City Planning and History

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4City Planning and History

City Planning and History

Gentrification in Melbourne has come about through the subdivision of apartment blocks into several ownerships. This is a major trait of gentrification in Australia hence reducing to a great extent the likelihood of demolitions happening in the future. Associated infrastructure and street improvements are generally regarded to be a good thing. Regional governments entertained the idea of main redevelopment projects that attract private investments to former industrial places like riverbanks, rail yards, and docks (Shaw, 2008). The inner cities gentrified with little assistance from the government. Artists, hippies, activists, drifters, and students made good use of the streets as well as public space. The empty warehouses and factories, as well as old pubs were perfect venues for flourishing alternative scene in Melbourne that had a national reputation of its comedy, live music and theatre (Badcock, 1994). Buildings which were unoccupied were converted informally to work/live studios by designers, musicians and artists who desired large spaces, plenty of light, as well as distance from neighbours (Shaw, 2009). The inner city terraces as well as cottages of workers gentrified quickly while the rate of vacancy remained high in the 1960s while the rents remained low.

The second wave came about in the 1980s and was largely market driven as well as more widespread, and resistance to losing of accessible public space and low-income housing. Renters with low income were the first people to be placed (Shaw, 2009). They were subsequently followed by immigrant home owners and the remaining working class who moved to the outer suburbs. The selling of Small investment properties set off further rounds of displacement and decreasing the places available for rent. The global recession in the 1990s ruined the second wave of gentrification and escalating property boom. A joint initiative of the city of Melbourne and State government dubbed ‘Postcode 3000’ encouraged the converting of offices and warehouses in the CBD, guided by model developments as well as financial incentive to owners of buildings (Professor Adams, 2015) More than 5,000 dwellings were added to the centre in the course of the 1990s and this has doubled since then. There was an upsurge in resident by 830 per cent and cafes and restaurants by 275 per cent. From 1991 to 2002 the municipality residential population quadrupled from 20,348 to 76,678
(Shaw, 2009). Supported by special acts of parliament, legislative amendments, building and planning deregulations as well as policies of encouraging development and reducing input, exhaustive warehouse and factory conversions, luxury residential high-rises, and medium-density in-fill housing quickly spread from the city centre through the inner metropolitan region (Dr. Paterson, 1998). By the beginning of 200s, low-cost working and living space and adaptable ‘public’ space within the inner city were scarce (Shaw, 2008). The resulting spaces were moderately inclusive due to the spontaneous nature of gentrification. None of the converted or newly built dwellings in inner Melbourne could be afforded by people with low incomes.


Badcock, B. 1994 Building upon the foundations of gentrification: inner-city housing development in Australia in the 1990s Urban Geography 16(1): 70-90

Dr. Paterson, J. (1998). State Government Report on the changing economic and social structure of Melbourne in the 1990s: From Doughnut City to Café Society (1998):

Professor Adams R. (2015). Repurposing our Cities: Postcode 3000 to the 7.5% City, Architect Victoria,

Shaw, K. (2009) ‘The Melbourne indie music scene and inner city blues’ in Shaw K and Porter, L. (eds) Whose Urban Renaissance? An international comparison of urban regeneration strategies. Routledge, London and New York. Pp 191-201

Shaw, K. (2008). Gentrification: What It Is, Why It Is, and What Can Be Done About It, Geography Compass 2(5): 1697-1728

Shaw, K. (2005). The Place of Alternative Culture and the Politics of its Protection in Berlin, Amsterdam and Melbourne, Planning Theory and Practice 6(2): 149-169