Melbourne, Let's Talk About the Future: Metro Strategy Discussion Paper

Recently, the Minister for Planning released a discussion paper for the Melbourne Metro Strategy, titled 'Melbourne, let's talk about the future'.  Yes- let's.

The report identifies key issues based on nine principles.  The first five relate to 'what we want to achieve':
  • A distinctive Melbourne
  • A globally connected Melbourne
  • Social and economic participation
  • Strong communities
  • Environmental resilience
The next two principles highlight what needs to change:
  • A polycentric city linked to regional cities
  • Living locally - A 20 minute city
The last two principles are about making it happen:
  • Infrastructure investment that supports city growth
  • Leadership and partnership

Some interesting things I noticed in the Paper are the transfer of focus for activity centres from retail activity to jobs, a greater focus on opportunities in inner and middle Melbourne, emphasising a green belt as opposed to green wedges and moving away from regulation to achieve planning outcomes- instead focusing on infrastructure and investment.  I also quite like the 20 minute city thing - supporting a range of amenities, services and opportunities within 20 minutes range throughout Melbourne.

Urbanist blogger Alan Davies has posted his take on the strategy, which he regards as pretty good, but not good enough:
"To my mind the document is a bit like coffee. The aroma is rich, warm and inviting, but the taste doesn’t quite live up to the promise.... It could’ve and should’ve been better."
"To add real value, a discussion paper should help with understanding the underlying causes of problems.  It should canvass the complex trade-offs and costs involved in addressing each one, as well as the consequential ‘downstream’ impacts on other objectives. It should provide meaningful data and evidence to explain problems and analyse the range of possible solutions."

This new strategy provides a rare opportunity to really improve our city and re-evaluate city planning.  Let's hope it's made the most of.

Does this discussion paper say anything we didn't expect it to say? The report includes plenty of points that you can't help but agree with - who doesn't want environmental resilience, economic opportunities and strong communities?  Isn't this what we've been saying in previous strategies? Why (and how) is it going to work better this time? This report is presently just a tool for discussion - I'm looking forward to the draft strategy to find out.

See a previous plantastic post about metro strategies here.

What do you think?  You have a chance to have your say.  Put in a submission, comment on an online forum, or sign up to Metro Strategy events here.  Have a read of the paper here.  See Alan Davies' post here.

Also, comment below, or drop me a line at if you have any thoughts about this discussion paper (or about what you want from a metro strategy) that can be discussed at one of the round table forums that a few of us lucky Melbourne uni students are attending on Tuesday.


  1. This is a bit random, but as a tenant, I was somewhat surprised at this:

    "Over the past decade rental affordability in inner Melbourne has declined, and the greatest level of housing stress can be found in certain sectors of the private rental market. It is possible we may see landlords offering different terms for rental accommodation, with the option for renters to renew every three to five years. This could foster a greater willingness from renters to undertake internal improvements to a dwelling because of security of tenure and certainty in annual rental costs."

    Why place the onus on tenants to improve rental homes? This seems to fly in the face of what renter's rights groups work towards... And gives landlords another excuse to avoid fixing their decaying properties! I just thought this was a random thing to chuck into the discussion paper... It stuck out! I'm not sure if this paragraph is just idealism from people who aren't in the rental cycle or what.


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