Reflecting on our first week & a user guide for the UM Project Database

We said our Hello World back on March 8th and we've now passed a full week of being live and open for user account registration. At time of writing, our analytics platform tells us 2400 people have notched up 27,000 page views covering articles, database listings and forum threads in this time, a big thank you to all.

Until now we've assumed the project database is intuitive enough for people to understand how to use it, however I thought I'd whip up a small guide just in case we were wrong!

Project Database: The How To and the What Is

One of the core features of Urban Melbourne that we're very proud of is the Project Database. Essentially it is an independent list of urban projects which fit our urban vs. suburban criteria.

All projects are categorised by the Local Government Area (LGA) they are located in, with the exception of the City of Melbourne LGA which is broken down further (CBD East End, CBD West End, Southbank, Docklands, St. Kilda Road etc) owing to the volume of projects in these specific areas.

Where previously on the SkyscraperCity forums (if you're one of those who've been active with us in the past) you had to sort through thread upon thread to find a project, we've deliberately and entirely separated raw data out from the discussion threads.

The search form can be filtered by several levels - select one or many. Once you've made your selection in any of the fields (detail below on what each option is) click the Submit Search and you'll be redirected to a Search Results page. Hit the clear form to reset the whole search form.

The bare bones search functionality we have provided from day one:

  1. Search By LGA - select a specific LGA, this will show you any project we have published in the LGA you selected
  2. Search By Property Type
    • Townhouse - typically 2-3 levels in height on their own title with shared walls.
    • Low-rise - apartment buildings up to 5 levels in height
    • Mid-rise - apartment buildings between 6 and 12 levels in height
    • High-rise - apartment buildings from 13 levels and up.
    • Institutional - hospitals, schools and other associated public buildings
    • Transportation - any buildings which are associated with private or public transport networks.
  3. Search By Project Name or Address - start typing a project name, a street name or a suburb, the form automatically attempts to find a project you are searching for. You can override the initial results by typing what you're looking for in and then clicking Submit Search, likewise for the following search options.
  4. Search By Developer - start typing a development company's name and the form will automatically attempt to match what you have typed with what is in the Urban Melbourne project database.
  5. Search By Architect - start typing an architect's name and the form will automatically attempt to match what you have typed with what is in the Urban Melbourne project database.
  6. Search By Builder - start typing a building/contracting company's name and the form will automatically attempt to match what you have typed with what is in the Urban Melbourne project database.

Unlike articles on Urban Melbourne, there are no direct comment threads per project: this is deliberate as a project's lifecycle can span years and managing long discussion threads is easier to manage in a forum format. Where a project is relatively small, we have grouped them on a Suburb basis in the forum, otherwise there is a 1 to 1 relationship between a single project database entry and a Projects & Construction forum thread.

Another way to search for a project, is to look at the Architect, Developer or Builder taxonomies which we have exposed for full view in "glossary" form if you're interested in browsing, rather than searching for a specific Project. We list all the Architects, Developers and Builders we have in our system and you can then "search for term" which can then show you a page of any projects which match those tags.

Our favourite, the Project Map

The project map will expand - in volume of projects (at time of writing, we have published 200 individual projects with approximately another 100 to come) and in terms of extra functionality like searchability in within an LGA/Suburb - and no doubt become the most useful tool to Urban Melbourne's audience.;

The concept is simple: just plot all the projects in our database in a map so everyone can witness the sheer number of metropolitan-wide projects which are going to make their mark on the city - we believe we are ahead of the curve with providing such information and this is the way we believe we are going to enhance community and urban development industry interaction for the benefit of a future Urban Melbourne.

We want feedback

If you haven't already, register a user account which will allow you to post comments and importantly you will see the most up-to-date information. If you're not logged in to our site with your own user account (free and subject to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use), you will see a cached version which only refreshes every couple of hours - this is a technical decision we made to not overload our server's resources from the get-go.

We're developing a technical roadmap and we want your input! Post a question/comment below or start a thread in the Forum Issues sub-forum.

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