How did we get here?

Most early development in Melbourne centred along its train and tram lines. High street shopping centres grew around stations and key tram stops in the inner urban areas. This allowed locals travelling between transport and home to shop for their daily needs.

As car dominance grew, housing became separated from industry, commerce and recreation. The home became the focus of local living, and the car the means to move from one service to another. Shopping was in mall-type developments surrounded by car parking. The problem of urban sprawl this type of development has created is now well understood and researched.

One solution is to create compact, mixed-use, diverse, inclusive and sustainable cities. DELWP has commissioned research to investigate some of the challenges we face around how to achieve this.

Economic benefits of 20-minute neighbourhoods

In 2019 DELWP commissioned RMIT to research the options for assessing economic benefits of the 20-minute neighbourhood hallmarks. The report focused on benefits associated with walkability and viable density.


The report found that economic benefit is difficult to measure when considering the overall economic impact of change to a 20-minute neighbourhood urban form. This is because many impacts of 20-minute neighbourhood form relate to quality of benefit rather than quantity. This introduces subjective assessment to the process.

Additionally they emerge over time and are difficult to measure in isolation. Their ultimate value also depends on the context in which they are created.

The conclusion was that a range of place-based assessments are necessary to determine the full economic benefit of 20-minute neighbourhood implementation.

20-minute neighbourhoods in greenfield areas

New neighbourhoods in greenfield areas face a different set of challenges to more established areas in creating 20-minute neighbourhoods. Before we can respond to these challenges we need to identify and understand them.

In 2018 DELWP partnered with Resilient Melbourne to coordinate research projects and test the principle of 20-minute neighbourhoods in greenfield development settings.

Research projects in greenfield areas

The final report from Resilient Melbourne released in October 2020 brings together the findings of four DELWP-funded research projects conducted by Monash University and RMIT University. The projects looked at issues and potential pathways for achieving 20-minute neighbourhoods in greenfield developments:


The four research projects that the Resilient Melbourne report summarises were undertaken by RMIT University and Monash University and include:

The two Beveridge North West reports provided background analysis of existing work in both precinct structure planning and delivering 20-minute neighbourhoods in greenfield areas as well as potential further research to explore delivery options for 20-minute neighbourhood implementation.


The Mambourin report recommended strategies to stage community infrastructure delivery in growth areas through temporary activation and interim land-use. The Assessment of the retail model in greenfield development settings report, identifies the social and health impacts of the form of shopping centres in new suburbs. The research supported the review of the Precinct Structure Plan Guidelines in 2020. These revised guidelines were released in late 2021 and embed the delivery of 20-minute neighbourhoods in planning, particularly in greenfield neighbourhoods.


Page last updated: 31/10/22