Foreword: Lord Mayor John So

Future Melbourne: our vision to meet future challenges

Melbourne today is an international hub for business, retail, education, medicine, arts and industry. Unprecedented growth in high-rise developments and a new passion for city living has transformed our central business district, while our historic and vibrant residential areas continue to thrive. Our city has emerged as a popular destination for local, interstate and international visitors, boasting world-class events and attractions. While this growth has been positive for Melbourne, a growing city also means a bigger population with more demands. Already, during the past few years, some of our city's services have started to feel the strain of this development.

Planning is essential to ensure our city maintains its high standards of liveability and remains welcoming and accessible for people of all walks of life, even as the size of our city continues to expand. And yet planning is not enough. The challenges of climate change, resource shortages and rising fuel costs mean that simply investing in new services and facilities will not solve all the emerging issues. We need to be creative, we need to be innovative and we need to lead the charge on making sustainability an innate part of city life.

Future Melbourne is the community's vision for the management, development and direction of our city to 2020 and beyond.

Future Melbourne will be the inspiring vision behind the City of Melbourne's actions during the next decade, as the Melbourne community collaborates in steering our city towards a bold, new, sustainable future.

Future Melbourne will replace the City of Melbourne's existing strategy - City Plan 2010, building on that plan's vision for Melbourne as a 'thriving and sustainable city'.

The full benefits may not be evident until well after 2020. However, by 2020, our city will have laid solid foundations for its future as a successful and sustainable 21st century city, and for protecting Melbourne's most-loved features for our future generations.

Until then, Future Melbourne will inform our actions and aspirations, and will guide us towards a strong future in challenging times.


John So

Lord Mayor

Foreword: Reference Group Chair Carol Schwartz

Together with my fellow members of the Future Melbourne Reference Group, I am proud to present the Future Melbourne plan.

The Future Melbourne Reference Group was made up of 12 prominent Melburnians with a passion for this city. This group of thinkers, leaders, movers and shakers championed and guided the development of the plan, working together to ensure the best possible future for our city.

We have worked closely with the City of Melbourne to make this a reality.

We supported the collaborative approach of the Future Melbourne project and the use of innovative technologies such as a wiki and the eVillage online discussion forum that enabled communities everywhere to contribute to this project.

Contributions were sought - and received - from local residents, Melbourne stakeholders, the Victorian Government and enthusiasts and experts from across the globe. The quality of contributions received illustrates the benefits of this inclusive and collaborative approach.

We are particularly proud of the input to Future Melbourne from Melbourne's young people and the contributions made by the Y-Gen group and the school students across the city.

We must continue to strive to make Melbourne a better place for all and to ensure all Melburnians share in our continued growth and prosperity.

We commend the Future Melbourne process and the Future Melbourne Plan to the City of Melbourne and look forward to working together, as Melburnians, to reinforce Melbourne as a bold, inspirational and sustainable city.


Carol Schwartz

Future Melbourne Reference Group Chair


The people of the Kulin Nation were the Indigenous people of the region now known as Melbourne and today they are part of a multicultural and cosmopolitan city. Melbourne was founded by free settlers in 1835, 47 years after the first European settlement of Australia, as a pastoral settlement situated around the Yarra River. With the Victorian gold rush in the 1850s, Melbourne grew rapidly as the regional centre for finance, services and trade. During the 1880s, Melbourne was one of the largest cities in the British Empire and reputedly the richest city in the world. It has continued to grow through successive waves of global immigration.

Today, the municipality of Melbourne is the capital city and historic core of metropolitan Melbourne (refer to glossary of place names). It has an identity as a complex and active municipality with a resident population of 86,000, over 700,000 daily visitors and commuters and a global reputation as a great cosmopolitan city.

What is Future Melbourne?

Future Melbourne is the community of Melbourne's long-term plan for the future direction of all aspects of city life. Developed by the community, it sets out a vision, goals for the future, key trends and challenges, and outlines strategic growth areas.

Future Melbourne has a vision for the municipality to be a bold, inspirational and sustainable city in 2020. To realise this vision, six high level goals have been set: to build a city for people, a creative city, a prosperous city, a knowledge city, an eco-city and a connected city. The achievement of each of these high level goals is built on attaining thirty three secondary goals and these in turn are built on one hundred and fifty two underpinning goals.

Future Melbourne sets out what the community wants for the city. It provides a framework for the diverse institutions and individuals with an interest in the future of the city, to coordinate themselves toward agreed common goals. The next step is for that same community of institutions and individuals to determine the best set of actions to achieve these goals and who they might lead or partner with. For its part, in 2009 the new City of Melbourne Council will be using Future Melbourne to guide the development of its four year Council Plan.

How was Future Melbourne developed?

Future Melbourne was initiated in early 2007 to replace Council's existing strategic plan, City Plan 2010 1. With Future Melbourne however, Council sought to go beyond the approach it had taken with City Plan 2010. Future Melbourne was to be developed as a community plan2, sponsored by the City of Melbourne and developed collaboratively through a wide ranging and ongoing open public engagement with the community.

To ground Future Melbourne in the community, the Council invited 12 prominent Melburnians with a passion for our city, to be the Future Melbourne Reference Group. This group of thinkers, leaders, movers and shakers have championed and guided the development of Future Melbourne.

To begin the community engagement process, Council invited a number of organisations based in the municipality to participate. As Future Melbourne progressed, the circle of engagement expanded. The Melbourne community looked toward the future life of the city from many perspectives. Academics, experts, organisations and the general public contributed and shared values, ideas, opinions, challenges and solutions.

Between May 2007 and June 2008, there was participation via public forums, face-to-face meetings, round table discussions, an online discussion forum, community surveys, public road shows, community art-making, an exhibition, a state-wide newspaper campaign and information hubs around the city – the Future Melbourne plan is the product of this engagement.

In May 2008 this culminated in the draft Future Melbourne plan being made available as an online wiki with an open invitation to the Melbourne community or anyone anywhere in the world to contribute directly into the plan. The City of Melbourne was the first government in Australia to use this highly interactive online tool for public engagement and more than 6,500 people visited the Future Melbourne wiki from across Melbourne, Australia and the world to view, comment, discuss and directly edit the draft plan.

Planning today to address tomorrow

Global issues on the local stage

World population is 6.7 billion and is predicted to peak at about 9 billion by mid century. Around the globe, people are migrating to cities as never before in history. More than half the world's population now lives in these rapidly growing urban centres. The growth of space efficient, liveable and sustainable cities is critical to peaceful and prosperous communities.

The risks of climate change caused by the fossil fuel driven growth of developed countries (and now of developing countries) is now the big challenge for the world. Liveable and sustainable cities will be one of the key solutions to living more efficiently, avoiding catastrophic changes such as large sea level rises and adapting successfully to the now inevitable changes in climate.

The rapid growth of the developing nations is increasing the demand and global competition for talented and educated workforces.

The cities that will prosper are resource efficient, produce more for less, and are attractive places for educated and skilled people to live and work.

Emerging issues for the municipality

In Melbourne, we are now enjoying strong economic growth and development, with more and more people living in the municipality and good employment growth. We are undergoing an urban renaissance. The continued growth of the city offers the opportunity to develop new and better ways of ever more liveable and sustainable urban living and to meet our emerging challenges. These include:

  • business costs and services: business costs are increasing; there's a national skilled worker shortage; local office vacancy levels are low; and as the types of businesses operating in the city is changing, city services will also need to change.
  • global competition for talent: as the baby boomer population wave ages there is a projected global shortage of highly educated and skilled workers. Cities will compete for this limited pool of younger talent.
  • education, research and innovation: maintaining a vibrant world class education and research culture which is making a substantial contribution to the body of knowledge and transforming this into innovation is crucial to the long term prosperity of the city.
  • chronic disease: increasing obesity, diabetes, and mental health problems as well as continued drug, tobacco and alcohol abuse need preventative solutions or they will stretch our health services.
  • climate change: Melburnians, like other Australians are the worlds highest per capita greenhouse gas emitters and also the developed nation which will suffer most from to the predicted changes in climate. To secure our future we need to lead in the global effort to mitigate these emissions and to do this with credibility we must get our own house in order. The municipality must make big cuts to its own emissions and at the same time prepare for and manage the coming impacts of climate change including drought, heat stress and flooding.
  • communications infrastructure: state of the art telecommunications infrastructure connecting the people of the city to each other and to the world will be critical to maintaining our role as a global city and therefore to the future prosperity of the city particularly also if cheap air travel declines.
  • emerging technologies: cities that quickly adopt new technologies excel in attracting creative individuals and younger educated people, stimulating business. We need to be at the leading edge in the use and development of these technologies.
  • energy transition: preparing new infrastructure, fuels and patterns of stationary and transport energy consumption for the time when fossil fuels become too costly.
  • housing affordability: housing costs are rising along as demand for dwellings in the city increases ahead of supply, placing strains on access to housing for disadvantaged people as well as key workers.
  • liveability: maintaining our city's very high standard of living and our position as one of the world's most liveable cities whilst changing to respond effectively to the challenges of increased energy costs.
  • social diversity and cohesion: our residential population is young but our working and visitor populations are ageing and increasingly our city will be home to new diverse cultural groups, creating new challenges for building community cohesion.
  • transport: our reliance on cars and road freight has led to unworkable traffic congestion and vulnerability to increasing oil and fuel prices. Public transport systems have not grown to meet growing demand and too many inner city streets are unattractive and dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists. As a remote city in global terms Melbourne is also vulnerable to rising aviation costs.
  • a 24-hour city: as the municipality grows its resident population and recreational and entertainment culture, new ways of urban living will be needed to avoid conflicts between the needs of visitors, workers and residents as they access the city day and night.

Melbourne facts

City of Melbourne

Municipal Area

37.6 km2

Resident population (2007) 85,844 (50,673 in 2001 and 39,716 in 1996)
Population Density 22.8 people per hectare

Dwellings (2007)

47,906 (27,060 in 2001 and 18,215 in 1996)

Median age (2006)

28 (28.9 in 2001 and 29.1 in 1996)

Daytime city users (2006)

716,000 (666,400 in 2004)

Population living and working within the municipality (2006)


International visitors per year (2006)

1,076,600 (997,100 in 2004)

Residents born overseas (2006)

56.8 per cent

Most common language spoken, other than English (2006)

Mandarin (8.1 per cent)

International student residents 2005

18,693 (18,507 in 2004)

International student enrolments (2005)

11,829 (12,600 in 2004)

Total built floor area (2006)

29,068,197 m2 (27,292,668 m2 in 2004)

Number of cafe/restaurant seats (2006)

139,997 (127,015 in 2004)

Total employment (workers) (2006)

365,904 persons (330,708 in 2004)

Average number of workers on a weekday (2006) 297,000

Number of business locations (2006)

13,852 (12,503 in 2004)

Largest industry - floor area (2006)

Arts and recreation - 5,974,925 m2

Largest industry - employees (2006)

Business services (53,344 employees)

Most common occupation (2006)

Professionals (40.4 per cent)

Total length of roads (2008)

338 km

Total area of parkland (2007)

567.8 ha (567.4 ha in 2006 and 566.6 ha in 2005)

Tallest building

Eureka Tower, 3-7 Riverside Quay, Southbank, 92 levels/300m

Oldest building

Mitre Tavern, 5-9 Bank Place: 1837

Metropolitan Melbourne

Total area

7,694 km2

Estimated resident population (2007)

3,806,092 (3,471,625 in 2001 and 3,283,278 in 1996)

Population Density (2007) 4.9 people per hectare

Residential dwellings 2006 (2001 and 1996)

1,471,155 (1,344,624 in 2001 and 1,234,301 in 1996)

Median age (2006)

36 years

Melbourne timeline



1 : City Plan 2010 - towards a thriving sustainable city. City of Melbourne, 2000 updated 2005

2 : Planning Together - Lessons from local government community planning in Victoria. Final Report December 2007. Department of Planning and Community Development. Victoria


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Topic revision: r39 - 06 Apr 2009 - 13:51:36 - DaleBowerman