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The 20-minute neighbourhood checklist is a quick and informal tool to assist the urban development industry and councils to implement 20–minute neighbourhoods in larger scale developments. The tool is based on the six 20-minute neighbourhoods ‘Hallmarks’ by outlining what ideally should to be provided within a 20-minute walk from home. This checklist has been developed as a guide, and not as a pass/fail tool. While the ‘Hallmarks’ as established in Plan Melbourne 2017-2050 are State Government policy, the ‘Considerations’ below have been developed to identify non-mandatory criteria that can assist in implementing a 20-minute neighbourhood.

These criteria can be used to respond to each ‘Hallmark.’ Each locality is unique and requires a place-based approach to respond to the specific needs of that setting. As such, some Considerations may not be applicable (N/A) to all study areas. By working though each of the Considerations, the user can make an assessment as to whether they have addressed each ‘Hallmark’. The checklist forms part of a broader suite of tools being developed by DTP and should be read in conjunction with our other resources on the 20-minute neighbourhoods website and the Urban Design Guidelines for Victoria. For further information on the program, please visit the website or email: planmelbourne@delwp.vic.gov.au

20-minute neighbourhood hallmarks

These six 20-minute neighbourhoods ‘Hallmarks’ outline the ideal characteristics of a 20-minute neighbourhood. The Hallmarks provide the framework needed to allow an area or neighbourhood to support living locally once implemented.

Safe, accessible and well-connected:

  • Is safe, accessible, and well connected for pedestrians and cyclists to optimise active transport.

Thriving local economies:

  • Facilitates thriving local economies.

Services and destinations:

  • Provides services and destinations that support local living.

Climate resilient:

  • Supports climate resilient Communities.

High-quality public realm:

  • Has high-quality public realm and open spaces.

Viable densities:

  • Delivers housing at densities that make local services and transport viable.

How to use this tool

Plan Melbourne 2017-2050 is the Victorian Government’s long-term planning strategy, guiding the way the city will grow and change to 2050. Plan Melbourne is supported by the principle of 20-minute neighbourhoods. The 20-minute neighbourhood is all about ‘living locally’—giving people the ability to meet most of their daily needs within a 20-minute return walk from home, with access to safe cycling and local transport options. Six 20-minute neighbourhood ‘Hallmarks’ are established in Plan Melbourne Direction 5 — Create a city of 20-minute neighbourhoods. They provide a clear outcomes framework to support delivery of 20-minute neighbourhoods. The specific elements required on the ground to ensure local living are listed below.

This checklist tool can be used in a street or any location that needs to be assessed for its ability to become a 20-minute neighbourhood.
This tool can also be used from a central point in any local activity centre, to assess function and ability of the centre to work as a 20-minute neighbourhood serving the local community.

20-minute neighbourhood features

The 20-minute neighbourhoods features illustrate the ideal components of a 20-minute neighbourhood. These features align with the Hallmarks and show what these actual components would look like on the ground in a local area or neighbourhood.

Safe, accessible and well-connected:

  • Safe cycling networks
  • Walkable streets
  • Public transport connections

Thriving local economies:

  • Shops and hospitality
  • Places to work and study

Services and destinations:

  • Childcare centres
  • Schools
  • Community hubs

Climate resilient:

  • Local ad fresh produce
  • Energy efficient buildings
  • Cool and comfortable streets

High-quality public realm:

  • Arts and culture
  • Sport and recreation facilities
  • Nature parks and open spaces
  • Places to to play meet and gather

Viable densities:

  • Mix of housing types and densities
  • Well designed buildings and streets
  • Affordable housing
  • Housing for all needs

Other evalution tools

RMIT has developed the Urban Liveability Checklist which comprises a set of validated built environment indicators that promote health and wellbeing. The checklist has been designed as a short and simple tool for urban planners to apply in established or proposed urban areas, to assess liveability and the potential to improve health and wellbeing.

Learn how Manningham city council used the checklist tool to conduct their Liveability Assessment.

The Australian Urban Observatory (AUO) is a digital liveability planning platform that transforms complex urban data into easily understood liveability maps across Australia’s 21 largest cities. The Observatory maps key liveability indicators found to be associated with health and wellbeing, and provides a clear understanding of the liveability of cities.

The Evaluation Tool for Public Space and Public Life can be used by anyone who wants to better understand the strengths and areas for improvement in a public space. The tool takes people through a series of questions to analyse public space quality. This information can be used to inform future planning, design and investment and to improve public spaces for everyone.

Check The Great Public Spaces Toolkit developed by the New South Wales government that anyone can use to support planning, managing and creating better and more vibrant public spaces.

The Healthy Streets approach offers a range of tools that everyone can use to measure how healthy a street is. Healthy Streets Design Check Australia is an easy-to-use tool to assess the performance of Australian Streets against the 10 Healthy Streets Indicators.


The Site-specific Assessment consists of a series of activities and tools to understand the quality of public spaces and influence, through a participatory process, the design of the site. The assessment focuses on a selected open public space and its five minutes walking radius (equivalent to 400-meter distance) referred in the document as the ‘walkable radius’. The guideline supports the user on how to gather the right data and what information is needed within the selected area in order to come up with adequate design and planning solutions.

Neighbourhood planning and design guidance

Urban Design Guidelines for Victoria

The Urban Design Guidelines for Victoria provide advice about creating functional and enjoyable public places for people in our cities and towns.

Precinct structure planning guidelines

The Precinct structure planning guidelines: new communities in Victoria are a Victorian Government initiative to ensure the Victorian Planning Authority (VPA) and other planning authorities prepare plans for places that enable best practice, liveable new communities.

The purpose of the guidelines is to provide the framework for preparing Precinct Structure Plans that guarantee quality outcomes while also being flexible, responsive and supportive of innovation.

The guidelines are based on planning for 20-minute neighbourhoods, a principle in Plan Melbourne 2017-2050 that advocates for living locally to ensure accessible, safe and attractive local communities.

Other neighbourhood planning and design guidance


Most early development in Melbourne centred along its train and tram lines. High street shopping centres grew around stations and key tram stops in the inner urban areas. This allowed locals travelling between transport and home to shop for their daily needs.

As car dominance grew, housing became separated from industry, commerce and recreation. The home became the focus of local living, and the car the means to move from one service to another. Shopping was in mall-type developments surrounded by car parking. The problem of urban sprawl this type of development has created is now well understood and researched.

One solution is to create compact, mixed-use, diverse, inclusive and sustainable cities. We commissioned research to investigate some of the challenges we face around how to achieve this.

Economic benefits of 20-minute neighbourhoods

In 2019 we commissioned RMIT to research the options for assessing economic benefits of the 20-minute neighbourhood hallmarks. The report focused on benefits associated with walkability and viable density.

The report found that economic benefit is difficult to measure when considering the overall economic impact of change to a 20-minute neighbourhood urban form. This is because many impacts of 20-minute neighbourhood form relate to quality of benefit rather than quantity. This introduces subjective assessment to the process.

Additionally they emerge over time and are difficult to measure in isolation. Their ultimate value also depends on the context in which they are created.

The conclusion was that a range of place-based assessments are necessary to determine the full economic benefit of 20-minute neighbourhood implementation.

20-minute neighbourhoods in greenfield areas

New neighbourhoods in greenfield areas face a different set of challenges to more established areas in creating 20-minute neighbourhoods. Before we can respond to these challenges we need to identify and understand them.

In 2018 we partnered with Resilient Melbourne to coordinate research projects and test the principle of 20-minute neighbourhoods in greenfield development settings.

Research projects in greenfield areas

The final report from Resilient Melbourne released in October 2020 brings together the findings of 4 research projects conducted by Monash University and RMIT University. The projects looked at issues and potential pathways for achieving 20-minute neighbourhoods in greenfield developments.

The 4 research projects that the report summarises were undertaken by RMIT University and Monash University and include 2 Beveridge North West reports. These provide background analysis of existing work in both precinct structure planning and delivering 20-minute neighbourhoods in greenfield areas. They also provide potential further research to explore delivery options for 20-minute neighbourhood implementation.

The Mambourin report recommended strategies to stage community infrastructure delivery in growth areas through temporary activation and interim land-use.

The Assessment of the retail model in greenfield development settings report, identifies the social and health impacts of the form of shopping centres in new suburbs. The research supported the review of the Precinct Structure Plan Guidelines in 2020. These revised guidelines were released in late 2021 and embed the delivery of 20-minute neighbourhoods in planning, particularly in greenfield neighbourhoods.

Case studies and best practice

Our Suburbs: Living Local Fund

The $15 million our Suburbs: Living Local Fund administered by the Office of Suburban Development within the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions, will support Melbourne’s thriving metropolitan communities through the delivery of the following grant programs.

The Suburban Grants Program recognises that many Melburnians are spending more time in our suburbs: working, socialising and shopping locally.

Suburban Grants were awarded to projects that support the 20-minute neighbourhood principle designed to improve suburban shopping strips and public spaces and their safety and accessibility, and deliver new playgrounds, community gardens and public art initiatives.

The Neighbourhood Activity Centre Renewal Fund

The Victorian Government worked with the Office for Suburban Development to deliver local infrastructure including:

  • pop-up parks
  • footpath and bike path upgrades
  • public art
  • greening.

The projects, which form part of the Suburban Revitalisation Program, have created local jobs while supporting local businesses, including:

  • retailers
  • cafes
  • restaurants
  • service providers.

For more details, please visit Suburban Development's website.

Streets as shared spaces NSW

The NSW Government funded 43 councils to deliver 51 temporary demonstration and pilot projects to support the community and test ideas for more permanent improvements to local streets, paths and public spaces. View the list of successful projects.

More case studies to help inform great public spaces.

Great Public Spaces Toolkits NSW

The Great Public Spaces toolkits developed by NSW government is a collection of free resources to support local government, state agencies, industry and the community in planning, managing and creating better and more vibrant public spaces.

Moonee Valley 2040

The MV2040 Strategy is council’s long term plan for improving the health, vibrancy and resilience of our city over the next two decades.

The Vision of the strategy is to create ‘A healthy city’. In 2040 Moonee Valley is a great place to live, work and visit, strengthened by a network of 20-minute neighbourhoods. Our neighbourhoods allow all people, at all stages of life, to live locally and sustainably, accessing most of their needs close to their home and addressing climate change.

Find out more about Moonee Valley 2040

Mambourin – joint Urban Development Framework

Mambourin – joint Urban Development Framework (UDF) implementation project with the developer Frasers to create a 20-minute neighbourhood including temporary and early activation of services and infrastructure.

Little Streets Project

City of Melbourne Little Streets project is looking at ways to create more space on our busy footpaths, so shoppers, diners, workers, residents and visitors can safely enjoy the city.

SOHO village

Soho Village demonstrates that both housing diversity and density, and the creation of a 20-minute neighbourhood is commercially achievable in Australia’s growth suburbs. It has become an exemplar for growth area councils on how to deliver mixed-use projects in the future.

Read more about Soho Village

Page last updated: 13/03/24