Designs for a new “green refuge” urban park in the centre of Melbourne have been endorsed by the Future Melbourne Committee.
The Market Street parkland development will be the first new urban park in the Hoddle Grid since City Square was developed in 1980.
Situated next to the Cbus Property and ISPT’s Collins Arch development, the design and construction of the new Market Street park fell under planning approval requirements for the neighbouring $1.25 billion mixed-use precinct.
The park will be built on land contributed both by Cbus Property and the City of Melbourne. This will include land reclaimed from roads and paths.
Designed by landscape architects Oculus, the 1900 square metres of open space features a thick tree canopy and water wall to help combat the urban heat island effect.
Associate director of Oculus, Claire Martin, told The Fifth Estate that the new park will aim for 40 per cent tree canopy coverage to create a refuge from the heat.
Ms Martin said the park has also been designed with biophilic design principles in mind, including a water feature that reflects light.
The park’s garden beds will also be populated with plants that are native to the area. The landscape architects have also sought to increase biodiversity through their plant choices.
“We have also planned for more colour and seasonality [in our flora choices], and this can be considered biophilic.”
The architects also adopted a place-led approach to design. The water feature, for example, references the Yarra River, and the use of bluestone paths nods to the original geological make-up of the site.
The design will minimise storm water runoff and re-purpose rainwater for irrigation.
Greening Melbourne’s inner city
Pedestrians are increasingly taking precedence over cars in inner Melbourne, according to Ms Martin.
She said the new parkland development will provide much needed open space in a city that is becoming increasingly “vertical”.
People will start relying more on the public architecture and landscapes as cities increase in density. This means park space will need to “do a lot of things at once”, said Ms Martin, such as provide spaces to hold events and congregate in small groups.
“… it’s hard to achieve intimacy in public space, [but that’s one of the things that] is needed in this part of the city”.
She said the design team were also “mindful of the shift of central Melbourne to the west.”
The park will be handed back to the City of Melbourne to maintain once finished, which is scheduled for 2020.