10.10.03

Federation Square and the Public Realm: Is this the new heart of Melbourne?

Federation Square and the Public Realm: Is this the new heart of Melbourne?

Federation Square presented the city with the opportunity to achieve the civic space for which Melbourne had been longing for the last 150 years. Without doubt, Federation Square, as a whole has become a landmark for the city. However, if this urban space was developed to satisfy a public interest, has it achieved this aim? In my many visits to understand this place and its day-to-day activities, I noticed something curious, except for those who work there, very few people are going about in their daily business. I am interested in the role of Federation Square in regards to the claim that it has become Melbourne`s new civic heart, a “community space”, the link between the city and the river and with the issue of who has, as expressed by Henri Lefebvre, “the right to the city”. The new Federation Square, the size of a city block, occupies a pivotal part of the City of Melbourne. It houses the indigenous galleries at the Ian Potter Centre of the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV), the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI), the Melbourne Visitors Centre, SBS Television Studios and the BMW Edge amphitheatre. Claims Opinions on the success or otherwise of Federation Square vary widely; while Professor Miles Lewis describes it as a “great missed opportunity” and “something of an embarrassment”, Peter Seamer (CEO Federation Square) has compared it to the “St Mark`s Square or Piccadilly Circus” stating that, “it is the centre of Melbourne”.

B. Maturana, “Federation Square and the public realm: is this the new heart of Melbourne?” Planning News – Victoria, vol. 29, No.9, 2003, pp.8-11

Federation Square and the Public Realm: Is this the new heart of Melbourne?




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