Dead democracy

Recently we have witnessed a massive change to our city and in particular our skyline.

Whilst Melbourne is a far more vibrant city than a few years ago, most people are against the increasing “verticality” of the CBD with the current trend towards very closely packed high rise buildings – closer packed that developing cities in Southeast Asia.

Over the last few years I have asked a wide range of the general public if they thought there should be more tall buildings in the centre of Melbourne.  To a person, the resounding answer has been “no”, with many suggesting there are already too many.

When asked if they knew how much more were planned, the level of both ignorance and surprise at the answer was remarkable.  There are dozens still planned and you maybe surprised to know there are eight pages of skyscrapers existing or proposed (see the independent site: and click on “see full building list”).

Yes eight pages (not buildings) with the majority of the taller buildings not yet built but being “proposed”.

Proponents of the current boom include developers, construction workers, shop owners and some unions, all of whom have vested interest, but who generally do not live in the CBD.

Our “World’s Most Liveable City” has most certainly been revitalised with greater numbers of residents and our politicians are quick to point out the low level of environmental impact that usually results from these developments, but we are already seeing an oversupply of high-rise flats in the CBD.

Strangely this seems to be doing nothing for the growing numbers of homeless nor our own children’s chances of affording even a small flat.

So why are we continuing with this close-packed vertical madness and how will Melburnians in the future judge us when we idly stand back from stopping this level of unbridled development?

Simon Watkins

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