Phase one

The conversation

We’re developing a neighbourhood approach to better understand the strengths, priorities and needs of our local communities and build the foundation for a more empowered, engaged, and participatory community.

Phase one of our Participate 3000 consultation ran between 18 October and 16 December 2021, with a wide variety of consultation channels used to achieve broad and inclusive community reach.

Gathering insights

The Participate Melbourne website was a key engagement platform featuring a detailed online survey, an interactive map, a short fill-in-the-gaps postcard and a community wall. Targeted phone surveys, community conversations and events were held to further capture feedback.

This includes ten pop-up sessions at community venues including the City Library, City Baths, Elizabeth St Pop-up Library, The Couch – International Student Centre, Fair @ Square at the Immigration Museum and in Degraves Street. Feedback was also gathered through Residents 3000, East Enders, the Drill Hall Residents Association, Ross House Association, Multicultural Hub, Melbourne Men’s Shed, City Precinct, Melbourne City North Business Association and other CBD-based business precincts through their activities, meetings, newsletters and social media channels.

The CBD Neighbourhood Partner had 100 deep-dive conversations with small business owners, residents, students, visitors, workers, people experiencing homelessness, OCs and building managers in the neighbourhood. The Business Concierge also supported the consultation by surveying businesses face-to-face and over the phone. Feedback was also gathered at three community-led trial meet-up events that were hosted in Manchester Lane, Degraves St and Coromandel Place.

Engagement reach

Who we heard from

  • 12% 12-17 year olds
  • 22% 18-25 year olds
  • 11% 26-30 year olds
  • 19% 31-40 year olds
  • 16% 41-50 year olds
  • 10% 51-60 year olds
  • 7% 61-70 year olds
  • 2% 71+ year olds

  • 65% female
  • 36% male
  • 1% non-binary
  • 1% prefer not to say

  • One percent of respondents identified as Aboriginal (1%) - 7 individuals.
  • One individual respondent identified as Torres Strait Islander.
  • One individual respondent identified as both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander.
  • Three percent of respondents preferred not to say.
  • 45% of respondents spoke languages other than English at home.
  • Top languages included: Mandarin Chinese, Hindi, Spanish, Italian, French, German, Cantonese, Japanese, Malay, Vietnamese, Tagalog and Indonesian.

Respondents could select all that applied.

  • Resident 36%
  • Business owner / worker 33%
  • Visitor 20%
  • Student 19%
  • No connection 1%
  • Other 28%
  • Less than a year 16%
  • 1-5 years 44%
  • 5-10 years 16%
  • 10-20 years 14%
  • More than 20 years 10%

What we heard

  • Amenity and convenient access to work and other attractions.
  • Lifestyle and vibe - dining, drinking, shopping and entertainment.
  • Melbourne's diverse, friendly community and culture.
  • Ease of getting around the CBD on foot, by bike or by public transport.

The 48% who said yes talked about:

  • Strong hospitality and retail offerings.
  • Ease of transport and movement.
  • The CBD's liveability, vibrancy, and sense of community.
  • Reopening after lockdowns.

The 19% who said no talked about:

  • Feeling unsafe in the city.
  • Transport - some want easier car transport, while some want better active transport options.
  • Uncontrolled development.

The 33% who weren't sure talked about:

  • Uncertainty around COVID-19 impacts.
  • Transport - with opinion split between whether cars or active transport should be prioritised.
  • Excessive development.
  • More parks and greener streets.
  • More well-maintained amenities like public toilets, seating, drinking fountains and shelters.
  • Easier transport - for some this meant cheaper and more parking, while others wanted active and public transport modes prioritised.
  • A range of recreational facilities and exercise equipment.
  • Reinvigorate underused areas – more well-lit spaces, laneways and squares with greenery, street art and performances.
  • More libraries, co-working facilities, and other non-commercial spaces to support community connection.
  • More galleries, events, festivals, theatres, and outdoor art and music performances.

Safety was rated on a scale of 1 to 5, from least to most safe. The results were:

  • 1: 4%
  • 2: 16%
  • 3: 33%
  • 4: 38%
  • 5: 10%

Those who felt safe said:

  • Haven’t had any issues or been in a position where you felt unsafe.
  • Appreciate the regular presence of other people and police in the city.
  • Some of you took specific actions to ensure you feel safe, like avoiding certain areas or certain times.

Those who felt neutral said:

  • Feel that you can’t visit certain areas or that you can’t be out in the city alone or at night.
  • Experienced or heard about crimes taking place in the area or have concerns about behaviour such as drug use.

Those who felt unsafe said:

  • Feel threatened by antisocial behaviour such as street harassment, crime or drug use.
  • Feel that the police presence and response is inadequate to address these threats.

We asked respondents to identify their level of agreement or disagreement with each statement:

  • The statement respondents most strongly agreed with was It is important that I’m connected to my local community, with 77% either agreeing (39%) or strongly agreeing (38%).
  • Just under half of respondents either agreed (40%) or strongly agreed (8%) that the City of Melbourne understands the needs of the community.
  • Less than half of respondents indicated they feel connected to their local community with 33% agreeing and 9% strongly agreeing.
  • Just less than half of respondents agreed that they are informed about what is happening in their community, with 36% agreeing and 15% strongly agreeing.
  • Just under half of respondents agreed that they feel empowered to participate in community life, with 27% agreeing and 17% strongly agreeing.

Respondents said they could count on the following people for help in a crisis:

  • 68% friends
  • 64% family
  • 33% neighbours

29% of respondents have an emergency kit, 71% don't.

Neighbourhood priorities for the Melbourne CBD

  • Aboriginal Melbourne

    • More understanding and visibility of Woi Wurrung language across the city.
    • More recognition of Wurundjeri's ongoing cultural connection to Country with visibility through signage, education, placemaking and creative art initiatives.
  • Access and affordability

    • Greater support for apartment living and strata communities and more affordable housing.
    • Spaces and services are welcoming for all people including families and children, older people, migrant communities, neurodiverse people, LGBTIQ+ communities.
    • Spaces and services designed to consider use by people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds.
    • Local food production and access to fresh food.
  • Climate and biodiversity emergency

    • Decarbonising transport and keeping cars out of small streets and lanes.
    • Greening the city streets, buildings and rooftops.
    • Education programs on climate change, biodiversity and disaster preparedness.
    • More promotion and adoption of renewable energy like solar
    • Improving waste management and circular economy projects within the CBD.
  • Economy of the future

    • Enhancing resilience of the CBD through defining and promoting distinct neighbourhoods within the city.
    • More support for small businesses and diversifying hospitality offerings.
    • Affordable communal workspaces for start-ups and creatives and improving digital literacy across the city.
  • Melbourne’s unique identity and place

    • Preserving old buildings and heritage.
    • Improving street maintenance and cleanliness.
    • More events, activities, and art and support for artists and performers.
    • Strengthening Melbourne as a series of 'neighbourhoods within the neighbourhood' and not only a 'CBD'.
  • Safety and wellbeing

    • Programs spaces and tools for community connection.
    • Addressing substance use, mental health, aggressive behaviour. More police/security, better lighting.
    • Support for people experiencing homelessness.
    • Balancing needs of road and transport users.
    • More amenities e.g. toilets, seating, water fountains, shelter.
    • Recreation facilities/exercise options.
    • Addressing development impacts.
    • Support for international students.
    • Increasing off-leash areas, education for responsible pet ownership.

Phase two

The conversation

In this second phase of engagement we presented the draft neighbourhood priorities we’d developed based on community feedback received at the end of 2021. We wanted to check in with community again to understand how well we’d captured the priorities, and whether there was anything missing or if refinements could be made.

Phase Two consultations ran from 22 March to 19 April 2022.

Gathering insights

CBD residents, businesses, workers, students and visitors were all invited to take part. Our Participate Melbourne website was a key engagement tool featuring the draft priorities and findings from Phase One engagement, a short online survey, and a ‘chat with us’ function to book in a time to speak with our Neighbourhood Partner.

A range of pop-up activities and sessions were held with community to enable participation from a broader range of people and to gather feedback.

Fifteen pop-up sessions were held at locations including Melbourne City Baths, City Library, Multicultural Hub, The Couch – International Student Centre, Ross House, Elizabeth St Pop-up Library, Degraves St, Federation Square Pop-up Library, Queen Victoria Market, and at two Neighbour Day events – the Residents 3000 Neighbourhood Marketplace and a community-led event in Coromandel Place.

Presentations were held with the City Precinct and East Enders. Consultations were promoted through City of Melbourne and local groups’ social media channels. Activities were featured in the local newspaper and promoted through a number of newsletters and direct emails.

Engagement reach

Who we heard from

  • 2.23% Under 15 year olds
  • 1.68% 15-19 year olds
  • 22.91% 20-29 year olds
  • 18.44% 30-39 year olds
  • 16.76% 40-49 year olds
  • 12.85% 50-59 year olds
  • 13.41% 60-69 year olds
  • 11.73% 70+ year olds
  • 54.7% female
  • 44.2% male
  • 1.1 other identity
  • 1.38% Aboriginal
  • 0.69% Torres Strait Islander
  • 10.34% LGBTIQ
  • 36.55% Culturally & Linguistically Diverse (CALD)
  • 1.38% Experience homelessness
  • 8.97% Living with a disability
  • 20% Living on a low income
  • 13.10% International student
  • 31.72% None of these
  • 3.45% Prefer not to say

Traditional Owner consultation

Two initial workshops were held with Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Elders. Workshops will continue as the Neighbourhood Portals develop over time.

Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Elders provided a range of feedback including a strong desire to use Neighbourhood Portals as an opportunity to increase understanding and awareness of Aboriginal culture and history across the city.

They shared that they feel responsible for visitors on their Country and this includes an ongoing role to look out for and respect people, animals and the environment.

They reminded us to slow down amongst the bustle of the city and take the time to learn and appreciate more about our ongoing Aboriginal history and culture.

What we heard

Nearly every respondent (99%) said the neighbourhood priorities were captured "well" or "very well".

Safety, amenity and liveability (apartment living), transport (bike lanes, parking), economy/business support, housing and homelessness support, waste and recycling, Wurundjeri cultural heritage, community connection, heritage and greening were most frequently mentioned as important to people.

A few respondents highlighted that tourism was not mentioned and that bringing workers back to offices and other city activation initiatives could be promoted more.

Some respondents mentioned family friendly spaces and activities could be more specific.

A few respondents mentioned community consultation processes and communications. This feedback will be considered in how we keep the portals up-to-date and further engage with the community as the neighbourhood priorities are developed and actioned further.

The e-scooters trial started after Phase One consultations, with views split on e-scooter issues but more comments expressed concerns rather than support.

A few respondents mentioned composting.

Comments from community


We have refined the priorities based on the feedback received.

These include:

  • Combining the draft priorities on ‘Local community connection’ and ‘Grassroots neighbourhood activities’ as they were similar in focus.
  • Further information around reactivation has been added into the ‘Reinventing the city’ priority, including bringing workers back and encouraging tourism.
  • Moving the ‘Street cleanliness’ priority into the Safety and Wellbeing category (pink).
  • Some minor changes to the wording have been made in a number of priorities based on the feedback outlined above around family friendly spaces, e-scooters and composting.

Phase three

User testing

From April – May 2022 we undertook user testing with a diverse range of community members in small focus groups to assess the usability of the CBD and Kensington Neighbourhood Portals.

These portals are being developed as a one-stop shop for neighbourhood connection and planning.

Gathering insights

Sixteen community members participated in four sessions across four focus areas:

  • International Students
  • Members of the Disability Advisory Committee
  • Young People
  • Older People

Participants were asked to complete simple navigation tasks and provide feedback on their experience.

What we heard

Overall, participants understood and supported the idea and execution of the portals.

Participants provided useful feedback that then influenced the portal’s design and content, and improved accessibility and functionality.

Participants said they were 80 per cent likely to use a Neighbourhood Portal in the future.


We are using the community feedback gathered during the user testing sessions to further refine and improve the portal structure, navigation and content to increase community access and usage.

Draft neighbourhood priorities

See the draft neighbourhood priorities we identified during phase one of consultation.