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 and an interactive map. 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 737 people who completed the survey).
  • 1% under 15 years old
  • 1% 15-19 years old
  • 10% 20-24 years old
  • 22% 25-29 years old
  • 22% 30-34 years old
  • 17% 35-39 years old
  • 10% 40-44 years old
  • 4% 45-49 years old
  • 4% 50-54 years old
  • 3% 55-59 years old
  • 2% 60-64 years old
  • 2% 65-69 years old
  • 1% 70+ years old

  • 59% female
  • 39% male
  • 1% non-binary
  • 1% prefer not to say

Survey participants who responded to this question identified as:

  • Two respondents (0.3%) identified as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander
  • LGBTIQA+ 13%
  • Experiencing homelessness 0%
  • Living with a disability 3%
  • Living on a low income 3%
  • International student 6%
  • None of these 19%
  • Prefer not to say 2

70% of respondents spoke languages other than English at home.

Top languages included:

  • Hindi
  • Mandarin
  • Cantonese
  • Spanish.

What is your connection to Southbank?

  • Resident 82%
  • Business owner / worker 12%
  • Visitor 1%
  • Student 3%
  • Other 1%

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

  • Less than a year 24%
  • 1-5 years 55%
  • 5-10 years 13%
  • 10-20 years 6%
  • More than 20 years 2%

What we heard

  • Convenient location.
  • Good atmosphere and the lifestyle.
  • Closeness to work.
  • We need improved active transport infrastructure including separate paths for cyclists and pedestrians.
  • Would like safer pedestrian routes.
  • Traffic calming measures are needed to address congestion.
  • Like to see cheaper and more frequent public transport.
  • Would like to see more greening, especially more trees, parks and open spaces.
  • The area needs to have fewer high rise developments.
  • Some areas in the neighbourhood need to be revitalised.
  • We would love to have more community spaces, events, and activities.
  • Need to see more family-friendly spaces and activities like playgrounds and picnic areas.
  • We need sports pitches and fields, dog-off-leash areas, playgrounds, fences for child safety, shade, and seating options.
  • Would like more places open at lunchtime and late at night, more fine dining options, small cafes and food trucks.
  • We really need more services such as supermarkets, post offices, hairdressers, banks, and ATMs.

Priorities for Southbank

  • Aboriginal Melbourne

    • More recognition of Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people's ongoing cultural connection to Country.
  • Access and affordability

    • Include more opportunities for recreation and connection through programs, spaces and equipment.
  • Climate and biodiversity emergency

    • More community gardens on streets, parks, and rooftops. Plant more trees.
    • Promote composting, recycling facilities, and solar power.

  • Economy of the future

    • Make Southbank more accessible with an improved mixture of transport options.
    • Need more diversity of hospitality options and shopfront activation.

  • Melbourne’s unique identity and place

    • Increase and enhance parks and open space facilities and amenities.
    • More dog off-leash areas and responsible pet ownership education.
    • Address planning, development and construction impacts on liveability.
    • More events, activities, and art for residents and tourists.
    • Inviting, pleasant, and community friendly streets.

  • Safety and wellbeing

    • Initiatives needed to make area safer for pedestrians.
    • Less congestion, less noise pollution and less trucks.
    • Need more police and security presence, and better lighting.
    • Opportunities for people to connect through community spaces and activities.

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

Southbank 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: 0.7%
  • 15 - 19 years: 2%
  • 20 - 24 years: 5.3%
  • 25 - 29 years: 17.2%
  • 30 - 34 years: 12.6%
  • 35 - 39 years: 18.5%
  • 40 - 44 years: 6.6%
  • 45 - 49 years: 7.2%
  • 50 - 54 years: 7.2%
  • 55 - 59 years: 4.6%
  • 60 - 64 years: 7.2%
  • 65 - 69 years: 3.3%
  • 70 - 74 years: 3.3%
  • 75 + years: 3.3%
  • Prefer not to say: 0.7%
  • Female: 57%
  • Male: 41%
  • Non-binary/gender diverse: 0.7%
  • Prefer not to say: 1.3%
  • Live: 63.3%
  • Work: 24%
  • Own a business: 4%
  • Study: 0.7%
  • Visit: 3.3%
  • No connection: 0%
  • Other: 2.7%

What we heard

Many residents emphasised the importance of the following:

  • Pedestrian safety.
  • Traffic and noise management – reduced speed limit, no trucks, no hooning.
  • People friendly street that is walkable, clean and interesting with active frontage and visual arts installations.
  • Better connectivity via signage and information.
  • Residents’ voices to be heard in the planning process.
  • Addressing anti-social behaviour and better lighting.
  • Making area safer for people on bikes.

Comments from community


We have refined the priorities based on the feedback received.

These include:

  • Combining the draft priorities on ‘Local community connection’ and ‘Grassroots neighbourhood activities’ as they were similar in focus.
  • Further information around reactivation has been added into the ‘Reinventing the city’ priority, including bringing workers back and encouraging tourism.
  • Moving the ‘Street cleanliness’ priority into the ‘Safety and Wellbeing’ category.
  • Some minor changes to the wording have been made in a number of priorities based on the feedback outlined above around family friendly spaces, e-scooters and composting.

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.