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What we know

Carlton is a diverse suburb, well-known for the Italian cafes and restaurants of Lygon Street, its Victorian heritage streets and buildings, and its leafy parks and gardens.

Carlton is home to the second largest population of our municipality, with a significant proportion of residents born overseas, mostly in east and south-east Asia. Many of Carlton’s residents are local and international students, who attend the nearby University of Melbourne and RMIT University.

Carlton takes on a distinct character to the west of Swanston Street in the ‘City North’ precinct, where warehouses mix with larger university and office buildings.

As well as entertainment, cultural and leisure activities, Carlton has educational, business, retail and residential facilities. Carlton Gardens contain the contemporary Melbourne Museum and the domed 19th century Royal Exhibition Building that has World Heritage status.

Quick facts

Data is sourced from 2021 Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Census of Population and Housing, ABS Estimated Resident Population 2021, and 2020 Census of Land and Employment (CLUE).

To access more data on Carlton, visit: Carlton community profile on profile .id.

To learn more about the ABS Census of Population and Housing, including definitions, visit: Guide to Census data.

City of Melbourne services in Carlton

The City of Melbourne delivers Family Services at Carlton Baths, and Carlton Learning Precinct.

At the Carlton Learning Precinct, Gowrie Victoria operates a 98-place education and care centre with integrated and sessional kindergarten.

At Kathleen Syme Library and Community Centre we will provide loans of books and other material to approximately 2500 members.

In 2021-22 we will purchase approximately 4000 new books.

We will provide online access to books, film, music, and a makers space that offers equipment such as 3D printers, sewing machines, tools, and creative programming.

There are 10 bookable community spaces, a recording studio with equipment and computer access with Wi-Fi available 24 hours.

The social support group for older people is delivered by the City of Melbourne at Kathleen Syme Library and Community Centre.

The Melbourne Community Toy Library operates from The Chapel on Cardigan Street, which is owned by the City of Melbourne.

The Drum Youth Services in Carlton is delivered by Drummond Street Services on behalf of the City of Melbourne.

We manage and maintain many public spaces across Carlton including:
  • Argyle Square
  • Burton Reserve
  • Canning & Palmerston Streets Reserve
  • Canning Street Reserve
  • Cardigan Street Park
  • Carlton Gardens North
  • Carlton Gardens South
  • Hardy Reserve
  • Keppel Street Park
  • Lincoln Square
  • MacArthur Square
  • Murchison Square
  • Station Street Open Space
  • Palmerston Reserve
  • Reese Street Park
  • University Square.
  • At Carlton Baths, we provide a gym, group fitness, seasonal pool, swimming lessons, stadium sports, meeting rooms, exercise physiology and children’s sports programs. The YMCA operates this facility on behalf of the City of Melbourne.
  • At Princes Park, we provide sports fields which cater to 12 community sports organisations.
  • The Princes Park tennis facility is leased to the Princes Hill Tennis Club, a four-court facility that caters for members, public court hire, competitions, coaching and programs.
  • The Carlton Recreation Ground is leased to Carlton Football Club and is their administration base, training centre and venue for some competition.

What we heard

City of the Future consultation

We invited community members to reflect and share with us how COVID-19 changed your perspective and priorities for the future of the city. Research and knowledge gathering activities with the community took place from 15 June through to 19 July 2020.
  • There is an opportunity to make lasting and impactful change, but we should act now. The city needs to adjust to major impacts and economic recovery is crucial to our city’s success.
  • The creative sector’s contribution is vital to the city’s economy along with its role in creating vibrancy, social cohesion and unique experiences. It must be a focus in recovery. Opportunities were also identified to accelerate growth through innovation and emerging businesses.
  • Building resilience in our community is essential given ongoing uncertainty. Accelerating action on climate change and collective global action are fundamental to economic recovery. There is a strong desire to integrate our city’s ancient and continuous Aboriginal culture and knowledge in responding to contemporary challenges.
  • There is great concern about the mental health, equity and wellbeing of our community, particularly vulnerable communities. Community and experts want to see inequality, affordability and inclusion addressed. The desire for more green spaces in our city was consistently linked with health and wellbeing outcomes.
  • The digital divide is an issue and we need to consider integrated digital infrastructure that would enable participation in an adaptable, digitally-inclusive and connected city.

See the ideas forum.

Seven initiatives represent our city’s plan for reactivation and recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic. Together, they connect our immediate response to the crisis with our city’s longer-term regeneration. By linking the actions that we take in the short-term with the outcomes we want to see in the future, we can ensure that we target our resources to those initiatives that best meet our long term strategic objectives and ultimately deliver maximum benefit for our city and its citizens.

Initiatives integral to immediate recovery

  • Prioritise public health and wellbeing
  • Reactivate the city

Initiatives integral to our city’s successful regeneration and ongoing resilience

  • Build economic resilience
  • Expand equitable opportunity and access
  • Transform our spaces and buildings
  • Strengthen community participation and align to others
  • Evaluate and progress

Read the full consultation recap.

The COVID-19 Reactivation and Recovery Plan integrates with the Council planning framework and City of Melbourne’s strategic plans and is designed to help guide and shape our work now and into the future.

Read the COVID-19 Reactivation and Recovery Plan.

Community Vision consultation

To help form our 10-year Community Vision and four-year Council Plan 2021–25, we completed a period of deliberative engagement with a broad cross-section of the community throughout March 2021.

We spoke with more than 750 people who live, work, study, visit or own a business in the municipality to understand what our community values most about the city.

Overall, the community’s top aspirations were for Melbourne to be a city that:

  • is healthy and safe
  • considers climate change in everything that we do
  • is inclusive, accessible and affordable.

Read the full consultation recap.

The community’s feedback was gathered and synthesised into a series of insights and aspirations that helped to create the 10-year Community Vision and four-year Council Plan.

Read the Consultation Report (PDF 1.06MB).

Six strategic directions from the Council Plan include:

  • Economy of the future
  • Melbourne's unique identity and place
  • Safety and wellbeing
  • Access and affordability
  • Climate and biodiversity emergency
  • Aboriginal Melbourne

Read the Community Vision and Council Plan 2021-25.

What we're doing

Capital Works

New infrastructure investments in Carlton this year include:

  • $850,000 – Melbourne Innovation District (MID) Urban Realm
  • $755,000 - Public Arts Melbourne – Growth Areas
  • $60,000 – Reduce Speed Limits
  • $50,000Cycle Infrastructure.

We will invest $3,906,160 on renewal works in Carlton including for roadways, footpaths, drains, parks, library collection and property.

We will invest $197,892 on maintenance works in Carlton including at our community facilities.

Key Initiatives

This year we will:

  • Progress the Carlton heritage review and associated Amendments to protect and celebrate heritage places and neighbourhood character
  • Deliver and manage the Business Precinct Program
  • Provide accessible creative opportunities to everyone through expanded arts and library programming
  • Facilitate Integrated Water Management Solutions to support increased greening, reduced flooding and reduced pollution to the bay
  • Plan for the Melbourne Innovation District (MID) City North Urban Realm
  • Review and approve the Carlton Gardens Master Plan and submit to Heritage Victoria as part of the World Heritage Master Plan review.

Our strategic work in Carlton

We will progress delivery of:

  • City North Structure Plan
  • Melbourne Innovation Districts Opportunities Plan
  • Carlton Gardens Master Plan
  • Lincoln Square Concept Plan
  • Princes Park Master Plan
  • University Square Master Plan
  • Carlton Urban Forest Precinct Plan.

What do you know?

Explore the map

Check out what others have shared below about Carlton's assets and strengths.

We asked:

  • Where are the places and services that help to improve community life in our neighbourhood?
  • Who are the people, networks and organisations who make this neighbourhood special?
  • Are there places you go to locally to cope during extreme weather like heatwaves, air pollution or storms?
  • Are there events, walks, open spaces or special spots that you love to visit and enjoy?
  • You can also highlight where you see there’s an opportunity for the community and/or Council to help address.