_Federation Square $20m Makeover

The Victorian government recently announced it will be injecting $20 million into an upgrade of Federation Square.

The announcement noted that the overhaul is to include new lighting,

Artists impression of Federation Square with new lighting – The Age

a regional Victorian food and wine experience, better signage and improvements to the Deakin Edge Theatre and event spaces.  There was related talk about the Square being adjusted to improve its addressing of the Yarra and Birrarung Marr urban park linking the Square to the MCG. 

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The co-designer of Federation Square was quoted immediately after the announcement as saying that the Square needs to be varied to embrace the Yarra River.  He is quoted as saying that the Square should be a place where people pass through or go to after events at the MCG and to do this there needs to be better access from the River to the Square.  When one looks at the difference between the development of Southbank and the Square it is quite clear that the latter almost turns its back on the River while for the former it is a key and accessible focus.  Of course, the rail lines under the Square do not assist with a smoother / more open transition to the Yarra, in terms of levels. 

One can only wonder why the connection to / interface with the River was not a more essential prerequisite to the design of the Square in the first place?  It will be interesting to see if there is much change out of the announced $20 million budget and the listed project items, to do anything meaningful to better spend the $20 million that will cover all the lighting and signage plus creating a usable and attractive link to the river.