Melbourne University conducts a field trip with residents in the Arden precinct

Brendan Rees

University of Melbourne students recently joined North and West Melbourne residents to conduct a tour of the Arden precinct to discuss what the future of the area would look like as it undergoes significant development during the next 30 years.

Between 130 and 140 students and staff from the Master of Urban Planning program took part in the field trip, which has also been presented as a YouTube video called the “Arden Site visit 2023: Urban Sustainability and Climate Change”.

The students and staff collaborated with the North and West Melbourne Association (NWMA), with three Association members providing their views and insights into the precinct, focusing on its challenges, history, open spaces, and future development plans.

The Arden Precinct has been earmarked for significant urban development under the Arden Structure Plan, approved by the state government last year, which includes Metro Tunnel’s Arden Station opening in 2025 and 12 hectares of land dedicated to open space.

The plan would also see a new major health institution embedded in the precinct, with a new community centre also being proposed along with other civic infrastructure.

The field trip saw attendees gather at various locations including at North Melbourne Railway Station, the  still-being-built Arden Metro underground station, the North Melbourne Football Club reserve, and the Moonee Ponds Creek, with students asking a range of questions relating to the precinct.

Participating resident and the NWMA’s secretary Kevin Chamberlin said he was impressed with the students’ initiative and for showing an interest in the precinct.


“The fact that the University of Melbourne chose the Arden precinct as the venue for their field trip indicates how interesting and exciting the project can really be,” he said.


Mr Chamberlin said it was vital that the government listened to all stakeholders in the development process, “and not just the development industry, to achieve a really good outcome for this precinct”.

“While the community was ignored in the early stages of the planning process, the opportunity will always exist to improve. Already, we’ve gone from a situation where it was going to be predominantly blocks of residential units to a strategically important location for medical and other research.”

“Now that the thinking has gone away from just another residential development, the standard of employment provided in this location will be extremely high and a wide variety of work will be available to people, particularly locals.” •


Caption: University of Melbourne students join members of the North and West Melbourne Association for a field trip of the Arden precinct.

John Buncle

John Buncle

February 14th, 2024 - Felicity Jack
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