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Greater Adelaide Regional Plan (Discussion Paper and Summary)

A Liveable Environment

Humans rely on a healthy environment for their health and wellbeing. Our environment provides services that are necessary to sustain life as we know it. This includes:

  • provisioning services such as water, food, fibre, fuel and minerals
  • regulating services such as climate, flood and drought mitigation, water purification, pollination, disease and pest regulation and control
  • cultural services such as recreation, health and wellbeing, aesthetics and heritage
  • supporting services such as soil formation, nutrient cycling and primary production.

An unhealthy environment is going to impact the environment’s capacity to deliver these services. It is important that we recognise these services are not infinite and take care of our environment so it takes care of us. This requires commitment, education, support and resourcing.

Distinguishing between urban, rural and peri-urban environments is based on population density, the presence of human-made infrastructure and the degree of natural surroundings, each offering different lifestyles, opportunities and challenges.

  • Urban environments are typically characterised by higher population density, extensive human-made infrastructure such as buildings, roads and transportation systems, and a concentration of economic and social activities.
  • Rural environments are characterised by lower population density, larger areas of open land and a closer connection to natural surroundings. Rural areas are often dominated by agricultural or natural landscapes, with smaller communities and a slower pace of life. They may have fewer amenities and services compared with urban areas, but they often offer a more tranquil and close-knit community atmosphere.
  • The peri-urban environment is the transitional zone between urban and rural areas. It represents the interface where urban development meets and interacts with rural or natural areas. Peri-urban areas often experience the effects of urbanisation, such as encroachment of buildings and infrastructure upon rural landscapes, changes in land use patterns and conflicts between urban and rural interests. These environments face unique challenges relating to managing population growth and maintaining a balance between urban development and the preservation of rural or natural resources.

The Planning and Design Code became fully operational in 2021 and includes policies relating to:

  • new residential infill to encourage incorporation of tree planting, soft landscaping and stormwater detention and reuse into residential development
  • encouraging water sensitive urban design for commercial, master planned residential and infill development
  • new native vegetation overlays to ensure removal is considered up-front in a planning assessment
  • promotion of walkable communities by encouraging a greater mix of land uses in suburban areas and a continued focus on infill development in well-serviced locations
  • opportunities for both policy and spatial updates to the Code to be investigated.

Regional plans are currently being prepared by the State Planning Commission to spatially apply the Planning and Design Code. There will be six country regional plans and a plan for Greater Adelaide. Environmental considerations and liveability are relevant to these plans. Infrastructure SA is also preparing the next 20-Year State Infrastructure Strategy that prioritises infrastructure requirements that will sustain or enhance the liveability of South Australia. This includes roads, rail, ports, housing and facilities associated with health, culture, sports, tourism, education, energy, water and waste utilities.

The Expert Panel Review in relation to the Planning System Implementation Review, under the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016, has been completed. The review provided recommendations on the Planning and Design Code and related instruments including urban tree cover, which is an important consideration in urban liveability. The government's response has not been released yet.

Further Reading

Mother kangaroo and her joey