Project promotion materials:

Software is available at:

Project Members:

Professor Fiona Bull (Project Manager,

Bryan Boruff (Project Manager,

Akeal Hayek (Developer,

Ben Khoo (Developer,

Andrew Dennison (Developer,

Piers Higgs (Developer,

Bridget Beesley (Developer,

ANDS Contact:

Mingfang Wu (

Project Status:


POSITVE PLACES: spatial analysis of public open space

University of Western Australia

Project Description:

Australian cities are growing rapidly and the need to curtail urban sprawl whilst maintaining high standards of liveability and sustainability are critical issues for Federal, State and Local Governments as well as for the planners and developers integrally involved with the on-ground interpretation and implementation of our planning policies. An important feature of liveable, sustainable communities is their “green infrastructure”. This includes trees and vegetation, gardens and all areas of POS and parks which provide communities with a range of physical, social and mental health benefits for all ages. However, there is pressure on the provision of POS because of the need to accommodate an increasing population through densification, urbanisation and infill. Moreover, there is growing concern regarding equity of access to POS facilities and amenities, POS quality, amenity, attractiveness and safety as well the need to balance competing environmental demands and benefits. There are also concerns that the 10% quantity-based planning provision of POS has adversely affected the size, function and spatial accessibility of POS and resulted in the under provision of POS for active recreation (such as playing fields/ovals) as well as insufficient diversity of POS for users of all ages.

Whilst many LGAs hold data on their parks, reserves and public open spaces, the quality and form of these data varies. Additionally, a lack of consistency in definitions, terminology and descriptions of POS has prevented comparable classifications and amalgamation of the various data sources for regional analysis. Therefore, there is a paucity of accurate and consistent data on the provision and spatial distribution of POS, including parks of various sizes and types (in terms of their size or form, function and facilities), across LGAs and suburb boundaries.

In response to the lack of a comprehensive and consistent digital datasets of public open space across Perth, the Centre for the Built Environment and Health (CBEH) commenced the development of POS Tool - to provide a spatial database of the public open spaces and their amenities across metropolitan Perth. The completion of the project provides access to a unique public open space GIS layer spanning across the Perth Metropolitan and Peel region and which contains a total of 7264 areas (i.e. polygons) of POS of which; 3813 are parks; 820 are school grounds / playing fields; 1860 are natural and conservation or bushland areas and; 771 are areas of residual green space. Each of the 3813 parks have been audited and attributed with the provision of up to 43 different facilities and amenities they provide, allowing local governments the ability to compare residential access to various types of park facilities within and between Perth’s LGAs and Suburbs.

The POS Tool ( interface offers a unique instrument for planning professionals across private and government sectors in Western Australia. It provides access to public open space (POS) data that is needed for examining the current provision and spatial distribution of POS, including parks of all sizes and park amenities, across administrative boundaries to assist in the future planning of POS allocation in the Perth Metropolitan and Peel Region and allows planners to interrogate POS data to support their land use planning decisions.

Research Champion:

Prof. Fiona Bull
Centre for the Built Environment and Health
School of Population Health
The University of Western Australia

A/Prof. Lisa Wood
Centre for the Built Environment and Health
School of Population Health
The University of Western Australia

A/Prof David Whyatt
School of Primary, Aboriginal and Rural Health Care
The University of Western Australia

Policy Champion:

Mr Andrew Montgomery
Department of Planning (WA)

Julie Rutherford
Strategic Project Manager
Department of Sport and Recreation (WA)

Data Type:

Input Data:
2011 Perth Park Polygons and attributes Cadastre Land-use/Land-cover Roads Public Transit Stops Local Government Area (LGA) Boundaries Suburb Boundaries Census Collection District (CCD) Boundaries Demographic and Socio-Economic Status (SEIFA) Statistics

High Level Software Functionality: