A sustainable upgrade for laneways

The City of Melbourne is transforming four CBD laneways into lush pocket parks as part of the Green Your Laneway program. 

Under the transformative program, a mixture of greenery will be planted along Katherine Place, Meyers Place, Guildford Lane and Coromandel Place.

The City of Melbourne has just revealed the draft designs for the laneways and is investing $1.3 million into this pilot program.

The newly re-elected Lord Mayor Robert Doyle says the concept shows the sustainable potential of the laneways.

“Melbourne’s laneways are internationally-renowned for their quirky and eclectic culture and feel … there are more than 200 laneways in our central city but only a small number of these feature greenery,” he said.

Cr Doyle also says the green makeover for the laneways will have both aesthetic and environmental benefits.

“We can add another layer to their attraction by enhancing the sustainability of our laneways and making them ‘green’ and therefore more efficient at cooling the city, intercepting and cleaning storm water and improving air quality and ambience,” Cr Doyle said.

The four laneways were selected based on public nominations and expert advice from a group of engineers, landscape architects and sustainability professionals. The amount of sunlight, exposure to wind and physical and functional characteristics of the laneways were also taken into account.

The City of Melbourne has illustrated the laneway designs using an interactive map.

The exact type of greenery for each laneway has not been finalised, but the Lord Mayor says each location would have a unique mixture of plants to suit the environment and local business owners’ requirements.

Cr Doyle says Katherine Place, which is near Southern Cross Station, could be turned into a tree-lined miniature boulevard with an ivy-covered archway.

“Guildford Lane’s residential community would like to create a leafy refuge from the city, with climbing plants and pots to complement the laneway’s beautiful brick warehouses. They’re also considering a community garden for residents and a series of innovative ‘drain-gardens’ to capture rainwater and reduce flooding,” Cr Doyle said.

And for one of Melbourne’s oldest laneways, Meyers Place, lush greening around the cocktail bars and restaurants is on the plan.

Abraham Holder, venue manager at the Lily Blacks bar on Meyers Place, says the transformation could make the place more inviting.

“It’s an exciting project that’s great for our business. The laneway was used for car traffic but now we can use the space for outdoor seats,” Mr Holder said.

Mr Holder says he has been attending the consultation meetings with the City of Melbourne and is happy with the planned design.

“I’m glad that the City of Melbourne has listened to our feedback. More green is always a good idea.”

Some pop-up greenery was installed on Meyers Place to demonstrate the sample greening concepts and the draft design. A gardening workshop was also held at Meyers Place.

The City of Melbourne is aiming to finalise the plan early next year and the planting will start around June.

Residents can share their thoughts on participate.melbourne.vic.gov.au.

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