The conversation

We are working on a four-year Major Initiative on Community Disaster Resilience Prepare Melbourne to engage and prepare residents and communities to enhance their resilience to hazards, disasters and the health impacts of climate change.

We hosted a series of Community Resilience Assessment (CRA) workshops to understand:

  • The experiences of people living in each neighbourhood
  • Where community members see the major vulnerabilities of their neighbourhood
  • Opportunities to improve community resilience to future shocks and stresses

What we did

Our first three CRAs in Southbank, Kensington and Carlton, focused on exploring and learning. Our later CRAs, in North and West Melbourne and Docklands, focused on testing and validating what we found in the earlier workshops.

Community members who were unable to attend the workshops shared their insights and ideas through an online survey and interactive online mapping activity.

Out next steps include prioritising actions and collaborating with the community to realise the ideas and opportunities shared through the CRA process.

Who we heard from


neighbourhoods assessed


workshop participants


map contributions


survey contributions

What we heard

Disaster preparedness

Social cohesion

Confidence that people in the community would pull together during a disaster or emergency varies across neighbourhoods.

Social cohesion in each neighbourhood: Southbank 45%, Kensington 76%, Carlton 56%, West Melbourne 33%, North Melbourne 64%, Docklands 52%

Fundamental community needs

Through the first series of workshops in Southbank, Kensington and Carlton, we heard that knowing what to do, where to go, who to connect with and how to stay safe were fundamental to feeling prepared for a disaster.

Emerging broad community themes

During the first series of workshops, we asked participants to identify the social and vulnerabilities that may impact on the neighbourhood's ability to deal with a disaster. Through these conversations, four key themes emerged for building resilience in the community. We structured the second series of workshops around these themes.

Inclusive information

Accessible urban environment

Community connection

Safety and wellbeing

Examples of what we heard

Prioritised ideas

In each workshop, community members identified actions that could be taken and prioritised by communities to improve disaster resilience and preparedness in their neighbourhood.

  • Southbank

    • Know your floor meet ups and community events
    • Direct communication with all building residents from building managers on evacuation protocols
    • Southbank-specific content for State Emergency Services
    • Active resident volunteer programs and buddy systems
    • Visible signs in the urban environment to support understanding
  • Kensington

    • Train station and bus stops in Kensington have a monthly information board with QR code and link to website with trusted information about the local area
    • Small-scale community BBQ gatherings to share information, with a council presence
    • A local information centre, space or hub that allows community member to form an ongoing relationship with their neighbourhood, not just for emergencies
    • Better emergency information in real time (i.e. emergency texts to residents with information and action plan)
  • Carlton

    • A list of places/map of community organisations, shops and services to help people connect, including a list of clubs for people to join
    • A culturally safe physical space for agencies to connect, share and host community services and events
    • 'I love Carlton' campaign and merchandise to help people feel proud and connected to their community
    • Planting trees for shading and reducing urban heat in public spaces
    • Addressing parking issues and trialing vehicle free zones
  • West Melbourne

    • Tree planting and shade, and other nature-based solutions (e.g. perforating footpaths)
    • Increased food growing on streets
    • Community volunteer connector system (like the Red Coats)
    • Give new residents a 'Welcome Cheat Sheet'
  • North Melbourne

    • Tree planting and shade, and other nature-based solutions (e.g. perforating footpaths)
    • Increased food growing on streets
    • Community volunteer connector system (like the Red Coats)
    • Give new residents a 'Welcome Cheat Sheet'
  • Docklands

    • Council-staffed residents or community hubs to act as central point for services, information on disasters and wellbeing operating at extended business hours
    • A volunteer for each building that has information, resources and tools
    • Incorporate a genuine residents community group for the residents by the residents
    • Closing the gap between residents and corporates and deepen the conversation
    • 'In case of emergency' QR codes available in public places to link to website and information

Find out what we learnt, neighbourhood by neighbourhood

What we learnt across neighbourhoods

Despite the unique nature of each of our neighbourhoods, we heard common issues across surveys and workshops in each neighbourhood.

These common threads provide opportunities to focus our efforts and maximise the benefits for our communities. For instance, each neighbourhood supported opportunities to foster stronger community connection, and sharing information about how to be better prepared for disasters.


Among the ideas prioritised by community members, five ideas emerged as key to all six neighbourhoods and we’re working on bringing these ideas to life, with your input and help.

Progress so far:

  • We incorporated what we’ve learned from the first exploratory workshops in Southbank, Kensington and Carlton into the second series of workshops in North and West Melbourne and Docklands.
  • What we learnt through the Community Resilience Assessment program has informed the development of community resilience resources. For instance, we’ve developed a Wellbeing and Connection map collating existing places, groups and initiatives that can help communities be better connected.
  • We are now working on the centralised webspace to get information and connection to be better resilient to disasters. More on this coming soon!
  • We are now also developing collateral and local activities to help you be better prepared for disasters. These resources will contribute to the broader awareness program we’re working on to help our communities be better prepared for disasters.

Next steps

We're currently working through opportunities to help realise ideas that emerged through the Community Resilience Assessments workshops.

Some of these ideas may be council delivered, others may be community led or delivered in partnership supporting State agencies or with community and other organisations.

If you are interested in helping to shape neighbourhood ideas into actions, please be in touch with your City of Melbourne Neighbourhood Partners:

You can check out the City of Melbourne grants opportunities via Grants and sponsorships - City of Melbourne and reach out to your Neighbourhood Partner for next steps.

To stay updated on what is happening in your neighbourhoods, please visit your neighbourhood portals: Neighbourhoods | Participate Melbourne.

Community Resilience Assessment