Monthly Archives: August 2010

Laneway Commissions 2010

The City of Melbourne has announced the Laneway Commissions for 2010. This annual public art commission began in 2001, providing a range of temporary works for Melbourne’s laneways.

Public Writing
Anthony McInneny

Lingham Lane

Public Writing, Anthony McInneny

[Source: City of Melbourne]

Public Writing is a video work by Melbourne based artist Anthony McInneny. On the bluestone walls of Lingham Lane, Public Writing presents an animation of a hybrid writing machine that types sections of text lifted from broadcast and print media.

Matt Blackwood with Tony Birch, Barry Dickens and Cate Kennedy

Various locations in the CBD

MyStory, Matt Blackwood

[Source: MyStory]

Story sites:
Tony Birch: Equitable Place, McKillop Street and Bank Place
Matt Blackwood: Masons Lane, Union Lane and The Causeway
Barry Dickins: Block Arcade: ‘Adams Gallery’, Block Arcade: ‘The Rare Stamp and Coin Shop of J.P. Downie, Esq’, and Block Place: ‘Dinkum Pies’
Cate Kennedy: Whitehart Lane, Hardware Street and St. Francis Church (corner of Lonsdale and Elizabeth streets)

MyStory presents four self-guided audio and text tours, designed to take you on an immersive literary journey through some of the city’s most intriguing laneways. Using mobile technologies, audiences will discover the laneways anew, accompanied by the stories of four Melbourne writers, spinning tales of past and present.

For information on how to access MyStory content and a detailed map of project sites, visit

Urban Codemakers
Troy Innocent

Guildford Lane and surrounds

Urban Codemakers, Troy Innocent

[Source: Urban Codemakers]

Combining the elements of a city treasure hunt and online gaming, Urban Codemakers explores the ways in which urban space is contested.

For information on how to play the game, visit

City of Melbourne has produced a PDF brochure with further information about the 2010 Laneway Commissions.


VEIL Food Map

VEIL Food Map

Urban food production map. [Source: VEIL]

Our recent post on productive streets included a quote from Kirsten Larsen of the Victorian Eco-Innovation Lab. VEIL’s website features an urban food production map of Melbourne. The map identifies community gardens, market gardens, food produced in public spaces and shared household gardens across the city.

Hamer Hall redevelopment begins


Animation of the Hamer Hall redevelopment. [Source: Minister for Major Projects]

Work began recently on the $128.5 million redevelopment of Hamer Hall. Originally designed by Roy Grounds, the new works are a joint project between ARM and Peter Elliot. The project will provide upgrades to the hall’s acoustics, staging technologies and equipment, as well as the public foyers and visitor amenities, allowing the Arts Centre to program a broader range of events. The venue will be opened up to the public realm by establishing new connections with the city, St Kilda Road and the river. Hamer Hall is expected to reopen in mid-2012.

Increased planning interventions

The Age reports that Planning Minister Justin Madden has intervened in 44 per cent more planning matters compared with the previous year. Presenting an annual report in Parliament, Mr Madden outlined a total of 223 planning interventions. Economics, rather than planning outcomes, formed a central argument for the increased level of ministerial involvement.


Following our recent post providing a link to the 2010 Victorian Architecture Award winners, we decided to include these photos of EastLink. Designed by Wood Marsh, the project won the Joseph Reed Award for Urban Design. All images are courtesy of ConnectEast & Heaven Pictures.

Eastlink runs for 39 kilometres between Donvale in Melbourne’s north east, through Dandenong, to Frankston in the south-east of Melbourne. A series of artworks have been installed along the motorway including works by James Angus, Emily Floyd, Callum Morton and Simeon Nelson.
















Ellipsoidal Freeway Sculpture, James Angus

Ellipsoidal Freeway Sculpture, James Angus

Public Art Strategy, Emily Floyd

Public Art Strategy, Emily Floyd

Hotel, Callum Morton

Hotel, Callum Morton

Desiring Machine, Simeon Nelson

Desiring Machine, Simeon Nelson

The Eastlink website provides information about the artworks and a map showing their location.

Productive Streets

Backyard vegetable garden, Aberfeldie

Vegetables grown in an Aberfeldie backyard are shared between neighbours. [Source: Visual City]

VicUrban’s Meridian in Dandenong will see fruit trees and vegetable plants extending beyond the backyard and into the public realm. According to an article in The Age, streets will be lined with a mix of about 20 kinds of productive trees, urban orchards established in public open space and an area set aside for community gardens.

Introducing such species into the public realm can be difficult as local council’s often have concerns regarding maintenance costs and potential litigation. “Those arguments can be addressed,” says Mr Partos from VicUrban. “Some areas of California have had productive landscapes in their streets for a long time, with community organisations set up to manage and run them.”

Commenting on the broader environmental impact of food supply in cities, Kirsten Larsen, of the Victorian Eco-Innovation Lab, believes planning models in urban areas must change. “We need to think about our cities as productive, as well as consumptive spaces.”

Shaping Melbourne Volume 2

Melbourne Beyond 5 Million - Volume 2

Melbourne Beyond 5 Million, Volume 2, Density and Localised Economies
[Source: Committee for Melbourne]

Density and Localised Economies, the second in a series of four volumes that define the outcome of the Committee for Melbourne’s 2010 Shaping Melbourne Taskforce, has been released.

Volume One of this series explored the importance of appropriate governance and effective decision making for the cities future. This included a broadly articulated long-term vision for how Melbourne could best benefit from addressing issues of physical shape, population, development, growth and regional relations.

Volume Two explores the issue of density and discusses the value of both creating new localised economies and reinforcing those that already exist. The report begins by covering population projections, rates of growth and demographic changes. This is followed by a review of Melbourne’s density and an overview of issues associated with viability. The relationship between planning and the market is presented along with a number of growth options. After discussing the role of regional cities, the report concludes with a series of actions to deliver change.

One of the clear issues emerging from the document is the current ‘policy void’ in both existing planning documents:

“Melbourne @ 5 million aspires to accommodate an additional half a million people within the established areas of Melbourne. It places a priority over designated activity areas across the metropolitan area and locations close to existing transport routes. Unfortunately, though, it provides no solution about the scale of development that may be expected, the planning regime that will implement the policy, the role of local municipalities and how local communities will have a voice. The situation is only exacerbated when the state chooses to override planning norms in the name of expediting projects.”

And in an overarching approach for the city’s future development:

“There is also a lack of a strong policy framework as to the preferred physical shape and form of Melbourne. If this ‘policy void’ continues, it is possible that increases in density will happen indiscriminately, with no strategic policies to determine how increased density will link to the provision of transport and other infrastructure. While the State Government has undertaken significant assessments of the capacity of metropolitan Melbourne to accommodate a population of five million, there is currently no plan that demonstrates how aspirations of new and existing communities and densification will actually be converted to reality – let alone for a population significantly beyond five million.”

Quick links

Following our recent slowdown we have posted a number of quick links tracking news items from the last two weeks:

PARLIAMENT approves a 43,600 hectare expansion of the Urban Growth Boundary.

THE UGB EXPANSION is criticised for destroying Melbourne’s green-wedge land, established to protect “rural and agricultural uses, natural resources, landscape, heritage, open space, and conservation values”.

REVALUATION figures reveal that the federal government’s home owners boost, which sparked a boom in Victoria’s first home buyers market last year, contributed little to housing affordability.

REDEVELOPMENT of a Carlton estate fails to deliver the proposed public/private mix, resulting in two physically separated developments with a disproportionately high number of private units.

SMALL-TO-MEDIUM ENTERPRISES miss out as banks favour household lending.

INNER-CITY GOLF COURSES relocate to alternative locations after selling their existing sites to residential developers.

LABOR will provide $200 million in financial incentives to encourage construction of 15,000 new homes for regional cities, shifting money from an existing rental housing affordability scheme.

House prices dip

The Age reports on Melbourne’s first dip in house prices “after 17 months of strong gains that increased the typical price for a house from $404,636 to $500,000”. The figures reflect a national downturn revealed in the latest RP Data-Rismark property index. The report also refers to new figures from the Reserve Bank which show that growth in housing credit slowed to 0.4 per cent in June – its slowest growth for any month since July 1984.