Melbourne’s future under microscope

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NB: AECOM are part of one of the consortia bidding on the East West Link.

The Age: Melbourne’s future under microscope. April 3, 2014, Clay Lucas, Workplace Editor for The Age

What if Melburnians had the final word on the shape of the city they live in, instead of politicians? Would the city’s major infrastructure include new roads and tunnels leading everywhere, or more public transport?

The hugely popular Melbourne Now exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria finished last month, but might have helped provide part of the answer – at least among the gallery-going set.

Melbourne Now featured an exhibit, Zoom, asking visitors about their ideal future Melbourne. More than 8500 took part in the poll, which asked questions about Melbourne’s future across a range of areas including transport, health, education and planning.

Sixty-five per cent of people said “the people responsible for transport” should provide more trams and trains, while less than 8 per cent wanted “more roads and tunnels”.

Nearly half of those who took part said Melbourne’s prosperity would be more evenly distributed if greater help was given to young people to find work. Many also wanted more food grown locally, while 43 per cent said Melbourne needed to capture more rainwater and create more renewable energy. Almost half said the city needed to provide fast public transport to all suburbs.

On Thursday night, engineering giant AECOM has organised an event in the city centre – titled Melbourne Next – following on from the NGV show, which finished last month. More than 200 engineers, architects and planners will meet to hone ideas about Melbourne’s future.

Ewan McEoin, design curator for the NGV exhibit, said the work had shown there was a growing disconnect between what the community wanted and what successive governments were delivering.

“The data we’ve collected seems to suggest that,” he said.

Mr McEoin, director of creative agency Propeller, said that the exhibit should help put focus on whether the community’s goals were being met.

“Community consultation is a process we go through to meet an obligation, but I’m not sure it is designed in a way to be able to influence major decisions. How are we actually engaging people?” he said.

AECOM’s Lara Poloni said she hoped staging an event like Melbourne Next would help people planning Melbourne’s future make the right decisions about how the city developed. “We need to build an understanding of the challenges of the future, and a capacity for people to be active in considering all of the available responses,” she said.

One thought on “Melbourne’s future under microscope”

  1. Metro Now!!! says:

    The trains into and out of the inner city during the peak periods are chock-a-block with passengers. The number of passengers using the trains is more than double of what it was when the City Loop, the last great metropolitan railway project, was completed in 1983. The result is that there is now a large commuter overflow from the main train lines into the inner city onto the parallel freeways, overburdening the freeways unnecessarily. This will get progressively worse as it is near impossible to add services to the suburban railway system until the bottleneck at its heart is removed by the construction of the Metro Tunnel. For this reason, the Metro Railway Tunnel must be the absolute # 1 transport priority in Melbourne, road or rail.

    The removal of level crossings from the busiest “trunk” railway lines is also important for the efficiency of both the train and road systems.

    (And it is a total lie that the Metro will cost at least 9 billion. Studies have shown it could be done for 4 to 5 billion if designed and done properly by experienced underground designers and builders of such services. Look to continental Europe for examples).

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