The announcement that Melbourne is set to receive one of its largest redevelopments on record has set the tongues of both the nation, and the globe, wagging. Finding even further international acclaim last year when it was deemed the World’s Most Liveable City, Melbourne has seen a massive population surge, topping 85,000 new residents a year, causing both industry and government leaders to put together in a scheme which aims to perform the dual function of expanding and refurbishing the central Melbourne area.
Much like Sydney’s Barangaroo project, this latest CBD expansion is too large and high-impact to go unnoticed, for both positive and negative reasons. While the plans, which aim to extend the CBD area to almost 5 times its current size, have been greeted with a generally positive response by most in this industry, one opposing critic is stirring a negative point. One that may very well show signs of validity.
Opposition planning spokesman Brian Tee, has come forward with the point that Melbourne is not an ultra-modern city and relies on its rich cultural beauty for both its appealing aesthetic and world renowned lifestyle. He argues that changing this, will have dire results.
“If you’ve got wall-to-wall skyscrapers without any respect for the culture and the communities of the place, you are going to end up with a sterile environment which no one will visit and it will become deserted,” says Tee, “it will become a wind-tunnel”.
The key point of his evaluation of the plans is that of the proposed skyscraper reliance throughout the city, that may well only add to density issues and create an unwelcome and unfamiliar cityscape.
“There will be traffic gridlock, people will struggle to get into Melbourne, all because this minister wants to ram through his vision to turn Melbourne into the skyscraper of the world”.
While these statements may be interpreted as slightly melodramatic from the government, it is important to remember that the entire aesthetic of this city will in fact be changed. Melbourne is a city that is not completely skyscraper oriented. It is a city that prides itself on its mix of high-rises, low-rises, and green spaces, a key visual factor that truly tells the Melbourne city story. The architectural history of Melbourne is strong and vital to the city, something that should not be forgotten in the excitement that this innovative new redevelopment is bringing.
By Emily D’Alterio