In June 2015 Melbourne City Council resolved to initiate a refresh of the Future Melbourne 2008 plan. The Council recognised that this plan, produced by Melbourne’s community, had been a valuable strategic guide for Council since it was completed in 2008 and that it was time to refresh the plan for the city’s coming decade.

In December 2015 the City of Melbourne appointed six leaders from Melbourne’s community as ambassadors to lead and guide the refresh of Future Melbourne. The Ambassadors signed-off on a process for the refresh to be done in three phases running from February through to June 2016.

Phase 1: Share your ideas

Phase one was the ideas phase. This was an open invitation for individuals, groups and organisations to share their ideas for the future of Melbourne. Over two months, 2,000 people engaged in this phase through over 30 face-to-face events and 2,000 engaged in online conversations to produce 970 ideas for the future.

This phase was accompanied by a range of facts and statistics about the city.

Phase 2: Bringing your ideas together

In phase two, the synthesis phase, these ideas were analysed and then synthesised as a commentary on each of the Future Melbourne 2008 vision and goals. This commentary suggested directions for refreshing the 2008 plan.

Phase 3: Deliberation

Finally, phase three was the deliberative phase. A citizens’ jury of 50 people was appointed to review and rewrite the Future Melbourne plan to make it relevant for the next 10 years to 2026. The jury was selected from the respondents to the over 7,000 invitations sent to people who live, work or own a business in the municipality. This resulted in a jury with a makeup broadly representing the municipal demographic, with a good mix of business owners, employees and residents, and a matching gender and age distribution profile.

The citizens’ jury used the information produced in phases one and two to inform their review and rewrite of the plan. Over six weeks they deliberated online and in three and a half day sessions to produce their refresh of Future Melbourne 2026. In the final step in this phase the jury handed their draft of Future Melbourne 2026 over to the Ambassadors for their review.

The Ambassadors made a number of changes to the jury’s version of the refresh to ensure clarity of expression and intent.

In August 2016 the Ambassadors commended Future Melbourne 2026 to Council. The plan will be a resource for future Councils to use when they develop their four-year Council plan and a basis for other groups and organisations in the city to chart a common course into Melbourne’s future.