DATE & LOCATION: 2009-2010, Bullens Lane, Chinatown (Melbourne)
PROJECT LEADERS: Richard Bruch, Ammon Beyerle
CREATIVE TEAM: Anga'aefonu Bain-Vete, Sonya Parton, Andrew Reynolds, Tom Drake, Peta Glenn, Andres Cevallos, Aaron Tjie, Lyle Talbot, Flora Lau, Michael O’Hanlon
ACADEMIC TEAM: Dr Sidh Sintusingha, Dr Lachlan MacDowall, Dr Stanislav Roudavski, Dr Kate Shaw, Ian Woodcock
FILM & PHOTOGRAPHY: Adeo Esplago, Otto Henkell, Tom Drake, Fonu Bain-Vete, Andres Cevallos

Confirmed funding of $2500 through University of Melbourne, Dreamlarge Knowledge Transfer Grant

Project Description
Of the 234 laneways in central Melbourne, 194 are service alleys, ostensibly used for the delivery of goods to businesses, and storage and removal of waste. These service alleys are known as Class 3 laneways (The City of Melbourne, Municipal Strategic Statement Section 22.20). The City of Melbourne’s aspiration for Class 3 is clearly defined to see them ‘develop’ towards Class 1 laneways. In laymans terms this means the development of inner-city service alleys towards commercially activated and pedestrianised public spaces. The Urban Parklands Project critically suggest that Class 3 laneways are a tremendous resource of essentially uncontested public spaces that might be diverted towards informal social and community infrastructure for residents, workers, and visitors of the inner-city, rather than towards increasing commodification, formality and exclusivity through mixed use commercialization and active edges policy. The term we have coined for this hypothetical non-commercially activated local public space is an ‘Urban Parkland’.

Working out of the University of Melbourne in 2009, this project brought together academics and students with training in community development, community cultural development, fine arts, digital design, urban design, landscape architecture, and architecture. Collaborative activities (weekly workshops, roundtables, journal and conference papers, and actions in and around Bullens Lane) have provided opportunities to investigate beneficial intersections of disciplines, and to work together with locals. Outcomes to date include an online blog, an on-site photo exhibition, the formation of an independent Bullens Lane Association, shared recycling programs (with training), and facilitation of stakeholder meetings with the City of Melbourne.

This project is ongoing, investigating ideas of sustainability and informality in inner-Melbourne public spaces. We are now preparing for the participatory build in April 2010 of a laneway green wall, harvesting irrigation water from dripping air-conditioner units, with informal public activities invited to run concurrently.

Urban Parklands Project blog

Design Proposal

Project Summary

Bullens Lane, short documentary

Bullens Lane, stakeholder interviews

     091128-Bullens Ln Photo Exhibition 
     091128-Bullens Ln Photo Exhibition