The Melbourne Section
imagines a vision for sustainable growth across Melbourne's territory, based on existing qualities, strengths and potentials of the area. Both densification and consolidation of the existing suburbs are crucial to the strategy.
Such grand visions need to be approached holistically, as an integrated system across distinct territories of thought and operational scales. The architectural projects act as catalysts for innovation, to create synergies across the territory, establish new opportunities for education and employment and implement dense housing forms as a model for living in the future.
Three major interrelated territories are defined in the vision of The Melbourne Section. At the front end, the city centre is a representative of metropolitan Melbourne and an anchor to the world. The central territory is the vision's infrastructure backbone and holds major centres for innovation, production and employment. At the back end, the peri-urban fringe is envisioned as a network for resources, preservation and urban playground.
The International City:
The city centre already plays an important role as an advertiser and anchor to the world. It is home to relevant transnational institutions and globally operating headquarters, and plays host to major sporting events, fairs and cultural festivals, branding the city internationally. Its quality as the representative of metropolitan Melbourne and visible face of the city is reinforced in our vision.
The central territory holds major production and employment areas, as well as infrastructures and human resources. Human capital is key for innovation: education and research, skilled immigration, and inclusive mixed generation models. This allows for a richer knowledge exchange within The Melbourne Section.
The back end holds important resources such as the water supply network, preservation areas, a farming belt and recreation areas like wineries, zoos and national parks. It forms the semi-rural counterpart to the city centre.
Innovation and Production:
The Ringwood-Dandenong corridor is currently a major existing employment and activity corridor. Light industry and supporting businesses concentrate around Ringwood, turning it into a potential centre for innovation and production. Ringwood is situated in close proximity to educational facilities, research hubs and immigration gateways. This allows for potential areas for innovation and production through the implementation of specialised applications such as medicine, healthcare, waste water treatment facilities and farming technologies to contribute to The Melbourne Section.
Building on future sectors of innovation, the corridor could consolidate into a centre for light industry, new fabrication, medical development and ecological technologies. These areas have high potential for research and education, which is a developing industry on its own.
Clean water is essential for a city's survival. Melbourne's water catchment system is situated within the protection areas of our section. Due to the insufficiency of existing water treatment facilities, wastewater is currently diverted into Port Phillip Bay, instead of being recycled. Consequently, more water than necessary is being diverted into metropolitan Melbourne, instead of feeding the Murray River farming belt. An energy intensive desalination plant tries to compensate by reconverting seawater back into drinking water, but at a high economic and environmental cost. By upgrading the water treatment facilities, the water system could form a closed loop, with no need for the wastewater to be diverted into the bay. This would reduce the need for the desalination plant and resulting economic and environmental costs. Recycling water treatment facilities could develop into a new industry for the future with high potential for research and export.
Providing enough food locally will be a major challenge for future cities. Due to climate change and urban expansion, agricultural land is under pressure. Therefore, cultivation, which doesn’t rely on the use of vast expanses of land, could be moved to the cities as urban farming. Orchards and wineries stay at the fringe as recreation and harvest areas and protective green belts, while other forms of farming, which allow for intensive cultivation, would be able to be produced closer to the inhabitants. This contributes to a healthy urban environment by reducing energy used in the packaging and transportation of goods, and creates new employment opportunities as well. Organic waste could also be reused as fertilizer. A tradition of urban farming and fresh food markets run by the Vietnamese community in Richmond is used as the catalyst and prototype for this strategy.
Events + Tourism:
Recreation and Tourism can work beyond their primary aim as a means for advertising, informing, and educating locals and visitors about preservation, research and innovation, culture and diversity and liveability within the city. While the CBD works as an urban anchor to the world, with events focussing on sports, culture, innovation and production, Healesville is a counterpart that informs The Melbourne Section about preservation, agriculture and resources.
The 4 systems overlap and inform each other along the central spine formed by the public transport line, which is extended along the decommissioned track to Healesville. The meandering Yarra River and the Maroondah Highway loosely follow the train line. Along the train line, new, denser urban types are introduced, combining a mix of housing and activities relating to the above strategies.