Lessons in Developing and Managing Public Space

Australian cities have, over the last 150 years, successfully planned, developed and maintained parks, gardens and sporting areas within their central areas. Adelaide’s ring of parks is a great example of long-term vision and consistent improvement of inner city parklands.

The development and maintenance of public space in city streets and urban squares is less confident and successful when compared with much older cities in Europe that were operating for centuries before the era of the motor car. Many have squares and public spaces that continue to be used and maintained in much the same way as they have for many decades and even centuries.

Melbourne City Square
Melbourne yearned for a ‘European’ style square in the last half of the 20th century. The first was developed and inaugurated by the Queen in 1980 as Melbourne City Square, at the heart of the city grid on its main civic spine between the Town Hall and St Paul’s Cathedral. Its award-winning design was developed through a public competition won by Denton Corker Marshall in response to a detailed brief requiring an active space for large gatherings, celebratory and political, with greenery and meant for casual use. It was a high-quality space with trees, fountains, a video screen, public art and commercial tenancies developed and run by the City of Melbourne.