The conversation

After implementing an immediate response to the COVID-19 crisis, City of Melbourne is also looking at the long-term path to recovery so that we can begin to plan for a stronger and more resilient Melbourne.

We invited community members to reflect and share with us how COVID-19 changed your perspective and priorities for the future of the city. Research and knowledge gathering activities with the community took place from 15 June through to 19 July.

This work captured an important moment in time and contributed to the creation of City of Melbourne’s COVID-19 Reactivation and Recovery Plan that was endorsed by the Future Melbourne Committee on Tuesday 15 September.

Gathering insights

We engaged with the community, local and global thought leaders, local industry and businesses and the City Economic Advisory Board to develop our understanding of needs.

We gathered insights from the community through:

  • Face to face (digital) engagement activities with community members
  • An online research campaign inviting the community to contribute to an ideas forum
  • Conversations events with thought leaders and the community


72 comments on the ideas forum

65 comments on social media

2 Melbourne Conversations events with thought-leaders from around the globe. 17 speakers on 6 focus areas and participation from 120 community members

2 digital research workshops with 20 participants from the community

What we heard

  • There is an opportunity to make lasting and impactful change, but we should act now. The city needs to adjust to major impacts and economic recovery is crucial to our city’s success.
  • The creative sector’s contribution is vital to the city’s economy along with its role in creating vibrancy, social cohesion and unique experiences. It must be a focus in recovery. Opportunities were also identified to accelerate growth through innovation and emerging businesses.
  • Building resilience in our community is essential given ongoing uncertainty. Accelerating action on climate change and collective global action are fundamental to economic recovery. There is a strong desire to integrate our city’s ancient and continuous Aboriginal culture and knowledge in responding to contemporary challenges.
  • There is great concern about the mental health, equity and wellbeing of our community, particularly vulnerable communities. Community and experts want to see inequality, affordability and inclusion addressed. The desire for more green spaces in our city was consistently linked with health and wellbeing outcomes.
  • The digital divide is an issue and we need to consider integrated digital infrastructure that would enable participation in an adaptable, digitally-inclusive and connected city.


Seven initiatives represent our city’s plan for reactivation and recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic. Together, they connect our immediate response to the crisis with our city’s longer-term regeneration. By linking the actions that we take in the short-term with the outcomes we want to see in the future, we can ensure that we target our resources to those initiatives that best meet our long term strategic objectives and ultimately deliver maximum benefit for our city and its citizens.

  • Prioritise public health and wellbeing
  • Reactivate the city
  • Build economic resilience
  • Expand equitable opportunity and access
  • Transform our spaces and buildings
  • Strengthen community participation and alig to others
  • Evaluate and progress

Next Steps

The COVID-19 Reactivation and Recovery Plan integrates with the Council planning framework and City of Melbourne’s strategic plans and is designed to help guide and shape our work now and into the future.

  • Implement immediate priorities and continuously assess impact
  • Advocate for critical economic stimulus with the Victorian and Australian Governments
  • Engagement and collaboration with community to support the development of 10-year Community Vision and Council Plan 2021–2025

City of the future