Landscape Studio 5: Sustainable Urbanism - Studio B


Studio leader: Madhu Lakshmanan


Two main rivers flow through Melbourne, the Yarra and Maribyrnong. Whilst the Melbourne CBD and Docklands are synonymous with the Yarra riverfront, the Maribyrnong River receives much less attention from locals and tourists. The Maribyrnong River Valley extends from natural bushlands in the west to the Port of Melbourne in the south. It links a variety of public open spaces offering glimpses of the industrial port, historic wharves and other sites of cultural significance and the racecourse. It, therefore, serves as an important green wedge for the greater Melbourne area.

The Maribyrnong River Valley Guidelines set out a framework and vision for planning and development of the river interface with a focus on developing a healthy river. The site for the Riverfront Project addressed in this studio covers an area of 12.5 hectares near the mouth of the Maribyrnong River some 400 metres east of Footscray Railway Station and four kilometres west of Melbourne’s CBD as identified in the Maribyrnong City Council Planning Scheme.  This site presented an excellent master planning and landscape design opportunity for students to develop creative solutions with respect to shaping the built environment of this area. This involved them in site and contextual analysis, program development, and detailed design of both soft and hard landscape features for this mixed-use waterfront development. The aim of this studio was to sensitise students to key sustainability challenges along the Maribyrnong River and facilitate generation of sustainable design outcomes for the future of this site. Students had to develop and demonstrate their capacity to address sustainability outcomes that included:

  • Responding to natural flooding and sea-level rise
  • Incorporating grading and water sensitive urban design to conserve, manage and create habitats
  • Developing a marina sensitive to the existing heritage character of the area
  • Developing new landscaped streetscapes and linkages to the Maribyrnong River
  • Programming activities and infrastructure for the riverside’s disused rail corridor
  • Integrating a redeveloped mixed used precinct and active frontages for Footscray Community Arts Centre