Anstey Station - a few short years ago I would have required a map and compass to find it, yet now the surrounding area could be considered the crux of all that is good and bad with higher density development in Melbourne. By way of Anstey Square (completed 2010) and subsequent apartment developments, I've wandered through with camera many times over to discover there was far more to this area than meets the eye.
Anstey carries a certain character and urban grit than cannot be easily replicated elsewhere in Melbourne. Granted i've focused primarily on the local street art through the slide show below, but the area offers much more on a basic level. The bustle of Brunswick market, local coffee roasting houses, a multitute of Middle Eastern bakeries and stalwarts such the the Royal Nut Company provide a feast for the senses. The people are no less interesting; ageing inhabitants of European or Middle Eastern descent mixed with the contemporary Brunswick hipster type and all that lies between. Streets and laneways adorned with a variety of art also adds to the ecclectic feel of the area.
Yet it's quite conceivable that all this could be lost soon enough as the area falls under the ever expanding gaze of apartment developers. I would be the first to argue that a light industrial inner city area such as this is ripe for higher density apartment living. Sandwiched between Sydney Road and the Upfield rail line in an already highly desireable area to live, Anstey is dominated by single level factories and presents a golden opportunity to implement a sustainable higher density outcome while still being sympathetic to the areas urban character.
And therein lies the problem. Enjoy the images below as many will seemingly be lost soon enough. In next weeks sequel to Anstey in colour, Urban Melbourne will look at the new developments sweeping through the area and the resultant change in urban character (generally for the worse), plus what could be implemented to achieve a greater urban outcome.