Masterplan M

Competition Entry (Honourable Mention) for "The Future Park Design Competition" in Melbourne - 2019

The Future Park Design Competition was organised by the University of Melbourne and the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects to explore new park possibilities for a future Melbourne. Open Studio’s entry investigates how to transform left-over urban spaces into a network of productive and accessible local squares

Forty-Five New Squares

Forty-Five New Squares is a network of new urban spaces based on the theme of local food production and community building. The project is unashamedly small in scale and local in character and follows a low-key aesthetic far removed from the iconic and the spectacular

Melbourne Densification & Open Space

In the last two decades Melbourne has experienced unprecedented population growth. Unchecked property speculation and ad-hoc development has resulted in acute environmental challenges, shortage of public space and traffic headaches. Although inner Melbourne has an outstanding network of public gardens and remarkable sports facilities for active recreation, there is a lack of rich intermediate public places such as plazas or squares, designed for passive or spontaneous recreation

In Favour of the Square

The square is the ideal open space for a dense city. It is compact, strategic and flexible. It has the capacity to redress some of the current urban imbalances. The square attracts people of all ages, levels of fitness and socio-economic backgrounds who come together for a shared public experience. It is the natural extension of the home in the city

Small & Local

Instead of one big gesture, this proposal introduces a network of small-scale interventions based on the square typology. Forty-five suitable sites were identified, mostly under-performing public spaces, strategically located where most needed. Akin to urban acupuncture, this diffuse strategy reinforces the local and human scale. The new network of squares reassesses the priority given to private cars in public space and promotes pedestrian connections and quality public life

Food Markets

Since the establishment of cities, markets have been associated with urban squares. Unfortunately, Melbourne doesn’t have a vast municipal network of food markets like Barcelona or London have. However, it has a growing interest in farmers markets. The proposed squares build on this resurgence to promote a sustainable food culture. Providing permanent infrastructure (such as roof cover, urban furniture, traders’ facilities …) has the potential to increase the markets’ visibility and long-term viability. A successful local market network would encourage the preservation of food-bowls around Melbourne, strengthening ties between urban and rural areas. Health benefits would include both access to fresh affordable food and greater social resilience

Productive Public Space

In contrast to the idea of the temporary market, this proposal introduces a permanent component in the form of an elevated greenhouse. It is the productive component of the assemblage: Meeting Place - Market - Greenhouse. It produces more than it consumes, from food to electricity, and increases food security. The floating Greenhouse organises (visually and physically) all the activities in the square. Many different events can take place under the one roof: fresh food markets, community cafes, repair clubs, cinema screenings, community meetings, education… The proposal offers a glimpse of an alternative economic model, egalitarian, multi-generational, community building and non-commercial

In collaboration with Marian Schoen (Food Systems) and Professor Simon Biggs (Gerontology & Social Policy)

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