Arden Urban Renewal Precinct

Draft Arden Vision & Framework

Arden Precinct - Civic Heart

Artist’s impression of Arden central

The Victorian Planning Authority (VPA) is undertaking planning for Arden, on behalf of the Victorian Government. The VPA is collaborating closely on this project with the City of Melbourne and key stakeholders, including other government agencies.

Please click here to view a copy of the Draft Arden Vision & Framework.

The Arden Urban Renewal Precinct brochure can be accessed here.

A distinctive new central city destination

Melbourne’s population is thriving, with more and more people choosing to make our great city their home. To accommodate this growth, the Victorian Government is planning for Arden, a major new commercial and residential precinct that will provide a legacy for the state.

Located on 55 hectares of land between Macaulay Road, Dryburgh Street and the Upfield Rail Corridor, in North Melbourne, Arden will be a global knowledge hub and central city destination. It will complement the neighbouring residential precinct of Macaulay, being planned by the City of Melbourne. Arden Station, being built as part of the Metro Tunnel, is due to open by 2026, making this the ideal location to expand Melbourne’s bustling city centre.

Arden will be characterised by a lively public realm, diverse housing, great cycle paths and green spaces. The area will be developed gradually, over the next 30 years.

The VPA has now released its Draft Arden Vision & Framework and is seeking feedback on its ideas.

By 2051, it is envisioned that Arden will:

  • Be a base for 34,000 jobs and 15,000 residents
  • Have a new train station that is one stop from the CBD, Parkville and Melbourne’s flourishing western suburbs
  • Be a global knowledge hub that significantly enhances Melbourne’s economy
  • Have great new open spaces and an inviting civic heart.

For more information about key projects in the area go to


Background Information

Arden is part of the wider Arden Macaulay urban renewal district. The Arden Macaulay district is located between Racecourse Road, the Upfield rail line and North Melbourne Station. The Arden precinct is the southern part of this whole district.

Arden is the industrial area that can be seen on your left if you are taking the train to North Melbourne Station from the west. It sits between Macaulay Road, the Upfield rail line, North Melbourne Station and Dryburgh Street.

Many people will know the area by the tall flour mill silos in Laurens Street bearing the ‘Don is Good’ sign, on the eastern edge of the Arden precinct.

Urban renewal is the process of rebuilding an existing part of the city to accommodate new land uses. It is often spurred by a change in the economy such as the current growth of jobs in the health, education and IT sectors.

This urban renewal process is happening all around the world and several international examples are featured in the Draft Arden Vision & Framework. During the current consultation phase, stakeholders are invited to nominate good examples of urban renewal that could be relevant to Arden.

As well as rapid access from Arden Station to the rest of Melbourne’s rail network, Arden will be a short walk from the existing transport hub at North Melbourne Station and from the Macaulay Station on the Upfield rail line.

Local bus services will remain and be enhanced as the population grows, and may in future include better links to destinations such as Melbourne Airport and Docklands.

Walking connections to the number 57 tram service that runs through North Melbourne to Victoria Market and the CBD will be improved.

Sustainability practices will change over the next 30 years – the time frame for Arden’s development – so the precinct will be designed in a way that allows innovations in sustainability to be integrated into the precinct as they evolve.

Sustainable water management will play an important part in the design of this precinct. Integrated water management techniques, including flood management, managing water for multiple purposes and maximising recycling, will apply across the precinct.

There are a number of sustainable design standards that could be applied to new buildings in Arden, such as Green Star ratings. State and local government goals to move towards zero carbon emissions will help frame standards for sustainable design in the precinct as a whole.

The current consultation phase provides the opportunity to gather ideas on particular aspects of sustainable design that should be included in more detailed planning for the precinct.

The existing public housing in North Melbourne on Boundary Road is part of the Macaulay precinct, not Arden. Macaulay is currently being rezoned, but the public housing that is there will not be affected by that rezoning.

The City of Melbourne’s 2012 Structure Plan states that in the long-term, more housing may be created with or near existing housing, but this will depend on the priorities of the Victorian Government’s housing services at the time.

To learn more about the Macaulay precinct, visit


A Framework Plan is a high-level and broad strategy that will:

  • Set out the future vision for the area
  • Guide sustainable future growth and development over the next 30 years
  • Identify the steps needed to manage growth
  • Define key projects and infrastructure required to support growth
  • Provide an improved and more certain environment for making both public and private investment decisions.

The Framework Plan will be a high-level planning tool to coordinate, guide and inform the preparation and consideration of future, more detailed local plans and planning permit applications. A key aim of this planning is to create diverse, compact and well-connected communities that are affordable and rich in local jobs, transport access, services and culture.

There are a number of heritage places around the Arden area. The recent approval by the Minister for Planning of Amendment C207 to the Melbourne Planning Scheme strengthens protection of heritage in the Arden and Macaulay areas.

A key urban design principle proposed in the Draft Arden Vision & Framework is for new development to respond to the scale and built form rhythm of the existing area, so that it complements and adds to the existing character. New development will be encouraged to reflect the area’s industrial heritage in design, and street networks will be integrated with the existing prominent and highly legible street grid.

The consultation that is happening now is an opportunity to discuss the design principles and priorities for the new precinct and to suggest particular ways in which new development can respect and reflect the history of the area.

The VPA is a statutory authority that reports to the Minister for Planning. The VPA helps plan for growth in new suburbs and for renewal sites in parts of metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria.

The VPA works closely with councils, government agencies and the planning and development community on integrated land use and infrastructure coordination for strategically important development sites and precincts across Victoria. Our major tasks include unlocking the supply of land and facilitating job creation and housing diversity in new and established areas, such as the Arden Urban Renewal Precinct.

The VPA coordinates state agencies and has been working closely with the City of Melbourne to consider infrastructure and service needs in areas where urban renewal may occur.

The best building heights for various parts of this precinct are still to be determined, and the community will have plenty of opportunities to have their say on these types of details further in the planning process.

Building heights will vary in different parts of precinct but will reflect the fact that this area is to be a new extension of the central city. The greatest heights will be directed to the areas that have the least impact and are close to the new station, and provide an opportunity to accommodate workers, visitors and residents. Consideration of issues such as the need to protect sunlight in public spaces will also be important. The consultation draft proposes nine key design principles for the precinct, which will be discussed over the next few months before the Framework is finalised.

Why is this work happening?

Demographers predict that Melbourne will soon overtake Sydney as Australia’s most populous city. This will create many exciting challenges and opportunities. To accommodate growth and capitalise on the economic benefits it will create, it is vital we expand Melbourne’s city centre.

Arden will play an essential role in accommodating the workplaces and residences of tomorrow. While the area may not be developed for some years, we must start planning for its growth now, to ensure it will be a terrific place to live and work.

Arden will be a great new commercial and residential precinct for people to live, work and visit. This will help expand Melbourne’s knowledge economy and cater for our growing population.

Another key benefit is the fact the area will have a wealth of transport options, including Arden Station, which is due to open by 2026. Furthermore, because the government owns much of the land in Arden, they have a unique opportunity to prioritise developments that will benefit the entire Melbourne community.

Arden will have great open space, active streets and civic spaces and a wide range of cultural facilities.

Infrastructure Contributions

Developers in Arden will be expected to pay for part of the cost of new community infrastructure, such as early childhood and health facilities, community centres and sport and recreation facilities. They will also contribute to the new street network, cycle and pedestrian connections and to a quality open space network.


Next Steps

The northern part of the urban renewal district, called Macaulay, is currently being rezoned and, once this process has finished, the area will begin to change and include new housing and services.

The southern part, which is the Arden precinct, is likely to be catalysed by the station, due to be completed by 2026, but development on the fringes of the precinct may happen before then.

Some parts of the precinct will need to be rezoned in coming years, to allow for a wider mix of uses and to introduce design guidelines. The current consultation phase begins that process, but it will likely take several years to finalise. People can access a comprehensive timeline of Arden’s development on page 4 of the Draft Arden Vision & Framework.

How will the community and local businesses be affected?

Local residents will be a short train ride away from Parkville, the CBD and the west. They will have new retail, health, education and community services, as well as inviting new streets and open spaces. Future development will honour North Melbourne’s industrial character and history.

Over the next few years, there will be extensive consultation with the public and the local community, including residents and business owners. The current consultation period is the first phase of a planning process that will include several more consultation phases. Feedback at this stage is very important in making sure that the plans for the area reflect community priorities.

Existing businesses will be able to remain and operate as they are currently.  The Draft Arden Vision & Framework will, however, provide business with improved certainty and guidance should they choose to move or expand their operations within the Arden precinct.

In the Draft Arden Vision & Framework, there is a proposal to provide two urban boulevards, a major civic space that will create a heart for the new precinct, and using opportunities along the Moonee Ponds Creek to create a green spine linking Racecourse Rd to Arden Central.

There is also a commitment in the Draft Arden Vision & Framework to identify land for an additional Primary School to support North Melbourne and the Victorian Government recently announced that it would soon start planning for a new primary school in North Melbourne. Click here to read more about this.

More broadly the City of Melbourne and the Victorian Government are aware there will be community infrastructure needs created over time when this development takes shape over the next 30 years. This consultation is the right time to work out what these community needs are and the VPA and City of Melbourne will work closely with all government agencies and the community.

The Consultation Period has ended

The consultation on the Draft Arden Vision & Framework ended on 23 October 2016. A survey ran on this page from 1 September 2016 to 23 October 2016. The results are now being collated and analysed.


Supporting Documentation

Draft Arden Vision & Framework
PDF  Version
Arden Urban Renewal Precinct brochure
PDF  Version
Community Engagement summary (April 2017)
PDF  Version