Greenline vision

The Greenline proposes a bold and transformational vision for the north bank of the Yarra River, Birrarung.

Indigenous landscapes will foster an understanding of the precinct’s Aboriginal cultural values, telling stories of Melbourne’s histories while re-introducing diverse ecologies to the central city.

Improved connectivity between public spaces will support access and the seamless movement of pedestrians and cyclists, providing opportunities for varied experiences with the Birrarung.

The north bank’s heritage assets will be enhanced and re-imagined through adaptive reuse, supporting an invigorated, lively river front precinct.

Creative experiences and immersive landscapes will invite public participation, play, education, and wonder in the central city, transforming the north bank into a truly local Melbourne waterfront with a global reputation.

Greenline deliverables

The Greenline Implementation Plan is informed and guided by strategies and policies developed by the Traditional Custodians, The Victorian Government and City of Melbourne. These documents all recognise the Yarra River, Birrarung as a culturally significant place and major environmental asset.

Meaningful engagement with the traditional custodians

  • Establish a Memorandum of Understanding for future engagement with each of the Traditional Custodian Groups.
  • Work with the Traditional Custodians to understand and integrate existing policies such as the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Birrarung Water Policy.

Research and knowledge gathering in collaboration with the traditional custodians

  • Support the development of an Aboriginal Cultural Narrative of the city section of the Yarra River, Birrarung and the Annual Plan Initiative to “Fully recognise and celebrate Aboriginal Culture and knowledge along the Yarra River Birrarung.”
  • Complete research of the pre-contact landscape character and botanical aspects of the Yarra River Birrarung, including the landscape management aspects to establish a reference planting guide.
  • Identify underrepresented sites of significance and culturally significant species for the Yarra River, Birrarung, and explore opportunities to reintroduce these to the river.

Measure and assess the environmental impact

Collect base line date for air quality, microclimate and biodiversity.

Planning for heatwaves

  • Increase vegetation, shading and reflective or permeable surfaces to provide a cool place of respite close to the city.
  • Priortise plant species which are identified as climate ready

Planning for drought

  • Develop integrated water management plan for the project area.
  • Invest in stormwater harvesting infrastructure to ensure security of water for irrigation.

Flood mitigation

Ensure new spaces are designed to minimise hazards to people, infrastructure and the delivery of essential services in flood conditions

A healthy new urban forest

  • Remove and replace existing trees in decline and improving growing conditions of trees to be retained.
  • Increase tree canopy coverage.
  • Increase tree species and age diversity. Plant climate ready tree species.

Connect people to nature

Develop a plan for interpretive signage highlighting the natural river environment in collaboration with Parks Victoria and Melbourne Water.

Establish the river as a biodiversity corridor

  • Increase riparian vegetation on the River bank and deliver a trial for floating vegetation in the Yarra River.
  • Increase understorey planting and canopy cover.
  • Work with the Traditional Custodians to develop a planting guide which acknowleges the significance of the precontact landscape and considers the climate impacts.

Flood resilience

Explore the adoption of Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) to mitigate minor flooding and reduce the pressure on the existing lower drainage network.

Storm water run off reduction

Proposed works will not increase storm water run off from 2021 baseline.

Alternative water use

New public spaces will be supported by alternative water uses for nonpotable uses.

Improving water quality

Increase WSUD to treat stormwater run off from the up-stream catchment.

Safe streets for people

  • Improve all intersections to optimise flow of pedestrians and improve safety and amenity for all.
  • Exceed the minimum standards set in the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 by delivering universally accessible streets and public spaces.

Safe streets for bike riding

  • Slow zone for bikes along the north bank.
  • Provide connections to future protected bicycle route on Flinders Street and North Wharf in Docklands.

Transport interchanges are welcoming people places

  • Coordinate with future tram extension from Collins Street to Fishermans Bend.
  • Work with Yarra Trams to improve pedestrian connections to existing tram stops.
  • Work with The Victorian Government to reduce pedestrian congestion at Flinders Street Station underpass.

New open spaces

  • Work with developers to deliver new open spaces with access to Yarra River fontage .
  • Investigate opportunities to create new open spaces that form retreats and encourace people to spend time outside.

Public access to the river front

Work with developers to deliver public access along the north bank of the Yarra River in Docklands

Existing parks

  • Maintain informal character of Batman Park and protect the space from further overshadowing.
  • Integrate community priorities identified by the Draft Birrarung Marr Master Plan engagement.

Design life of maritime works

The minimum design life for all structural maritime elements must be 50 years. The infrastructure in total, including all piles, decking, pontoons and associated elements, must be designed to last a minimum of 25 years with minimal maintenance.


The following themes build on the strategic directions of the Yarra River - Birrarung Strategy and set the framework for the Design Principles that will guide the development of the Greenline.
  • Environment - healthy ecosystems

    The north bank of the Yarra River, Birrarung will be renowned as a significant ecological corridor, providing a resilient and adaptive interface between the river and the city. Increased planting, revitalisation of the riparian edge and the introduction of water into the landscape will improve local biodiversity, ecological networks and river health.

  • Culture - authentic stories and experiences

    Melbourne’s Aboriginal heritage will become tangible through storytelling and creatively embedding history and culture within the landscape, particularly highlighting the Aboriginal significance of the Birrarung over time. Visibility of our Aboriginal, immigration and maritime past will become evident through design interventions and experiences to educate, celebrate and recognise history. Each intervention area will speak to its unique context – highlighting the stories, histories and cultures.

  • Place - great places for people

    Public spaces along the Birrarung will be revitalised and re-imagined, reinforcing Melbourne’s civic importance on a global scale. Transformations will enhance values and strengthen the identity of each area. The Greenline will provide more generous space and places of respite, increasing amenity to unlock its potential. The public space enhancements will prioritise resilient design, encourage new economies, provide opportunities for education and highlight cultural significance.

  • Connection - an uninterrupted journey

    Connectivity along the north bank and between the river and the city will be significantly enhanced. The Greenline will reduce physical barriers to movement, minimize modal conflicts, enhance way-finding and improve connections between existing public spaces. Compelling journeys will be created through varying landscape experiences and will enable opportunities to connect with the water.

Read the Draft Implementation Plan