Darebin Design Excellence Program


  • Darebin City Council


The Design Excellence Program is an integrated approach to improving design quality within Darebin and focuses on building internal capacity as well as providing clarity to the planning permit applicants. The program includes a range of initiatives that are organised under the theme of leadership, guidance, capacity building and recognition. One of the first deliverable of the program includes two documents namely Darebin Good Design Guide for Apartment Development and Medium Density Development. The purpose of these documents is to clarify Council’s expectations in terms of good design at the outset.

Key Features


The Design Excellence Program has been developed based on the feedback from internal and external stakeholder to ensure there is a balance of expectations from Council as well as permit applicants along with incentives and strong focus on developing internal capacity when it comes to design quality. The program seeks create a culture of good design within Council and improve the quality, durability, liveability and sustainability of developments within Darebin. The design guides are highly visual and have been designed for easy navigation on the screen. They include a menu and hyperlinks to move between sections to avoid scrolling endlessly.


Buildings affect the lives of the people who live in them as well as people who move around them. The design excellence program seeks to improve the liveability and sustainability of new developments within Darebin which will impact the entire community. The program promotes the use of robust and sustainable materials to reduce long term maintenance cost along with the cost on our environment. Internal training creates awareness around importance to good design for the statutory planners that reduces friction with the development community providing certainty and reducing the time and cost of getting a planning permit.


New development has the potential to transform the quality of life for people, stimulate the economy and enhance the environment. The investment and commitment to design excellence by Darebin is one of the first for a local government. It is a huge boost for design excellence and design thinking in general and can transform the role of government when it comes to delivery of quality design outcomes. This significantly enhances the reputation of Victoria as a creative state leading the charge in delivery design excellence for our cities.


One of the core components of the program is the new City Designer position that is responsible for developing and delivering the program. Darebin is one of the first Council’s in Victoria to have such a position dedicated to achieving and improving design quality. Another innovative component is the intention to create a culture of good design within the organisation through regular training, professional coaching and site visits. Access to internal training and design expert has significantly improved understanding around the basic principles of design and developed a shared understanding around good design within the organisation.


The Design Excellence program and Darebin Good Design Guides were developed in house with internal and external stakeholders and can be downloaded from

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