Framework Plan

What is a Framework Plan

Urban Design Frameworks are strategic planning tools that set out an integrated design vision for the desired future development of urban places. They translate the broad aims of Municipal Strategic Statements (MSS) and planning schemes to practical urban design action at the local level.

An Urban Design Framework differs from a strategic plan, or a master plan: it combines the direction-setting and coordination aspects of strategic planning with the detailed and practical design process of a master plan, in three dimensions.

It should enable community to deal more effectively with specific design issues at a practical level. Unlike a master plan, which only gives a final vision for how an area will develop; an Urban Design Framework should provide flexibility by identifying key principles rather than finite solutions.

It includes a design vision for a place and should include sufficient detail at key locations to allow vision testing against economic and functional parameters.


Each place will have unique characteristics and potential, so the framework process needs to be specifically adapted for that place. However, it is important that each framework is systematic, objective and sufficiently comprehensive to ensure all major issues have been considered.

An Urban Design Framework should:

• include a comprehensive analysis of context

• look beyond the individual project and seek to coordinate across projects and opportunities, setting a project in its broader context

• incorporate and respond to information from existing strategies and studies, such as transport, heritage and neighbourhood character studies

• provide a ‘layered’ response to issues at hand, beginning with the broad contextual issues and principles, and working down to detailed design studies and guidelines for critical locations.