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.

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.

In-person community engagement for Phase One:

Engagement reach

Who we heard from

(These figures relate to 666 people who completed the survey).
  • 0% Under 15 years old
  • 0% 15-19 year olds
  • 6 % 20-24 year olds
  • 15 % 25-29 year olds
  • 16% 30-34 year olds
  • 19 % 35-39 year olds
  • 11% 40-44 year olds
  • 8 % 45-49 year olds
  • 9 % 50-54 year olds
  • 4 % 55-59year olds
  • 4 % 60-64 year olds
  • 4% 65-69 year olds
  • 3% 70-74 year olds
  • 1% 75+ year olds

  • 62% female
  • 33% male
  • 3% non-binary/ transgender
  • 1% other/ prefer not to say
  • 1% Other

Survey participants who responded to this question identified as:

  • 8 respondents (1%) identified as Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander
  • LGBTQI+ 19%
  • Speaking a language other than English at home 6%
  • Experiencing homelessness 0%
  • Living with a disability 5%
  • Living on a low income 3%
  • International student 5%
  • None of these 25%
  • Prefer not to say 2%

What is your primary connection to North Melbourne?

  • Resident 76%
  • Business owner 5%
  • Worker 22%
  • Study or visit 15%

How long have you had this connection to North Melbourne?

  • Less than a year 21%
  • 1-5 years 38%
  • 5-10 years 17%
  • 10-20 years 14%
  • More than 20 years 10%

What we heard

  • The friendly, diverse community of North Melbourne.
  • Proximity to the central city, while maintaining a quiet “village” feel.
  • Closeness to workplaces and universities, walkability and access to public transport.
  • The vibrant lifestyle of the suburb; cafés, restaurants, local shops.
  • Appealing parks, green spaces and tree-lined streets.
  • Hospitality and retail offerings including supermarkets, butchers, and grocers.
  • More restaurants, late night and live music venues, and outdoor dining.
  • Community sport and recreation opportunities.
  • Transport and movement management, parking options for businesses and residents, safer active travel, and better public transport links.
  • More parks and street greening, and more designated dog areas.

Priorities for North Melbourne

  • Aboriginal Melbourne

    • Embrace the wisdom of Aboriginal Traditional Owners to enrich our shared experience of place.
  • Access and affordability

    • Increase access to local swimming pool and community spaces to encourage regular local programs and events.
    • Better bus and tram conditions including additional neighbourhood stops, and car-parking options that balance the needs of all users.
    • Ensure people on lower incomes can continue to call North Melbourne home, by advocating for affordable housing options.
    • Increase opportunities for local leadership, volunteering, and meaningful consultation.

  • Climate and biodiversity emergency

    • Share skills and resources and implement sustainable initiatives, such as community gardens and e-vehicle charging stations.
    • Develop strong locally led networks that coordinate emergency preparedness activities.

  • Economy of the future

    • Support pathways for residents who experience barriers to employment.
    • Foster an exciting retail, hospitality and service precinct, with more to enjoy locally after dark.

  • Melbourne’s unique identity and place

    • Increase the amount of parkland and activate median strips, residential streets and laneways.
    • Celebrate the contribution of women who have shaped North Melbourne through history.
    • Ensure new buildings add positive value to the neighbourhood through appropriate design and community amenity.

  • Safety and wellbeing

    • Explore safe and inviting places for youth, as well as affordable childcare options.
    • Improve experiences and enjoyment of the neighbourhood with cleaner streets, better lighting and more police presence.
    • Encourage community led initiatives that build local links, social connection and pride.
    • Negotiate opportunities for animals and humans to exercise and socialise safely in public places.

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

North 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: 4.5%
  • 15 - 19 years: 0%
  • 20 - 24 years: 2.7%
  • 25 - 29 years: 14.5%
  • 30 - 34 years: 13.6%
  • 35 - 39 years: 12.7%
  • 40 - 44 years: 12%
  • 45 - 49 years: 5.4%
  • 50 - 54 years: 9%
  • 55 - 59 years: 7.3%
  • 60 - 64 years: 3.6%
  • 65 - 69 years: 3.6%
  • 70 - 74 years: 6.4%
  • 75 + years: 2.7%
  • Prefer not to say: 1.8%
  • Female 56%
  • Male 37%
  • Non binary/gender diverse 1%
  • Prefer not to say 6%
  • Live 70%
  • Work 21%
  • Own a business 4.5%
  • Study 0%
  • Visit 4.5%
  • No connection 0%
  • Other 0.9%

What we heard

Of the 112 people who rated how well we captured the sixteen draft priorities for the neighbourhood of North Melbourne, 83% felt they had been captured "well" or "very well". For the 17% of people who collectively gave a score of "average", "somewhat" or "not at all", suggestions were provided about what was missing or could be improved.

  • 1 out of 5 (not at all) 1.8%
  • 2 out of 5 (somewhat) 3.5%
  • 3 out of 5 (average) 11.6%
  • 4 out of 5 (well) 40%
  • 5 out of 5 (very well) 43%

Comments from community


We have refined the priorities based on the feedback received.

These include:

  • Introducing an additional priority about 'Ageing in Place'.
  • Highlighting the importance of our proud multicultural identity in the 'Strong Neighbourhood Spirit and Relationships' priority as well as considering community links to the North Melbourne Football Club here.
  • Giving car parking more importance in the 'Safe and Practical Transport and Car-Parking' priority.
  • Incorporating the safeguarding of heritage in the 'Control Over-Development' priority.
  • Elevating the value of the 'Affordable Household Rents' and 'Places for Children and Young People to Thrive' priorities for our public housing communities.

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.