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Melbourne 2030: Planning Rhetoric Versus Urban Reality

Melbourne 2030:
Planning Rhetoric Versus Urban Reality

By Bob Birrell, Kevin O'Connor, Virginia Rapson and Ernest Healy

About Melbourne 2030

Melbourne 2030 is currently not available in print (RRP AUD $34.95). However it is available online for free:

Published: March 2005
126 pages

ISBN (pb) 0-9757475-0-9
ISBN-13 (pb) 978-0-9757475-0-6

ISBN (web) 0-9757475-1-7
ISBN-13 (web) 978-0-9757475-1-3

About Melbourne 2030: Planning Rhetoric Versus Urban Reality

The 'Melbourne 2030' plan is the Victorian Government's blueprint for the accommodation of an additional one million people in Melbourne by the year 2030. The plan seeks to change the shape of Melbourne radically. The vision is of a compact city in which growth will be concentrated in existing commercial centres (activity centres). Notwithstanding this fundamental departure from the low density pattern of the past, it is claimed that Melbourne's famed 'liveability' will be preserved.

This book explores:

  • the intellectual origins of the plan;
  • demographic assumptions behind the plan;
  • the mode of implementation;
  • the likely impact on the built environment;
  • environmental and social consequences;
  • heritage outcomes; and
  • alternative planning options.

It also critically examines assumptions about the projected demand for higher density housing, and argues that the plan's 'compact city' vision is unlikely to be achieved because it fails to come to grips with the economic and demographic realities facing Melbourne.


This publication has been peer-reviewed in a double-blind peer review process.

About the authors

Bob Birrell is Reader in Sociology and Director of the Centre for Population and Urban Research at Monash University. He is the joint editor of the quarterly demographic journal People and Place, published by the Centre. He was a member of the National Population Council between 1987 and 1993. He is currently a member of the Commonwealth Government’s advisory committee on international education. The Centre for Population Research has provided consultancy services on urban issues for local and state government authorities in Melbourne. This background has contributed to the Centre’s wide range of publications on urban issues. It also provides the foundation for the Centre’s current work on metropolitan planning in Melbourne.

Kevin O’Connor is Professor of Urban Planning at Melbourne University. He is the author of many studies of urban development, with a particular focus on Melbourne. These include A Society Dividing: The New Economic Geography of Australia (Oxford University Press, 2001) and Monitoring Greater Melbourne 2002, Department of Infrastructure. Professor O’Connor is recognised as an important commentator on urban issues throughout Australia.

Virginia Rapson is Research Manager for the Centre for Population and Urban Research. She has long experience with the preparation of indicators of Melbourne’s development through her role in the serial publication Monitoring Melbourne. She is also an expert in the analysis of demographic indicators, including the household formation projections and household movement patterns which are central to the Melbourne 2030 monograph.

Ernest Healy is Senior Research Fellow with the Centre for Population and Urban Research at Monash University. He has extensive experience as an analyst of urban issues, including as the principal researcher on a major AHURI-funded project ‘Housing and Community in the Compact City’ completed by the Centre earlier in 2004. He has consulted and published widely on urban issues. He brings specialist data management and mapping skills to the proposed Melbourne 2030 monograph.


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