By Khiara Elliott
The CBD is quickly growing and expanding in terms of population, commercial and residential development, but what will it look like in 14 years time?
According to City of Melbourne data, the current population of the CBD is 37,106. By 2030, it will reach 65,674.
Data also indicates that of the 65,674 people living in the CBD in 2030, most will be aged between 25 and 34.
The 25-34 age group is already the majority, comprising 47.3 per cent of the CBD population. By 2030, although at a smaller percentage of 33.2 per cent, 25-34 year olds will still be the largest group.
City of Melbourne data also states that more females live in the CBD than males.
Currently there are 18,594 females aged from 0-4 to 85 and above, a slightly higher number than the 18,515 males living in the CBD.
By 2030, there will be an estimated 32,974 females and 32,702 males residing here.
On October 26, at the Property Council’s “Crystal Ball series”, four of the top minds in the areas of business management, real estate, design and architecture presented their forecasts for the CBD.
Sarah Horsfield, director at business management consultancy Urbis said there were some major works in store over the next 15 years that would be nothing short of transformational for the CBD.
Ms Horsfield discussed the Melbourne Metro project, saying “not since the construction of the City Loop have we seen a project that has such potential to change the urban geography of Melbourne.”
The Melbourne Metro project, opening in 2026, will allow more than 30,000 extra passengers to travel in and out of the CBD with a higher frequency of service during peak periods.
Ms Horsfield said Melbourne Metro would fundamentally change the passenger flow at each of the CBD train stations, and Southern Cross Station will overtake Flinders Street Station as the primary transport hub.
In 2016, Southern Cross has catered to 19 million commuters. By 2030 it is predicted that Southern Cross will cater to 26 million.
“What that means for CBD property is that there will be a decisive shift in people, activity and retail demand in the western end of the CBD,” said Ms Horsfield.
She also discussed the CBD’s capacity to accommodate the growth in jobs that will be seen in the future. According to her data, there will be about 502,000 jobs in the CBD by the year 2046.
Ms Horsfield discussed the government’s planning amendment C270 and it’s proposed changes to built form design and floor area ratios. She believes the stricter floor area space restrictions of amendment C270 will be detrimental to future office space developments in the CBD.
“What the amendment does is indirectly favour residential developments,” she said.
“Commercial development, as we all know, requires larger floor plates and once you start imposing quite restrictive set back requirements and a ‘wedding cake style’ format of buildings, it becomes much harder for commercial developments to achieve a sufficient sized floor plate for the modern commercial office.”
According to Ms Horsfield, commercial dwellings may be pushed to the fringe of the CBD in the future, as residential dwellings continued to develop.
“It’s also going to get harder for future commercial developers to accumulate smaller sites to form a large enough development site because the strength of the residential market is likely to keep pricing out commercial uses on these smaller sites,” she said.
“There remain some real questions on whether a large part of the required floor space is ultimately going to be pushed to CBD fringe locations because of the superior return that we’re seeing residential delivers in most of the CBD.”
Victoria’s first driverless car was built in early October, and Ingrid Bakker, principal of multidisciplinary design company Hassell predicts they will be the main form of transport by the year 2030.
“One of the most interesting statistics we’ve found is that in the CBD, only 4 per cent of cars are being used at any one time. That means 96 per cent are sitting in car parks or driveways doing absolutely nothing,” she said.
“By 2030, the whole concept of owning a car won’t exist. My kids potentially won’t ever have to get their licence. They’ll have their phone, they’ll have an app on their phone and they’ll call the car. The car will show up and take them where they want to go and then the car will disappear.”
Will the introduction of driverless cars have an impact on car parks in the CBD? Ms Bakker believes so. She put forth the idea of the “share economy” and how successfully it has been implemented overseas.
Ms Bakker also said converting current multistorey car parks into new office space will cater for the growing job market.