What is Liveable? For Whom?

A lot can be said about the transformation of Melbourne's Central Business District (CBD) over the last two decades. From being an empty lifeless core, the heart of Melbourne reinvented itself as THE place to shop, drink and eat in almost any hour of the day (Melbourne does go to sleep at some point!).

Substantial investment has been made to bring residential development back into the city and today Melbourne is home to almost 30,000 people and this number keeps growing. 

The city today enjoys a diverse range of residents and visitors and endless options for entertainment: cafés, restaurants, cinemas, bars and cafés. Melbourne's coffee culture picked up so rapidly, one might think for a second it's located in the rain forests of Colombia.

However, when the Queen Victoria Market is closed, the average resident of the CBD may find that they need to take a tram to the suburbs in order to get their shoes fixed or to enjoy fresh vegetables. 

So what are the options for a Melbournian who lives or works in the CBD? How can the empty spaces that exist between the busy roads be used to bring something a bit different to the big city life? Can a local development be less commercial and more community based?

Our best resources of empty public space in the CBD are the back lanes and alleys. Some of them are being used in a successful way, but others are deserted and spotted with dumpsters and empty milk crates.

Some examples of reshaping similar spaces in other parts of the world can include community projects, street furniture or even art exhibitions. These initiatives are not commercial, but are rather about the community taking ownership of the space and it's about the policy makers and councils that support it.

Do you have an idea? Can you make these grey spaces thrive? Tell us what you think and we'll work together to make it possible!

Here is some inspiration: