boosting the overall efficiency, effectiveness and safety for all travel uses, including walking, cycling, public transport and vehicles.

What will happen next

Changes to planning provisions

The implementation of the Framework required changes to planning provisions which apply to the corridor and city centre. This included an amendment to the National Capital Plan by the National Capital Authority and a variation to the Territory Plan by the Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate to give new planning controls statutory effect.

Territory Plan Variation 368 implements the key planning recommendations of the City and Gateway Urban Design Framework from Barry Drive/ Cooyong Street to Mouat/ Antill Street and clarifies some of the existing provisions of the Inner North Precinct Code. Variation 368 was approved on 4 May 2022. The commencement date is yet to be determined.

The approved plan variation is available at

The changes to the National Capital Plan were made in two amendments. The first, Amendment 91, commenced on 4 April 2019 Amendment 91 - City and Gateway Urban Design Provisions and the second, Amendment 93, on 12 September 2019 Amendment 93 - City and Gateway Urban Design Provisions Technical Changes.

Infrastructure upgrades

Further implementation initiatives will involve physical and social infrastructure upgrades that will be coordinated with the City Renewal Authority, Transport Canberra and City Services Directorate and other government service providers. These will include improvements to roads and active travel infrastructure, Northbourne Avenue verge upgrades, enhancement of the Sullivans Creek open space network, upgrades to Haig Park and further planning for and delivery of social infrastructure, such as school, sport and health facilities, in the city and gateway corridor.