Melbourne’s rapid millennium growth has reshaped the city centre and inner suburbs into a dense urbanism. This population growth and densification raises questions over the capacity of existing parks to meet the needs of the contemporary city. The competition “Rethinking Melbourne’s Parks Space”seeks to enhance the role of landscape architecture and the public realm in Australian cities.
We have developed a strategy that avoids reclaiming large urban domain for a new park. Instead, Melbourne’s current situation tells us that connecting existing green spaces can deliver new park typologies with sufficient capacities.
Park Space is a combination of three new typologies of green spaces: Sky Park, Green Rooms and Green Ring. Together, Sky Park and its four Rooms make a new green downtown heart for Melbourne which is then embraced by Green Ring. Green Ring connects and delivers new interpretations of Melbourne’s urban interior and its context.
1. SKY PARK (51 hectares)
Sky Park is a cloud of connected green and variably programmed downtown rooftops: an elevated downtown pedestrian paradise. It will be developed by private property owners and investors that feel eager to participate. It has a pedestrian loop in the sky like a meandering, extended and adventurous path that hops from rooftop to rooftop via air bridges. It is like a multi staged experience, every time another green surprise at every next rooftop. Programs that usually do not exist in downtown conditions can be found here.
Sky Park is connected to the downtown city floor by six elevator-stairs combinations: two along Swanston Street and four at each corner, connecting Sky Park to the Green Rooms.
2. GREEN ROOMS (215 hectares)
The four Green Rooms already partly exist and are made from snippets and larger pieces of existing green space. They all connect to the city core with Sky Park and are re-defined to be recognized and used as four green landscaped rooms.
The Rooms improve the urban micro climate.
Each room has its own specific theme that we found already present: 1. education, 2. urban sports, 3. creative industries, 4. mixed programs. In a later phase, Green Streets can make connections inside the rooms, weaving a new typology of urban park tissue.
3. GREEN RING (211 hectares)
Green Ring is made of existing suburban and natural green spaces, linked together by green streets that are designed through the principles of Shared Space, in which all users of the public domain have equal access and in which boundaries between different users and modalities no longer exist. Vehicles are now visiting a more open domain full of pedestrians and will be more emphatic and careful.
Green Ring is a new linear park typology, like a DNA string, with connective, absorbent and inclusive qualities for the neighboring districts.
It embraces the urban core of Melbourne and connects Melbourne to its upgraded waterfront, its surrounding districts and to its more peripheral natural territories.