Draft Sunshine Coast Design Strategy Part A – Values and Design Principles
  • Last updated:
  • 13 Dec 2019

Council is developing a design strategy for the Sunshine Coast Council area. It aims to inspire and encourage good design of new communities, buildings, streets and spaces.

Sunshine Coast Council is one of the largest local governments in Australia. It serves a diverse community of more than 320,000 residents. There are many natural features and buildings that reflect the outstanding attributes of this region. Like our community, council values these elements and seeks to ensure they are embraced within the proposed design strategy.


Council aims to raise awareness of the value of good design and why this is important for enhancing the prosperity and liveability of the Sunshine Coast.

The strategy will:

  • assist in maintaining and enhancing the landscape and character of the Sunshine Coast
  • respect and showcase the different landscapes and communities which are an integral characteristic of the Sunshine Coast
  • inform Sunshine Coast communities and investors of the high economic, social and environmental value of good design
  • be a simple, accessible and helpful set of values, principles and actions for the production of good design
  • help achieve outcomes that contribute to the Sunshine Coast being Australia’s most sustainable region – healthy, smart, creative.

Who is it for and what will it look like?

The Sunshine Coast Design Strategy will not be a mandatory code or a style guide. It will be a resource for design professionals, planners, developers, home owners, renovators and buyers, builders, certifiers and council. It will inform planning, guide decision making and inspire design that reflects the values of the Sunshine Coast.

The strategy comprises:
Part A: values and design principles - outlining the values and design principles for the area.

Part B: design guidelines – specific direction and technical detail to assist the public and the private sector to achieve the desired outcomes and standards.

Community and stakeholder engagement

Engagement Activities So Far

From September 2018 to February 2019 engagement activities took place. Design professionals, planners, developers, professional bodies, community groups and the wider community took part. Results developed the draft Sunshine Coast Design Strategy’s values and design principles.

Activities included:

  • 4 workshops targeting the design and development industry, with over 100 attendees
  • Over 60 individualised focused conversations with the design and development industry
  • More than 70 key internal council stakeholders participated in focused workshops
  • A community survey attracting over 960 responses.

To understand the community’s values, we asked:

  • What are the 5 distinct characteristics of the Sunshine Coast that you value and enjoy?
  • How are the characteristics of the Sunshine Coast translated into built and landscape outcomes?
  • How do we make sure that these distinct qualities are part of our future as we grow?

See how the Values and Design Principles were informed by the first phase of community and stakeholder engagement in this 5 minute video.

Results to Date

The activities produced 4 key values:

  1. We love our climate
  2. We are embedded in and framed by the natural environment
  3. We treasure our ocean and waterways
  4. We are a community of communities

To help protect and promote the values, a set of 9 design principles have been developed. In addition, there are a series of priority actions to help illustrate designing with these principles in mind.

The design principles are:

  1. Work with the local climate
  2. Create places that respect and incorporate landscape
  3. Bring our culture, arts and heritage to life
  4. Capture and frame natural views and create vistas
  5. Strengthen and extend a network of environmental and green corridors linking places
  6. Be inspired by local and natural materials
  7. Make shady streets that put people first
  8. Create inclusive places that can be enjoyed by everyone
  9. Ensure places are resilient and ready for change

To help explain the Values and Design Principles you can watch this video which runs for 13 minutes or you can watch it in parts.

Why do we need it?

As the council area continues to grow, the changes taking place present challenges and opportunities for our future.
The Design Strategy will guide design to best suit the Coasts character and climate. Without it the region risks an ad hoc approach to planning and design that could be costly — visually, environmentally, socially, culturally and economically.

The Design Strategy will be a helpful guide for development on the Sunshine Coast. It will promote design which reflects and respects what the community loves and values about our region.

Where to from here

Feedback from this final phase of community and stakeholder engagement is being assessed and will help to finalise the Design Strategy Part A.

The finalised Sunshine Coast Design Strategy Part A is scheduled to be presented to council for adoption in November 2019.

The Design Strategy - Part B Guidelines, will be developed following adoption of Part A.


For more information, email