What is it that makes people reject a leafy suburb or an area close into the city like Southbank, East Melbourne, Docklands or North Melbourne?
After all the CBD is generally a noisy place. Traffic, construction, road works, buskers. Noise 24 hours per day. Often the footpaths are so crowded with people it is hard to make your way.
It can be really windy and cold when you walk down narrow streets due to the tunnel effect. Sometimes there is rubbish piled up in laneways. What about the building next door that impinges on your privacy or the neighbour’s noisy air conditioning system? Taverns and pubs may annoy when they are open well into the early hours of the morning. Apartments can be small when crammed into a tall building.
Why do you live here, then?
When you look at the things that appear to be wrong about living in the city, they are not serious problems. All the goings on are part of the vibrant pulse of life. The city is buzzing with activity. This is a place that encourages ideas to blossom. It is a place where people gather, neighbours meet and things happen. That is why we, with 44,000 others, are attracted to the Melbourne city life. Life in a grid of streets with an area of just 1.61 km by 0.80 km.
Melbourne’s famous trams are either the new, sleek and shiny type or the old traditional ones, that rattle along and were badly designed – not catering for the disabled and parents with children. But passengers help. Problem solved. When out and about you may see a huge fire truck, with sirens blaring, tearing down the tram line to answer a fire alarm. Amongst all this, you could see a Chinese Dragon snaking down the street or you come across a person standing on a laneway corner, playing a beautiful violin. This is Melbourne’s secret charm.
Or you may find some people doing a morning Tai Chi lesson in Fed Square. Hop on a free tram and it can take you to the fascinating QV Markets where you can purchase, amongst other goods, really fresh, best quality food for all tastes.
If you live in the CBD, you do not need a car. As people often say: “Everything you would ever want to live happily is found within 100 metres of your home.” There are endless large shops and charming small ones for the connoisseur. Tourists sometimes stop you in the street and ask where they can get a coffee. Coffee in Melbourne is a grand tradition. CBD residents are discerning and that keeps the standard high.
Restaurants and live entertainment are everywhere. Such a selection to enjoy. What about the arts scene? Theatre, film, opera, ballet and orchestra. World-class events are held in the city not the suburbs. Walk to all the events. No parking problems for city dwellers. Exhibitions, museum not far away and then there is a world class art gallery. It is the richness of life in the city that attracts us to want to live here. Melbourne has been voted the most liveable city in the world for seven years in a row.
What about the small apartments? There are currently 25,321 private dwellings in the Melbourne CBD. Doesn’t worry a city dweller. These people are masters at squeezing their lives into small places. Ingenious ways to store things, minimal furniture and clutter, making good use of vertical spaces. It is a challenge, but city people are living their lives with a small footprint that is good for the environment. Life is easier and less complicated when you live in an apartment.
Ah, but you say, it’s not a place for kids and dogs! Well actually, no. Children thrive in the city and as time goes on more day care centres and schools are becoming available. As for the dogs, people love their animals. Dogs, cats, rabbits and other small creatures adapt well to apartment living. Owners benefit from the regular walks to parks and run into their doggy-owning neighbours on the way.
We live in the city because it is a charming, lovable place, that is full of life with continuous events and culture to enjoy. And let us not forget the bustling commercial centre where you may actually do some work! Walk to work each day – another possible benefit of living in the city.
So, to those of us who are lucky enough to be residents of postcode 3000, maybe we should stop and reflect occasionally about how lucky we are to live in such a wonderful place as the Melbourne CBD.