Rebuild the Ground Plane

Back in the day, they really knew how to build streets for people.

The ground plane  of a building stretches from the road, across the pavement into the inside of the building.  It’s where people interface with a building.

Leederville has the luxury of still having  old buildings and streets that were designed for people. People feel safer and the streets are more alive.

The shops have windows that you can look into, doorways are set back from the front of the building.  The pavement is wide and spacious.  People can stop and talk. There are free spaces where  people can stop rest.   Awnings are well proportioned and provide good protection from the weather.

Sadly nearly all new buildings in Leederville fail at the ground plane.  So what’s  gone wrong?  It’s a complex problem.

Architects design buildings to impress each other and look good in drawings.  Designing ground planes is difficult and challenging so it’s easier to ignore it.

Developers  don’t see the value in investing in the street,  focusing only on the internal fitouts of their buildings.

People are fearful  about the “stranger in the streets” and assume they are safer inside a building that looks like a fort.

Businesses, particulary street cafes,  take over the pavement with screens, furniture and signs. You are not welcome unless you are a customer.

The reality is far different. Streets are safer, businesses do better, property is more attractive when the ground plane works for everybody.


“If we all work on this issue we can still create amazing ground planes” – David Galloway