Phase one

The conversation

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

Consultation ran between 1 March and 30 April 2022, 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.

Engagement reach

Who we heard from

(These figures relate to 470 people who completed the survey).
  • 0% Under 15 years old
  • 5% 15-19 year olds
  • 22%20-24 year olds
  • 20% 25-29 year olds
  • 14% 30-34 year olds
  • 11% 35-39 year olds
  • 5% 40-44 year olds
  • 5% 45-49 year olds
  • 5% 50-54 year olds
  • 3%55-59 year olds
  • 4%60-64 year olds
  • 2%65-69 year olds
  • 2%70-74 year olds
  • 1% 75+ year olds

  • 64%female
  • 33% male
  • 3% non-binary
  • 1% prefer not to say

Survey participants who responded to this question identified as:

  • Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander 0%
  • LGBTIQA+ 14%
  • Experiencing homelessness 0%
  • Living with a disability 3%
  • Living on a low income 5%
  • International student 1%
  • None of these 15%
  • Prefer not to say 2%

76% of respondents spoke languages other than English at home

Top languages included:

  • Mandarin
  • Cantonese
  • French
  • Spanish
  • Indonesian.

What is your connection to Carlton?

  • Resident 50%
  • Business owner / worker 17%
  • Visitor 5%
  • Student 25%
  • No connection 0%

How long have you lived/worked/studied in Carlton?

  • Less than a year 27%
  • 1-5 years 36%
  • 5-10 years 14%
  • 10-20 years 8%
  • More than 20 years 8%

What we heard

  • The location of Carlton and its proximity to the CBD.
  • Carlton’s vibrancy and that it remains residential and community oriented.
  • The nature of the community - being good, friendly, nice.
  • The diverse community in the area.
  • Carlton's proximity to universities and schools (specifically Melbourne University).
  • The hospitality offerings - including cafes, restaurants and bars.
  • The parks and green spaces.
  • Need to improve active transport options.
  • Need to improve public transport options.
  • Not enough car parking spaces.
  • Community spaces – for community meetings, gatherings, events, workshops, volunteering.
  • Community activities for children, seniors, women and disadvantaged residents.
  • Support for Public Housing residents.
  • Sporting and recreational facilities – such as skateparks, swimming pool, gyms, fitness equipment, dance studios and sports courts.

Priorities for Carlton

  • Aboriginal Melbourne

    • Greater recognition and opportunity to learn about Wurundjeri heritage, places and culture.
  • Access and affordability

    • Better support for public housing residents.
    • Affordable housing options catering to diverse needs.
    • Spaces for people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities.
    • Education and participation opportunities for community to engage in Council forums, consultations and decision making.
    • Better support for young people, international students and social housing residents.
    • Improving public transport.
    • Balancing needs of various transport and road users including addressing aggressive and antisocial road behaviour.

  • Climate and biodiversity emergency

    • Improve waste management and circular economy projects within Carlton.
    • Increase greening on residential streets and key shopping strips and better use of median strips and other public spaces.

  • Economy of the future

    • More support and initiatives for small businesses.
    • Reactivation of unused shops and spaces in Carlton, especially on Lygon Street.
    • More events, activities, and art initiatives.
    • More attractive and inviting shopping strips.

  • Melbourne’s unique identity and place

    • Preserve old buildings and heritage.
    • Celebrations and initiatives to support and encourage inclusion, diversity and community connection.
  • Safety and wellbeing

    • Address drug and alcohol use, mental health, aggressive behaviour and increase police and security presence and better lighting.
    • Provide wrap-around support for people experiencing homelessness.
    • More recreational facilities and programs to foster physical health and mental wellbeing.

Phase two

The conversation

In this second phase of engagement we presented the draft neighbourhood priorities we’d developed based on community feedback received in March and April 2022. 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 15 August to 4 September 2022.

Gathering insights

Carlton 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. Additionally, with our Business Concierge, we surveyed a range of local business to get their thoughts and ideas.

Engagement reach

Who we heard from

  • Under 15 years: 0%
  • 15-19 years: 0%
  • 20-24 years: 14%
  • 25-29 years: 11%
  • 30-34 years: 6%
  • 35-39 years: 14%
  • 40-44 years: 9%
  • 45-49 years: 10%
  • 50-54 years: 10%
  • 55-59 years: 9%
  • 60-64 years: 2%
  • 65-69 years: 6%
  • 70-74 years: 1%
  • 75+ years: 2%
  • Female: 67%
  • Male: 26.5%
  • Non-binary/gender diverse: 5%
  • Resident: 50%
  • Business owner / worker: 17%
  • Visitor: 5%
  • Student: 25%
  • No connection: 0%

What we heard

The majority of participants felt that the draft Carlton neighbourhood priorities were captured “well” or “very well”. Many respondents mentioned that the priorities were well presented and reflected community sentiment with 90% of respondents rating the priorities a 4 or 5 out of the possible 5.

Many respondents emphasised the importance of the following:

  • Community engagement and participation in Council decision making.
  • The need for more multicultural and diverse activities for community.
  • The increasing need for affordable housing in Carlton.
  • A strong need for accessibility initiatives/options and support for people with disabilities.
  • Supporting local traders by attracting customers, especially young people through events and initiatives and reactivating Lygon Street.
  • More Police presence and patrolling, specifically on Lygon Street to address hooning, antisocial behaviour and the perceived increase in drug use and distribution around Carlton.
  • Supporting people experiencing homelessness.

Comments from community


We have refined the priorities based on the feedback received.

These include:

  • Change in wording of descriptor in the ‘Public Housing’ priority to emphasise the need for security presence in and around the Estate.
  • Change in wording of descriptor in the ‘Opportunities for civic engagement’ priority to include multicultural communities, young people and students.
  • Change in wording of the ‘Support for vulnerable people’ priority to ensure services are tailored for diverse members of the community.
  • Inclusion of ‘parking issues’ in descriptor of the ‘Safer roads and bike lanes’ priority to highlight the need to address parking issues in Carlton.
  • Minor change in wording of the ‘Waste and Circular Economy’ priority to encompass sustainability, waste management and circular economy.
  • Minor change in ‘Increase neighbourhood greening’ priority to highlight the importance of maintaining current neighbourhood greening.
  • Minor change in ‘ Small business support’ priority to highlight the need for diverse local businesses.
  • Combined the draft priorities ‘Reactivation of unused shops and spaces in Carlton’ and ‘Beautification of shopping strips’ as they are similar in focus.

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.