Driving the next wave of jobs for Melbourne: the role of Employment and Innovation Clusters
Melbourne is embarking on a period of unprecedented growth, with the population projected to rise to eight million by 2050. As a result, the city is on the cusp of significant changes to its urban form that will either set the city up for continued success as one of the world’s most-liveable cities, or result in a weakening of its competitive advantage and in the quality of life that residents enjoy.
As world cities scramble to respond to a period of rapid technological disruption brought on by the much discussed ‘4th Industrial Revolution’, Melbourne must ensure that it capitalises on the opportunities this new era of change presents.
How do we establish a clear vision for the city which sets a new benchmark for innovation, and enables us to compete with the world’s global powerhouses?
We believe that Employment and Innovation Clusters (EICs) will be key to fostering a successful, growing economy founded on innovation. As physical spaces that bring together new, high-value businesses, researchers and related service providers, integrating EICs into the city’s urban form will drive the next wave of jobs for Melburnians, while attracting investment and underpinning the overall competitiveness of the economy.
Employment and Innovation Clusters increase the stock of knowledge that a city creates, stimulating business while creating jobs and spreading the benefits of a high standard of living to the broader community.
To better understand the current thinking in Melbourne and the readiness of the city to integrate EICs, AECOM hosted a series of workshops drawing on the deep knowledge and experience of leading thinkers in the fields of urban development, research and innovation, and public and transport policy. These contributions, as well as our own research, are distilled in our report titled, Transforming Melbourne and Victoria with Employment and Innovation Clusters, which offers eight recommendations on the key facets of an EIC, and the required steps needed to ensure their success. The report also applies these recommendations to four clusters in Victoria, including Fishermans Bend, arguably the largest urban renewal opportunity in the country, which has the potential to be Australia’s first globally competitive innovation powerhouse.
Author: Tim O’Loan, Director, Cities – Australia and New Zealand