Gold Coast City Strategy

A new light rail system was the catalyst for economic, lifestyle and sustainability benefits for people living on the Gold Coast, one of Australia’s largest, fastest growing and climatically vulnerable cities. 

Working closely with the Gold Coast City Council to realise our vision for a truly integrated design framework, we tackled the challenges of integrating transit’ into the distinct precincts within the 2000-hectare Gold Coast corridor.

This meant that nine key strategic – and site-specific – ideas were required, within three primary ideas for action. By harnessing growth we can create better streets, buildings and places – and ultimately a more liveable and resilient Gold Coast.

The result is better-connected communities, with walkable streets and new transit systems. The city re-engages with its water edges and creates greener, cooler, restorative public experiences. There is better access to employment centres and cultural destinations.

True collaboration between planners, landscape architects, architects, the council and community ensured a critical and informed strategy for the Gold Coast. The study takes an evidence-based approach, and comprehensively explains the thinking behind its strategies graphically.

Our work was acknowledged as a milestone study in the evolution of integrated transport and land use planning – fundamental to planning for a more resilient future.


Gold Coast City Council


Bundjalung Country
Gold Coast, Australia






Queensland Department of State Development, Infrastructure and Planning / Aurecon / John Gaskell Planning Consultants / MacroPlan Dimasi

Design team

Adam Davies, Toby Lodge, Dennis Eiszele, Rob Keen, Neil Hill, Matthew Schalcher, Amalie Wright, Amy Stewart
10K new trees
1K small-scale interventions
1 walkable city

1 walkable city – greenways and blueways project

10 great streets projects covering all eight east-west connections and two unifying sub-tropical streets

100 urban places projects aimed at realising urban public realm on the coast

1000 small scale interventions, unifying placemaking elements such as wayfinding signage, street furniture and light palette, a public art strategy, and, at a city building scale, network interventions like bike path improvements, city cycle scheme, end of trip bike stations, boat parking spaces, and a public ferry service

10000 new trees strategy, combined with a mature tree nursery and public-private street tree planting program

  • 2015 Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (Queensland) Awards - Landscape Architecture Award for Planning
  • 2014 Australian Institute of Landscape Architects National Awards - Landscape Architecture Award for Planning
  • 2013 Planning Institute of Australia National Awards for Planning Excellence - Best Planning Ideas Large Planning Award
  • 2012 Planning Institute of Australia (Queensland) Awards for Planning Excellence - Best Planning Ideas Award - Large, Regional or Urban Project
  • 2012 Australian Institute of Architects (Queensland) Awards - Gold Coast and Northern Rivers Regional Commendation for Urban Design

The light rail system … is more than just a piece of transport infrastructure – it is a significant piece of city building’ infrastructure. Hassell understood this from the beginning of their commission and went above and beyond’ the project brief to develop this vitally important urban design framework.”

Nick Tzannes Executive Coordinator Growth Management Unit, Gold Coast City Council

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