Melbourne’s attractiveness is derived from the design of its buildings, streets, and open spaces, which entices people and investment. Good design is paramount to central Melbourne’s ongoing success and international competitiveness during our current period of sustained growth. As we continue to densify and grow, the city will require well-considered and innovative design solutions to maintain our high quality public environment.

The City of Melbourne has undertaken a review of the current urban design policies which apply to the Central City and Southbank. Amendment C308 proposes to introduce new urban design planning policy through the Melbourne Planning Scheme.

Changes include:

  • Limitations on above ground parking to maximise active uses in the lower 20m of a building.
  • New requirements for building services (utilities) at the ground level of a building.
  • Extension of the active frontage requirements that already exist in many areas of the Central City to new areas of the City including Southbank.
  • New requirements to focus on the design detail of the lower levels of a building, to ensure high quality, human scale streets and public spaces.

This is the first comprehensive review of urban design policies in the Melbourne Planning Scheme since 1999.

The proposed changes encourage designers, planners and developers to focus on how design impacts people’s experience of the city and to learn from the positive elements of our best precincts, such as pleasant walking environments, active frontages and good design, in the design of all new developments. These qualities are key to the value and attractiveness of Melbourne.

​Get involved

As residents, visitors or workers in the city, the design of buildings has an impact on the quality of your experience. We want to hear what you think is most important in ensuring high quality people oriented design outcomes in development within the Central City and Southbank.

We will be seeking your feedback on our proposed changes to the Melbourne Planning Scheme to ensure high quality urban design outcomes to the area.


Planning Scheme Amendment C308

Find out more about the process and supporting documents.


Planning scheme policy

The new planning policy will focus on:

  • Limitations on above ground parking to maximise active uses in the lower 20m of a building.
  • New requirements for building services (utilities) at the ground level of a building.
  • Extension of the active frontage requirements that already exist in many areas of the Central City to new areas of the City including Southbank.
  • New requirements to focus on the design detail of the lower levels of a building, to ensure high quality, human scale streets and public spaces.

Read the DDO1 Urban Design in the Central City and Southbank


Central Melbourne Design Guide

This is a illustrative document that mirrors the structure of DDO1, which are set out in order of scale from the neighbourhood or precinct, to the scale of building interfaces and design detail.

The six themes include:

  • Urban structure
  • Site Layout
  • Building Mass
  • Building Program
  • Public Interface
  • Design Quality

Read the Central Melbourne Design Guide


Research report

The draft DDO1 and Central Melbourne Design Guide is supported by this report which details the research and evidence base which has informed the proposed changes to the Melbourne Planning Scheme.

Read the Promoting high quality Urban Design outcomes in the Central City and Southbank Synthesis report

All changes to the Melbourne Planning Scheme must go through the planning scheme amendment process as set out by the Planning and Environment Act, 1987.

Amendment C308 was considered by the Future Melbourne Committee (FMC) on 20 February 2018, with a resolution to seek the authorisation from the Minister for Planning to prepare and exhibit Melbourne Planning Scheme Amendment C308.

Amendment C308 has been forwarded to the Minister for Planning and is awaiting authorisation.

We will shortly be seeking your feedback on Amendment C308 as part of the planning scheme amendment process. A calendar of events will be available, this will be your opportunity to learn more about Amendment C308 and how you can get involved in the planning scheme amendment process. Please visit this Participate Melbourne webpage for updates.


Next steps after formal exhibition

Once exhibition of the amendment is completed, all submissions will be considered by Council. Under the Planning and Environment Act 1987, Council can decide whether to make the change requested by submissions to the amendment or request that the Minister for Planning appoint an independent panel to review and hear submissions.

Before making a final decision on the amendment, Council will consider the independent panel’s advice. If the amendment is adopted by Council, then it will be submitted to the Minister for Planning for final approval.