So, what is it about Southbank3006?
On Sunday, March 12, The Age had a four-page spread titled Game Changer. It asked several learned and well-known architects and urban planners about their views on how recent buildings in Southbank and the CBD had changed the skyline.
They made both positive comments about the external design of some of these buildings and negative comments about the lack of ground-level community activity.
I wonder how many of these professionals live in Southbank, have lived in high-rise strata buildings, and have engaged with the community, both inside and outside their buildings. Indeed, I wonder how many visit our suburb, aside from river dining and the theatres and galleries …
The main concern of those quoted in The Age article was that there was little, or no community life at street level, and their concern that no one looked up to admire the buildings. They asserted that pedestrians and residents only focused on eye-level.
I would question this. Firstly, as most of us live in high-rise we are acutely aware of building design; we look at it every day.
Secondly, one only has to look at Boyd Park to note the wealth of community interaction, where so many families gather together for the playground, barbecues, and kicking a footy on the grass.
And, of course, the mighty Southbank Sustainability Group holding its regular gardening get-togethers growing herbs and vegetables for residents. I, for one, am delighted to pick chives and parsley from the community garden.
The barbecues and basketball court were a huge drawcard, and we certainly need many more of these facilities and amenities throughout Southbank. We do need to be aware that noise and light is a constant challenge across Southbank as our event on March 26 highlighted. Noise and light, including from public amenities, challenge the lives of many residents across Southbank.
Until recently such issues were dismissed as “inner city living”. But we are heartened that the council is starting to address these issues as both the Lord Mayor and the Deputy Lord Mayor have twice referenced at recent Future Melbourne Committee meetings, flagging that residents in the inner city are entitled to be able to live without disruption to their daily life, work, or sleep.
Whether it is the National Gallery, hospitality venues, a basketball court, or garbage removal, all need to be operated and designed to minimise the impact on residents’ liveability in terms of noise and light.
We at Southbank3006 know that community is everything; it not only attracts people to live, rent and buy in Southbank, but is an essential factor in retaining long-term residents and businesses to drive Southbank’s economy of the future.
Founders of our community group have between us more than 30 years of living, working, and engaging in the community of our great suburb. We know how important it is to build community in every precinct of Southbank. And although we are often focused on the Kavanagh St/City Rd precinct (as that is where most of the significant traffic challenges are), we very much want to hear from all the precincts, from Whiteman St to the Arts Precinct and to those of you living along the river.
Please tell us about your community, how do you engage with each other? What is the dominant economy in your precinct (other than arts and hospitality)? Would low-traffic neighbourhoods assist street level activity? And how can we help?
Southbank3006 committee is a group of dedicated, hard-working volunteers. We strive to create a vibrant Southbank community across all precincts, we organise monthly community events (mainly at Boyd Community Hub) and we welcome you to not only join our group, but to actively engage with us through our Facebook and Instagram pages, @Southbank3006. We also produce a monthly newsletter and engage with as many of the buildings as possible.
Thank you, dear readers, for your attention to our Southbank3006 column and we look forward to seeing you at our monthly events and our community engagement program throughout 2023. •