“Q. What is an Urban Design Framework (UDF)?
An Urban Design Framework (UDF) is a document that sets out the future form and character of an important part of the city. A UDF is a design tool for physically interpreting local visions and strategies. They focus on managing change and setting new directions for development of the urban environment. Community values are weighed with the needs of governments and their agencies as well as commercial stakeholders.” http://haveyoursayatportphillip.net.au/faq/index/20#86
That the Port Melbourne waterfront has changed is not all that surprising. Shifts in the way we transport things, changes in the location and types of industry in Melbourne, and the way city beaches are now valued for residential developments are probably part of the explanation.
As part of the Beacon Cove development, there were significant changes at the interface of land and the bay. Various plans were floated for Princes Pier, a promenade runs along the Beacon Cove high rise towers, and a sand beach has been created where there was previously concrete steps.
With all this change and work, there have still been calls for ‘revitalisation’. In 2005, ‘Port Melbourne Waterfront Revitalisation‘ came out, which was produced by The Beacon Cove Precinct Committee for the Minister for Planning. This report differs from the UDF being contemplated because the report came out without being endorsed by the City of Port Phillip.
The Draft UDF out for consultation was the result of a consultation and design process. While the visioning report, which came out in July 2011, was prepared by the consultants (AECOM), City of Port Phillip itself has prepared the Draft UDF. The images in the Draft UDF indicating potential outcomes are certainly not as grand as those I saw at a presentation by somebody from council at a meeting. The report runs through some different design options, with the most contentious ones so far being related to heights of buildings in Waterfront Place.
Often people suggest that all the Port Melbourne waterfront needs is ‘tweaking’, although there are people with grander plans. If the UDF wants broad base support then it could set out to do something about the fact that the walking path has a significant number of steps.