Urbanie & Urbanus

Issue Special, P.26 - P.42

New Modes of Development - Urban Design for Wellness First Melbourne: A Case Study

Prof. Rob Adams

General Manager of City Design,
Melbourne, Australia


Melbourne has for the last 38 years pursued an aggressive policy of repositioning its central city as a healthy place to live, visit and work in. In the 1980’s Melbourne was a city in crisis and the change brought about by the Councillors of the day has transformed the central city to a position where its success is evident in the Economist having voted it for seven years as the World’s most Liveable City. While some of this can be attributed to natural factors, much comes as a result of the strategic repositioning of the central city. Policies and programmes such as Postcode 3000, Urban Forest Strategy, Grey to Green, City as a Catchment, sustainable buildings MREP and zero net emissions have all set a path towards a city of wellness. Melbourne has been successful in going beyond policy to implementation and many of these programs have benefitted from a strong internal design and delivery culture rather than relying on external consultants. 

This paper will look at many of these initiatives which are transferable to other cities around the world and will highlight the importance of retaining in-house capabilities and intellect.