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Melbourne's Central Business District Jeopardizes "World...

Melbourne's Central Business District Jeopardizes "World's Most Livable City" Status

A city’s centre should be its pride and joy – a reflection of the city’s culture, a place that residents can be proud of and that visitors can feel comfortable in. Melbourne’s Central Business District (CBD) has struggled with amenity and surveillance issues that have threatened to tarnish the city’s reputation as the world’s most

A city’s centre should be its pride and joy - a reflection of the city’s culture, a place that residents can be proud of and that visitors can feel comfortable in. Melbourne’s Central Business District (CBD) has struggled with amenity and surveillance issues that have threatened to tarnish the city’s reputation as the world’s most livable city.

The corner of Swanston and Flinders Street experiences the most amount of crime than any other area in the city, and is a nuisance to the 60,000 pedestrians that walk by each day. Other areas that are also highly susceptible to crime include Elizabeth Street (one of the highest used streets by pedestrians) and Spring Street (where State Parliament lies).

Melbourne is surrounded by such beautiful public spaces such as the Botanical Gardens that lies adjacent the CBD.

Major issues within the City Business District include the following:

  • 24 Hour Take Away on Swanston Street: The area is adjacent to Melbourne’s largest train station and attracts homeless and public housing residents;
  • King Street: High density of nightclubs along the street, which includes strip parlours and brothels;
  • Urban Design and Planning Issues: Lack of visual surveillance throughout pockets of the CBD grid, especially along Melbourne’s laneways; and
  • Late Night Public Transport/Taxis: Trams and trains are only available up until 1:00 am on weekends, whilst the city's taxi population is unable to sustain the amount of Melbournians that venture into the CBD.

This particular area of Flinders St is notorious with theft and beggars; Melbourne

Contemporary programs that have been introduced by the local and state government include:

  • 2:00 am Lockout: A three month trial that restricts all pubs, bars and nightclubs from accepting patrons into their venues after 2:00 am; and
  • Salvation Army: In order to negate against the chance of crime the ‘Salvos’ have started providing food tents for the homeless, as well as handing out lollies, thongs and water to passers on Swanston and Flinders Street.

As Melbourne activates its city centre and promotes density, it is important that high levels of passive surveillance and walkability are met to capitalize on the city's investment in areas such as the Yarra River and Docklands.

Do you know of any cities that have successfully transformed their downtown area?

Credits: Image and data linked to sources.

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Steven Petsinis is an Urban Planning graduate from Melbourne, Australia. He has been involved in Urban Research and Development projects in Medellin, Colombia and Saigon, Vietnam and is currently pursuing his masters in Melbourne, Australia. His m...

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