The built form of our neighbourhoods strongly influences the quality of our community connections and interactions – and ultimately our resilience in the face of acute shocks and chronic stresses. Resilient communities know their neighbours. Resilient communities are informed and empowered, and understand how to access resources and capabilities from outside their community, in good times and in bad.

Participatory development encourages and supports the development of strong and resilient community networks that are equipped to adapt, survive and thrive. Involving people in meaningful decision-making about the future of their built environments can foster cohesive and equitable communities that improve health and wellbeing outcomes.

Our project, Resilient Communities in Residential and Mixed-use Developments (Resilient Communities), is designed to launch pilots that bring together developers and communities to collaborate on the decisions that shape their neighbourhoods. It aims to respond to the question:

How do we create and sustain buildings, infrastructure and neighbourhoods that build resilience by genuinely reflecting the needs, values and aspirations of the communities using or occupying these spaces?

  • The challenge

    We are calling on architects, community housing associations, housing co-ops, not-for-profit and philanthropic organisations, property developers, Victorian Government departments and local government authorities to submit an expression of interest to participate in this project.

    Submissions for Resilient Communities are now closed. Successful applicants will be notified in December 2017. 

  • Pilot project teams

    Selected participants will work with an expert pilot project team and specific communities on a residential or mixed-use development project to explore and test new and existing approaches to participatory development. This means that communities are empowered to meaningfully engage in planning and development projects alongside many other stakeholders including developers, architects, and local governments. This provides an opportunity for reciprocal learning and improved shared outcomes.

About the project

Why participate in Resilient Communities?

Participatory development models

Read more about participatory development

Resilient Melbourne

Read more about the initiative

What does Resilient Melbourne provide to successful applicants?

We will establish a project team for each pilot that brings together successful respondents, research partners, expert community engagement practitioners, businesses, and local and state government representatives.

  • Although this is not an application for funding, we anticipate that pilots will qualify for a variety of funding opportunities. We will support participants to identify funding opportunities at the local, state and federal levels, as well as offering in-kind support.
  • Resilient Melbourne will facilitate networking, learning and branding opportunities through the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities network. We will actively promote each pilot through our academic partnerships, local and state government networks, and connections with the private sector.

Who is eligible to apply?

Government, non-profit and privately-led organisations with projects within metropolitan Melbourne are eligible to apply. The types of projects applicants might put forward include multi-unit buildings, urban renewal areas, neighbourhood or activity centres, or greenfield development of entire precincts.

The EOI is open to parties with feasible planned or approved residential or mixed-use development projects who are willing to incorporate participatory elements into their projects. Applicants might represent the following types of organisations, including consortia of the below:

  • architects and landscape architects
  • community housing associations
  • housing co-operatives
  • local government authorities
  • not-for-profit organisations and groups
  • philanthropic organisations
  • private developers
  • State government departments and agencies

We welcome projects across a variety of site contexts, and at differing stages of the planning, development and management cycle.

What needs to be addressed in the EOI?

Prospective respondents are required to:

  • identify the project site, neighbourhood or precinct where the pilot will be delivered
  • demonstrate consistency with the stated pilot project objectives
  • demonstrate a willingness to work meaningfully with communities in their development decision-making process
  • collaborate with researchers to deliver new insights and knowledge
  • identify your project’s key innovations and detail their scalability
  • be prepared to learn and apply resilience principles and thinking in process and outcome

If I am successful, what will I be expected to do?

Successful applicants will be expected to meet regularly with their partnership team, working collaboratively to shape and deliver participatory development processes. Pilots are expected to result in a built project, and to meaningfully engage the community in this process. Pilots should allow for evaluation of the project by a researcher and, pending negotiated terms of partnership, allow for learnings to be shared. Some time commitment from participants will be required; the scale and nature of this will depend on the scope of the agreed project, and is intended as an investment in learning that can inform future best practices for participating organisations and the sector more broadly.

How will proposals be assessed?

All expressions of interest will be assessed by an Advisory Panel. This will involve a two-step process including a review of all written submissions and a subsequent meeting with finalists. Meetings are anticipated to take place by or on 15 December 2017.

Members of our Advisory Panel include:

Toby Kent, Resilient Melbourne
Barney Wilson, Resilient Melbourne
David Turnbull, Mitchell Shire Council
Emma Appleton, City of Melbourne
Rebecca Sirianni, City of Whittlesea
Dr Kate Raynor, University of Melbourne
Professor Jago Dodson, RMIT Centre for Urban Research
Professor Lars Coenen, University of Melbourne
Robert Pradolin, Property Developer and Strategic Advisor
Nicole Opie, Victorian Department of Health and Human Services
Helen Morrissey, Brimbank City Council

What is the geographic scope? What types of sites are being considered?

Pilot projects must be set in one of the 32 councils that make up metropolitan Melbourne, as defined by the Victorian Planning Authority. Any site typology within metropolitan Melbourne is eligible. This includes (but is not limited to) greenfield, brownfield, greyfield, or other site typologies. Projects must be residential or mixed-use development, and can also include neighbourhood renewal.

What stage of the development cycle does my project need to be in to be eligible?

This EOI is open to projects at different stages of the development cycle. However, it is essential that project participants have the financial resources to deliver the proposed project and broader capacity to engage with Resilient Melbourne, project partners, and community members. Participants must also be willing and able to engage meaningfully with communities, including being open to potential amendments to current project planning in order to do so.

If you have questions, please contact the Resilient Melbourne Delivery Office to discuss whether your project’s status is appropriate for inclusion.

If I don’t have prior experience partnering with universities or government, am I still eligible to apply?

Yes. Resilient Melbourne will work with you to facilitate partnerships. Demonstrating a willingness and capacity to engage in research partnerships is vital.

Can I submit a joint EOI with another organisation?

Yes. Resilient Melbourne welcomes joint submissions.

How many pilot projects will be chosen?

Up to five pilots will be chosen. The number of pilots will be determined by the Advisory Panel as they undertake evaluation of submissions.

How long will the project run?

This project will support a range of pilot timelines, including opportunities for longitudinal studies. Pilot project teams will define appropriate timelines based on the scope and scale of the proposed built-form and the current stage in the development cycle.


Submissions will remain confidential between the Resilient Melbourne Delivery Office, the Resilient Melbourne Steering Committee, and the Advisory Panel. Each pilot project will be required to publish studies associated with the project.

  • Submissions close

    Midnight, Monday 13 November 2017

  • Successful applicants notified

    December 2017

  • Successful applicants meet Advisory Panel

    Friday 15 December 2017

  • Pilot projects launch

    March 2018

Contact us

If you have a question about the project or the expression of interest, please email us at


Share this