As a city for people, Melbourne's public spaces will be of a high quality. Our public spaces will be welcoming and secure, generating a sense of place and belonging. Through quality design, our public spaces will encourage connections between people and with nature. We will include sustainable design features in our public spaces and they will be easy to get to and move around in.
Future Melbourne 2008


Comments about open public spaces in Melbourne were predominantly focussed on people’s desire for more green or natural space in the city. This green space could come in many forms, but people wanted it to counter the perceived negative effects of the built environment (i.e. the ‘concrete jungle’).

A very high number of statements advocated for a ‘greener’ Melbourne, with many statements talking about the benefits this would have for city users.

Other types of open spaces were seen by a large number as important places for people to gather and connect. These built open spaces (for example, plazas and squares) were hoped to be designed with functionality enabling them to be used in a variety of ways, and accessed by diverse groups of people. A small group of people saw greater interactions with both nature and water as a means to connect to their city and generate a sense of belonging.

Sustainable design was not a commonly discussed topic.

There was overlap between this Priority and Priority 1.4. Designed for People.

Summary of ideas (total 217 statements)

Green space, parks, and other spaces (141 statements)

A very high number of people identified that space in the city devoted to greenery or nature is an important feature of future Melbourne. There was an array of ideas and terms used in these comments, which overwhelmingly supported more green or open spaces in the city. Words that individual people used to discuss green space included urban parkland, ‘greening’ the city streets, urban green commons, pocket parks, recreational parks, gardens, open spaces, trees, greenery, green wedges, grassed areas, rooftop gardens/parks, vertical gardens, and nature corridors. This included statements, such as.

Lots of green spaces, pocket parks, shade, seating, quiet respite in the city.

Over half of the points made (that addressed quality public spaces) felt enhancement would come by way of incorporating more greenery into the city. A large number of people thought that this would impact positively on liveability, with several statements specifically mentioning green spaces as a way to counteract the effects of living/working in a ‘concrete jungle’. For some this meant assisting in cooling the city, or offsetting the urban heat-island effect. Several people suggested utilising space not traditionally used for planting; for example, rooftops, suspended walkways, airways and vertical gardens.

Built open spaces (23 Statements)

As well as people showing a desire for natural green spaces, ‘constructed’ open spaces such as squares, plazas and under-used land (such as spaces adjacent to or underneath railway or roading infrastructure) were identified by several as important to future Melbourne.

There is a reason why historically people gathered in city squares or village greens/zocalos [squares] and so on!

Several people proposed that these areas be able to be used for a variety of activities, and that they be primarily communal, i.e. not necessarily commercial. Seeing public space-use issues through as many ‘lenses’ as possible was raised by a few people as a beneficial approach. As with green space, it was thought by some that more quality constructed open spaces will improve liveability, and promote the shared use of public space.