Constructing publicness: politics and the role of design in Melbourne's grid since the 1990s
AffiliationArchitecture, Building and Planning
MetadataShow full item record
Document TypeMasters Research thesis
Access StatusOpen Access
During the 1990s the developmental trajectory of inner Melbourne shifted dramatically and the city became the site of an entrepreneurial strategy of urban development. Within the inner grid, spatial interventions grounded this redirection, and a number of the city's open spaces became of utility in catalysing growth. This thesis explores the role of the design of public open spaces within the development of Melbourne's inner grid since the 1990s and investigates the implications on public life within these spaces. Focusing on City Square and Federation Square, analysis draws Upson ideas from contemporary political philosophy in order to understand the political capacities of these spaces and the forms of citizenship they produce. Influenced by numerous factors, Melbourne's inner grid evolved with a scarcity public open spaces and a strong economic focus. This has continually prevented the securing of such spaces and consistently privileged economic concerns over social utility in the creation of new spaces. This focus on the financial aspects of public spaces was heightened during the entrepreneurial shift of the 1990s and design became of importance in satisfying the emerging imperatives of development. Theories of design dominant in the 1990s, particularity deconstructivist methodologies of design and the urban design approach of Jan Gehl, found expression in spaces created and operated well within the broader entrepreneurial paradigm. Both approaches relied heavily on the use of architectural program to catalyse the animation of urban space, and within the resultant spaces there exists a conflation of civicness with programmed activities and consumptive practices. Within spaces analysed, design has proven instrumental in producing forms of citizenship and transforming notions of publicness in space.
Keywordspublic space; Melbourne; politics; design; architecture
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