Why do we need resources and tools to create liveable 20-minute neighbourhoods?

The six different hallmarks work together to create a 20-minute neighbourhood. The presence or absence of these hallmarks can impact the liveability of the neighbourhood. Sometimes it is easy to determine this. Some hallmarks may appear to be present but not others and sometimes the quality of provision is unknown. These different factors and how they combine can all affect liveability.  After assessing the liveability of a neighbourhood, the need for future changes becomes clearer.

The resources detailed will help support this process as well as planning for the necessary changes.

The information presented is not an exhaustive list.  If you or your organisation has done something you think is worthy of inclusion here and is available to share with others free of charge, please send us the information.  Our intention is to highlight the excellent work we know is being done by many and to share their experience and knowledge throughout the community of 20-minute neighbourhood practitioners.


20-minute neighbourhoods checklist

The 20-Minute Neighbourhoods Checklist Tool is an informal tool to assist the urban development industry and councils to implement 20 – minute neighborhoods in larger scale developments. The tool is based on the six 20-minute neighbourhoods ‘Hallmarks’. It outlines what ideally needs to be provided within a 20-minute return walk from home, allowing people to meet most of their ‘daily’ needs locally.

20-Minute Neighbourhoods Checklist Tool (PDF, 660.0 KB)

checklist tool

Other free 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.

Find how Manningham city council use 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.

Check these free tools developed by Gehl Institute to carry out surveys of public spaces and the public life that takes place in them.

Free community engagement tools

Check Capire's website for free publications and toolkits on community engagement.

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 (PDF)  (the Guidelines) 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 (PSPs) 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.

Case studies and best practice

Victorian Government Initiatives

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

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

Other Government Initiatives

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. Find more case studies to help inform great public spaces.

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.

Council's best practice

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.

Our neighbourhoods are beautiful, diverse, sustainable and hold strong community connections which enable citizens and the environment to be healthy and resilient.

Find more on the Moonee Valley council website

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.

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.

Precinct design case studies

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.

Find more about Soho Village

Page last updated: 31/01/23