It is not often citizens are invited to invent the future of their city. Yet who better to ponder how we shape this place for ourselves and those who will join the city in the decades ahead?

Watching Melbourne grow and develop over the past decade has provided an insight into how cities find their place, and how good governance can make a difference given the many interests competing for influence.

So it is an honour to be invited by the City of Melbourne to participate in the Future Melbourne planning process, by forming and leading the Ambassadors group.

With fellow ambassadors Kate Auty , Marita Cheng, Tracey Fellows, Maria Katsonis and Rob McGauran we hope to encourage a wider conversation about the future of the city with as many opportunities as possible for citizens to contribute.

Like so many Melburnians we share a passion about the city, and can see both opportunities and threats. How should we plan for the digital city and economies of the future? How do we rise to the challenges of climate change and urban growth? As a city we have much to discuss.

Our roles as ambassadors is to encourage every interested Melburnian to help refresh the Future Melbourne plan. Let’s harness the collective creative and intellectual power of this city as planners prepare for Future Melbourne 2026.

The results of a similar process in 2008 proved an invaluable resource for the Council, informing decisions that have shaped the city. We hope to do the same with Future Melbourne 2026.

This is an ambitious aim, but the City of Melbourne has learned much in recent years about deliberative democracy, community panels and better consultation. A planning process as inclusive and transparent as possible is more likely to produce outcomes that resonate for Melburnians and find acceptance across the elected Council and wider community.

So over the next six months the Future Melbourne Ambassadors will be encouraging that conversation about our city. Right now there is an invitation to contribute your ideas for the future, with many ways to interact. So come to the public events and add your voice to the debate; post your thoughts on the project website; encourage friends, family and co-workers to participate to have their say about this city we share.

Professor Glyn Davis is the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Melbourne.

Add your voice to the conversation about Melbourne’s future. Share your ideas now.