I spoke to an industrial designer at City of Melbourne about his work over the last 25 years to revitalise Melbourne's city centre. Melbourne's CBD has been transformed from a city with almost no residents to a liveable and thriving place.
The redevelopment of the central city of Melbourne has been applauded for improving the liveability of the city by increasing the residential population and the demand for retail service. The program was successful at increasing the number of residential units in the Central Business District from 736 in 1992 to 9,895 in 2002 to now a population of 96,500 residents in 2010.
This was achieved through the creation of an urban design programme called Postcode 3000 which provided incentives for people to move into the city centre. The objective was to create a safe city which will appeal to a wide range of people and functions, as back in '92 there was an oversupply of office space and not much else. The city achieved this through many initiatives including: cleaning up the streets, better lighting, active frontages through mixed use development, developing lively public places. Night time activity was introduced to get more people out on the streets during the evening, such as encouraging shops to stay open later. Uses and users were diversified through introducing a range of retail and activities which are easily accessible to a range of people - for example, there is good quality food available at low, medium and high costs. The city also worked with universities to encourage the large international student population to live in the city, bringing their cultural diversity and activity onto the streets which is today enjoyed by everyone. More recently, there has been a programme to transform the city's back laneways - once abandoned, now hubs of cafes and boutiques - through public art programmes.
At first, there were very few people willing to live in the CBD because it was deemed unsafe and uninviting in comparison to the suburbs, today there is a demand for residential apartments in the central city.