The conversation

City of Melbourne is working on a four-year Major Initiative 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’.

At the end of 2022, we completed our first Community Resilience Assessment in Southbank. Recent engagement results through Participate Southbank showed a low level of confidence that the neighbourhood would pull together during a disaster. In addition, just over a quarter (28 per cent) of respondents in Southbank felt they could call on a neighbour for help during a public emergency.

What we did and what we heard

  • Values

    Workshop participants shared with us what they felt was unique to their neighbourhoods and what is important to them:

    • Proximity to cultural precinct and the CBD
    • Easy access with walkability and public transport
    • Close to everything
    • Botanic gardens, river and walking tracks
  • 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. Urban environment
    2. Information
    3. Community
    4. Technology
  • 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:

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

Impact and next steps

What we learnt from the Southbank Community Resilience Assessment informed later workshops in this project.

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 Southbank workshops into actions, please contact Southbank Neighbourhood Partner Ash at

Southbank snapshot

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





49 per cent

speak a language other than English at home 

98 per cent

of dwellings are flats or apartments 

40.1 per cent

lone person households 

6.8 per cent

live with a mental health condition 

Data is sourced from 2021 Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Census of Population and Housing. To learn more about the neighbourhood, visit Southbank community profile.

Community consultation and next steps

Read a summary of what we learnt from all six neighbourhood Community Resilience Assessments.

Community Resilience Assessment