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Urban Design Compendium


The development block is the land area defined by the grid. The size and shape can vary depending on the street configuration, orientation, topography, plot sub-division and building types.

Perimeter Blocks:

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Perimeter blocks can accommodate a range of building types and densities.
  • Buildings should face the street to clearly distinguish public fronts from private backs
  • Consider distance between buildings to respect people’s privacy and right to light
  • Line the edges of blocks with a perimeter of buildings to accommodate a diversity of building types and uses
  • Encourage the continuity of street frontage with a common building line to provide enclosure and generate ‘active frontages’

Block size:

  • In considering optimum block size trade offs will have to be struck between ease of access, ability to sustain variety of building types and uses and ability to change and adapt over time.

Block Shape:

  • Square blocks offer flexibility in accommodating a range of building types
  • Rectangular blocks with depth can accommodate larger buildings
  • Rectangular blocks with their short side orientated onto the main street can increasing connectivity with the surrounding area
  • Irregular blocks can respond to the topography and the creation of focal points

Block Interiors:

Block interiors can accommodate a variety of uses, including car parks, service yards, communal gardens, mews houses etc. Design for future changes of use


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