Community engagement on the second phase of Places for People has now concluded. Project updates are provided below.

A key aim of our third Places for People study is to understand how people are using the city, to work towards the realisation of liveable neighbourhoods, where local goods, services and infrastructure meet people’s daily needs and can be accessed by foot.


Do you want to know how Melbourne functions for its people? Places for People is a long-term study that traditionally monitors and examines a range of public spaces to document how Melbourne is changing. It provides the latest baseline data to improve our understanding of the city.

The 2015 edition has introduced new analysis by investigating a key aspect of any city’s functionality: Does the city serve the everyday needs of its people? Read the report and findings below.

Due to size constraints this document has been divided into two parts. An accessible version of this document will be available in the coming weeks.

The 1994 and 2004 Places for People studies are available in hard copies. Please email us if you would like a copy.

We will continue to provide updates on this page.

October 30, 2015

Places for People community pop-up


Over a period of five weeks in March to April 2015 Places for People conducted research with the community which provided unique and valuable data from a city user perspective. The online engagement via Participate Melbourne, a key component of the program, recorded 6068 page visits; 848 participants filled in a detailed survey that was designed to capture the people’s experience in accessing their daily needs, a selected number of key services and facilities a city should provide.

The following provides a snapshot of the feedback received. It will be further analysed in conjunction with the significant amount of spatial data obtained through this engagement program.

For illustration purposes we are also including a selected number of mind maps created by the participants as they capture eloquently the very personal nature of experiencing the city, while highlighting common needs.


A total of 198 workers responded to the local neighbourhoods online survey; 130 from the central city, 22 from Docklands, 9 from Southbank, 30 from within the remainder of the municipality and 7 workers from just outside the municipality.

Of 130 workers from the central city area, 83 access fresh food, 86 access their groceries, 80 access medical services and 89 accessed cultural services. Whilst 9 workers from Southbank responded to the online survey, none accessed fresh food or general services in the area locally. Of the 22 workers in Docklands, none accessed cultural services there.

Of the three districts, Southbank has the lowest percentage of workers who access daily needs locally; with fresh food 0%, groceries 22%, medical services 11%, general services 0% and community services 11%. Of the workers who access open space locally, the highest percentage was in Docklands (45%) followed by the central city (27%) and Southbank (11%). 77–91% of workers in all three districts do not access education.

“Assuming where I work i.e city is my neighbourhood I’d say almost everything important to me is missing such as affordable housing, affordable & good medical service, affordable fresh food etc.”
Central City Worker
“It is disappointing that there is not closer access to fresh food and groceries. I would buy fresh supplies for lunch etc. at work if I could access it more quickly rather than from a cafe. I would also do food/grocery shopping on the way home if there was any facility for this between my work location and Flagstaff Station. Unfortunately there isn’t. ”
Central City Worker
“More small businesses. Please don’t build any more shopping centres or Coles or Woollies”
Parkville Worker


A total of 324 residents responded to the local neighbourhoods online survey; 62 from the central city, 20 from Docklands, 49 from Southbank, 187 from within the remainder of the municipality and 6 residents from just outside the municipality.

Whilst only 6 residents who responded live outside of the municipality, 107 residents access their groceries outside the municipality. A total of 97 access fresh food outside the municipality. Approximately half of these residents travel by car to access these services. While 49 residents from Southbank responded to the online survey, only 7 residents accessed fresh food there.

A high proportion of Docklands residents access open space in their local area (90%) compared with just 31% of residents in the central city and 18% in Southbank. A high proportion (71%) of central city residents socialise in their local space compared with those living in Docklands (40%) and Southbank (49%). Just 11% of central city residents access community facilities locally compared with 35% in Docklands and 41% in Southbank. 73–81% of residents from the three districts do not access education.

“The thing I dislike about our area is that the local convenience stores are too expensive and low quality so we have to drive to do our shopping in South Melbourne. If we need to pick up a parcel from the post office we also need to drive to South Melbourne and it would be nice to have a post office closer.”
Southbank Resident
“I live in the ‘law district’ and it is dead on the weekends and after lunch during the week. There are no community services within close proximity and you can’t even go out for coffee/brunch on the weekend. I usually travel to South Melbourne for fresh food groceries coffee and socialising on the weekends because there is no life or soul in my neighbourhood. This seems out of touch to me because there are so many residential towers in the area and many more under construction but this isn’t a neighbourhood that caters to residents. It is a permanent construction site that is unwelcoming for pedestrians and businesses don’t operate outside week-day mornings. There is one supermarket and it is overcrowded to the point of being unbearable but there are no other options except convenience stores (which are too expensive).

This end of the city is in desperate need of life soul green and pedestrian-friendly projects. After living in this location for almost a decade my partner and I are currently looking to move elsewhere as a result of the lack of character detailed above.””
Central City Resident
“I would like more low-priced and quality doctor and chemist services. It is very expensive. I find that I have to travel far for these services. I would would like more cafes and restaurants to open after hours on the weekend especially Sunday. It is very frustrating - you want to support local but the only places that are open are big chains! Makes it impossible!”
Central City Resident

Daily needs maps

The maps below capture the percentage of daily needs met per travel mode for local residents only. Further analysis of the breadth of findings and correlations has yet to be conducted.

Click on the slideshow arrows to view the maps of daily needs met by various transport options.

Next steps

The data collected from the neighbourhoods survey and the subsequent analysis will enable urban specialists to understand the city, and aspects of its functionality, in a new way.

The study also ties in with Council’s Knowledge City strategy by informing public dialogue and facilitating knowledge sharing. Places for People will also be showcased as part of Melbourne Knowledge Week 19-25 October 2015. Visit the Melbourne Knowledge Week page to learn more or register online for one of our workshops or seminar.

For more details please refer to the Places for People 2015 Research Report available from the City of Melbourne website by October.

September 14, 2015

Thanks to everyone who completed the neighbourhood survey. Your local insight will inform our third Places for People study and help us plan for improved neighbourhoods. A project update will be provided in the second half of 2015.

Congratulations to our prize winners! All prize winners have now been notified.

April 27, 2015

The first phase of the Places for People project was launched as part of Melbourne Knowledge Week (MKW) on 27 October 2014. Launching the project at MKW allowed us, for the first time to take the project to the people, to kick start a conversation with the people, as well as test the appetite of the public and share some of the research findings gathered over the past 12 months.

The engagement period ran over four weeks from 27 October to 24 November 2014 and sought a response from the broader Melbourne community – residents, workers, students and visitors, to the statement "I need Melbourne to...". Overall, 297 feedback posts were received over the engagement period.

The feedback received during stage one of the community engagement program will contribute to an informed civic discussion around the enhancement of the city as a place for all.

Visit the phase 1 - what's your Melbourne page to view the community engagement report, feedback posts and background research.

March 23, 2015