Monthly Archives: May 2010

New State Government and City of Melbourne planning committee

Planning Minister Justin Madden has announced details of a new joint State Government and City of Melbourne committee that will assess developments larger than 25,000 square metres. The Central City Standing Advisory Committee will give the City of Melbourne greater involvement in major planning decisions in the CBD. Members of the committee are:

  • Mr David Buckingham (Chair);
  • Ms Chris Gallagher (Victorian Government);
  • Ms Gaye McKenzie (Victorian Government);
  • Mr Rodger Eade (Victorian Government Alternate Member);
  • Prof Rob Adams (City of Melbourne);
  • Cr Peter Clarke (City of Melbourne); and
  • Cr Jennifer Kanis (City of Melbourne alternate member).

The first applications to be assessed by the Committee will be 80 Collins Street and the former Naval and Military Club, 23-35 Little Collins Street.

Le-Louvre, 74 Collins Street

Le Louvre, 74 Collins Street [Source: National Trust]

In a related article, The Age reports on the emerging heritage debate over the future of the ‘Paris end’ of Collins Street.


Heritage review for Melbourne’s street art

Skirt Lifter, Hosier Lane

Hosier Lane street art [Source: Melbourne Street Art]

Heritage Victoria has been asked by Planning Minister Justin Madden to undertake a study assessing the heritage value of culturally significant street art in Melbourne as well as identifying key street art areas. The report will advise on how Melbourne’s street art can be appropriately recognised and catalogued. The announcement follows the much publicised removal of a Banksy stencil by council workers.

Previous campaigning for the need to recognise street art includes Keith Haring’s mural in Collingwood. The work, dating from 1984, was subsequently included on the Victorian Heritage Register.

Built Environment Meets Parliament 2010

The annual conversation between parliamentarians and industry leaders will take place in Canberra from 15-16 June. BEMP 2010 will focus on strategic planning for Australian cities now and for the future, with the results of a capital city strategic plans audit to be released. The audit will measure current major city strategic plans against the COAG’s future capital city strategic planning criteria.

The opening night will include the presentation of the Australia Award for Urban Design. Further information is available on the BEMP website including a list of confirmed speakers and key note presentations from the 2009 event.

Karl Fender appointed AIA National President

Karl Fender, founding director of architectural practice Fender Katsalidis, has been appointed the Australian Institute of Architects’ 71st National President. His key priorities over the next 12 months include:

  • Sustainable communities, cities and architecture.
  • Furthering dialogue between the Federal Government and the profession on a range of issues and projects.
  • Establishing an Australian Government Architect position within the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.
  • Planning Reform.
  • Championing an urbanist view of Australian cities.
  • Fostering relationships between the Institute and architecture community working in Australia and offshore.

Industrial heritage podcast

Robur Tea Building, 1888, Architect Nahum-Barnet

Robur Tea Building, 1888, Architect: Nahum Barnet [Source: Victorian Heritage Database]

Sir Neil Cossons, former chairman of English Heritage, recently presented the 2010 Heritage Address. His talk focused on the conservation and preservation of industrial heritage worldwide. Heritage Victoria has made a podcast of the address available.

Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize

Aerial view of Bilbao

Aerial view of Bilbao [Source: Estibaliz Alvarez –]

Bilbao has won the inaugural Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize. The City of Melbourne gained an honourable mention along with Curitiba and New Delhi.

Epping Central Funding

Epping Central

Epping Central – Principle Activity Centre boundary [Source: City of Whittlesea – Epping Central, Emerging Directions Paper, December 2008]

Minister for Planning Justin Madden recently announced grants for Whittlesea Council to assist in planning key projects for Epping Central. Initial projects include sustainable transport initiatives and a new community hub. The funding will also be used to develop the Epping Central Structure Plan. This will guide major changes to land use, built form and public spaces in support of local economic, social and environmental objectives. Under Melbourne 2030, Epping is identified as a Principal Activity Centre.

Work starts on Melbourne Park redevelopment

Melbourne Park redevelopment stage 1

Melbourne Park redevelopment stage 1 – Rod Laver Arena and Margaret Court Arena [Source: Major Projects Victoria]

Bovis Lend Lease recently started work on the $363 million Melbourne Park redevelopment commissioned by Major Projects Victoria. The construction phase follows the preparation of a strategic master plan by Populous and Cox Architects investigating a vision for the Australian Open until 2030. The new facilities and refurbishment work is necessary to ensure the long term security of the Australian Open as one of the four Grand Slam tennis tournaments.

‘Mini-Melbourne’ for China?

Tianjin, China - Google Maps

Tianjin, China [Source: Google Maps]

The Age reports on a masterplan designed by Architektonic which is described as a ‘mini-Melbourne’ located next to an artificial lake outside Tianjin, a sister city to the Victorian capital. According to the article:

“The proposed development would house 20,000 people in an area covering 900,000 square metres – roughly half the size of the Melbourne CBD. Its centrepiece would be a Melbourne-style shopping and cafes hub based on Acland, Brunswick and Lygon streets.”

Architektonic’s Shanghai office was recently opened by Victorian Industry and Trade Minister Jacinta Allan.

Cranbourne East – Melbourne’s newest suburb

Cranbourne East - Google Maps

Cranbourne East [Source: Google Maps]

The Precinct Structure Plan (PSP) for Cranbourne East has received planning approval. A 589 hectare site is projected to accommodate 20,000 people over the next 15 years. The masterplan includes 6,600 housing lots, local town centres, schools, kindergartens, retirement villages and amenity spaces. Discussions between the Growth Areas Authority (GAA), Casey Council and developers have resulted in Cranbourne East being the first plan to use concurrent land rezoning and subdivision approval processes. The subsequent time savings in subdivision and alignment of these processes is set to become a template for future PSP developments.

Precinct Structure Plans are part of the State Government’s strategy to accommodate population growth and housing demand. They are usually designed to accommodate between 10,000 and 30,000 people. Preparation of the plans is overseen by the Growth Areas Authority.

A map showing the location of Precinct Structure Plans is available here.

Public housing demand

Atherton Gardens, Fitzroy

Atherton Gardens, Fitzroy [Source: Google Maps]

March figures from The Department of Human Services reveal that nearly 40,000 applicants are on the public housing waiting list. The Federal and State Governments will attempt to address demand across Victoria by investing in the following:

  • The Nation Building Social Housing Initiative will build 4,500 new homes for low-income households.
  • The National Rental Affordability Scheme will deliver at least 7,500 new rental homes to be let at 20 per cent below market rents.
  • The State Government is set to acquire more than 3,800 new homes for low-income households in 2010-11 and invest $510 million to deliver 2,350 new public and social housing units.

A related report in The Age focuses on a proposal to provide hundreds of additional homes at three of Melbourne’s largest public housing estates; Atherton Gardens in Fitzroy, Elizabeth Street in Richmond and Malvern Road in Prahran.

‘Great Streets’ Blueprint

Swanston Street Stage 1

View along Swanston Street in front of the State Library [Source: City of Melbourne]

80 per cent of the public space in Melbourne’s Central Business District is comprised of streets. As the population of the city continues to grow the municipality will invest $23 million in street infrastructure under the ‘Great Streets’ Blueprint. Using the Swanston Street model, a comprehensive framework will be developed and applied to other major streets. Central to the plan will be amenity improvements including trees, street furniture, lighting, bike lanes along with a study of the retail mix. Initial work will focus on completing the first stage of Swanston Street, followed by Elizabeth Street and Flinders Lane. A consultation and design process will also be undertaken for a pedestrian precinct along Queen Street adjacent to the Queen Victoria Market.

City of Melbourne’s Draft Budget

Docklands Library

Docklands Library [Source: City of Melbourne]

The City of Melbourne’s draft budget for 2010–11 proposes an $84 million funding boost to the municipality’s infrastructure. Key elements of the draft budget include:

  • $7.2 million rescue package for Melbourne’s drought affected trees as part of the $26.4 million allocated for parks and gardens.
  • New community facilities for Southbank with $5 million allocated for the first phase redevelopment of the former JH Boyd Girls’ High School.
  • $3.1 million committed to undertake future strategic development of the Queen Victoria Market including a study to transform Queen Street into a pedestrian precinct.
  • $9.2 million to develop a blueprint for transforming Melbourne’s streets. This will focus on changing city streets from thoroughfares to civic spaces starting with Swanston Street, Queen Street, Elizabeth Street and Flinders Lane.
  • $2.5 million to commence Docklands’ first public library in partnership with VicUrban.
  • $3.4 million city safety package including an extension of the CCTV patrol vehicle program and increased night time arts and cultural events.
  • $2 million funding increase to enhance premier festivals and events.
  • $600,000 to fit-out the community hub located at the Drill Hall, North Melbourne.
  • $400,000 to complete the $5 million upgrade of Melbourne’s Tan Track, which encircles the Royal Botanic Gardens and King’s Domain and is used by 300,000 people annually.

2010 Venice Architecture Biennale

Proposals by the 17 teams selected for the Australian Pavilion at this year’s Venice Architecture Biennale can now be viewed online. John Gollings and Ivan Rijavec head the creative team for the two part exhibition ‘NOW + WHEN Australian Urbanism’. ‘NOW’ will present footage documenting current urban environments in Sydney, Melbourne and Surfers Paradise. ‘WHEN’ will represent the 17 urban imaginings from the ‘Designs for Australian Cities 2050+’ competition. Both sections of the exhibition will employ stereoscopic imaging.

State Government budget targets key planning policies

The recent $72.1 million State Government budget targets key planning policy documents including Melbourne @ 5 million, Melbourne 2030 and Planning for all of Melbourne. The budget allocates $10.4 million over four years for Central Activities Districts and Employment Corridors and a further $8.3 million over four years to accelerate development in Activity Centres and infill sites within Melbourne. Other initiatives funded in the 2010 State Budget include:

  • $5.9 million over four years to develop housing and employment data to plan for future development;
  • $2.6 million for programs and community grants to preserve Victoria’s Heritage;
  • $9.5 million over five years for urban renewal in Footscray, including planning support for a residential, office and commercial development within the 1.3ha McNab Ave site;
  • $22.8 million in the Transport Connections project to provide reliable transport links;
  • $3 million to extend the Living Libraries program;
  • $14 million over two years to revitalise suburban sports facilities; and
  • $4 million in grants for community infrastructure in growth areas.

New guidelines for Maribyrnong River

Maribyrnong River Valley Design Guidelines

Map indicating the seven sections of the Maribyrnong River, each with their own specific character. [Source: Department of Planning and Community Development – Maribyrnong River Valley Vision and Design Guidelines]

The Maribyrnong River Valley Design Guidelines are intended as an overarching framework to achieve planning consistency along the river valley. The main purpose of the guidelines is to protect open space and guide development along the river, as well as expand and link existing parkland, walking paths and cycling trails. The guidelines set out a vision for the river valley by defining seven different sections of the river, each with their own specific character:

  • Brimbank length: a natural river
  • teele Creek length: a secluded river
  • Maribyrnong length: a suburban river
  • Racecourse length: river flats
  • Footscray length: an urban river
  • Footscray Wharf length: an urban river
  • Port length: a working river

A range of priority actions for further work, from the Organ Pipes National Park through to the river mouth, are identified including capital works, planning scheme amendments, enlarging the open space corridor, further detailed planning and community engagement.

Protecting Melbourne’s trees

Carlton Gardens [Source: Visual City] The Age reports that the City of Melbourne will undertake a program of urgent replacement and rehabilitation of trees over the next year. Due to prolonged drought conditions Melbourne will look overseas to countries with similar climates to provide robust tree species. With approximately 25,000 native and 25,000 exotic trees […]

1200 Buildings Green Initiative

The Victorian Government and City of Melbourne have launched a major sustainability initiative to refit 1200 existing commercial buildings. The commercial building sector is responsible for the majority of greenhouse gas emissions in the municipality, accounting for 48 per cent of total greenhouse gas emissions. If 1200 existing commercial buildings are retrofitted to improve energy performance by 38 per cent, the potential for greenhouse gas mitigation is 383,000 tonnes of CO2-e per annum. While regulations now require major new office buildings to meet minimum sustainability standards, new buildings represent only a small proportion of the commercial building stock. The 1200 Buildings website provides information on the retrofit process, funding opportunities, policies that support the initiative, case studies and current participants.

Comment on Fitzroy Gardens Master Plan

Fitzroy Gardens

Fitzroy Gardens [Source: Visual City]

On the Victorian Heritage Register, the historical significance of the Fitzroy Gardens is described in part by the following passage:

“The Fitzroy Gardens are of historical significance as one of a ring of public reserves around Melbourne established in the nineteenth century to provide respite and relaxation for the city’s residents. The Fitzroy Gardens have been viewed as the flagship of this group of city gardens, which includes the Flagstaff, Treasury, Carlton and Alexandra Gardens and the Kings Domain…They are also a reminder of the city’s relatively large investment in public gardens, a reflection of 19th century beliefs about the moral and health benefits of green spaces in often dirty, smelly and overcrowded cities.”

As part of an ongoing process to ensure the gardens future, City of Melbourne has produced the Fitzroy Garden Master Plan Review Discussion Paper. The document was published following a 12 month review of the previous 1996 master plan. While the principles outlined in the former document remain relevant, the current paper identifies a number of new issues and opportunities facing the gardens. These focus on the management and security of water, climate change challenges, heritage obligations and improving infrastructure for the 3 million annual visitors.

The Council has organized a number of walks in Fitzroy Gardens on Thursday 6 May and Saturday 8 May to explain the proposals. Comments on the various options outlined in the discussion paper will be received up until Friday 21 May. Further details on how to participate in the walks or submit comments are available on the Shape Fitzroy Gardens future webpage.

New plan for Southbank

Southbank - Google Maps

Southbank [Source: Google Maps]

The City of Melbourne’s Draft Southbank Structure Plan 2010 proposes “new zoning and development controls to improve street level amenity, initiatives to improve walking and cycling and the establishment of new community centres to enhance the precinct’s look and feel”. The plan will guide growth over the next 30 years in order to accommodate the increasing resident and worker populations.

Three new local activity centres will provide community, commercial, retail and residential facilities. These will be located at City Road around the former Boyd School site, along Sturt Street and, in an ambitious proposal, on a deck over the entrance to City Link. The plan will be introduced to Council’s Future Melbourne Committee next Tuesday prior to a six week community consultation process.