The Future Park Design Ideas Competition: New Public Space for Melbourne 

Presented by the University of Melbourne, in partnership with Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA)

In 1837 surveyor Hoddle’s plan laid the foundations for the city of Melbourne,

transforming the endemic landscape of wetlands, open grasslands and custodial lands of the Kulin nation into a speculative real estate grid surrounded by colonial parkland. Featuring a botanic garden, a Domain, along with other significant garden squares and parks, this generous layer of open space was integral to the development of ‘Marvellous’ Melbourne – a vibrant late nineteenth century city of international prominence.

Fast forward, and Melbourne’s rapid millennium growth has reshaped the city centre and inner suburbs into a dense urbanism, with apartment towers and medium density housing constructed on former industrial sites and lining major transport corridors. Melbourne is now considered the fourth fastest growing city in the OECD, and is expected by 2050 to eclipse Sydney as Australia’s largest city. This population growth and densification raises questions over the capacity of existing parks to meet the needs of the contemporary city.

This idea competition challenges professional and emerging landscape architects, urban designers, architects and planners to speculate on new park possibilities for a future Melbourne. How can parks shape Melbourne’s urban form? Where should this new public open space be located, how should it be configured and what is its role? Is a new signature park in the spirit of Seoul’s Cheonggyecheon Park (2005) or Moscow Zaryadye Park (2018) appropriate, or instead smaller sequences of parks? Should parks be designed at ground level or are other spatial locations possible?

This competition seeks to enhance the role of landscape architecture and the public realm in Australian cities. However, the competition does not restrict entry to registered landscape architects or those studying within landscape architecture programs. Instead the competition aims to inspire an open and dynamic dialogue between built environment disciplines, the broader community, government and the private sector.

This single stage competition is open to established and emerging designers (tertiary students) of the built and natural environment disciplines (i.e. landscape architecture, architecture, urban design, environmental planning and ecology, environmental engineering).

An international panel of industry experts will judge the competition, with an exhibition of entries to be held at the at the Melbourne School of Design during October 2019. The competition winners will be announced as part of the 2019 International Festival of Landscape Architecture, to be held in Melbourne from Oct 10-13.

Victorian high school students studying art, design, environmental studies and associated subjects are also encouraged to submit proposals within the student category.

Levels of Awards.

Categories will likely include:

Professional and tertiary (international)
Up to AUD$20,000 to be allocated as prizes

High school (open to Victorian students only)
Work experience at a landscape architecture office (tbc)

Critical Dates

Official Competition       Launch 22nd March 2019, Melbourne Design Week, Melbourne School of Design, University of Melbourne

Entries Open                     31 May, 2019

Entries Close                     1 August,2019

Short listing                       Early September, 2019.
Up to 20 entries will be shortlisted.

Exhibition                           Early October, 2019
The short-listed entries will feature in ‘The Square and the Park’ exhibition to be held at the Melbourne School of Design, University of Melbourne. The exhibition will be open for public viewing.

Announcement to be made during the 2019 International Festival of Landscape Architecture (October 10-13). Finalists will be invited to present their schemes either in person or by skype. (This presentation is not part of the judging process)

Publication                         February 2020

Finalists, along with short listed entries will be featured in a special edition of Landscape Architecture Australia.

Jury Membership

Professor Jacky Bowring (Jury Chair)
Lincoln University, New Zealand

Jill Garner, Victorian Government Architect,
Office of the Victorian Government Architect

Professor Julie Czerniak
Associate Dean & Professor of Architecture
Syracuse University

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About Damian Holmes 5622 Articles
Damian Holmes is the Founder and Editor of World Landscape Architecture (WLA). He is a registered landscape architect (AILA) working in international design practice in Australia. Damian founded WLA in 2007 to provide a website for landscape architects written by landscape architects. Connect on Linkedin at