The City of Whitehorse is characterised by quiet tree-lined residential streets comprising mainly free-standing or duplex housing.
It has a number of high-rise buildings with many more planned in the Box Hill Metropolitan Activity Centre (MAC) and three to four story apartment blocks located near transport hubs. There is no high density public housing located in the city.
The city also has a number of industrial areas such as on Middleborough Road in Box Hill South, Canterbury Road Mitcham and adjacent to the railway line in Blackburn and Mitcham and commercial areas such as Box Hill Mall (which includes Box Hill Central), the Nunawading and Mitcham Megamile, the areas around Blackburn and Mont Albert stations and Forest Hill Chase.
Development in the city is subject to the Whitehorse Planning Scheme. The planning scheme is informed by zones and overlays which take into account the environment such as bushfire or flooding risk and the preservation of heritage and neighbourhood character.