The draft plan for Arden

In 2018, the Arden Vision was published following community consultation. It describes eight aspirational key directions for the renewal of largely industrial areas of North Melbourne.

These directions shaped the approach for the 2020 draft Arden Structure Plan, which invited further public feedback between 29 July and 23 August 2020.

The draft Arden Structure Plan (pdf 15MB) outlines the eight key directions from the Arden Vision (pdf 6.4MB) and our proposal for how each will be achieved.

The final Arden Structure Plan will guide the development of Arden over the next 30+ years. It plans how things like new buildings, parks, and infrastructure should develop over time. It will also guide future government decisions on things like schools and transport.

Melbourne’s population is predicted to grow to almost 8 million by 2050.

Close to Melbourne’s central city and serviced by three train stations and the new Metro Tunnel, Arden offers a significant opportunity to accommodate the new jobs and residents of a growing Melbourne. Arden’s renewal will also provide schools, infrastructure and services for the growing North Melbourne community.

Urban renewal is the redevelopment of land in established parts of the city from industrial or low-intensity precincts to precincts with more employment, commercial or residential opportunities.

The planning for Arden is being led by the Victorian Planning Authority and the Department of Transport, in consultation with the City of Melbourne.

The Victorian Planning Authority is the Victorian Government’s specialist authority for land use and infrastructure planning in growing urban areas across the state. The City of Melbourne is the local government body responsible for the municipality of Melbourne.

Arden sub-precincts

Arden is divided into three sub-precincts, each with a unique purpose and character:

  • Arden Central consists mostly of government-owned land and will contain the new Arden Station and a large new public space.
  • Arden North is characterised by wide, tree-lined streets, small-scale industrial buildings and the North Melbourne Recreation Reserve.
  • Laurens Street is characterised by wide, tree-lined streets and a mix of industrial sites, heritage buildings and low-rise apartments and terraces.

Draft key directions

Future jobs and innovation opportunities

Arden will advance Melbourne’s strengths as a progressive, innovative and connected local and global city. The new Arden Station will catalyse Arden’s transformation into a new employment hub. There will be significant opportunities for better and diverse ways of working, living and learning, as it evolves from an industrial area into an innovation precinct.” – Arden Vision

  • With its direct train connections to Parkville, the CBD and Melbourne’s western suburbs, Arden is ideally placed to be a new employment hub for Melbourne.

We propose to:

  • Include a mix of affordable spaces suitable for start-ups, creative enterprises, science labs and global businesses.
  • Include an innovation hub and a major health or education institution to attract other innovative companies.
  • Support world-class facilities such as laboratories, research clinics and co-working spaces.
  • Embed Aboriginal cultural connections by collaborating with Traditional Owners on the development of community facilities, signage, naming and native planting.

Design, streetscapes and buildings

Arden will be shaped by exemplary urban design and built form, anchored by the valued characteristics that make the suburbs of North and West Melbourne special to its residents and workers. Public areas will respond to the existing environment and strengthen the evolving identity of the precinct.” – Arden Vision

  • The Victorian Government aspires to accommodate approximately 34,000 jobs and around 15,000 residents in Arden.
  • Controls for the heights and placement of buildings are informed by technical studies and detailed analysis to balance the needs of existing and future workplaces, public spaces and homes.

We propose to:

  • Create a network of laneways to be new shared public spaces, building on Melbourne’s world-famous laneway culture.
  • Require high architectural standards for new developments to ensure Arden is filled with inspiring streets and buildings.
  • Incorporate heritage features sensitively into new developments.
  • Control building heights and setbacks so taller buildings do not detract from Arden’s public spaces.
  • Place taller buildings – around 20 to 40 storeys – along the CityLink corridor and in Arden Central and shorter buildings – around three to six storeys – near public spaces and neighbouring suburbs.
  • Space taller buildings apart from each other to preserve privacy and sunlight.

Zero carbon, waste reduction and heat management

Best practice standards for environmental, social and economic sustainability will underpin planning for the new communities and buildings, making Arden an exemplar of sustainable urban renewal.” – Arden Vision

  • Sustainability is central to Arden’s identity. It is embedded in every decision for the precinct.
  • Arden aspires to be a net zero carbon precinct with a 6 Green Star Community rating.

We propose to:

  • Become a cool, green precinct with a visible connection to nature.
  • Use greenery and smart building materials to provide shade and keep the precinct naturally cool.
  • Provide a progressive waste management system to allow 90 per cent of waste to be diverted from landfill.
  • Require high sustainability standards for new buildings.

Walking, cycling, public transport and parking

Arden will provide direct and efficient connections in and around the precinct through safe and attractive public areas. This will include active and public transport networks that will complement the new Arden Station.” – Arden Vision

  • The new Arden Station will be the heart of the precinct, making it easy to access from anywhere in Melbourne via the new Metro Tunnel.
  • Serviced by three train stations and high-quality cycling infrastructure, fewer people will have to drive and park in Arden.

We propose to:

  • Design a precinct that is quick and easy to travel through by foot or bike.
  • Extend existing streets and bike paths into Arden, connecting this missing piece of Melbourne’s inner north-west to the rest of the city.
  • Make space for potential future tram or bus routes.
  • Detach parking spaces from homes to allow flexible and efficient parking for workers, residents and visitors.
  • Reduce the visibility of parked cars and the cost of new developments through consolidated parking on the outer edges of shopping, living and working areas.

Flood management and water features

Arden will incorporate water as a feature of the landscape through innovative and creative flood mitigation solutions. The Moonee Ponds Creek corridor will be valued as an environmental, recreational and active transport asset, and an integrated water management approach will ensure that water is shared and reused across the precinct.” – Arden Vision

  • Large areas within Arden are subject to flooding, particularly in the north of the precinct and along the Moonee Ponds Creek.

We propose to:

  • Celebrate water as a central aspect of Arden’s identity through visible public water features like rain gardens along key streets and parks that double as flood storage.
  • Employ smart rain water capture and recycled water systems for buildings and parks.
  • Upgrade existing infrastructure in the precinct such as pumps, pipes and levees.

Parks and open spaces

Arden will be a cooler and greener version of the central city, with a generous and well-connected open space network, providing multi-functional spaces for recreation, socialising, active transport and biodiversity.” – Arden Vision

  • Much of the land in Arden is government-owned, creating opportunities for new parks and green open spaces.

We propose to:

  • Provide a network of connected parks and open spaces so you can walk from one end of Arden to the other while surrounded by greenery.
  • Provide a new urban square at the heart of the precinct opposite Arden Station, and a new neighbourhood park in Arden North that helps manage stormwater through visible water features.
  • Provide a continuous walking trail around Arden like the Tan Track in South Yarra.

Affordable housing

Arden will cater to a diversity of households across a range of ages and incomes and address different needs with affordable housing. New homes will be well-designed, accessible and sustainable.” – Arden Vision

  • Affordable housing is critical to supporting a vibrant and diverse community.

We propose to:

  • Provide affordable housing and local community services to help house an economically and socially diverse community.
  • Require at least six per cent of new housing to be affordable housing for people on low or very low incomes.
  • Seek even higher levels of affordable housing on council-owned land.

Community hubs, facilities and schools

Arden will support the existing and new community by providing infrastructure that is integrated with the existing area. The design of community facilities, such as schools, will reflect best practice and community input.” – Arden Vision

  • Schools, community facilities and sports facilities will be co-located and adaptable to make the most of community infrastructure.
  • The timing and placement of infrastructure like schools, roads and health services will be guided by this plan but ultimately decided by other government entities.

We propose to:

  • Provide space for a new primary school supported by a potential new secondary school in the neighbouring Macaulay precinct.
  • Provide a family and community hub including older persons and disability services.
  • Provide an arts, cultural and community hub with library facilities and Aboriginal cultural spaces.
  • Allocate space for healthcare services, family services and children’s play facilities.
  • Encourage the private development of cultural spaces like artist studios, galleries and performance spaces.

Document library

Revisit the previous documents which have informed the preparation of the Arden Structure Plan and Planning Scheme Amendment.

Next steps

Following consultation on the draft Arden Structure Plan, the Victorian Planning Authority and the Department of Transport have prepared the proposed Planning Scheme Amendment C407 and Arden Structure Plan, in consultation with the City of Melbourne.

Go to for details on what the Plan and the Planning Scheme Amendment propose, what has changed since the draft Arden Structure Plan, FAQs, how to register for online information sessions, how to make a submission and more.