The city of Melbourne has just unveiled their latest industry show-stopper with the government announcing its Melbourne CBD expansion plan. The major redevelopment, announced by Planning Minister Matthew Guy, will see the city centre grow from 180 hectares to 900 hectares in an unprecedented growth spurt.
Aesthetically, Melbourne will change.
In the same vein as Sydney’s Barangaroo, this latest southern development is going to change the face of a city that is growing in both size and popularity; with current population growth at an enormous 85,000 people per year. Named as the world’s most liveable city in 2011, both the Melbourne industry, especially those in the architecture and construction facets, and government are standing behind this expansive redevelopment.
However, Melbourne is a city that was built for 1.5 million people and is now home to approximately 4.5 million. And inevitably infrastructure pressures are rising, in addition to overall housing shortages.
Instead of overcrowding the already bustling CBD spaces, the plan is to extend the lines of the city areas including the Docklands, Fisherman’s Bend and Carlton with the addition of high-rise and skyscraper buildings.
“Melbourne is growing. It is changing. It is maturing” says Guy.
While there is the obvious concern of height and density restrictions, which are instrumental in the development of positive urban planning, only certain urban pockets will be privy to these original standards, allowing for further design and aesthetic freedom.
In addition to major works to the city’s public transport system, which may well include an expansion to the underground loop system, greenery will be added to the tops of skyscrapers, creating a cityscape that is visually and environmentally pleasing.
The key element that stands out from the design brief is that this is a lifestyle plan even more than it is an industry project. Melbourne’s major leaders are not sitting back and allowing Melbourne to slip from the top. They are taking the opportunity to plan for their city’s expansion before density becomes too serious an issue.
Designers and planners have considered the lifestyle of Melbournians and are taking these features into consideration in the overall planning of both dwelling and transport spaces.
“By 2025, an estimated 51% of households will be no-child households,” says Committee of Melbourne Chief Executive Andrew MacLeod, ”this means Melbourne will need to have a range of housing stock to suit this market”.
The expansion is set to generally stimulate the Melbourne economy, through both the boost to industry in addition to the lifestyle spaces that the development will now open up to those eventually living in the area.
“Better someone living in a high-density accommodation in the CBD area than forcing thousands upon thousands of people to live on the urban fringe when they do have to drive to the centre of the city” says MacLeod.
This decision will offer the opportunity for a streamlined city. One that is both stylistically in-tune, in addition to being functionally adept.