How can data bring about change to our city?

Melbourne is the fastest growing capital city in Australia, with our number of residents, businesses and visitors increasing every year.

Daily, there is a vast array of activities happening across the city as a result of this growth: constructing new buildings and infrastructure, maintaining public amenities and hosting major events.

These activities influence how we move around, explore and experience the city. They could disrupt your daily commute, alter the time you visit your favourite café or interrupt your time at home.

So what if you had a better understanding of what, when and why this disruption is occurring? So what if emerging technologies could help deliver this information to you as you need? Would you be more prepared as you move about the city? Would you feel more in control? Would it help give you a voice in shaping the future of our City?

These questions will be explored in this year’s Melbourne City DNA exhibition through immersive visualisations, voice assistants and virtual reality that take a deep dive on city disruption.


Melbourne is experiencing significant change now and over the next decade. Disruption generated by this change includes:

  • Major infrastructure and renewal projects
  • Building construction
  • Planned and unplanned events
  • Utilities and public infrastructure works
  • Disruption is impacting the quality of people’s lives.
  • Communicating disruption to city users is important to their health, well-being and general feeling towards the city.
  • Well-communicated disruption creates a sense of safety, trust and advocacy for the city.
  • Having people contribute to our understanding of disruption helps create a shared experience and ownership over what is happening in the city.

Exhibition space

So what if we could blend the digital and physical worlds together?

Spread in front of you is just one section of the Melbourne City Model. It is produced using 3D printing and draws on a fraction of the spatial data that is being constantly updated by the City of Melbourne. Each block of the model represents a 280 metre square chunk of the real city.

This model is new type of canvas for you to explore a broad range of digital city data-sets: from historical snapshots and disruptive activities, through to live data and sensor feeds. You can see this information projected onto the 3D form of our city. We hope this will enrich the data and give it context.

Go ahead and use the iPad to interact with the data feed. If you would like to see the City Model being printed live head over to the display in the Melbourne Knowledge Week Hub Library!

So what if the pulse of your neighbourhood was at your fingertips?

The City of Melbourne is for everyone. Even if you don’t live here you have a neighbourhood within the city. You may work here, play or just be visiting; there is a place within the city that welcomes you. This place is your neighbourhood.

City Pulse has been developed as an experimental portal. It can help you learn more about your neighbourhood. See its built heritage. Unearth its complexity. Understand your interactions with it. Discover what projects, both large and small, are planned in your area.

All of this information is right under your fingertips.

So what if Melbourne had its own voice assistant?

The City of Melbourne has partnered with the winners of the 2018 Open Innovation Challenge to bring to you Melba, Melbourne’s very own voice assistant.

Ask Melba what activities are happening in your neighbourhood, on your street or near your favourite landmark within the City of Melbourne.

So what if virtual reality could change the way you think?

Whether it is changes to your daily commute, impacts on your day at work or more noise in your home, we all experience the disruption caused by a growing city in unique ways. By putting you literally in somebody else’s shoes will this change the way you think about city disruption?

Outside of games, virtual reality opens up new ways of communicating complex ideas and issues like city disruption. We have developed this experience in partnership with Studio Bento and Paperticket Studios to explore the possibilities of using virtual reality as a tool for community engagement.

Take a dive into this virtual reality experience and engage with city disruption at a deeper level.

So what if change starts with you?

All change must start with the simple act of asking questions. The Citizen Quiz has been developed to test new, interactive ways of asking questions, and promote meaningful citizen engagement.

Jump into the Citizen Quiz. Test your knowledge, discover how you participate and help shape the future of our city.

You'll then unlock your urban citizen profile and join the conversation.

So what if you could hold the city in your hands?

3D printing is an additive manufacturing process that is disrupting the way we produce goods, from drinking cups to aerospace parts.

The City Model is 3D printed using only a fraction of the spatial data that is being constantly updated by the City of Melbourne. Each block of the model represents a 280 metre square chunk of the real city.

The City Model is produced in partnership with staff and students from the RMIT School of Product Design.

Citizen Quiz

How active are you in your local neighbourhood? Unlock your urban citizen profile to find out.