Introducing the Sustainable Subdivisions Framework

In 2019, 16 partner councils, the VPA and CASBE partnered to develop a Sustainable Subdivisions Framework focusing on improving the long term community benefits delivered by a subdivision through the planning process. This Framework complements the existing Sustainable Design Assessment in the Planning Process (SDAPP)(Buildings) Framework and caters for the needs of growth area and regional communities. Communities whose principal form of development is residential subdivision. The Framework is currently being trialed across Victoria by a number of councils initially on residential subdivisions but is also able to be applied to commercial and industrial subdivisions.

The creation of a subdivision is the creation of a community. Subdivision design commences with a relatively blank canvas, setting up the life of the community that will extend over hundreds of years. The initial subdivision design presents an enormous opportunity to create the fundamental conditions for a sustainable and resilient community.

The long-term nature of subdivision planning is now set against the backdrop of our climate fundamentally changing. By 2070, for example, temperature increases of between 1.5 and 3 degrees are expected. It is therefore critical to take a long-term view and consider the impact of climate change over the entire life of the subdivision.

Sustainable subdivisions are carefully planned to achieve improved quality of life, protect and use resources efficiently and improve the health of the environment and people. Crucially, sustainability needs to be embedded from the beginning of the subdivision process.

 Sustainable Subdivisions Framework

The Sustainable Subdivisions Framework seeks to mitigate the impacts of a fundamentally changing climate to create subdivisions that can adapt to the changing climate. The Framework identifies seven categories that can assist in creating sustainable subdivisions:

The Framework has been developed with a focus on environmental sustainability outcomes, which have social and economic benefits, for example the way green infrastructure can provide improved amenity or recreation value.

The seven (7) categories include:

  • Objectives: Mirroring existing Victorian State planning policy objectives and introducing objectives where gaps exist, strengthening the justification for the adoption and use of the Framework
  • Criteria: The requirements to meet category objectives
  • Metrics: Quantifiable environmental performance requirements to support objectives where performance can be quantified, but not to take the place of a robust overall evaluation
  • Innovation: Opportunity to improve on best practice sustainability within each category
  • Implementation (Governance & Management): Pathway that ensures the criteria are effectively implemented and the objectives of the category are met over the long-term

A further fact sheet has been developed which provides an overview of the Framework and the expectations of applicants.

Please go to our resources page for more information.

The Sustainable Subdivisions Framework was launched on 2 September 2020. You can watch the launch webinar here.

Project Partners

  • Ballarat City Council
  • Baw Baw Shire Council
  • East Gippsland Shire Council
  • Greater Bendigo City Council
  • Greater Geelong City Council
  • Greater Shepparton City Council
  • Hume City Council
  • Latrobe City Council
  • Macedon Ranges Shire Council
  • Melton City Council
  • Mitchell Shire Council
  • Moorabool Shire Council
  • Wangaratta Rural City Council
  • Warrnambool City Council
  • Whittlesea City Council
  • Wodonga City Council
  • Council Alliance for a Sustainable Built Environment
  • Victorian Planning Authority

Acknowledgements

This project was supported by the Victorian Government’s Collaborative Council Sustainability Fund Partnership Program.

HIP V. HYPE and Spiire were engaged to develop the Sustainable Subdivisions Framework and support materials.

Sustainable Subdivisions Framework Trial : October 2020 - March 2022

From October 2020, councils across Victoria are conducting a voluntary 18-month trial of the Sustainable Subdivisions Framework. Through this process council statutory planners from participating councils are able to provide an assessment of subdivision applications within their municipality against the Framework.

Councils will collect data and feedback on the application of the Framework, to improve the process and communicate the benefits to the community.

The purpose of the 18-month trial

The purpose of this trial is to understand the impact of using the Sustainable Subdivisions Framework for the assessment of subdivision applications.

Through the trial councils will work collaboratively with the development community to understand how the Framework can support the delivery of long-lasting sustainable community developments. Participating councils will assess subdivision applications against the Sustainable Subdivisions Framework for the duration of the trial and provide recommendations to interested developers about the opportunities for their project.  There are no fees for developers associated with participating in the trial, and while the take-up of sustainability recommendations is highly encouraged, it is voluntary, enabling capacity building and shared consideration of innovative approaches. Through this process councils aim to understand the willingness of the development community to adopt voluntary recommendations, while simultaneously gaining detailed feedback on the Framework.

From a council perspective the trial will be run through existing planning process utilising existing staff resources. The project aims to foster and recognise the important partnerships between engineering and planning departments within council in the subdivision process. To enable this, the Sustainable Infrastructure Guidelines, a key engineering resource to deliver sustainable infrastructure, is embedded into the Sustainable Subdivisions Framework.

Finally, the partnership approach to the trial is designed to foster collaboration across Victorian councils. The pilot aims to demonstrate the collaborative capacity and leadership ability of the local government sector in establishing a state-wide assessment framework for sustainable subdivisions. Training materials and peer-to-peer learning opportunities across participating councils will support the upskilling of council staff in delivering holistic sustainable outcomes through the subdivision process.

The Sustainable Subdivisions Framework trial is open to any Victorian council. Participation in the trial is voluntary. Resources are available to support the implementation of the Framework. Please contact the Project Lead, below, for further information.

Contact

For information about how your council is involved in the trial, please contact the relevant council statutory planning department directly.

For information about the Sustainable Subdivisions Framework project, contact Project Lead, Bridie Guy, Strategic Planner, Wodonga City Council at bguy@wodonga.vic.gov.au or the CASBE team at casbe@mav.asn.au

Councils participating in the trial

  • Alpine Shire Council
  • Ballarat City Council
  • Bass Coast Shire Council
  • Cardinia Shire Council
  • East Gippsland Shire Council
  • Golden Plains Shire Council
  • Greater Bendigo City Council
  • Greater Geelong City Council
  • Greater Shepparton City Council
  • Horsham Rural City Council
  • Hume City Council
  • Indigo Shire Council
  • Knox City Council
  • Latrobe City Council
  • Macedon Ranges Shire Council
  • Melton City Council
  • Mildura Rural City Council
  • Moorabool Shire Council
  • Mornington Peninsula Shire Council
  • Murrindindi Shire Council
  • Pyrenees Shire Council
  • Strathbogie Shire Council
  • Towong Shire Council
  • Wangaratta Rural City Council
  • Warrnambool City Council
  • Whittlesea City Council
  • Wodonga City Council
  • Yarra City Council