Committee for Ballarat recently welcomed Rob Adams to a Member Insight Session to share his international experience delivering great Urban Design outcomes. Rob has been the City of Melbourne’s lead architect for the past 40 years and, among many other things, led the Postcode 3000 strategy which transformed Melbourne’s CBD to a vibrant living precinct. Under the strategy, Melbourne’s residential dwellings grew from 685 in the 1982 to 41,200 by 2016. With this population growth has come a density of living and activity, bringing improved utilization and efficiency of existing infrastructure and an activation of Melbourne as a walkable and connected city.
Rob positioned Ballarat as having the potential to benefit from a similar strategy. Committee has long advocated for greater infill development to supplement new greenfield developments on the fringe of the city. Our population growth projections demand that we plan for the future, which will include diversity of commercial activity and housing stock in identified growth areas and within our inner city.
The planning process outlined by Rob and adopted by the City of Melbourne is surprisingly simple and has at the core, character, density, mixed use, activation and a built environment designed around people and place.
In relation to planning, three key features were identified:
- Identify the key heritage features of the city and preserve them
- Identify areas in transition and re-purpose, advance and evolve those areas with a contemporary focus
- Identify new areas for development and provide the time and planning required to deliver well activated activity centres that cater for a growing and diverse population.
The challenges for Ballarat and the region, given the reality of population growth, are all manageable. Great planning reduces the cost to communities, enhances our wellbeing, preserves the liveability of our region and results in a much better city for all. Rob Adams’ session showcased Melbourne’s transformation and has given us a glimpse as to what is possible with a similar approach to planning – putting people, place and character first.