Redefining the UGB: Melbourne’s Urban Growth Boundary and the Potential of the Threshold

By Vanessa Mooney.

Published by Spaces and Flows: An International Journal of Urban and ExtraUrban Studies

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Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: January 9, 2014 Free Download

Since its inception in 2004, the Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) to the outermost limits of Melbourne, Australia, has undergone several formal amendment (expansion) processes. Change is inherent to this peripheral area where non-urban land is redefined as urban. Also inherent to this edge is an ambiguity, as the UGB is neither marked nor signposted; its exact location is unacknowledged. While the UGB remains a mapped entity with zero thickness, it signifies the site of a threshold condition within a landscape through which the conditions of both urban (suburban, industrial etc.) and non-urban (rural, recreational, etc.) can be observed. This paper presents design research that, through a site-based installation, brings a series of questions relating to the UGB and the threshold it creates into focus. Drawing from the traditions of land-art and guided by the land surveying axiom of ‘monument over measure,’ a section of the UGB is ‘staked out’ using conventional land surveying materials and transforming a mapped element into a physical one. With the UGB located, the site-specific urban/non-urban condition it generates is considered, and in doing so the meaning of the UGB, now as a site, is renewed.

Keywords: Urban Growth Boundary (UGB), Melbourne, Australia, Site Specific Design, Urban Planning

Spaces and Flows: An International Journal of Urban and Extraurban Studies, Volume 4, Issue 1, March 2014, pp.37-45. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: January 9, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 694.170KB)).

Vanessa Mooney

Graduate Research Student (MPhil), School of Architecture, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Victoria, Australia

Vanessa Mooney is an architect based in Melbourne, Australia. Since graduating from RMIT in 1997, she has worked extensively in private practice in addition to teaching in both the architecture and landscape architecture disciplines at RMIT, University of Melbourne, Queensland University of Technology, and University of Queensland. She is increasingly interested in a cross-disciplinary approach to design as well as the holistic processes of the permaculture movement. Vanessa is currently undertaking a master’s degree at the University of Queensland. Her research is focused on a site-specific design inquiry at Melbourne’s urban/rural threshold.