Neighbourhoods are the basic building block of liveable cities

Neighbourhoods are the basic building block of liveable cities, says Victor Dover in this episode of ‘Town Planning Stuff Everyone Needs to Know’.

Neighbourhoods in Yarra

The City of Yarra has 21 Local Area Place Making (LAPM) areas, or neighbourhoods.

Image credit: City of Yarra

Ideas for improvement

Waltham Forest Council in London, UK, has roughly double the land area and approximately triple the population of Yarra, so is a good example of what we can do to improve. They’ve transformed their neighbourhoods by building footpath and cycling networks, supplemented by pocket parks and traffic calming:

Local Area Place Making

Council improves the amenity of neighbourhoods by following the Local Area Place Making (LAPM) Policy, which grew out of the old Local Area Traffic Management (LATM) process. LAPM reviews involve analysis of local traffic flows and multiple stages of community consultation.

Local Area Place Making Policy 2017. Image credit: City of Yarra.


The main problem is that it takes Council 10-15 years to cycle through reviews of all 21 LAPMs, which is too slow to react to:

The next problem is that each LAPM review is typically only allocated a budget of $300k-$400k (although LAPM 3 Scotchmer did received $1.9m). This is simply too little to effect the required level of change.

Improving the LAPM policy & process

Streets Alive Yarra suggests that the LAPM policy and process can be improved by:

  • identifying a shared set of values,
  • focussing on place making not traffic management,
  • using best-practice community engagement,
  • considering evidence and data,
  • reviewing all 21 LAPMs in each 4-year term of Council, and
  • allocating each LAPM review an average budget of $2m.

Our full submission is available as a PDF to download:

Suggestions for LAPM Policy. Image credit: Streets Alive Yarra.

Upcoming LAPMs

The priority for upcoming LAPMs can be viewed on the City of Yarra website. The next to be reviewed are:

Design suggestions

View ideas and suggestions from local champions:

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