Street Level Australia is an association of local groups working to make Australian places more beautiful and conducive to cultural and human flourishing by advancing good urbanism, traditional architecture and quality building. We exist to promote excellence and beauty in design.
Street Level is a fundamentally local organisation. We are currently active in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Northern New South Wales and Perth and working to seed the creation of local Street Level groups around Australia. See where we are active and register your interest in starting a Street Level group.
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Stop ugly, bland and soulless building and urban design
Advocate for the best kind of density — gentle density — for home availability and affordability
Encourage beautiful architecture and resilient developments
Plan and build a city or neighbourhood that will last hundreds of years
Advocate for classic planning and human-centred places
Transform suburbia to promote human flourishing
Beauty. We exist to advance beauty in the built environment.We exist to advance beauty in the built environment. It is the natural state of humanity to seek out beauty. When something is beautiful, we are more likely to treasure it as something to be protected and celebrated. Beauty creates community and belonging. Beauty in the built environment is characterised by exquisite architecture and successful city planning. Ugly buildings, on the other hand, invite disdain, resentment or indifference. ‘People do not only want beauty in their surroundings. They are repelled by ugliness, which is a social cost that everyone is forced to bear. Ugliness means buildings that are unadaptable, unhealthy and unsightly, and which violate the context in which they are placed. Such buildings destroy the sense of place, undermine the spirit of community, and ensure that we are not at home in our world.’ — Living with Beauty report, UK Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government
Longevity. We advocate for buildings and developments that will last hundreds, if not thousands, of years.It is commonly asserted that to construct exquisite buildings would be too expensive or impractical. We assert that this is not true — that it is actually more expensive to build a large volume of cheap, ugly and disposable buildings of little intrinsic value. Beauty offers the best value for money in the long run. We advocate for buildings and developments that will last hundreds, if not thousands, of years, just like the heritage buildings we work so hard to protect. We need sustainable, human-scale development that uses land efficiently, uses low-carbon materials and is less dependent on cars.
Tradition. We believe that there is an abundance of wisdom, knowledge and technology that our culture and institutions must rediscover.Traditional development is the approach to building and development that humans have used for thousands of years across different countries, cultures and climates. It means building public spaces to a human scale, where a person on foot can feel comfortable and safe, and a fine-grained mix of uses were homes and businesses are in the same place. We believe that there is an abundance of wisdom, knowledge and technology that our culture and institutions must rediscover from the past and apply to modern development to drastically improve our built environment, with all the associated benefits. By looking back, we can look forward. We change the world to fit the vision, instead of constantly changing what the vision is.
Localism. We believe that decision-making should take place at the most local level possible.We believe that decision-making should take place at the most local level possible. When development and planning decisions are imposed on communities by a centralised authority that is removed from the consequences of those decisions, we create fragile, unsustainable cities and neighbourhoods built on shaky foundations. When local power is removed from planning, unintended consequences magnify the risk of failure and harm and the likelihood of moral hazard increases. This approach created our sprawling suburbs and failing modernist public housing estates. This does not mean we are opposed to all forms of planning, we just believe it should be conducted at the appropriate scale and resist imposing standardised solutions on local communities, especially when utilitarian goals such as profit and efficiency are prioritised over beauty, health and wellbeing. While infrastructure is important, our built environment should not be a mere byproduct of it.
Increase the proportion of new buildings and developments that will last hundreds or thousands of years — not decades — and get better, not worse, with age
Increase the proportion of new buildings and developments that are beautiful and accord with the preferences of local communities
Implement the traditional town planning approach in major Australian cities, municipalities and towns, creating at least three places in Australia with traditional masterplans by 2025
What we mean by ‘traditional’
When we talk about ‘traditional architecture’ or ‘traditional urbanism,’ we don’t mean traditional in a political sense. ‘Traditional’ refers to certain examples of architectural design as a conception of beauty, and means the approaches to architectural design, building and ornamentation that humans have used for thousands of years across different countries, cultures and climates.
‘Traditional’ in planning design means building public spaces to a human scale, where a person on foot can feel comfortable and safe, and a fine-grained mix of uses where homes and businesses are in the same place. There is an abundance of wisdom, knowledge and technology that our culture and institutions must rediscover from the past and apply to modern development to drastically improve our built environment, with all the associated benefits.
New traditional inspiration
View our gallery of new traditional architecture, places and towns. All of our examples were built within the last ten to twenty years. Better is possible. Is your architect on board?
We are building a revolution.
We are building a revolution to increase the number of beautiful, quality and enduring local neighbourhoods, streets and buildings in Australia through local chapters comprised of people who deeply love, and are fighting to improve, their local area.
Unlike most revolutions, we intend to restore the wisdom of the past.