Arden urban renewal precinct vision and framework now open for public consultation

The Victorian Planning Authority and the City of Melbourne have created and now released for consultation a draft vision and framework for the Arden precinct. A Spring Street media release estimates the total value of development for the precinct over 30 years is $7billion.

To date, the area has been referred to as the Arden-Macaulay precinct thanks mostly in part to the City of Melbourne's C190 amendment and while the area looks to keep the hyphenated name for the foreseeable future, this consultation round that Spring Street have now launched is specifically for Arden: the 56 hectare parcel that was not included in the City of Melbourne's consultation rounds.

The Arden Urban Renewal Precinct in the wider context: draft Arden vision and framework page 8

What the Ministers say:

The Draft Arden Vision & Framework outlines the Victorian Government’s strategic vision for the precinct. It sets out key design principles and strategic directions to deliver our vision and creates a platform for an informed conversation about these plans with the community, including residents and potential investors.

A transformed Arden will change the way the city works and functions. Growing the central business district with new hubs in Parkville and Arden, will build the knowledge economy while protecting the valued character of North Melbourne.

Richard Wynne, Minister for Planning

Catalysed by the new underground station at Arden, the precinct provides the opportunity to connect growth areas in Melbourne’s west to the growing knowledge workforces and residential communities in Docklands and Parkville, and existing communities in North Melbourne and West Melbourne.

This new station is expected to stimulate over $7 billion in urban development in the surrounding precinct and transform the area into a distinctive new central city destination. One of the country’s most exciting urban renewal opportunities, its location will facilitate the continued expansion of Melbourne’s Central Business District (CBD) to the north and west, and respond to a rebalancing of metropolitan population growth.

Arden will also provide a critical link between Melbourne’s planned and existing renewal precincts, including Docklands, E-Gate and, in the longer term, Dynon

Jacinta Allan, Minister for Public Transport and Minister for Major Projects

Arden station - set to open in 2026 with the rest of the Melbourne Metro Rail project stations - will receive the most intensive activities 'to make maximum use of the transport connections' and another key objective in the draft vision and framework is to provide a flexible and fine grain block structure 'that can be developed in multiple ways and at a variety of scales'.

The five strategic directions for the precinct include:

  • Urban transformation: sets out principles for new and more intensive land uses that are appropriate for an expanded central city area.
  • Places for people: emphasises the role of community infrastructure, diverse housing and the design of streets in creating a highly liveable precinct.
  • A diverse public realm: proposes a network of public realm opportunities to boost liveability through recreation, amenity and environmental regulation and to support city resilience.
  • A water-sensitive approach: encompasses revitalisation of the Moonee Ponds Creek and a precinct-wide approach to managing the flooding challenge in Arden and Macaulay and beyond.
  • Sustainable movement: emphasises the role of local walking and cycling connections to support the proposed Arden Station, and of complementary public transport for regional connections.
Key propositions for Arden: draft Arden vision and framework page 12

Further reading and links:

An artist's impression of the 56 hectare Arden Urban Renewal Precinct


It is anticipated that the Arden Urban Renewal Precinct will be home to 15,000 people and 34,000 jobs in 30 years.

A key difference to other urban renewal precincts that are seeing structure plans/frameworks drawn up - Fishermans Bend, for instance, is the most high-profile example - is that Spring Street owns a significant proportion of the land within the Arden precinct, theoretically allowing the state government to control the pace of development to its choosing.

Likewise, there is a significant opportunity for the state government to play a meaningful role in designing, fostering and experimenting with new affordable housing models upon the land in which it owns.

Urban Melbourne urges the state government to pursue this course of action in Arden.

Development & Planning

Friday, March 16, 2018 - 00:00
As reported in The Age late last month speculation is growing that developer Cbus Property is leading the charge to acquire a combined development site at 140-150 Queen Street and 27 McKillop Street. This would follow what would appear to be a pre-emptive purchase of a neighbouring site at 423 Bourke Street, which an 11-storey office block currently occupies.

Policy, Culture & Opinion

Sunday, March 11, 2018 - 13:00
The Victorian Government has announced it will ban the use of aluminium cladding panels that have a polyethylene core of more than 30% and expanded polystyrene will also be banned on buildings with 3 or more levels. The changes were announced by the Planning Minister, Richard Wynne, on Saturday morning along with new guidelines for building surveyors.

Visual Melbourne

Monday, February 5, 2018 - 12:00
The various spaces and elements which combine to form RMIT's New Academic Street (NAS) have progressively begun to open to students and visitors alike. I was recently fortunate enough to be part of an informal group tour through the completed spaces within NAS, led by Harrison and White which had a hand in the project.

Transport & Design

Friday, March 16, 2018 - 17:00
Comment There's much to admire about Rodney Maddock's advocacy piece in The Conversation - ' Our growing big cities need new centres of employment - here's Melbourne's chance ' - the three projects he advocates for have been in the public domain for quite a while now.

Sustainability & Environment