Location: Melbourne City Center; Melbourne, Australia
Population: 4.4 million
Extent: Extensive network of alleys and laneways
Right-of-Way: Approximately 5–10 m
Context: Mixed-use (Residential/Commercial)
Cost: Varies depending on laneway
Funding: City of Melbourne in partnership with local businesses
Speed: 0–5 km/h (Many laneways do not allow vehicle access. Some allow limited access.)
The revitalization of Melbourne’s laneways began in the early 1990s when the City of Melbourne and state government worked to protect and upgrade the remaining laneways. This was part of a larger regeneration program intended to bring people back to the city after work hours, and make the city an exciting, safe, and hospitable environment.
The streets were cleaned up, and active street frontages and mixed-use development were encouraged. The city worked with universities to encourage the large international student population to live in the city and bring along cultural diversity and energy to public areas.
An ongoing, temporary public art program was developed, bringing a sense of excitement and discovery to the laneways. Small local retailers, particularly cafés, were encouraged to move into the CBD and take up laneway spaces facing the street. Nighttime activity was encouraged with incentives for retailers to stay open for longer hours.