Working with Industry in East Preston explores key challenges and opportunities concerning the interaction of urban industrial activities with surrounding land uses. Four guiding principles – Safeguarding Space, Empowering Users, Rethinking Form, and Improving Access – drove the development of an Action Plan that redefines the scope, form, and direction of planning for these areas, and tailors interventions to leverage maximum benefit for all users. This page details the logic behind the third principle, Rethinking Form. See the pages of Emily Campbell, Keaton Paterson and Tony Alex for further insight into the other principles.


The Rethinking Form principle builds on an in-depth study of built form typologies and business occupancy in considering how industrial spaces and the public areas that surround them might be rearranged to deliver wider community benefit. It was incorporated in our Action Plan through a trial on Rossmoyne Street, the outcome of which will be closely monitored to support the adaptation of interventions in future iterations.


Rossmoyne Street sits within current industrial zoning and is closely bordered by residential space on one end and the Darebin Creek on the other. The location of this site presents an important opportunity to improve connections to and through industrial areas and accommodate a broader group of users by rethinking the compatibility and scale of urban industrial activities and spaces.


The site is mostly made up of large-scale warehouses, lined with street parking. These have blank frontages and minimal signage indicating their use. There is a clear opportunity to maximise the use of land and production spaces on this site by leveraging underutilised space. This would require a rethinking of the compatibility between different urban activities and greater consideration of the built form that supports a mix of uses.


A range of businesses occupy the site and represent various industries, including manufacturing, wholesale trade and recreation activities. While this analysis is limited in scope, background investigations across the project’s wider study area align with research indicating a shift of urban industries toward smaller, creative manufacturing businesses.


The application of microzoning, along with explicit controls that limit the size of new units, offers considerable potential in boosting local production activity and supporting the growth of emerging businesses, while retaining existing users. Large, underutilised warehouses can be subdivided to create smaller units on the street side of the building. Businesses owners can be incentivised through a grant scheme to sell or lease part of their buildings to an independent trader’s association responsible for capturing and reinvesting any value uplift from rezoning.


As built form is scaled down, there are further opportunities to create a more vibrant streetscape that invites nearby residents in through the industrial site, connecting them to local businesses as well as the creek. Urban design guidelines can ensure that the resulting diversity of businesses is translated into equal variation in built form to create greater visual interest and appeal for pedestrians, who would be more likely to visit and enjoy time in Rossmoyne Street. These guidelines can also be used to bring natural assets into built-up areas, further redefining the compatibility of urban forms and encouraging greater connections across land uses.
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