When it comes to COVID-19 and lockdowns, Melbourne’s CBD and Docklands were some of the hardest hit areas in the whole country, with people working from home for the best part of two years, the loss of international and domestic students, and Melbourne experiencing the world’s longest lockdown.
The pandemic has fundamentally changed the nature of Melbourne’s CBD, yet governments don’t have a plan for the future, beyond just crossing their fingers and hoping things will go back to the way they were.
Instead, we must use this as an opportunity to reimagine what our CBD is for, and why people choose to travel to it, or live in it.
With working from home becoming more common, the CBD will be less a place people travel to for 9-5pm work, just because they’re forced to come into an office.
Instead, we envisage it will be a place people come because of unique experiences they simply cannot get anywhere else - whether that be dining, the arts or visiting unique businesses and locations.
Our CBD should also be a great place to live long-term, with a thriving community of diverse residents connected to each other, and a great quality of life.
The Greens at Federal, State and Council level have come up with a plan to reinvigorate our CBD and Docklands, and make it a great place to live and visit. We’ve borrowed ideas from some of the best cities in the world, from Barcelona to New York to Berlin.
The Greens 4-point plan to revitalise Melbourne’s CBD:
- Attract innovative and creative businesses to the CBD with Government-subsidised rent for those who sign long-term leases.
- Make the city more liveable for long-term residents by better regulating traffic, construction noise and building design, and making our streets greener and more pedestrian-friendly.
- Make the city more affordable for a diverse population by mandating more public, social and affordable housing.
- Support our iconic arts festivals, live music venues, theatres and creative organisations, better protect our heritage, and attract people back to the CBD with accommodation and arts vouchers.
This is a radical and visionary plan, but that’s exactly the kind of thinking we need to build a better city after the pandemic. It will require investment from all levels of government, especially Federal and State Governments. But without this, the alternative is a city clogged with traffic, where apartment blocks lay empty and streets are lined with boarded-up shop-fronts.
We can make our city amazing again, with a little bit of vision.