At a lunch in Melbourne this week attended by senior planning professionals from private and government sectors, a number of issues were raised and discussed.  In particular, there were those relating to:

  • growing concern not about potential apartment over-supply per se but the degree to which supposed mixed use areas are moving to near universal residential use – with the exception of course, of the obligatory new café that Melbourne so desperately needs;
  • in terms of apartment vacancies, the overseas consideration of an additional tax on vacant apartments and whether this should be adopted in Melbourne – with one concern with the vacancy trend being the social impact on buildings / areas and the lack of inputs from those apartments into the life of the city;
  • what lateral thinking is needed to ensure the continuing prosperity / health / cohesion of a city heading toward 8 million people in the foreseeable future;
  • the related (to most of the above) need for us to be better at planning and developing renewal in areas like Fisherman’s bend and Arden-Macaulay;
  • and on a different note, the growth of Melbourne as a recognised centre (in a world sense) for computer gaming development and associated expertise.

These and other issues provide us at least with food for thought.