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 404 people who completed the survey).
  • 1% Under 15 year olds
  • 4% 15-19 year olds
  • 12% 20-24 year olds
  • 26% 25-29 year olds
  • 19% 30-34 year olds
  • 16%35-39 year olds
  • 6% 40-44 year olds
  • 3% 45-49 year olds
  • 4% 50-54 year olds
  • 3% 55-59 year olds
  • 3% 60-64 year olds
  • 2% 65-69 year olds
  • 4% 70+ year olds

  • 67% female
  • 32%  male
  • 0%  non-binary
  • 1% prefer not to say

Survey participants who responded to this question identified as:

  • Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander 0%
  • LGBTIQA+ 2%
  • Experiencing homelessness 0%
  • Living with a disability 4%
  • Living on a low income 1%
  • International student 2%
  • None of these 19%

43% of respondents spoke languages other than English at home.

Top languages included:

  • Mandarin
  • Spanish
  • Cantonese
  • French
  • Hindi.

What is your connection to South Yarra?

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

How long have you lived/worked/studied in South Yarra?

  • 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

  • Convenient location close to the city and other amenities, facilities, parks and work.
  • Parks and greenery, particularly Fawkner Park.
  • Access to public transport and good walkability.
  • The range of shops, restaurants and cafes.
  • Good schools and close to good job opportunities.
  • Amenities in the existing green spaces, BBQ areas, public toilets, playgrounds and seating options.
  • Sporting and recreation facilities, both indoor and outdoor.
  • More open spaces such as smaller ‘pocket parks’ and off-leash dog areas.
  • A more diverse range of retail options, cafes and other hospitality businesses and a local supermarket.

Priorities for South Yarra

  • Aboriginal Melbourne

    • More recognition and visibility of the Bunurong and Wurundjeri people's ongoing cultural connection to Country.
  • Access and affordability

    • Ensure that public spaces and transportation options are accessible for all.
    • Programs, events and work opportunities for people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities.
    • Advocate for rental security, housing affordability and work towards reducing homelessness.

  • Climate and biodiversity emergency

    • Implement sustainable waste management practices and advocate for renewable energy initiatives.
  • Economy of the future

    • Provide tailored support for local businesses to help recover from COVID-19.
    • Expand the range of hospitality, fresh produce and retail businesses in South Yarra West.

  • Melbourne’s unique identity and place

    • Protect local heritage, parks and gardens, and work to retain the 'village feel.'
    • An inclusive COVID-19 recovery, reinventing the St Kilda and Commercial Road precincts.
    • Creation of local spaces where people can connect and participate in activities together.
    • More amenities in South Yarra, including public toilets, BBQ facilities, picnic tables and drinking fountains.
    • Working with neighbouring councils to deliver better outcomes for the entire South Yarra neighbourhood.

  • Safety and wellbeing

    • Negotiate safe shared use of roads and paths and address issues relating to aggressive and anti-social road behaviour, traffic flow and parking spaces.
    • Address safety issues relating to theft, antisocial and aggressive behaviours and improve night-time lighting.
    • Manage noise pollution from public events and traffic for a more relaxing living environment.

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

South Yarra 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: 8.3%
  • 15 - 19 years: 8.3%
  • 20 - 24 years: 2.%
  • 25 - 29 years: 6.3%
  • 30 - 34 years: 2%
  • 40 - 44 years: 18.8%
  • 45 - 49 years: 6.3%
  • 50 - 54 years: 6.3%
  • 55 - 59 years: 4.2%
  • 60 - 64 years: 12.5%
  • 65 - 69 years: 4.2%
  • 70 - 74 years: 2%
  • Prefer not to say: 2%
  • Female: 54.5%
  • Male: 43.1%
  • Non-binary/Gender diverse: 1.7%
  • Prefer not to say: 1.7%
  • Live: 57%
  • Work: 8%
  • Own a business: 12%
  • Study: 13.7%
  • Visit: 4%
  • Other: 6%

What we heard

Many felt the draft South Yarra neighbourhood priorities were captured ‘well’ or ‘very well’ with 96.61 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’. No one rated them below 3 out of 5.

Comments relating to specific interests or concerns included:

  • Most people who participated highlighted how much they love the green spaces in South Yarra (Fawkner Park and Domain Parklands) and asked to prioritise their protection and continued maintenance.
  • Many people were concerned about parking availability, equitable access to parking and inadequate enforcement of parking laws.
  • Many people commented on issues relating to pedestrian safety on footpaths, roads and in parks, citing near miss instances with fast moving bicycles, e-scooters and cars.
  • Those who frequent Fawkner Park were highly interested in seeing a coffee shop and more activities aimed at local residents, including children, in the park.
  • Many local traders along St Kilda Road and Commercial Road were very concerned about the longevity of their businesses in the face of continued hybrid working models.
  • There were several mentions of the need to better manage waste, recycling and composting. People expressed the need for initiatives around local composting sites, community education on appropriate ways to recycle, and more frequent recycling bin pickups.
  • Residents reiterated their concerns about general safety in the neighbourhood, providing examples of theft and drug and alcohol related anti-social behaviours.

Comments from community


We have refined the priorities based on the feedback received.

These include:

  • Change of wording in the priority 'Implement sustainable waste management practices and advocate for renewable energy initiatives' to not be limited to only reducing landfill and increasing renewable energy sources, but to explore all potential initiatives that increase South Yarra's environmental sustainability overall.
  • Removal of the priority 'Neighbourly Precincts' as the needs detailed under this draft priority are reflected across priorities 'Diverse and thriving economy' and 'Small business support,' as well as 'An inclusive neighbourhood'.
  • Further elaboration in the descriptor for 'Safe and efficient roads' to include the need to address issues around hooning and traffic congestion.
  • Inclusion of a new priority 'Parks and gardens' to reflect the strong value and support for the preservation and care of the existing parklands in South Yarra.

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.