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Policy

VPELA seminar and the Minister for Planning

Last Tuesday I attended a VPELA seminar where the Minister for Planning (Richard Wynne) was the guest speaker. The purpose of the evening was for the Minister to provide an update on how the State Government is progressing with reforming the planning system. The Minister presented well and his enthusiasm on a number of issues, which he was able to back up with practical examples, made his presentation quite engaging. In response to high rise...

Melbourne’s residential development: what’s really going on?

The Victorian Government has recently released a series of detailed reports to inform the ‘Managing Residential Development’ Advisory Committee submissions process. They raise many important questions not only about the residential zones but the wider issue of ‘who and what are we planning for’ over the coming decade and beyond. What follows is a summary of some of the more attention grabbing parts of the reports, together with our own...

Red and Black Architect interviews the Planning Minister

It is almost 1 year since the Andrews Labor Government swept to power in Victoria. As noted at the time, the 2014 election was dominated by built environment issues. The then Planning Minister, Matthew Guy, had recently rezoned Fishermans Bend had been given the title of ‘Mr Skyscraper’ from certain sections of the mainstream media. Tony Abbott was in the action too, by proclaiming the state election as ‘a referendum on the East West Link’...

A national affordable housing strategy: necessary, attainable and maybe on its way

At the National Housing Conference last week, there was considerable optimism about the newly appointed federal minister for cities, Jamie Briggs, whose infrastructure mandate includes housing. New energy is coming from the states with the largest affordable housing deficits – a social housing initiative from the New South Wales government and a “refreshed” metropolitan planning strategy in Melbourne with a stronger emphasis on affordable housing.

Comment: Plan Melbourne must enshrine steps to purge our insidious car culture

We are nearing the first anniversary of the Andrews Government, they certainly have hit the ground running and set a lot of inter-related policy areas in a different direction. It is just a pity that the public debate around planning has boiled down to high-rise or skyscraper canyons versus monotonous "European" style development sham. The two sides of that debate are analogous to the typical trench warfare of "left" versus "right" politics. It...

Spring Street announces inaugural board members for Infrastructure Victoria

The Victorian Government today announced the appointment of board members to Infrastructure Victoria, an agency which will be tasked with assessing Victoria's infrastructure needs in an apolitical way. The distributed media release announced Jim Miller being appointed as the inaugural Chair. Jim Miller was an Executive Director at Macquarie Capital from 1994 to 2015 and has extensive experience in the infrastructure sector. He is currently the...

Urban policy: could the Federal Government finally ‘get’ cities?

The appointment of a federal minister for cities and the built environment is a signal moment in urban policy in Australia. It is a much-needed portfolio for an overwhelmingly urban nation but will need new policy capacity if the government’s urban goals are to be realised. Australian cities are among the fastest-growing in the developed world. They face problems of poor housing affordability, growing inequality, inadequate and inefficient...

C262 clarification session with the DELWP: what I learnt

If you read the Schedule to DDO10 you probably have some questions, like many of my clients do. Most of the controls are very clear in the Schedule to DDO10. They include height, set back and plot ratio. Some are unclear and dangerously open to interpretation. On September 16 I attended an information session with the highly articulate Larry Parsons, Director of Development Approvals & Urban Design Development at the Department of...

Australia now has an urbanist Prime Minister

Judging by reports observed on various media platforms over the past 24 hours, it seems there are a lot of people and lobbyist groups waiting to tap the new Prime Minister on the shoulder and talk about their cause. From people hoping for change on issues such as marriage equality and climate change - which Malcolm Turnbull is well known for having a different view from his party - to more traditional lobbyists such as the Australian Chamber of...

Interim Central Melbourne planning controls: the detail

While you were sleeping on Friday night, the Victorian Government gazetted new interim planning controls for the CBD and parts of Southbank, chief among them is the re-introduction of site plot ratios. A media release distributed at midday on Saturday states the City of Melbourne has been made a referral authority, after the council signed a memorandum of understanding with the Victorian Government. The Central City Study Area. Image supplied...

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Development & Planning

Wednesday, June 28, 2017 - 06:15
A litmus test beckons for Reservoir as the suburb's largest apartment release becomes reality. The Plenty Residences at 830 Plenty Road has progressed to marketing, with the release of the first stage of the project's 347 dwellings across the site which sits atop the Summerhill Village Precinct.

Policy, Culture & Opinion

Wednesday, June 7, 2017 - 12:00
Two important stories which traverse both transport and housing topic areas were highlighted on Urban Melbourne this week. The news that the medium and high-density components of Williams Landing will ramp up highlight what some might gloss over but what I think is the correct 'order' of doing things: the rail station is built first, developers then piggyback off the new infrastructure second.

Visual Melbourne

Wednesday, February 22, 2017 - 07:00
Once again Melbourne has turned it on for the spectacular cultural juggernaut that is White Night. A crowd of around 600,000 took part in the all night festival of projections, performances, artworks and installations. Stealing the show again this year was the extraordinary projections upon the Royal Exhibition Building.

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Transport & Design

Wednesday, June 28, 2017 - 12:00
South Yarra’s latest development is about to strike a blow for excellent and inclusive urban realm design...and not before time. As far back as 2014 and 2015 , Urban Melbourne has highlighted the runaway success of South Yarra's Forrest Hill urban renewal precinct.

Sustainability & Environment

Thursday, June 1, 2017 - 12:00
Two of City of Melbourne's key urban design initiatives are in the starters gates, with Lord Major Robert Doyle yesterday providing further information on the pair. As of next month, the long-awaited upgrade to the southern end of Elizabeth Street will begin.