Now more than ever, Melburnians value having access to open space.

These spaces are at the heart of our city, and provide social, health and wellbeing, environmental and economic benefits for the whole community. They also help cool our city, build resilience to climate change, and create and maintain healthy biodiversity across our urban landscape.

The new Open Space for Everyone strategy will guide all levels of government in the planning, management and delivery of a quality open space network over the next 30 years. It will achieve this by fostering a coordinated approach by state and local governments, Traditional Owner groups, communities, researchers and businesses.

The Victorian Government has already invested more than $230 million – including as part of the $154 million Suburban Parks Program – to create and improve open spaces across the city. We are identifying additional opportunities for a more connected, immersive and shared open space network across Melbourne, where our waterways, trails and cool, green streets meet local pocket parks, urban parks and bushland.

Melbourne's open spaces

Why do we need an open space strategy?

The need for a strategy was identified as part of Plan Melbourne 2020-2050.

While Melbourne has a wonderful network of open space, people’s access to quality open space across Melbourne is not equal. With population growth, our health challenges, and the impacts of climate change, we know this inequity will only increase unless we act.

Open Space for Everyone will build on the great legacy we enjoy and create a more connected network across the city by improving access to existing spaces and creating new ones. But moreover, it will guide the quality, design, and programming of these areas to ensure their quality, equitability, and accessibility.

This will result in cooler, greener local streets; more accessible local pocket parks, trails foreshores and bays; large urban parks, and thriving waterways for everyone to enjoy, regardless of age, gender, identity, culture, or ability.

Developing the strategy

The development of Open Space for Everyone included a review of global, state, city and local policies, strategies and literature, and incorporates community feedback received through the 2018 Metropolitan Partnership Assemblies. Local government open space strategies also provided valuable insight into planning needs and the community’s value of open space.

The strategy builds on work by the Metropolitan Planning Authority’s (now Victorian Planning Authority) 2016 open space planning and analysis process, which engaged with Melbourne’s 32 councils, state government agencies, peak bodies and interest groups, and will succeed Parks Victoria’s 2002 Linking People and Spaces.

Taking the next steps

Implementing Open Space for Everyone is already underway. The Victorian Government is investing more than $230 million in Melbourne’s open space network, including revitalising St Kilda Pier.

As part of this, the $154 million Suburban Parks Program will deliver more than 6,500 hectares of new and upgraded open space, including new and revitalised pocket and dog parks, and new trails in Melbourne’s north.

And there is an ongoing commitment to identify future investment opportunities, and review and reform the planning systems and other tools essential to help deliver the vision.

The Victorian Government is working closely with the 32 local councils that manage and invest in about half Melbourne’s open space, as well as with Traditional Owner and community groups, public land managers, and the broader community to deliver the next stage of work.

What will this mean for Melburnians?

Open Space for Everyone will give all Melburnians better access to quality open space in their local communities.

By implementing this strategy over many years through changing the way we plan and identifying new investment opportunities, we will provide more benefits for current and future generations such as:

  • improved community health and wellbeing
  • healthier biodiversity
  • enhanced climate change resilience
  • maximised economic and social benefits.

Page last updated: 30/07/21