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Place and Community Framework

Melbourne and surrounds

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Melbourne City: Core Campus

Our principal place of operations and one of Melbourne’s anchor institutions since 1887.

In the last few decades, Melbourne’s CBD has experienced a renaissance. Long regarded as the city’s business and financial centre, the central city is now home to retail, financial, legal, administrative, recreational, tourist and entertainment facilities and operates 24 hours a day, serving a wide variety of residents, workers and visitors.

Melbourne’s central city transformation: from ‘doughnut city’ of the 1970s, to one of the world’s most liveable, has been achieved through a complex array of targeted initiatives and developments across a variety of sectors. As one of the City of Melbourne’s key anchor institutions, RMIT has worked in partnership at a City and State level to advocate for the renewal of Melbourne’s CBD over many years. Consequently, RMIT’s Melbourne City campus has played a pivotal role in the revitalisation of Melbourne’s CBD. Investment and consolidation has developed the campus as the institution’s ‘Civic Core’, reflecting its status as RMIT’s principal place of operation: a place of study for more than 45,000 students (representing approximately 82% of RMIT’s higher education students based in Australia), and a place of work for thousands of academic and professional staff. With no hard boundaries, Melbourne City exemplifies an urban campus – its eclectic architecture, lively laneways and energised public realm signalling the university’s presence, yet blending seamlessly with the city.

Melbourne City campus’ distinctive mix of historic buildings and contemporary architecture reflects our institutional evolution. Our approach to adaptive reuse allows traces of the city’s post-colonial history to be revealed and experienced through the contemporary use of buildings such as the Francis Ormond building, the Old Melbourne Gaol, the Former Magistrates Court, and the Former City Watch House.

Over the last decade, the public realm of RMIT’s Melbourne City campus has become a tangible demonstration of our commitment to celebrate Indigenous peoples, cultures and contributions. The public artwork Wurrunggi Biik: Law of the Land was commissioned in 2017 as part of the New Academic Street project as part of the institutional commitment to reconciliation. Within the heart of the campus, our Indigenous garden, Ngarara Place is designed to host Indigenous ceremonies, gatherings and events. As our principal campus evolves, we continue to explore new ways to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, cultures and histories as connected among the lands of the Kulin Nations on which RMIT stands.

The ‘RMIT experience’ now activates and energises once dormant city streets with campus life. Our hands on, tech-immersed, socially engaged, creative and entrepreneurial spirit brings a unique identity to this part of the city. The opening of the new Metro Tunnel train station at Franklin Street will continue this ongoing evolution, enhancing connectivity and access to the campus as a primary CBD destination.

Key attributes

  • Located in one of the world’s most liveable cities, RMIT has been an integral part of Melbourne’s character for more than one hundred years.
  • Close proximity to relevant industries for our key disciplines, including: – thriving Arts and Entertainment precinct with public transport, restaurants, cafes, theatres, galleries and parks – business, law, financial and government districts in the CBD.
  • Highly accessible by public transport, which will be further enhanced by new metro station.
  • RMIT is porous with our extended community, in nature and infrastructure – RMIT can be accessed and interacted with through physical and virtual spaces, and across many domains.
  • RMIT’s places in the City are curated environments for connection, collaboration and peer to peer learning.

Current focus

  • Learning, teaching and research across all major academic disciplines.
  • Student services and co-curricular experiences.
  • Majority of professional staff and academic leadership.
  • Key partner collocation and collaboration

Strategic opportunities

Continuing to build on RMIT’s role as a crucial part of Melbourne’s knowledge and experience economy, adding to the vibrancy of the city, attracting talent and investment, and feeding growth sectors of our economy with skills, applied research and innovation:

  • Continuing to develop collocation with industry partners on campus to further leverage the city location.
  • Building and connecting networked innovation hubs, amplifying impact possibilities (e.g. through intersection of social innovation, design and digital technology.
  • Designing for agility and adapting quickly to changing needs.

Melbourne City: Examples

One of the ‘portal’ spaces found emerging from the Swanston Academic Building’s faceted façade, providing students with study space and city views.

City North: Social Innovation Precinct

Our vision to transform RMIT’s presence north of Victoria Street into a social and workforce innovation hub.

RMIT’s expansion north of Victoria Street gained momentum in the 1970s, with the establishment of educational and training facilities for vocational education. Since that time, largely motivated by space constraints in the City campus, RMIT has continued to expand its activities in the City North area. Today, RMIT programs in the Colleges of STEM, VE and DSC currently occupy 33 buildings and over 100,000m2 GFA in the area. RMIT’s strong and sustained presence in City North has encouraged a network of innovation assets and industry partnerships to cluster in the precinct, connected by RMIT’s ‘impact ecosystem’ and spanning cloud technology, advanced manufacturing, social services and innovation, health transformation and skills reform.

Key attributes

  • The site sits to the north of the main City campus, with close proximity to the CBD, the Lygon St cultural hub, and the Parkville Biomedical Precinct and University of Melbourne.
  • The precinct has a long history tied to social innovation, and there are significant innovation strengths to build on, such as Melbourne Innovation Districts, the Trades Hall, and a number of RMIT innovation hubs.
  • There is a noticeable lack of outdoor and green spaces, and space for student and community experiences – and a sense of disconnect with the rest of the city campus exacerbated by Victoria St.
  • The precinct is highly connected via transport, and poised to benefit from increased movement through the Metro tunnel.
  • There are significant constraints on current usage, such as high land coverage with building footprint, heritage-listed buildings and planning controls limiting height, small-scale buildings such as terrace houses, and electromagnetic interference from upcoming Metro tunnel.

Current focus

  • VE Creative Industries
  • VE Social Care and Health
  • VE Built Environment and Sustainability (Vocational Education)
  • DSC – Art and Design
  • Engineering & The Future of Manufacturing (advanced manufacturing facilities such as Festo lab)
  • Social Innovation: Health, Justice & Community Services (155 Pelham St)
  • Digital transformation (Blockchain Hub, RMIT Activator, COVE creative industries)

Strategic opportunities

The City North Masterplan work will support the redevelopment of the site into an integrated, connected, vibrant Social innovation precinct, bringing together partnerships to solve the social justice challenges of society and create a holistic, ecosystem approach to inclusive social development.

As an extension to RMIT’s civic core, we have been working to foster and develop the precinct’s existing identity – drawing on place-based partnerships to build on competitive strengths.

After undertaking an in-depth phase of analysis and engagement we are working with government, industry and local partners to further the vision for RMIT City North as a social innovation precinct – extending RMIT’s identity, investment and curation north.

Our vision is to bring together the best minds from different disciplines, organisations and backgrounds to engage with the major societal challenges of our time within a distinctive part of the city. The precinct will be a place where technology and society come together, dedicated to creating future community wellbeing, accessing wider opportunities through workforce development, industry innovation and civic partnership.

Our vision will foster and grow an enterprise and innovation ecosystem which focuses on building capability in engineering and advanced manufacturing, human services and wellbeing, sustainable urban development, and digital and business transformation – supporting sectors with a growing need for skills or inclusive access to upskilling to deal with sector-wide disruption. This focus will distinguish City North as a critical destination within a broader network of innovation districts with city, state and national significance.

It will deliver on:

  • Extending RMIT’s identity, investment and curation north, providing spaces for experience and engagement between community, city, partnerships and research innovation.
  • Supporting connections between places and people within the ecosystem of the Melbourne Innovation Districts.
  • Developing an urban environment that sparks curiosity, life-long learning and cross disciplinary research.
  • Providing a sense of engagement, public access and a strong sense of belonging, through a range of landscapes that support ecological health and human wellbeing.
  • Building a neighbourhood of flexible, loose-fit, digitally enabled buildings and infrastructure that can adapt over time.
  • Leverage recently launched RMIT PlaceLab Melbourne, enhancing engagement efforts with local community and partners while progressing the ambitions of the precinct.

City North: Examples

Looking Southwest over City North as bounded by Swanston, Victoria, Lygon & Queensbury Streets.

Originally built in 1974, Building 56 (Building 57 behind) is representative of a number of substantial red brick RMIT buildings found north of Victoria St.

Bundoora: Health, food, trades and engineering

Supporting the economic development of Melbourne’s North through research and innovation in food science, health, engineering and trades.

Developed on land acquired in 1993, RMIT Bundoora incorporates specialised teaching and learning facilities in a tranquil, parkland environment. Its metropolitan location and natural environment bring a distinctive landscape character to the campus, in contrast with the urban experience of RMIT Melbourne City or Brunswick. The scale of the campus has allowed for space to develop many of RMIT’s engineering, health and medical sciences programs. Bundoora is RMIT’s only location that hosts on-campus student accommodation.

Another point of distinction is the Keelbundoora Scarred Trees and heritage trail. The Bundoora campus has six scarred trees that are rare and fragile reminders of the resource harvesting techniques practised by hundreds of generations of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The tree scars tell us a great deal about the Wurundjeri clan, the traditional owners of the lands in and around Melbourne. Keelbundoora is named after a Wurundjeri clan ancestor. As a child in 1835 he was present at the signing of the Batman Treaty, which marked European colonists’ arrival. Keelbundoora’s descendants helped create this trail.

The campus also incorporates a sports centre with a variety of sport and fitness facilities.

Key attributes

  • RMIT Bundoora has existing partnerships with state and local government. • Collaboration with La Trobe University to combine La Trobe’s strengths in agriculture, food and agribusiness with RMIT capabilities in food manufacturing and production to create the Joint Institute for the Future of Food.
  • Home of established food manufacturing economy and Melbourne’s North Food Group, a State funded industry body representing over 400 food, beverage and fibre manufacturers across the north of Melbourne that employ over 10,000 people.
  • Bundoora is one of the suburbs included in the Northern Growth Corridor Plan which is significantly influenced by Suburban Rail and airport connections.

Current focus

  • Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
  • Biosciences and medical science
  • Allied/community health
  • Food science
  • Education

Strategic opportunities

Become a partner of choice in the in development and advancement of Melbourne’s growing North, influencing and shaping priority sectors and composition of industry and ecosystem in this region. Doing so in ways that advance local communities and economic recovery/growth – addressing community needs, in alignment with government agenda.

Mature Bundoora as a specialised campus for food science, community health and technology skills, driving jobs growth in the crucial Northern Corridor of Melbourne, and providing a platform for advanced research and innovation capabilities.

  • Health navigator role: motivated to respond to community needs, RMIT has an opportunity to play a greater role in the development and skills training across the health sector.
  • Bundoora East campus site presents an opportunity for major partnership investment, linked to tech skills and trades, health or community care industry sectors.

Bundoora: Examples

Looking West over RMIT’s Bundoora West campus, showing the spacious grounds and many walking trails.

Building 220, accommodating the School of Education at RMIT’s Bundoora West campus.

Brunswick: Design and creative industry campus

Anchoring the vibrant design and creative industries ecosystem in Melbourne’s inner north.

RMIT ‘s 1993 amalgamation with the Melbourne College of Decoration and Design led to the formation of the Brunswick campus. In the intervening years, through key developments such as the ‘Fashion Hub’, RMIT Brunswick has consolidated its identity as our Design and Creative Industry campus. RMIT Brunswick is home to specialist courses in design, fashion, textile technologies, merchandising and product development. Our focus and presence have served to anchor the fashion and design industry in Brunswick, and over time have worked to successfully catalyse further development.

Key attributes

  • The campus is in close proximity to public transport connections (2 train stations and a tram stop) to the wider metropolitan area.
  • Brunswick is a key metropolitan location, home to diverse communities and a wide variety of creative industries, including studios, music venues and galleries, cafes and bars, events and festivals.
  • The Brunswick Design District strategic partnership ( was initiated by RMIT in 2018. This relationship provides opportunity to create critical mass for creative spaces, enterprise ecosystem and industry partnership across employment, civic and cultural precincts, driving state and international priority connections.

Current focus

  • Fashion and textiles
  • Industrial design and urban design
  • Music, visual arts creative production

Strategic opportunities

In a move characteristic of our approach to strengthen local innovation ecosystems and encourage new enterprises to set up and grow, in 2018, we initiated the formation of the Brunswick Design District ( through a strategic partnership with Merri-bek City Council and Creative Victoria. Our vision is to create a distinct design and creative district in the heart of Brunswick – a place where students and emerging practitioners co-exist with industry to strengthen the design and creative sector. By working together to connect people, places and partnerships we can harness institutional strengths, draw on industry knowledge and revitalise land, building and shared assets to create the environment for practitioners (emerging and established) and associated design and creative industries to flourish.

Opportunities for continued development and improvement identified within this area include improving key mobility links and developing underutilised land to provide more appealing streetscapes and public spaces. Further development of the Brunswick Campus should be guided to aid the revitalisation of the civic and cultural precinct. Additionally, the old police garage site flagged for development provides an opportunity for expansion of the design campus alongside the recently announced Upfield train-line Level Crossing Removals project.

  • Medium term opportunity to influence land use and creative clusters with state priority and international reputation (land use study with Creative Victoria and Merri-bek City Council
  • Living Lab for sustainable urban environments
  • Leverage recently launched RMIT PlaceLab Brunswick, enhancing engagement efforts with local community and partners while progressing the ambitions of the district
  • Industrial land and technology strategy dedicated to new jobs and enterprises
  • Exemplar for inclusive growth and affordability

Brunswick: Examples

Building 516, accommodating the School of Fashion & Textiles at RMIT’s Brunswick campus. Photo: Lucas Dawson.

Students convene in a fashion & textiles design studio at RMIT’s Brunswick campus

Point Cook + Bendigo: Flight training sites

Continuing to provide specialist flight training from historically significant airfields.

The RMIT Flight Training School in Point Cook was established in 1994 at the oldest operating airfield in the world and the birthplace of the Royal Australian Airforce (RAAF). The site provides easy access to airspace, terrain and urban development, which maximises navigational experiences. The program has trained more than 3,000 pilots from around the world, with many now holding senior roles with major airlines such as Qantas, Virgin Australia, Cathay Pacific, Oman Air and Air China. In addition to operations at Point Cook, RMIT conducts flight training at Bendigo airfield.

Point Cook + Bendigo: Examples

A Bachelor of Aviation (Pilot Training) student beside a Cessna 182, in front of the RMIT Flight Training building in Point Cook.

RMIT Bachelor of Aviation students practice their instrument flying in state-of-the-art simulators at RMIT’s Bendigo campus.

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