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Urban design and planning theory and practice reflects the different cultural contexts, locations, historical origins and political intents within which they are produced. This paper has emerged from a mixed methods case study of the urban design of three different beach precincts on the Gold Coast, Australia. The intent of the research was to understand how people value, use and relate to urban beach precincts so that their design, planning and development may functionally reflect the role that they play in people’s lives.
The author’s case study research of three Gold Coast beach precincts found that the governance of an accessible walkable public realm is the key to making beach precincts inviting, comfortable and secure for egalitarian use of the inherent values of a special case of development. These research findings led to the development of an urban design model which could sustain the values most associated in the research with beach precincts: the ability of people to relax, restore and connect to nature, the genius loci and cultural context of place.
A research-based urban design and planning model for beach precincts was developed that supports the political intent of egalitarian public access to activity, amenity and facility. This model explicitly articulates the need to incorporate research in the design and planning of beach precincts that identifies the needs of the constituency of disadvantage: children, carers, seniors and socially, economically, perceptually and mobility-impaired people, including women in all categories but particularly older females.
This document has been peer reviewed.