Arden Urban Renewal Precinct

The Victorian Planning Authority and the City of Melbourne are leading the planning for the Arden Urban Renewal Precinct between North Melbourne and the Moonee Ponds Creek , in partnership with other government departments and agencies.

The Arden Vision was released in 2018 following extensive community and stakeholder feedback. You can read the Arden Vision (PDF)here.

We’re developing a draft Arden Structure Plan to be released for community consultation in early 2020.

The 2020 draft structure plan will propose what the new innovation precinct might look like and how it should function. It will be guided by technical studies and community input from the Arden Vision.

The plan will give shape to the directions and objectives of the Arden Vision and propose actions to direct development, provide infrastructure and address constraints.

The structure plan will align with other planning projects including planning for Macaulay, West Melbourne, the Moonee Ponds Creek and the West Gate Tunnel Project.

The final Structure Plan will be implemented through a planning scheme amendment, providing new planning controls to enable quality development.

Work is now underway, and we look forward to refining our ideas for the new innovation precinct with community and business stakeholders in 2020.

The Vision for Arden

Arden will be a new destination for Melbourne.

Located less than 2km from the CBD, Arden is strategically placed to be an innovation precinct with a focus on technology, life sciences, health and education sectors.

It will have a lively public realm, high-quality and affordable places to live, community hubs, new schools and diverse open spaces.

At the centre of the precinct will be a new underground train station, due to open in 2025. This new North Melbourne station will provide direct links to the CBD and the Melbourne Biomedical Precinct in Parkville.

This vision will guide the development of Arden over the next few decades.

Arden Highlights

Arden will:

  • Create a new destination for Melbourne that is a great place to live, learn, work and visit
  • Accommodate 34,000 jobs and 15,000 residents by 2051
  • Deliver a major hub around the new North Melbourne Station
  • Provide for connections to the Moonee Ponds Creek corridor
  • Create two new urban boulevards which will form a civic heart for Arden
  • Build on Parkville’s growing role as a technology, life sciences, health and education precinct
  • Provide at least 6 per cent of all new housing in the precinct as affordable for low to moderate income households
  • Reinforce natural and built heritage to create a new character for the precinct
  • Be developed under urban design guidelines that build on Arden’s evolving character
  • Be protected by innovative solutions to manage flooding, make better use of water and expand spaces for recreation and biodiversity
  • Deliver innovative community hubs and education facilities

Key Directions for Renewal

Arden’s reputation as a highly liveable and sustainable precinct will make it a magnet for innovative industries, education and jobs.

The Arden Vision and the eight key directions for the precinct are based on the principle that prosperity, equity, liveability, efficiency and sustainability are complementary goals. They can all be achieved together when urban renewal is well planned.

The key directions that support the vision for Arden include:

Key Direction 1

Transforming Arden Arden will advance Melbourne’s strengths as a progressive, innovative and connected local and […]

An artist impression of the proposed transformation of Arden Precinct

Key Direction 2

Designing a distinctive place Arden will be shaped by exemplary urban design and built form, […]

Green wall embedding sustainable change

Key Direction 3

Embedding sustainable change Best practice standards for environmental, social and economic sustainability will underpin planning […]

Key Direction 4

Accommodating diverse communities Arden will cater to a diversity of households across a range of […]

Key Direction 5

Prioritising diverse transport Arden will provide direct and efficient connections in and around the precinct […]

Key Direction 6

Investing in community infrastructure Arden will support the existing and new community by providing infrastructure […]

Key Direction 7

Celebrating water Arden will incorporate water as a feature of the landscape through innovative and […]

Key Direction 8

Creating diverse open spaces Arden will be a cooler and greener version of the central […]

Background Information

The Victorian Planning Authority (VPA) is a State Government statutory authority that acts under the direction of the Minister for Planning.

Victoria is growing, with a projected population of up to 10 million people by 2051. It is the VPA’s task to help manage this growth, so that Melbourne and our regional towns and cities continue to be great places to live.

The VPA facilitates integrated land use and infrastructure planning. This requires vision and long-term planning to ensure Victorians have equitable access to employment, public transport, attractive public space and affordable housing in new and established areas, such as the Arden Precinct.

It is the VPA’s role to coordinate the planning, infrastructure and transport planning for the Arden urban renewal precinct in partnership with the City of Melbourne and Transport for Victoria.

Please click here for more information on the Victorian Planning Authority.

Urban Renewal refers to the large scale restoration and/or redevelopment of under-utilised urban areas.

For click here for more information.

A vision sets out the State and Local government commitments and aspirations for the future renewal of the area. These will be further refined in the Arden Structure Plan.

A structure plan outlines future change to an area by managing growth and new developments. It may include proposed land zonings and building controls, plans for infrastructure provision, proposed development contributions, strategies for addressing issues such as drainage, and nominated sites for more detailed master planning.

The Arden Vision has been prepared by the VPA in consultation with Rail Projects Victoria (RPV). RPV is the Victorian Government agency leading the delivery of the Metro Tunnel Project.

This consultation ensures that the development opportunities of the Arden precinct outlined in the Metro Tunnel Business Case (2016) will be met. More information on the Metro Tunnel Business Case is available here.

Project Information

Arden is a 50 hectare urban renewal precinct made up of mostly industrial uses located less than 2km north-west from the CBD. The precinct is between Macaulay Road, the Upfield rail line, Moonee Ponds Creek and Dryburgh Street.

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

A summary document outlining the changes between the Draft Arden Vision & Framework and the final Arden Vision can be found here.

The Draft Arden Vision & Framework was a preliminary draft released in September 2016. Following its release, the VPA undertook extensive consultation for a period of six weeks with the community, traders, landowners and businesses in the area. A summary of community engagement can be found here.

The consultation provided feedback on the economic role of the precinct, creating a sense of place and identity, the importance of open spaces, the need for flood mitigation and prioritising active transport.

Following this consultation the VPA worked in partnership with the City of Melbourne and other Victorian Government departments and agencies to finalise the vision for Arden.

The main changes to the Arden Vision include:

  • Expanding the key directions from five to eight to include a greater focus on embedding sustainable change, designing a distinctive place and accommodating diverse communities.
  • Strengthening of the vision statement to highlight the significant renewal opportunity of the precinct as a sustainable, mixed-use and commercial, residential and retail precinct that is a great place to live, learn, work and visit.
  • Inclusion of three new sub-precincts in Arden: Arden North, Arden Central and Laurens Street, each with its own distinct vision and character.

Please see the summary document here for more changes.

Demographers predict that Melbourne will soon overtake Sydney as Australia’s most populous city. This will create many exciting challenges and opportunities.

Arden will play an essential role in accommodating the jobs 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, learn, work and visit.

The Metro Tunnel Project and new North Melbourne Station at Arden will be the catalyst for development in the area, transforming the precinct into an international innovation and technology hub.

Planning for Arden combines the opportunities offered by its existing assets with new development.

Arden is closely located to Parkville, the CBD and major city assets such as Royal Park, the Moonee Ponds Creek and the Queen Victoria Market. Together with the Victorian Government land ownership and transport investment in the area, Arden has the opportunity to support a scale of development that complements the central city.

Arden will transform gradually over the next few decades. The first milestone will be the completion of the Metro Tunnel and new North Melbourne Station at Arden. Planning is now underway to ensure development is ready for the opening of the station in 2025.

Arden will:

  • Create a new destination for Melbourne that is a great place to live, learn, work and visit
  • Accommodate more than 34,000 jobs and 15,000 residents by 2051
  • Deliver a major transport hub around the new North Melbourne Station
  • Enhance the Moonee Ponds Creek corridor to become a valued asset for existing and new communities and the natural environment
  • Create two new urban boulevards which will create a civic heart for Arden
  • Build on Parkville’s growing role as a technology, life sciences, health and education precinct
  • Provide at least 6 per cent of all new housing in the precinct as affordable for low to moderate income households
  • Reinforce natural and built heritage to create a new character for the precinct
  • Be developed under urban design guidelines that build on Arden’s evolving character
  • Be protected by innovative solutions to manage flooding, make better use of water and expand spaces for recreation and biodiversity
  • Deliver innovative community hubs and two to four new schools.

The objectives and planned outcomes of each key direction in the Arden Vision are now Victorian Government policy. They will guide all decisions made in the structure planning of the precinct. The structure plan will inform the planning scheme amendments for the precinct and will be included as an incorporated document to the Melbourne Planning Scheme.

Currently, land uses in the precinct are predominantly industrial or transport related. Land will be rezoned with a planning scheme amendment to support the vision for Arden as a mixed-use employment and innovation hub. The type and location of zones will be determined through the structure planning process following detailed planning consideration and assessments.

Current businesses and land uses in the precinct have existing use rights. The VPA will engage with landowners, tenants and businesses to keep them informed during the next stage of planning.

Arden will have generous and well-connected open space network that will link new and existing neighbourhoods. Open spaces will support biodiversity, make the precinct cooler, preserve heritage and cultural values, support tourism and host public events and performances.

Two new urban boulevards along Queensberry Street and Fogarty Street will create a strong physical connection and sense of identity in the precinct. They will include high-quality urban design, wide footpaths, active transport infrastructure, water sensitive urban design and large canopy trees.

A new capital city open space in Arden Central will be the civic heart of the precinct, catering for a diverse range of uses to support the needs of current and future residents, workers, students and visitors.

The size and location of open spaces in Arden will be determined through the structure planning process.

The renewal of Arden is a valuable opportunity to provide high-quality affordable housing close to jobs, services, transport and the CBD.

Recent legislative changes will support the inclusion of affordable housing in urban renewal areas. The Arden precinct will provide at least six per cent of all new housing as affordable housing.

The Victorian Government will provide a number of initiatives through Homes for Victorians (2017) to help deliver affordable housing. They include an initiative for at least 10 per cent of all properties in government-led developments such as Arden to be prioritised for first homebuyers, as well as shared equity schemes, including HomesVic and Buy Assist, and a Social Housing Investment Fund.

The implementation of Plan Melbourne 2017–2050 includes strengthening the planning framework so that local governments can provide incentives to developers to deliver affordable housing.

The City of Melbourne’s 2014–2018 housing strategy and Homes for Victorians nominate Arden as an area where development bonuses could act as incentives for provision of affordable housing during urban renewal.

The mechanisms for delivery of this aspiration will be developed during the structure planning process in consultation with stakeholders.

The new North Melbourne Station will be complemented by a walking and cycling connections.

On and off-road cycling infrastructure will be designed to ensure safer connectivity throughout the entire precinct to encourage bicycles as part of everyday transport.

Walking, cycling and public transport opportunities will be protected to connect to other precincts such as Parkville, Docklands, Macaulay, E-Gate and Dynon.

The Arden Vision does not include proposed building heights for the precinct. This will be determined in the structure plan and with further consultation with the community and stakeholders.

Urban design and built-form guidelines will be prepared to ensure future urban form takes into account the precinct’s character, responds to existing constraints and addresses interfaces with existing neighbourhoods.

Parts of the Arden precinct, in particular close to the Moonee Ponds Creek corridor and other low-lying areas, are subject to flooding. It is important to reduce the potential for flooding in Arden to facilitate resilient commercial and residential development and strike a balance between flood risk reduction and cost to community.

There is now an opportunity to reduce potential flooding issues, while celebrating water in the landscape, such as revitalising the Moonee Ponds Creek as a place for people to gather and relax, and to deliver improved outcomes for biodiversity.

Flood mitigation solutions will need to be planned to make the best use of space.

‘Blue-green’ infrastructure such as green roofs and rainwater tanks may be used to reduce potable water use and assist to mitigate flooding.

The City of Melbourne, Melbourne Water and City West Water are investigating various flood mitigation solutions and stormwater reuse for Arden. The structure plan will provide more detail on the extent of potential flooding and how risks will be managed.

Sustainability practices will change over the estimated 30-year timeframe of Arden’s development. Arden will be designed in a way to allow for changes in sustainable development as they evolve over time.

There are a number of sustainable design standards that could be applied to the precinct. Sustainable water management will play an important part in the design of this precinct. The vision for Arden will ensure that development meets the highest attainable standards under the Green Star, or equivalent nationally recognised accreditation for sustainable communities and buildings.

State and local government sustainability policies will also be meet, including the Victorian Government’s commitment under the Climate Change Act 2017 to reduce greenhouse gas emission for Victoria to net zero emissions by 2050.

The Arden Vision has identified the need to support the existing and future residents, workers and visitors in the area by providing new community infrastructure and services.

While planning is still in the early stages, the vision for Arden identifies two to four new schools, two new community hubs, and education, sport, recreation and health facilities within or close to Arden.

Community Engagement

The community will be consulted in each key stage of the structure plan, from now until 2020. Further consultation details will be provided shortly.

Preparation of the Arden Structure Plan will continue to involve members of the community, workers, landowners, businesses, traders, potential future residents and potential investors.

To receive updates about how you can get involved in future engagement activities, subscribe to the mailing list on the right hand tool bar of this webpage.


Next Steps

The VPA and City of Melbourne will continue their partnership to prepare the structure plan for Arden and accompanying planning scheme controls.

This will also involve further consultation with the community and stakeholders to ensure the planning for this state-significant precinct is well considered.

The structure plan will include the directions and objectives of the Arden Vision and identify actions to direct development, facilitate infrastructure and manage constraints.

The Arden Structure Plan will include plans for:

  • integrated transport
  • integrated open space and water treatments
  • community infrastructure
  • cultural heritage and place making
  • built-form
  • environmental risks
  • land uses and activities
  • services and utilities
  • sustainability
  • precinct-wide context plans
  • detailed concept plans for key areas.

Supporting Documentation

Arden Vision (July 2018)
PDF  Version DOCX  Version
Vision for Arden newsletter (July 2018)
PDF  Version DOCX  Version
Changes to the Arden Vision 2016 - 2018 (July 2018)
PDF  Version DOCX  Version
Arden Urban Renewal Precinct brochure (September 2016)
PDF  Version
Draft Arden Vision & Framework (September 2016)
PDF  Version
Arden Newsletter - November 2019
PDF  Version
Community Engagement summary (April 2017)
PDF  Version