Smart park takes shape

See a living laboratory come to life in Carlton when we begin to implement the University Square Master Plan this winter.

The works will not only create a bigger park in the heart of the Melbourne Innovation District, but also respond to our changing climate and create a sustainable urban oasis.

The redeveloped park will prototype custom-made outdoor furniture including picnic tables made from recycled plastic, complete with USB charging points, and permeable pavements, for improved water management.

Special seating will be crafted from recycled timber sourced from University Square’s aging elms – which were at the end of their useful life expectancy – and other trees removed during Metro Tunnel works.

German landscape architect Till Rehwaldt’s acclaimed Windenwurm project provided inspiration for the seating design.

‘The name Windenwurm means the movement of a big, strange animal through urban nature,’ Till said.

‘Our multifunctional design allows the structure to be used as a bench, table and barrier, and – with its robust construction – the elements should survive for a long time in a very active area.’

The seating at University Square will incorporate messages sent from the public through our ‘email a tree’ project to celebrate the trees that graced the square for 150 years.

Meanwhile, a new generation of climate-appropriate deciduous and evergreen trees will be planted to create a new urban forest and help cool the city.

‘Working with very local, sustainable materials will give the square a unique identity.’

‘I like the idea the City of Melbourne team had to see this project not only as furniture, but also as a way to send a message to the public,’ Till said.

‘Working with very local, sustainable materials will give the square a unique identity and I hope that there will be a lot of community activities at the new square.’

As works progress at University Square, we will work closely with University of Melbourne researchers to study local air quality, heat and biodiversity.

To find out more, visit University Square.

The University Square Master Plan will be delivered in stages while Metro Tunnel works on the new Parkville Station take place nearby. The station will be used by nearly 60,000 passengers a day by 2031.