05 March 2018
How Do You Measure Character?Click to enlarge
If we are to manage our character, we must be able to measure it...here's some thoughts as to how we might break down this task...
Lets look at the land, the urban form and built form.
The physical characteristics that define the neighbourhood
Topography and views
• Is the area generally flat, gently sloping or steeply sloping?
• Do streets follow the topography (ie relatively f at) or are they perpendicular to the topography?
• Are there any key local views? (to natural features ie harbour / sea / water / hills / mountains or built features ie bridges / CBD / buildings)
• What is the orientation of the area/ streets?
Geology & Natural features
• What role do natural watercourses and drainage play in the area? (piped / channelled or natural)
• Are there any local ridges, signifi cant natural features?
• What is the underlying geology? (sandstone /
river flats / clay)
• What is the height of local trees?
• Are trees deciduous / native / exotic?
The Urban Form
The urban morphology or underlying urban structure of streets, blocks, open space and infrastructure.
• What is the pattern of the streets? (regular / irregular grid/ modified grid / curvilinear)
• Are streets generally connected or cul-de-sacs?
• Are there laneways / no laneways?
• What is the width of the streets? (typical 20m, narrow <15m wide >25m)
• What is the width of carriageway? (ie how much of the street is road space?)
• What is the character of the verge/ nature strip?(landscaped / grassed)
• Are there footpaths / no footpaths?
• What is the character of the kerb? (no kerb / roll-over kerb / high kerb / low kerb)
• What is the character of the street trees? (size of trees / spacing between trees)
• What is the street proportion? (ie width of street to height of buildings urban / suburban)
• What is located on the street corners and at the terminating views?
• Where are the major roads and /or infrastructure? (ie rail)
• What is the pattern of major streets, secondary streets, lanes and pathways?
• What is the shape of the street blocks? (long and narrow, square, organic / irregular)
• What is the size of the blocks? (large / small / intersection density)
• What is the pattern of lots within the blocks? (regular / irregular, narrow / wide frontage, deep / shallow)
• What is the pattern of lot sizes? (generally consistent or
diverse, large or small)
• What is the orientation of lots? (N/S, E/W)
• Are lots generally parallel to the street?
• Note: the size and shape of the lots may determine possible building types?
• What is the character of areas of open space? (formal / informal, vegetated Creek corridors / pocket parks / large parks)
• Is the open space extensive or limited?
• Where are the community facilities located? (ie where are the churches, post office, local school, local shops, library etc)
• Where is the focus of the neighbourhood? What are the facilities that help develop community identity?
THE BUILT FORM
The built environment including the buildings and the spaces between the buildings
• What are the predominant dwelling types? (detached / semi detached dwelling / dual occupancy)
• Are there medium density dwelling types? (terraces / townhouses / row houses)
• Are there apartment dwelling types? (low rise / medium rise / high rise)
• What is the age of the building? (Victorian / Federation / Californian Bungalow / 1970’s / contemporary)
• Is the architectural style consistent or diverse?
• What are the predominant materials used in the neighbourhood? (weatherboard / fi bro/ brick/ stone)
• What percentage of buildings are rendered or painted?
• What is the typical roof pitch? (22 / 35 / 45 degrees)
• What materials are used on the roof? (Tile / slate /metal / concrete)
• What percentage of roofs are fl at / roofs / parapet?
• What is the predominant height of buildings? (1 storey / 1 - 2 storeys / predominently 2 storeys / 3 storey / 3-5 storey / 6 – 8 storeys / 8- 12 storeys / 12-25 storeys / more than 25 storeys)
• How much is the building setback from the street? (small /
large, somewhere between 3 - 6m)
• What is the landscape character of the setback?
• Do buildings have a consistent or variable setback?
• What are the side setbacks? (small / large, same on both
sides / wider on one side)
• What is the rear setbacks? (generous / minimal, established
gardens/ large trees)
• Do dwellings have front fences? (No fence - front garden merges with nature strip planting)
• What is the character of the fence? (low / high fence, solid / open fence)
• What materials are used in the fence? (paling / brick/ painted / stone)
• What is the style of front gardens? (exotic / native species / modern / traditional, minimal / establishing / established)
• How much of the front garden is lawn / drought resistance / hard paved/ low maintenance?
• How is car parking accommodated? (separate garages / carports / garages incorporated into building form /underground parking / ground level parking)
• In low density streets are garages double / single, facing the street, located at the side or at the rear with laneway access?