City of Melbourne's community engagement stance pays dividends

During the week City of Melbourne was heralded as a world leader in community engagement by winning recognition for its feats. Scooping the Australasian and International Organisation of the Year at the International Association of Public Participation (IAP2) Core Values Awards, it is kudos for the steps taken by City of Melbourne to engage its constituents and the wider public.

Key platforms for City of Melbourne's success has seen the public involved in city-shaping projects such as the Swanston Street redevelopment, the Urban Forest Strategy, the Queen Victoria Market renewal and Future Melbourne, a ground-breaking project that canvassed the views of 15,000 individuals, businesses, organisations and community groups, according to City of Melbourne's press release.

Further City of Melbourne has convened a People’s Panel which during November will allow 46 everyday Melburnians the opportunity to provide advice/ideas to Council on spending and revenue priorities for its first 10-Year Financial Plan.

Held in Sydney, the award evening was recognition of City of Melbourne's prowess in creating opportunities for all members of public to access or become involved in key decisions and projects that interest and impact upon them. This has in part been achieved by pop-up public consultation meetings and an online engagement portal named Participate Melbourne.

From pop-up consultation meetings to our online engagement portal Participate Melbourne and convening a people’s panel to advise on the financial priorities for the next decade, we’re dedicated to offering the community opportunities to take part in meaningful engagement.

Our job as a capital city council is to bring the very best experts – engineers, urban designers, community planners – together with our community to create a vision for our future city and solve the problems we collectively face.

Community engagement allows for "Informed feedback from residents, ratepayers, businesses and residents about what matters to them, with outcomes from each engagement activity formally presented to Council to inform its decisions.

Chief Executive Officer Dr Kathy Alexander


Is it time for City of Melbourne to initiate a sustained, open discussion on the future of the inner Melbourne relating to built form and design? Perhaps a new topic for Participate Melbourne could see a question posed along the lines of "What is more important to a developing Melbourne, negating building height or maximising ground level amenity?

Seems of late City of Melbourne have railed against a number of high-rise proposals for a variety of reasons, yet green lighted the CBUS Collins Street development at near on 300 metres that would overshadow Southbank. In line with the campaigns above that have just been awarded, it would be interesting to see what consensus those who live within the City of Melbourne come to if given the opportunity to voice their opinion on the matter.

A heightened discussion indeed!

Lead image courtesy Glynn Lavender.


Bilby's picture

I think the horse may have already bolted in the CBD, Mark - or at least in significant parts of it. We can already ask, "Did it work?" in terms of ground level amenity and the liveability of those residential parts of the city. The problem is, what do you define as 'amenity'? I would include Melbourne's original gritty heritage streetscapes and lanescapes as 'amenity', but I think many people would assume it meant something like 'active' shop fronts, having a supermarket and chemist around the corner or an art gallery nearby, for instance. These are important, but they say nothing about what the neighbourhood is actually "like". So let's ask the question in relation to the 'Upper West Side' development, for example - did it work? Is the neighbourhood beautiful, welcoming, lively, pleasant to live in, etc. in comparison with one of the more established areas of the city that has retained its built form setbacks from the street and lane way edges, and its heritage buildings?

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Mark Baljak's picture

Plenty of sites have disappeared in recent times, that's not to say it's too late for the many developments that will occur in the next 10-20 years.

And that's the time frame CoM should have in mind. I keep on hearing the current boom is the tip of the iceberg, particularly from the Chinese investors perspective.

What better time than now to instigate a comprehensive canvassing of opinion from the people at the coal face - those who live within CoM and witness a rapidly changing city first hand on a day to day basis?

But yes I get your perspective; I'd suggest were coming from different angles yet arriving at essentially the same conclusion. Every question is relevant when trying to meld progress with retaining Melbourne's unique fabric/heritage - the only winner will be hindsight!

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