I wanted to understand Melbourne as a global city, but to do so first I needed to see how it has changed throughout its history. Through the mapping of the city in its different periods I got to know how the sprawl took place.

Collins Street, Melbourne, 1839. Watercolour by W. Knight

Melbourne potencial growth started in the mid 1830’s when people rushing south cleared the land of trees to make way for new housing. Concentration of huts, brick houses and some double-storey buildings filled up the streets. Government made half-acre lots available in Melbourne for low price, buyers subdivide their lands and sell it in a higher price (60 times what they paid) and economy started to grow. By 1842 city investors overextended themselves, land prices began to fall, workers not getting paid. This lead to a depression.



In 1843 business began to recover but nearly all land was privately owned. The massive boom arrived in the 1880’s following into a traffic congestion. People aspired to own a house (not an apartment) that is when they decided to move to the suburbs, as a result some parts of the city were abandoned.

Degreaves Street, Melbourne

Urbanists came with a plan to avoid decentralization, they decided to use the skeleton of the city and make interventions such as public spaces, plazas, “livable alleys”, among others to fix the city one step at a time.



Nowadays CBD is the hearth of the city, jobs, shops, education, restaurants and more activities concentrate in this area, people that live in suburbs drive or use public transport every day to get to the center.

Melbourne is a city that fits to every people, life in each suburb its unique, there is always a place to go and to be discovered.

To conclude, I leave the next link to a video that explains Melbourne urban growth in the next years:

Melbourne 2050 urban sprawl







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