Melbourne's next big transformation

Melbourne’s Birrarung (Yarra River), will be transformed by a new “Greenline” project along its north bank, according to an implementation plan that will be voted on by councillors on Tuesday, 4 May.

The $300 million Greenline, being pitched as one of the biggest transformations of the city since Southbank Promenade in 1990 and Fed Square in 2002, will include new pedestrian bridges and boardwalks and create a continuous green link along all of Northbank.

“We want Northbank to become one of the city’s premier destinations for workers, residents and tourists,” said Melbourne mayor Sally Capp. “This investment would transform some of the most unloved areas in the city into a series of connected parklands with opportunities for food, art, culture and entertainment.”

The council will be seeking funding contributions from the state and federal governments as well as the private sector to deliver the project.

The implementation plan notes that the north bank of the Birrarung is currently underused, with a lack of cultural expression and limited ecological and habitat value. It also describes poor pedestrian and community connectivity and a lack of social amenity.

Greenline concept.

The Greenline will seek to address these problems, taking into considration some of the significant environmental and climate-related challenges that Melbourne faces. “It will focus on improving river health, creating a connected ecological corridor, reintroducing riparian edges and enhanced biodiversity, and providing opportunities for environmental education and public interaction with the river,” the plan states.

It will also seek to make visible layers of history via a historical trail with design interventions “to educate, celebrate and recognize Melbourne’s rich history and culture.”

The Birrarung is highly significant to both the Boon Wurrung and Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung peoples, with the Eastern Kulin people thriving along the banks of the river for at least 60,000 years prior to European colonization. What is today known as Enterprize Park, for instance, was once Narm jaap (the place of the tea tree shrub), an ancient crossing point of the river and a meeting place of the Woi Wurrung and Boon Wurrung peoples.

The Greenline will seek to celebrate this significance, formally recognized in Yarra River Protection (Wilip-gin Birrarung murron) Act 2017, as well as recognizing Northbank as a site of maritime and rail history.

“The Greenline would tell stories of Melbourne’s history and increase visibility and understanding of the area’s Aboriginal culture and heritage,” said Capp. “The Northbank could be used to recognize and celebrate Aboriginal culture and knowledge along the Yarra River – Birrarung.”

City of Melbourne noted that it does not own or independently manage the waterways or banks of the Birrarung, which is variously managed by state government, Parks Victoria, Melbourne Water and the City of Melbourne. The transformation will be “a collective responsibility of all Victorian Government partners and adjoining landowners.”

Consultation has begun with the Bunurong Land Council Aboriginal Corporation, the Boon Wurrung Foundation and the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation along with a number of state government departments and stakeholders.

Source: Architecture - architectureau

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