Melbourne’s six-year place atop the Economist’s Global Liveability Ranking would appear to put the city in an unassailably positive position. But how reliable is this annual review of the city’s celebrated liveability? Some feel that such rankings simply cater to the interests of an urban elite, while others note the many important considerations are missing from the liveability equation. Meanwhile, the city’s growing pains beg another question: what visionary thinking is required to sustain the urban attributes that make Melbourne arguably “the world’s most liveable city”?

The Living Cities Forum 2017 brings together leading international architects and urban thinkers to consider the factors that determine a healthy and vibrant city. How do history, geography, climate and culture contribute to making a better city?  What role can design professionals play in the city’s evolution, and how do designers respond to shifting political contexts, while engaging with a diversity of users? The invited speakers will share their intimate knowledge of diverse cities, from London to Hong Kong and from Barcelona to Los Angeles, offering a unique opportunity to place the debates about Melbourne’s future in the context of a global urban discussion.

A range of themes that are central to this debate will be explored in the forum: the challenges of increasing urban density, the push-and-pull of preserving local character while embracing tourism and trade, the value of rapidly developing technology to help make a city ‘smart’, the impact of climate and the need for increased resilience, and finally, the links between the built fabric and social fabric of the city. Propelling these themes is an understanding that Melbourne cannot rest on its past success, but must begin preparing for its uncharted future.

Join us for the inaugural Living Cities Forum 2017, a day-long platform with enduring impact, a space for the exchange of global design ideas.


The Living Cities Forum 2017 is supported by the Victorian Government through Creative Victoria. It is presented by the Naomi Milgrom Foundation in partnership with Open House Melbourne with the assistance of Melbourne School of Design at The University of Melbourne, Monash University, RMIT University and the Australian Institute of Architects.