New vision for University Square unveiled with community input invited

Brendan Rees

New concept plans have been released for Carlton’s University Square after the park’s current redevelopment is held off due to the construction of the future Parkville Metro station.

The City of Melbourne has created a “refresh” master plan for the square located in the city’s north precinct, which aims to create an additional 6500 square metres of green space as part of a joint project with the state government.

The square is one of Melbourne’s oldest public squares and is surrounded by the University of Melbourne.

Since the original master plan was approved in 2016, the square has been revitalised with the first phase delivering a large new open space, a garden, and terrace spaces.

But stage two has yet to begin after the council paused any future works in recognition of the site’s context having evolved in recent years, and it will now seek the community’s input on new draft concept plans.

According to the council, the updated plan is needed to respond to “the many changes” the future underground Parkville Station will provide to the area when it is expected to open in 2025. The square has also seen the pop-up architectural installation of MPavilion in 2019, which also prompted the council to revisit the plans.

Stage two works will not begin until after the new railway station has been built as it will make a key connection to the square.

“This is an important public space in the north part of our city, and particularly important for Parkville and Carlton residents and, of course, the student and worker population in that area and the increasing visitor population,” Lord Mayor Sally Capp said at the council’s October 3 Future Melbourne Committee meeting where the concept plans were endorsed for public consultation.


This really will become an active and public transport hub particularly, and connections from private spaces, university spaces and public spaces all come together in this precinct.


Under the plans, the new-look University Square would see a total of 250 new trees planted in 6500 square metres of open space, as well as a barbecue area, a new water feature and public art.

Barry St, adjacent to the square, would also be closed to make way for new park spaces to ensure “the extension is seamlessly integrated with the existing Square and new Metro Tunnel context”.

Already completed is the narrowing of Leicester St, allowing space for paths and a dedicated bike lane.

Parkville Association president Rob Moore said he was “fully supportive” of the refresh plans “on the basis that Grattan St remains open”.

“Given the amazing landscaping about to happen along Grattan St, the University Square will become an amazing place for locals to visit and relax. For students, it will be a wonderful area to meet and socialise.”

The revised master plan stated Grattan St would be a “key bus corridor with new traffic function to integrate with Parkville Station”.

Cr Rohan Leppert said MPavilion, which would be in place until 2032, had made a “very good and interesting addition to University Square” despite it not being part of the initial master plan, but looked forward to an “open and honest conversation with the community”.

Community consultation is open until November 16. To have your say, visit:

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