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Previous: Living Streets Program (2012-13)

A Living Street is a place where a street is returned as a community asset to be shared by pedestrians, playing children, cyclists and low-speed motor vehicles. Living Streets projects aim to:

  • Create a sustainable environment in the street
  • Improve the sustainability of households living in the street
  • Improve actions and behaviours across a range of environmental issues
  • Improve social outcomes for residents

Leichhardt Council implemented its Living Streets Program in 2012. Some of the outcomes included the Taylor Street Project and the Marlborough Street Veggie Patch. Read more about them and Living Streets around the world using the tabs below.

Taylor Street Project

There were several exciting changes made in Taylor Street as part of the Living Streets Project.

Why Taylor Street?

Here are some of the outcomes:

  • A shift from vehicle to pedestrian-friendly design
  • More effective parking and slower traffic without losing parking spaces but also adding green spaces
  • A new children's playground
  • Making the street more aesthetically pleasing
  • Improved shading and cooling
  • Residents are planting their own plants in the street
  • Water sensitive urban design (WSUD)
  • The street has become a pedestrian-friendly public space
  • Reduction of peak stormwater flows and pollution
  • Catalyst for other street projects

These are just a few photos taken of the Taylor Street Project:

taylor-street-outcomes-1 taylor-street-outcomes-2

taylor-street-outcomes-3 taylor-street-outcomes-4


Marlborough Street Veggie Patch

marlborough-garden-250-185Community action bloomed in Leichhardt as local residents and families planted an edible community garden in Marlborough Street Playground. On Saturday 3 November 2012 members of the Marlborough Street Veggie Patch designed and installed an edible community garden based on permaculture principles. The project was nurtured through Leichhardt Council’s Living Streets program.

Some plants were donated to the group by The Balmain Glasshouse and Annandale Garden Centre, such as beetroot that had been propagated from seed by volunteers and marigolds for attracting pollinating insects. The garden will be maintained by members of the group who have adopted natural pest management and seasonal crop rotation strategies to ensure the best produce.

Leichhardt Council is committed to fostering a sustainable and liveable community. The Living Streets program is an innovative neighbourhood action program that encourages council and community to work together for a more sustainable and connected community.


Living Streets around the world

The Living Streets project in Taylor Street built on initiatives where communities globally are reclaiming towns and cities from car dominance, making room for sustainable initiatives and allowing community life to prosper.


UK Living StreetsIn the United Kingdom, Living Streets started life in 1929 with the Pedestrian’s Association, set up to protect the rights of pedestrians in the new era of widespread motor vehicle. Early successes included campaigns to persuade the Government to introduce the driving test, the 30mph urban speed limit and pedestrian crossings.

In 1931 Tom Foley, the founding Secretary of the Pedestrian’s Association, said:-   “We are not anti-car but by a gradual and subtle process the eviction of the pedestrian from our roads and streets proceeds, streets are first and foremost for people”.  The Association has campaigned on the following manifesto:

  • People making sure that our public spaces are people friendly, that our streets are not just designed as traffic corridors, and people have a voice in local decision making
  •  Places making sure that our public spaces are high quality, clean, safe and attractive, and that our neighbourhoods are vibrant, with good access to local shops and services
  •  Walking making sure that walking is the natural option for people by providing the right information, the right environment and the right incentives to get people out walking and enjoying their streets.

"... A Great Street should make a community and facilitate people acting and interacting to achieve in concert what they might not achieve alone… A great street should be a most desirable place to spend  time, to live, to play to work. Streets are settings for activities that bring people together. The best streets encourage participation. People stop to talk or maybe sit and watch, as passive participants, taking in what the street has to offer." (D.J Jacobs 1998)

THE ‘WOONERF’ in the Netherlands - reducing car dominance

Netherlands Living StreetsThe concept of Living Streets was taken up in the Netherlands in the 1960s’ where communities were concerned about quality of the design of streets and how the pedestrian seemed to be squeezed out. Progressive urban design and engineering design was introduced to reduce car dominance allowing the street to become more as it was historically; reflecting the life of a community in a well designed environment. The ‘woonerf’ or ‘shared yard’ was revolutionary thinking and affected urban design decision making in town centres and residential streets around Europe making changes to speed limits, pavement design and street configuration. This brought widespread change in street design across the Netherlands.

HOME ZONES in the North of England - street renewal as part of urban renewal

UK Home ZonesIn the UK in the 1980’s and 90s’ the idea of Home Zones was used as a tool for urban renewal. Used predominantly in the North of England, Home Zones have been successful in old industrial towns where street layouts are dominated by terrace housing and narrow streets. New design addresses the character and context of the street, reinforcing the idea of local characteristics and values in making a street great. Projects have been undertaken in the Burnley area in Lancashire leading to improved social cohesion, better employment prospects and improved housing.

LIVING STREETS in Christchurch New Zealand - beyond the Speed Hump

New Zealand Living StreetsFrom the mid 80s onwards many New Zealand cities like Australian cities were being traffic calmed. Streets had become littered with road bumps and chicanes and yet little had returned to pedestrians and the environment. Streets should be redesigned with a priority on community interaction. Peverel Street in Riccarton is the pioneer Living Street - an inner city area of Christchurch focused on physical design based around an artistic theme. Peverel Street sits above a stream. The design was based on a braided river system that flowed through the town. The flowing meandering nature of the river was similar to the braided river patterns of the Canterbury Plains. This created patterns of planting and paths, use of local stone and the introduction of artwork to create identity and landmarks. The project particularly involved children as part of the process. 

SUSTAINABILITY STREET (Australia) - It’s a village out there

Melbourne Living StreetsThis project, founded in Melbourne, has begun to work with communities in basic training programs to nurture sustainable living, contribute to community events and spread the word about sustainable possibilities with others. Projects have been undertaken in various Victorian Local Government areas and in NSW in Wollongong, Parramatta and Winston Hills.



Chippendale Living StreetsThis project includes public composting and community gardening to reduce waste to landfill and educate people in local food growing. Other events have included street festivals and food fairs.