University Square final concept design endorsed

University Square final concept design endorsed
Brendan Rees

The City of Melbourne has endorsed the final concept design for stage two of the redevelopment of Carlton’s University Square following community consultation.

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, which was finished in 2019.

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, particularly with the Metro Tunnel Project, which had prompted the council to develop a “refresh” master plan which was endorsed in October last year.

Stage two works will not begin until after the new Parkville Metro underground railway station has been completed (which is expected to be in 2025) as it will make a key connection to the square.

The council also revisited the plans due to the architectural installation of MPavilion in 2019.


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 new barbecue area, water feature and public art.


Community consultation, which included Wurundjeri Elders and the University of Melbourne, was held from October 3 to November 20 last year. More than 130 people provided feedback through the Participate Melbourne website.

Changes to the concept plan included foregrounding recognition of Traditional Owner narratives, particularly through opportunities for wellbeing and continuation of the Bouverie Creek water story through the site.

Barry St would also be turned into an emphatic green space with ephemeral water features (including Barry Plaza as the entrance to University Square from Parkville Station).

Also proposed is enhanced pedestrian movement and relocating active recreation spaces to manage potential pedestrian and player conflicts.

Another addition is collocating activities to support a diversity of uses, including passive, active and social activities, having consideration for interfaces such as quiet places being located adjacent to the library.

The Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung also welcomed a reconsideration of the square’s name in consultation with Aboriginal community.

Councillors unanimously endorsed the concept plans at their April 23 Future Melbourne Committee meeting.

Lord Mayor Sally Capp thanked the community for their “excellent feedback” that was reflected in the final designs.

“This is an important space in Carlton that CYP [Cross Yarra Partnership delivering the Metro Tunnel Project] will hand back to us as their works wrap up,” Cr Capp said.

“How exciting to see that this enormous project of the Melbourne Metro train is coming to an end and that we can really start work on enhancing the urban realm around that train station and see University Square come back to life.”

“Like the growing number of residents and, of course, workers and students in the area and providing the right sort of facilities to encourage their use of this, I think lovely space in Carlton, is important.” •

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