The changing climate of innovation

Meet the community leaders who have been enlisted to help transform Victoria’s capital city into a ‘bold, inspirational and sustainable global city’ by 2026.

Melbourne City Council has enlisted a team of the state’s finest minds to help Australia’s second biggest city adapt to meet the demands of the future.

The group is working with the community to help shape the city’s development, prosperity and liveability over the next decade as part of the Future Melbourne plan. The plan is a broad, visionary civic project that embraces progressive ideas and cutting-edge technologies across the fields of urban planning, business, management, and arts and culture.

The ambassadors are:

Professor Glyn Davis, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Melbourne; Professor Kate Auty, former Victorian commissioner for environmental sustainability and current ACT commissioner; Marita Cheng, 2012 Young Australian of the Year and technology entrepreneur; Tracey Fellows, chief executive officer at digital advertising company REA Group; Maria Katsonis, authorr, beyondblue Ambassador and a consumer advocate with Mental Health Australia; and Rob McGauran, founding director of MGS Architects.

Professor McGauran said planning for the future poses many challenges.

“Like so many Melburnians, we share a passion about the city, and can see both opportunities and threats,” he said.

“How should we plan for the digital city and economies of the future? How do we rise to the challenges of climate change and urban growth? As a city we have much to discuss.

“Our role as ambassadors is to encourage every interested Melburnian to help refresh the Future Melbourne plan.

“Let’s harness the collective creative and intellectual power of this city as planners prepare for Future Melbourne 2026.”

Melbourne already has plans in place to ease its growth into the future.

The A$10.9 billion Melbourne Metro Rail will deliver an end-to-end rail line under Melbourne’s city centre, including five new congestion busting train stations.

Dozens of new skyscrapers are expected to be constructed over the next 10 years.

Climate change will continue to be a particularly large challenge, with city planners particularly interested in how to avert future tragedies like the Black Saturday bushfires of 2009.

Mr McGauran said the plan was a golden chance for residents to shape Melbourne’s future.

“We have a lot of Melbourne’s inner area that is ready to change,” he said.

“We have to ask the questions, what should that change be like? What should those areas be used for? What should their character be? Who should be living there? And what are the spaces and places these people will need for the future?

“We have several risks that I see us facing.

“We don’t consider Melbourne as a joined-up whole. We think of its neighbourhoods as self-contained places rather than as a network of places.

“By the community being engaged and having a voice in this process we have an opportunity to have a much richer solution and proposition.

“This is their opportunity to really help shape something significant, something exciting, something great for future generations.”