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Tract Consultants

VincentCare's Flemington Road project a boost for homeless housing

St Vincent de Paul Society's VincentCare has proposed a major inner city development that will go some way to meeting the needs of inner city Melbourne's most disadvantaged individuals. The care provider has proposed a large-scale redevelopment of 179-191 Flemington Road, located opposite Melbourne's hospitals precinct. Under the plan, VincentCare's rebuilt facility would lead to expanded crisis accommodation capacity and a relocation of its...

‘Getting it Done’ …with a surplus

Pragmatically themed and titled ‘Getting it Done’, Tract has put on its reading glasses to investigate what the Victorian Budget 2016/17 seeks to ‘get done’ for city building and regional development. Set against a discourse of job creation and infrastructure building, big spends include infrastructure investments in the Metropolitan rail network and the Western Distributor Tunnel while smaller but vital reforms include shifting the planning...
A render of a proposed residential apartment building in the suburb of Box Hill

H & F Property enter Box Hill with 12-14 Nelson Road

Emerging local developer H & F Property is seeking a slice of Box Hill's booming apartment market with a current planning application for a substantial residential building. Submission of the planning application follows H & F Property's earlier pursuit of rezoning for the relevant site which was initially tagged as Commercial 2. Now consistent with the Box Hill Activity Centre Transit City Structure Plan, H & F Property are chasing...

Fishermans Bend: how to avoid another Docklands

It seems that nobody is happy about Fishermans Bend. My first impression was that the design guidelines were quite good, but the public response has been scathing since the Strategic Framework Plan was released in late July. The usual old chestnuts of building height and transport provision dominate mainstream coverage of Australia’s biggest urban renewal project, just like they do whenever somebody tries to build above two storeys in suburbia...

Will free parking save Bridge Road?

Working at Tract Consultants near Bridge Road in Richmond gives me a front-row seat on the city's sad trend of high-street decline. Every day, I watch one of the city's key retail strips slowly lose tenants. Walking to get my lunch, I often pass three or four empty shops in a row - and the ones that are still open are having closing-down sales. My guess is that 30% of the shops are vacant. This decline has been going on for a while, but...

Could money one day grow on rooftop trees?

Lately, I’ve been spending a lot of time staring at blank brick walls. Whenever I’m in Melbourne, I find myself doing this, and the question that always springs to mind is the same: “Why is nothing growing on these walls?” In a city that’s generally quite efficient at filling empty spaces, the uncounted hectares of unutilised vertical space stay largely barren, year after year. This is despite an abundance of ways to cultivate vegetation...

Development & Planning

Monday, January 23, 2017 - 00:00
Prominent builder Hickory Group has added a third Melbourne project that will utilise the Hickory Building System (HBS). A proponent of prefabricated construction methods, Hickory Group's latest HBS-driven project will be Brisbane outfit Blue Sky Funds' 42-50 La Trobe Street.

Policy, Culture & Opinion

Tuesday, January 17, 2017 - 00:00
On 2 January 2017, it was reported that several popular eateries and bars in Footscray had been vandalised, including the perennially successful 8 Bit Burgers on Droop Street, and Up In Smoke on Hopkins Street. 8 Bit had the warm new year's welcome gift of 14 smashed windows and the words “F**k off hipster scum” spray-painted on their entrance.

Visual Melbourne

Wednesday, August 31, 2016 - 17:00
Melbourne’s architectural landscape is a wonderful juxtaposition of modern and Victorian architecture. Although the CBD has been peppered with many skyscrapers, its historical structures have won Melbourne the title of “Australia’s most European city”.

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Transport & Design

Sustainability & Environment

Tuesday, November 29, 2016 - 12:00
Timber mid-rise buildings are becoming the preferred choice for many stakeholders in Melbourne, due to a combination of factors, including cost-effectiveness, liveability, ease and efficiency of construction. Within the recent National Construction Code change, Deemed-To-Satisfy provisions allow mid-rise timber construction for buildings up to 25 metres “effective height” (typically, eight storeys).