University of Melbourne Estate Planning and Development, Victoria, Australia

ABP Symposium - University of Melbourne

About the University of Melbourne

University of Melbourne city snapshot

The University has approximately 50,000 students (Equivalent Full-Time Students) and 9000 staff (Full-Time Equivalent). If the University was a single city, it would be the 5th most populated in Victoria. Approximately 30% of students are international students.

The University’s main campus is next to the Melbourne CBD, with another six existing campuses elsewhere in Melbourne and regional Victoria. The University has recently purchased land in Fishermans Bend, southwest of the Melbourne CBD, in what the state government is developing as an employment and innovation precinct.

The total area of the University’s campuses is over 2,500 hectares, with approximately 2,400 hectares of this being the University’s agricultural campus at Dookie in central Victoria.

University of Melbourne’s city challenge

Our challenge is how to more meaningfully connection local action, specifically in terms of our campus developments, to global issues. For example, the University’s Sustainability Plan 2017 – 2020 sets and reports on organisation-wide targets relating to:

  • Research, teaching, external engagement
  • Operations (energy, emissions, water, waste, transport, biodiversity, buildings, climate resilience, goods and services, campus engagement)
  • Governance

However, in a 2018 Staff and Student Sustainability Survey, 40% of respondents said they “didn’t know” if the University was successfully addressing the targets of the plan or not.

We are using SDG 11 and all its targets as an entry point to the broader SDG framework. The cities challenge has provided information on interactions between the SDGs which provided a practical way to get our heads around the 169 targets and identify which ones a campus development project (buildings and grounds) can impact. The hope is that by the SDG framework will enable us to connect our action on campus with global issues in a meaningful way and enable more effective engagement with students and staff.