Phase one

The conversation

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

Consultations 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.

In-person community engagement for Phase One:

Engagement reach

Who we heard from

(These figures relate to the 255 people who completed the survey).
  • 0% under 15 years old
  • 3% 15-19 years old
  • 11% 20-24 years old
  • 16% 25-29 years old
  • 16% 30-34 years old
  • 15% 35-39 years old
  • 5% 40-44 years old
  • 4% 45-49 years old
  • 6% 50-54 years old
  • 7% 55-59 years old
  • 5% 60-64 years old
  • 7% 65-69 years old
  • 6% 70+ years old

  • 62% female
  • 38% male
  • 0% non-binary
  • 0% prefer not to say

Survey participants who responded to this question identified as:

  • Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander 0%
  • LGBTIQA+ 28%
  • Experiencing homelessness 0%
  • Living with a disability 2%
  • Living on a low income 2%
  • International student 2%
  • None of these 55%
  • Prefer not to say 2%

33% of respondents spoke languages other than English at home.

Top languages included:

  • Mandarin
  • Italian
  • Spanish.

What is your connection to East Melbourne?

  • Resident 83%
  • Business owner / worker 6%
  • Visitor 3%
  • Student 3%
  • Other 4%

How long have you lived/worked/studied in East Melbourne?

  • Less than a year 25%
  • 1-5 years 47%
  • 5-10 years 14%
  • 10-20 years 5%
  • More than 20 years 8%

What we heard

  • Proximity to the CBD and other neighbouring suburbs, including Richmond, Collingwood and Fitzroy.
  • Quiet and peaceful neighbourhood that is close to the busier parts of the city.
  • Parks and green spaces.
  • Heritage buildings, charming houses and the neighbourhood’s unique character.
  • Job opportunities and proximity to work.
  • The neighbourhood’s sense of community.
  • Sports and recreation facilities.
  • BBQ facilities, public toilets, outdoor seating and playgrounds.
  • Retail and hospitality options, including cafes, shops, supermarkets, and a shopping strip.
  • Car parking spaces for residents.

From a scale of 1 to 5:

1 – 3%
2 – 9%
3 – 21%
4 – 41%
5 – 28%

What people said makes them feel safe:

  • Good lighting in public places.
  • Knowing their neighbours and people in the community.

What people said makes them feel unsafe:

  • Experiences or hearing about crimes taking place in the area or concerns about behaviour such as drug and alcohol use.
  • Dark and un-activated spaces such as parks or laneways at night.

Priorities for East Melbourne

  • Aboriginal Melbourne

    • More recognition and visibility of Wurundjeri’s ongoing cultural connection to Country and the neighbourhood.
  • Access and affordability

    • Advocate for better rental security and support for first home buyers.
    • Amenities and spaces to be more accessible and welcoming to all people.
    • Address parking access issues and extend the free tram zone to East Melbourne for residents and visitors.

  • Climate and biodiversity emergency

    • Increase recycling, green waste and composting initiatives.
    • Include electric vehicle infrastructure and solar panels for apartments.

  • Economy of the future

    • Provide more tailored support and foster stronger connections between local businesses.
    • Encourage diversification and increase retail, fresh produce and hospitality offerings that meet the needs of the local community.

  • Melbourne’s unique identity and place

    • Protect and celebrate local heritage, parks and gardens, and work to retain the 'village feel.'
    • Promote and support activities that foster diversity, inclusion and connection between community members.
    • Activate local spaces and provide sheltered outdoor spaces for community-led programs, gatherings and events.

  • Safety and wellbeing

    • Improve lighting and deliver initiatives to increase road safety for pedestrians, cyclists and e-scooter riders.
    • Maintain cleanliness of public spaces and manage issues around noise pollution in residential areas.
    • Address and prevent theft, antisocial and aggressive behaviour in the neighbourhood.
    • Increase outdoor furniture, facilities and recreation equipment in neighbourhood parks.
    • Expand community and street gardens and other opportunities to grow food and plants in the neighbourhood.

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

East Melbourne 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: 4.76%
  • 25 - 29 years: 4.76%
  • 30 - 34 years: 7.14%
  • 35 - 39 years: 14.29%
  • 40 - 44 years: 7.14%
  • 45 - 49 years: 9.52%
  • 50 - 54 years: 4.76%
  • 55 - 59 years: 14.29%
  • 60 - 64 years: 9.52%
  • 65 - 69 years: 11.9%
  • 70 - 74 years: 4.76%
  • 75 + years: 4.76%
  • Prefer not to say: 2.38%
  • Female: 70%
  • Male: 30%
  • Non-binary/gender diverse: 0%
  • Live: 74.55%
  • Work: 3.64%
  • Own a business: 7.27%
  • Study: 0%
  • Visit: 12.73%
  • Other: 1.82%

What we heard

Many felt the draft East Melbourne neighbourhood priorities were captured ‘well’ or ‘very well’ with 75.1 per cent of people rating the draft priorities either 4 or 5 out of a maximum of 5.

Just over 3 per cent rated them as 3 out of 5 or ‘average’ and 8.2 per cent rated them as 'not well' and 'not at all'.

Comments relating to specific interests or concerns included:

  • Many people are interested in seeing a variety of community activities that appeal to more people and want community spaces activated for use by all community members.
  • A significant number of people reiterated their concerns around the negative impacts that drug use in public spaces has on the neighbourhood's sense of safety and amenity.
  • Many people have concerns about equitable access to parking and inadequate parking law enforcement.
  • There is a strong interest in discussing potential implementation of bicycle lanes in East Melbourne, with a significant number of people either for or against them.
  • People value heritage and East Melbourne's unique character and stressed the importance of heritage protection.

Comments from community


We have refined the priorities based on the feedback received.

These include:

  • Change of wording for the priority 'Accessible and inclusive amenities and places' to capture the community's desire to become a neighbourhood that is inclusive not only in its amenities and spaces but in its community spirit, to all people, including elderly, children, singles, renters and others.
  • Change of wording in the descriptor for the priority 'Affordable and accessible transportation' to accentuate the need to balance parking access for residents, visitors and workers.
  • Elaboration of the priority Protect and celebrate local heritage, parks and gardens, and work to retain the 'village feel’, to explicitly include buildings as well as open spaces, reflective of the community's strong connection and care for the local parks and their preservation.
  • Change in wording for the descriptor under the 'Safe neighbourhood' priority to include investigation into night-time safety in East Melbourne.
  • Inclusion of 'playgrounds' under the priority 'Outdoor amenities and facilities' to highlight the need for better outdoor play options for children.

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.