Public Forum: Rising Above It All, Melbourne, May 2007

Vertical Communities and Cultures

This event featured ‘Crowd Theory’ – Southbank project, an activity of City of Melbourne’s Community Cultural Development Team and Footscray Community Arts Centre. The photographic project ‘Crowd Theory – Southbank’ was used as a catalyst for discussion about the experience of communities in new high rise developments.

Some questions considered included:
Does vertical living addresses the budget and the amenity first and the culture and the community second? Compared to sub-urban living is the community and culture different? How do we know? How important is the spatial cohesion and the environment to the culture, community and well-being of the residents?

Key players in vertical living, developers, architects, body corporate, residents, service providers and urban planners, discussed how vertical living can rise above the ground-dwelling residential experience.

The forum was hosted by freelance journalist and artist Sian Prior and involved lively discussion between the panellists who included
· artist, Simon Terrill, producer of ‘Crowd Theory’ and Jerril Rechter, CEO, Footscray Community Arts Centre;
· residents and staff, Joe Bagnaro, President of Southbank Residents Group, Judith Dunster and Dorothy LeClaire, from MICM body corporate managers
– built environment experts, Ed Horton – Stable Properties, Developer, Sydney, and Rob Moore from City Design, City of Melbourne.

An audience of eighty, including local residents, planners from a variety of disciplines including urban, cultural, community, architects and artists contributed to a lively discussion and exchange.