The National Capital Authority (NCA) undertakes development of Urban Design Guidelines and other related materials to influence the quality of development in the National Capital as required by the National Capital Plan (the Plan). The Urban Design Guidelines provide guidance to land managers and site developers on the application of the Plan at a detailed site or precinct scale.

The following Urban Design Guidelines have been endorsed by the NCA.

Acton Peninsula Precinct Structure Plan

The Acton Peninsula Precinct Structure Plan outlines a renewed vision for the area as a world-class cultural precinct that celebrates Australia's national identity and respects Canberra's local heritage.

The Structure Plan informs the future direction to reaffirm Acton Peninsula as one of Canberra's premier gathering places that delivers world-class core functions of education and museum facilities, to create an exciting, connected, active and vibrant precinct that focuses visitors, educator and researches on Australia's culture and intellectual capital.

City and Gateway Urban Design Framework

The NCA and ACT Government have together prepared the City and Gateway Urban Design Framework to set the principles for development and growth in the city centre and along the gateway corridor of Northbourne Avenue and the Federal Highway.

Constitution Avenue Public Realm Handbook

The NCA has produced the Constitution Avenue Public Realm Handbook to support changes being made to Constitution Avenue by multiple parties, over a period of time. It provides a level of direction on design integration and quality that will ultimately improve the experience of the street. This document is to be used by the NCA and others to guide the design of works within the roadway and adjacent development. The document has been produced in consultation with a range of key stakeholders and user groups.

Creating Places for People and Road User Hierarchy

The NCA has adopted the principles of Creating Places for People - an urban design protocol for Australian cities, which forms the Australian Government’s approved policy for urban design. The document and more information can be accessed from the protocol's website, at the link below.

Deakin Forrest Residential Precinct Guidelines

The NCA implemented these guidelines in July 2018, after careful consideration and following the consultation feedback on Draft Amendment 89. The submissions in response to this amendment highlighted a number of important values that residents and respondents would like to see retained within the Deakin Forrest Residential Precinct. These guidelines aim to provide residents and/or developers with further clarity on the requirements on the National Capital Plan and therefore upholding the values of the Plan.

Guidelines for Commemorative Works in the National Capital

The NCA has a responsibility to encourage the representation in the National Capital of the broad range of Australian cultural narratives. The Guidelines for Commemorative Works in the National Capital canvasses as wide a range of subjects and themes as possible, ensuring that all the ‘nationally significant’ areas of Australian history, heritage and culture are properly represented.

Guidelines for Perimeter Security in the National Capital

The NCA has prepared these Urban Design Guidelines for Security in the National Capital to encourage high quality design solutions that integrate building security into the landscape of public areas.

Outdoor Lighting Policy

This policy has been prepared to guide the range of considerations necessary when installing or renewing outdoor lighting in the nationally significant areas of the Australian Capital Territory. It seeks to ensure that the planning, design and operation of lighting balances the needs of people and the environment. Importantly, the policy strengthens the role that lighting plays in our understanding and appreciation of the National Capital and Canberra's urban landscape.

Parliamentary Zone Review

The Parliamentary Zone, a key-hole shaped area of land bounded by State Circle, Commonwealth and Kings Avenues and Lake Burley Griffin, has a pre-eminent role in the National Capital as, arguably, Australia's most significant and symbolic public space.

In 1998, the Australian Government announced that the National Capital Authority would undertake a strategic review of the Parliamentary Zone and initiate the development of a master plan. This master plan would revitalise the Parliamentary Zone and enhance its cultural, social and political significance.

The Griffin Legacy

Canberra is one of the nation’s foremost assets. As the Seat of Government and National Capital, the city is a vital part of Australia’s history and an important visitor destination. It contains the nation’s leading university, its premier cultural collections and the high ranks of the Australian defence establishment. Canberra is host to the diplomatic community and to international trade delegations. Its symbolic heart, the Central National Area, provides the setting, backdrop and approaches for some of the nation’s most important buildings and memorials.

Tree Management Policy

The National Capital Authority (NCA) has developed a Tree Management Policy (the Policy) to guide the protection, care and development of the treed landscapes it manages for the next ten years. The Policy has been developed in consultation with the community, the ACT Government and industry experts.

The NCA recognises the importance of trees to people who visit our Central National Area and is committed to protecting and nurturing them now and for generations. 

West Basin Precinct Guidelines

West Basin is a nationally significant precinct identified for future urban renewal. The precinct is centrally located, close to national attractions with great potential for rejuvenation as a high quality, urban, lakeside precinct.

The precinct is within Designated Areas defined in the National Capital Plan. Development proposals for this site will be subject to NCA Works Approval. Given the site's scale and positional importance and recent development plans under the City to the Lake proposal, it was considered appropriate that the NCA provide guidance on the preferred character of the area.

Yarralumla Bay Recreational Hub Master Plan

This Master Plan provides an additional level of detail to the provisions of the National Capital Plan for the Yarralumla Bay area. It sets a clear framework for the future development of Yarralumla Bay and surrounds to ensure the area can continue to be enjoyed in the future by recreational and community users, whilst maintaining the unique character and natural setting of the area.