The conversation

The City of Melbourne is working on a four-year Major Initiative “Prepare Melbourne" on Community Disaster Resilience, which is included in the Council Plan 2021-25 to ‘engage and prepare residents and communities to enhance their resilience to hazards, disasters and the health impacts of climate change’.

North and West Melbourne have been prioritised to conduct a Community Resilience Assessment to learn from the neighbourhoods’ vulnerabilities and strengths, inform community members about resources under development and hear ideas to build resilience in the community.

Only 33 per cent of people in West Melbourne have confidence that their neighbourhood would pull together during a disaster or emergency and 41 per cent believed that they could get help from a neighbour. This work is aligned with West Melbourne’s 'future proofing' neighbourhood priority.

In North Melbourne, although 64 per cent have confidence in their neighbourhood "pulling together" during a disaster, only 23 per cent believe they could receive help from a neighbour. This work is well aligned with North Melbourne’s 'caring for each other in an emergency' neighbourhood priority.

What we did and what we heard

North and West Melbourne residents strongly encouraged ways to make their streets safer, more accessible and more resilient to disasters, such as heatwaves and floods. Access to a range of services including local community food services, green spaces and shading, community hubs and information was considered paramount to community resilience.

Participants identified transient and new residents as particularly vulnerable to disasters and proposed to have a community volunteer connector system and information to provide new comers, which in turn would enhance the sense of community connection and belonging.

  • Community themes

    During the first workshop, we asked participants to identify some of the social and physical vulnerabilities that may impact on the community's ability to deal with a disaster.

    From the workshop activities, four key themes emerged and were used to identify ideas to help build resilience in the community.

    1. Inclusion information and engagement
    2. Accessible urban environment
    3. Community connection
    4. Safety and wellbeing
  • Prioritised ideas

    During the second workshop, participants identified actions that could be taken and prioritised in the community to improve neighbourhood disaster resilience and preparedness.

    • 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'

Impact and next steps

We have now conducted six Community Resilience Assessments and we are working with community members and organisations to support the implementation of the ideas identified. Read a summary of what we learnt and next steps.

If you'd like to help shape the ideas identified through the North and West Melbourne workshops into actions, please contact North and West Melbourne Neighbourhood Partner Tallia at

North Melbourne snapshot

Here are some quick facts to provide context to potential disasters, vulnerabilities and strengths in North Melbourne.

West Melbourne snapshot

Here are some quick facts to provide context to potential disasters, vulnerabilities and strengths in West Melbourne.