Streetfilm: A Pedestrian Paradise in Melbourne


Streetfilms' Clarence Eckerson recently made the journey to Melbourne, Australia, where he found a "new world city" redesigned for people-oriented development and mobility. Writes Clarence:

Melbourne is simply wonderful. You can get lost in the nooks and crannies that permeate the city. As you walk you feel like free-flowing air with no impediments to your enjoyment. For a city with nearly 4 million people, the streets feel much like the hustle and bustle of New York City but without omnipresent danger and stress cars cause.

There is an invaluable lesson here. In the early 90s, Melbourne was hardly a haven for pedestrian life until Jan Gehl was invited there to undertake a study and publish recommendations on street improvements and public space. Ten years after the survey’s findings, Melbourne was a remarkably different place thanks to sidewalk widenings, copious tree plantings, a burgeoning cafe culture, and various types of car restrictions on some streets. Public space and art abound. And all of this is an economic boom for business.

In the film we hear from some of the prime movers in the Melbourne livable streets universe, who explain what has come about during a decade dedicated to improving the public realm