One of the biggest university campuses in Melbourne is set to undergo transformation following the unveiling of a new long-term vision for the site.
The University of Melbourne has launched the latest edition of its Estate Master Plan, which provides an aspirational blueprint for its precincts and campuses.
Primarily, the vision centres on the University’s flagship Parkville campus, which sits just north of the Melbourne CBD.
A key element of the transformation involves the creation of a shared central park that will provide continuity to the north and south of Grattan Street.
Set to be delivered in partnership with the City of Melbourne, this will create a green campus core that will form the centrepiece of an important vision objective to reinforce the public realm.
The new park will provide an opportunity to explore expanded shared spaces, improved shading and a focus on bike paths as well as planting to support greater biodiversity.
It will see the Grattan Street entrance become a major entry point to the university and will improve safety, pedestrian access and connection to the city and its residents.
Second, a green space will connect enhanced outdoor spaces and will join directly to the heart of the historic Parkville campus from Old Quad, through South Lawn, down to the newly created Grattan Parkway and across into University Square.
This culminates at a central park as a green core that provides campus continuity and close amenity to university, local, and city communities.
Turning to the south-west corner, retirement of the University of Melbourne Medical Building, Old Microbiology Building and Old Howard Florey Building provides opportunities for further infrastructure investment by the University and for the broader Biomedical Precinct.
Newly landscaped forecourt and arrival space will be created adjacent to the Melbourne Metro Parkville Station exit and tram super stop on the corner of Grattan Street and Royal Parade. A new development next to Haymarket roundabout will form a new north-south connecting walk from the urban campus south of Grattan Street to the historic Parkville campus.
Finally, the vision aims to enhance pre-existing walkways and courtyards within the public outdoor spaces.
The University of Melbourne’s new science facilities will reinvigorate the centre of Parkville’s historic campus, with flow-on effects to the nature of the surrounding public spaces Renewal of sports facilities along with better and safer landscape connections between the colleges and the principal campus will also be key inclusions.
In reimagining the series of courtyards and public spaces in this area, the ambition is to reinforce the edges and axis of Masson Road as a key gateway and entry into the Parkville campus which would lead directly to the Old Quad. A cohesive landscape along Masson Road has the potential to create a significant new linkage between Swanston Street and the University’s historic core.
Overall, the new vision will result in creation of more than 22,0000 square meters of new green space.
As well, access and navigation across the campus will be improved by strengthening pedestrian connections, particularly between the University and the Melbourne Biomedical Precinct.
Further developments will include:
- The opportunity to co-create projects with the University’s Indigenous students, staff and partners to promote cultural awareness and recognition of cultural heritage.
- Renewal of ageing science and engineering teaching and research infrastructure.
- Redevelopment of medical and health sciences research infrastructure aligned with the State Government’s plan to redevelop the Royal Melbourne Hospital.
- The addition of new teaching infrastructure to facilitate informal formal learning opportunities.
- Preservation and adaptive reuse of numerous heritage-listed buildings, contributing to the character and identity of the campus and the broader community.
- Protection of numerous significant trees that contribute an aesthetic, heritage and environmental value to the University’s Estate.
- Preservation and expansion of significant open spaces, gardens and tree canopies contributing to a reduction in the urban heat island effect and air pollution; and increased carbon sequestration and storage.
The release of the new vision follows a master planning process for the University of Melbourne estate that was conducted last year.
That process identified more than 70 different needs – most of which were focused on the Parkville campus.
Further planning studies will progress plans for the University’s other campuses across Metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria in 2024.
Construction in respect of works to address shorter-term needs will begin in 2024.
Longer term projects that require additional planning, scoping and engagement are expected to commence over the next decade, with the new master plan vision expected to be complete in approximately 2040.
Prior to commencing, each project will be subject to the University’s investment process to determine the project’s costs, benefits, scope, funding and degree of alignment to the University’s strategic goals.
Works will be sequenced in order to minimise disruption.
Over the seventeen years to 2040, the vision is expected to generate around $19.1 billion in economic benefits and support more than 7,590 jobs.
University of Melbourne Vice-Chancellor Duncan Maskell said that the Estate Master Plan aspires to build community connections, improve amenities, accessibility and sustainability and preserve and grow indigenous, heritage and cultural value on the University’s seven Victorian campuses.
Maskell said that five focus areas which inform and are part of the core of the plan were identified after an eighteen-month consultation process.
These include improving the campus experience, efficiency, ageing estate, creating contemporary teaching and research spaces and partnerships.
“What is considered fit for purpose in the future, will be vastly different from what we have today, so careful planning and a long-term view of the University’s strategic, academic and research ambitions are required,” Maskell said.
“At the heart of this vision is an aspiration to open up the University’s campuses, to make them more accessible for our staff and students and to transform them into shared places that are more welcoming for all communities.”
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