TUES 25 MAY 2021


Leading design quality in Melbourne


Melbourne’s built environment, streets and public spaces give our city its distinctive character and liveability. While Melbourne has a strong identity and reputation as a design city, recent poor quality development through a period of dramatic growth has undermined this reputation. At City of Melbourne we believe it is important to show leadership through setting the consistent message that design excellence matters. While we can demonstrate this with our own public projects, up to 80% of investment in the municipality occurs through private development. To influence this broader spectrum of development, we have an important leadership role in setting policy and processes that foster design quality. We are currently finalising a new Urban Design policy and supportive illustrated Central Melbourne Design Guide to establish minimum design standards through discretionary and mandatory controls. This new policy for the central city and Southbank represents the first comprehensive re-write of the city’s urban design policy framework since the 1990s. Rigorous analysis of recent development highlighted where greater planning regulation is required and provided the evidence to underpin these new controls. Complementing the policy, we are leading a design excellence program comprising four key components; Leadership, Awards, Design Review and Design Competitions. Based on research on best practice processes from other cities, this program aims to put in place a suite of initiatives to work with the community, industry, peak bodies and state government to improve the design quality of our city.


Margie McKay

City of Melbourne

Margie McKay is a Melbourne based urban designer who currently leads the Urban Design team at City of Melbourne. Margie has played a leading role in the formulation and delivery of plans, strategies and projects that have significantly contributed to the improvement of the public environment in Australia and New Zealand. She has particular interest in the role of government planners and designers in shaping creative, socially connected communities. Margie has a wide range of architectural, urban design and strategic planning experience in both public and private sectors.

Nicole Hurst

City of Melbourne

Nicole has established skills across many aspects of the design process, with experience working in both design consultancy and multi-disciplinary, public sector environments. As a registered Architect and practising urban designer her professional experience has covered a range of project types and scales. Currently working within the City Design Division at the City of Melbourne, she has also lived and worked in Chicago, Norway, Sydney, Christchurch and Auckland.