Category Archives: Public Realm

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.”

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‘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.