Melbourne was founded in 1835 and was officially declared a city by Queen Victoria in 1847. Today, Melbourne is consistently recognised as one of the world's most liveable cities and has a long history of strategic planning.

Strategic planning began with Robert Hoddle's 1837 street layout, known as the 'Hoddle grid'. This layout is what we know today as Melbourne's central business district and has influenced the layout of modern day Melbourne.

By the early 1910s, concerns about the dilapidated parts of the city prompted major public inquiries by the Joint Select Committee on the Housing of the People in the Metropolis (1913-14) and a Royal Commission in 1915. These events led to the development of Melbourne's first strategic plan in 1929. The Plan, named the Plan for General Development of the Metropolitan Town Planning Commission, proposed a planning scheme to prevent 'misuse' of land and protect property values. It also highlighted traffic congestion, the distribution of recreational open space and the haphazard intermingling of land uses.

Bourke Street. Melbourne 1954Bourke Street, Melbourne 1954

The 1929 plan was not implemented and it was only after the Second World War in the early 1950s that the planning system as we know it today commenced with the Melbourne Metropolitan Planning Scheme 1954 – Report and its associated Survey and Analysis volume.

Over the sixty years since this planning effort began more than 21 policies or plans have been produced. The documents below outline key metropolitan planning policies and strategies that have helped to shape Melbourne's development.

Previous strategic plans

Plan Melbourne 2017 - 2050

The current guide for Melbourne's growth and development for the next 35 years.

Plan Melbourne 2014

Integrated long-term land use, infrastructure and transport planning to outline a vision for Melbourne's growth to 2051.

Delivering Melbourne's Newest Sustainable Communities (2009)

Outlined an integrated approach to land use, transport and environmental initiatives, including the Urban Growth Boundary and Growth Areas Infrastructure Contribution.

View the 2009 policy documents

Melbourne 2030 a planning update - Melbourne@5Million (2008)

Outlined policy implications from the Victorian in Future 2008 growth projections.

View the 2008 report

Melbourne 2030 audit report (2008)

An independent audit of Melbourne 2030 and provided recommendations on the implementation of Melbourne 2030.

View the audit and 2008 Government response

Planning for all of Melbourne (2008)

The Government's response to the audit of Melbourne 2030.

View the 2008 report

A plan for Melbourne's growth areas (2005)

Sets out a strategic approach for development in Melbourne's growth areas, including the establishment of the Growth Areas Authority.

View the 2005 plan

Melbourne 2030: Planning for sustainable growth (2002)

Quantified the task of urban consolidation. It also introduced an Urban Growth Boundary.

View the 2002 plan

Living Suburbs (1995)

Focuses on relationships between central city, suburban Melbourne and adjacent regional areas providing a framework for integrated metropolitan development to enhance Melbourne's environment and liveability, and managing infrastructure and urban development.

View the 1995 report

Metropolitan Strategy Implementation (1981)

Encouraged development in existing areas, and sought to concentrate housing, transport, employment and community facilities in highly accessible places.

View the 1981 report

Report on General Concept Objections (1974)

Examines the submissions and objections to the Planning Policies for the Melbourne Metropolitan Region.

View the 1974 report

Planning Policies for the Melbourne Metropolitan Region (1971)

Introduced long-term conservation and development policies through growth corridors and what we now call green wedge principles, and contained outward growth to a limited number of areas on the edge of the city. It looked at the physical constraints around Melbourne for the first time.

View the 1971 report

Melbourne Metropolitan Planning Scheme 1954 – Report

Shows the beginnings of the development corridors that we know today and planned for a population of 2.5 million in the 1990s, a population actually reached in the 1970s.

View the 1954 report

Melbourne Metropolitan Planning Scheme 1954 – Survey and Analysis

This document is a complimentary document to the Melbourne Metropolitan Planning Scheme Report 1954 Report. It presents a detailed account of the studies which formed the factual basis of the 1954 report and proposed planning scheme.

View the 1954 survey and analysis

A Plan for General Development (1929)

Presents a planning scheme to prevent 'misuse' of land and protect property values. It also identified a number of issues such as traffic congestion and recognised the value of Melbourne's waterways as an open space network.

View the 1929 plan

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Page last updated: 28/07/22