The city of Melbourne’s “street furniture” has become a global trend with residents of the CBD and the outer suburbs flocking to use their own living space to host a variety of activities.
They include a rooftop bar, an outdoor cafe, a gym, a movie theatre, a bowling alley and even a gym with a full-time fitness trainer.
But what if you could live in a high-tech world?
That’s exactly what a team of researchers have been working on for a decade and it is finally coming to fruition.
The Melbourne Technology and Innovation Hub is a collaboration between the University of Melbourne, the Victorian Government and Melbourne City Council.
It has a budget of $5.6 million and will have a total of 6,000 residential apartments.
“We’re building the best and most sustainable living environment for the next generation of Australians,” Dr Paul Schofield, a member of the Technology and Product Development team, told News24.
He said the project will provide “the highest level of community-led innovation and innovation is the most effective tool for reducing emissions and improving the quality of life for Australian families”.
“The technology is not just for the living room, it’s for the bedrooms, for the bathrooms, for those dining rooms, the kitchens, the bathrooms,” he said.
What’s the plan?
“We’ve got to make the city of the future.”
The project is being funded through a $4.4 million Federal Government grant to the City of Melbourne.
City Council chief executive, Richard Millington, said the city’s innovation hub was an “unrivalled opportunity” to build the infrastructure needed to attract more tech workers.
Its goal is to provide a high quality living space for residents of both the CBD, as well as the inner suburbs.
Millington said the initiative would also help the city “shape the future of Melbourne”.
He told News 24 the hub would be a “significant contributor” to the city and provide “a new level of investment in the city for a number of sectors”.
But there are still hurdles.
For example, there is no plan to convert existing buildings to live-work spaces.
That means many residents in Melbourne’s CBD may not be able to rent their homes or rent an apartment.
Another issue is that there is a “housing affordability gap” in Melbourne.
There is currently a housing shortage in the CBD for people between 25 and 34 years old.
Other major challenges are that the hub will be designed to cater for a much larger number of residents than the city, and that the building itself will need to be large enough to accommodate all the activities that the residents want to take part in.
In addition, many residents will need a minimum of five bedrooms, while other areas of the city are likely to be better served by four- or five-bedroom units.
Despite the challenges, Dr Schofets hopes the technology will be able “to transform our lives”.
“It’s the first step towards making our cities more sustainable, and more efficient, and less expensive to live in,” he told News 12.
This article first appeared on News24 and is republished with permission.