Participatory democracy – Future Melbourne Plan 2026

Imagine Melbourne in 2026 – what do you see?

Are we at the stage of flying cars and do the buildings look like something out of Blade Runner?  How many people are on the streets and what do the streets look like? Are they wet and dark with mounds of garbage everywhere and are people living in makeshift housing with electronic tagging on their bodies?

In the past year, the City of Melbourne has undergone an extensive community engagement program involving thousands of Melburnians to gather information and ideas about how we want to see our city in the next 10 years. The information gathered, forms the basis of the proposed “Future Melbourne Plan 2026”.

Over 900 ideas were harvested from this process and put to a “Citizens’ Jury” in early June 2016 for consideration.

The 52 member Citizens’ Jury was selected from a cross-section of 8000 individuals who use Melbourne on a daily basis (residents, workers, businesses and building owners) and were tasked with deliberating on the ideas generated, to create a concise report.  The result is a nine-goal, 53-priority plan to guide the growth and direction of the city over the next 10 years.

This report has been handed to the Future Melbourne Ambassadors, who have been appointed to oversee the process, who will hone the report before delivering it to the council as their guidance tool, becoming public on August 2.

The jury spent five weeks working together to produce the report. They were provided with expert advice and support from leaders in technology, law, design, urban planning and education. They were given information about the anticipated size of the city in 2026 (8 million people), the city’s current technological investments and their expected status in 2026, as well as information from other cities about how they have capitalised on growth and infrastructure to progress their cities.

The outcome highlights aboriginality, sustainability, homelessness, commerce, technology, education, design, governance and many important elements of living, working and enjoying Melbourne.  The work was guided by facilitators and, importantly, highlights the value placed on participatory democracy by the people of this city.

The ambassadors are a group of six community leaders led by group chair Glyn Davis and their review of the report will incorporate specialised attention to creating a document that provides the council with no ambiguity about how the community of Melbourne want their city to look by 2026.

As residents of Melbourne, we are constantly told that we live in “the most liveable city”.  One element of being liveable is the right to be involved with the process of creating what the city looks like.

I am very glad to live in the City of Melbourne and extremely lucky to have participated in this process.  Please read the report that will be listed on the City of Melbourne website under “Participate Melbourne” from July 28.

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