2.1 Developing a city for the future

There are a number of current planning and major infrastructure projects for Melbourne, including Fisherman’s Bend, Arden-Macaulay, West Melbourne and Melbourne Metro Rail. We don’t have direct responsibility for all of these, but play a large role to influence how they are developed. As these are large, complex projects, it is important to consider their respective responses to climate change so that costly retrofits and other future impacts are avoided.

Designing resilience into our future built form is vital given the length these assets will last. We have integrated our planning scheme through Melbourne Planning Scheme Local Policy 22.19 Energy, water and waste efficiency, and increased requirements for water sensitive urban design through Planning policy 22.27 Stormwater Management (Water Sensitive Urban Design). We can also learn from others cities approach to urban renewal, such as Washington DC’s Buzzard Point Urban Design Framework that integrates climate considerations as a key influencer of the urban renewal.

Q. What does a climate resilient neighbourhood look like to you?

Q. What measures can the City Of Melbourne take to minimise the future impacts of flooding?

2.2 Managing our existing city for tomorrow

Ensuring our current streetscapes, open spaces and buildings are adaptive and resilience is also necessary continue to deliver the levels of service our community is used to.

Within our streetscape and open space assets, much of our work has been on water management – storm and water availability. We have also integrated climate change considerations into our latest update our Asset Management Strategy 2015-25. Our roads have not been a focus due to their lower vulnerability to climate change. However, there are other cities that we can learn from. For example, Rotterdam in the Netherlands have developed and installed water squares. These are open, above-ground water tanks that capture stormwater runoff when it rains but are used as basketball courts and public open space when they are dry.

To date, the emphasis on council buildings has been to increase their sustainability rather than their resilience. This area represents an opportunity for the refreshed strategy. Currently the Australian Institute of Refrigeration, Air-conditioning and Heating (AIRAH) has a resilience subcommittee who are developing best practice guidelines for how to build resilience into heating, ventilation, air-conditioning systems in commercial buildings. We could investigate the resilience of our HVAC systems.

Acknowledging the importance of existing building stock in the municipality, we have focused on trying to encourage increased sustainability across our commercial buildings sector through our 1200 buildings program. Adaptation has been only a small part of this broader sustainability project. After Hurricane Sandy in New York, ‘Rebuild by Design’ was established. An interdisciplinary international program to present ideas and designs to mitigate flood risk in areas of New York.

Q. How can the City Of Melbourne ensure that our public buildings are more climate resilient?

Q. How can City of Melbourne work more effectively with building owners and managers to improve the climate resilience of commercial buildings?

2.3 Transporting and powering our municipality

We have used various mechanisms to collaborate with and influence infrastructure providers - such as electricity networks, telecommunications, and transport networks, in our municipality. We have worked closely with public transport providers to improve the emergency management preparedness in our city. Taking this further however, we could advocate for Metro Trains and Public Transport Victoria to follow Sydney Trains, who have climate change risk assessment and started to respond to priority risks. This is a very important area for our municipality and one that is also raised during engagement processes such as Future Melbourne, but is difficult to influence. Working in partnership on this will be necessary to achieve real change for our community.

Q. What else can City of Melbourne do to collaborative with and influence infrastructure and transport providers?

More information on this focus area is available in the discussion paper below.