As Melbourne heads toward its next phase of development, we encourage the debate on how the city will evolve. Central to this debate is how Melbourne has been designed to preference the car and a car-based experience of the city.
In the City of Melbourne car parking accounts for 460 hectares of land – the equivalent of one and a half times the area of Central Park in New York. Car parking is the third largest land use.
Our proposition is that these multi-level car park sites, when sold onto developers would be regarded as constituting a public benefit and therefore would allow these developers to exceed the allowable 1:18 plot ratio on another of their sites.
This approach would incentivise car park owners to sell their sites to realise a much higher return. These sites could then be handed back to the city, and a portion of the sale proceeds transferred to the city to refurbish the car parks in a number of different ways, including social infrastructure that improves daily life such as recreational facilities, open space and affordable housing.
We have identified a number of off-street, multi-level car parks in central Melbourne that could be repurposed in this way. Importantly, the intent is to repurpose the buildings rather than demolish them. It is a more sustainable approach that allows for the creation of vertical public space to improve how people use and feel in the city.
We have incorporated a series of simple architectural moves, such as stairs, ramps, balconies, and platforms, into the bones of exemplar car park structures within the Hoddle Grid.
This approach utilises a kit-of-parts and seeks to spark conversations about how we can reclaim space from cars so that Melbourne can be a greener, happier and more people focused city.