Embedding Creative Industries In The Northland Urban Renewal Precinct


Northland Urban Renewal Precinct Creative Strategy + Arts Hub Implementation Plan




City of Darebin


The strategy and implementation plan will inform the development of the Northland Urban Renewal Precinct Structure Plan which is being prepared in 2019.

The Northland Urban Renewal Precinct is situated in a large industrial area in East Preston, neighbouring the Darebin Creek. The 135-hectare site has traditionally been home to commerce and industry, and is now in initial planning stages to transition into a mixed-use neighbourhood. The draft vision for the Precinct places the expression of culture and creativity as a central aspiration for the renewal project.

In early 2018, Hodyl+Co completed the Darebin Creative and Cultural Infrastructure Framework, and established a spatial framework for the delivery of arts infrastructure across Darebin. The framework identified the Northland Urban Renewal Precinct as a suitable location for the delivery of four types of infrastructure: arts hub/s, live-work spaces, other distributed creative spaces and affordable housing to support low-income artists.

The Framework also outlined the importance of integrating creative and cultural infrastructure into early strategic planning decisions for the precinct. Following this advice, Council sought to establish a place-specific strategy that would realise their ambition for fostering a thriving creative neighbourhood.

Existing creative industries located in the Northland Urban Renewal Precinct and immediately to the south of the precinct.

The Work We Did

The existing qualities of the neighbourhood were used as a starting point to identify the suitable locations in which creative industries should be fostered. The challenge was to protect existing creative industries, as well as identifying opportunities to facilitate the sector’s growth.

Recommendations included locating artist studios along Darebin Creek. As shown in the image, many of the industrial buildings turn there back on the creek.

Through this method, a smaller sub-precinct was identified within the large renewal area that has the necessary physical conditions to support creative industries activity, including fine-grain subdivision patterns, potential access to the Creek and the emerging clustering of new creative spaces. Within this sub-precinct, specific interventions relating to the investment in the clustering of creative industries were recommended.

The creative sub-precinct will support the clustering of creative industries within the Northland Urban Renewal Precinct.

As a Result of Our Work

The Strategy incorporates arts infrastructure planning early on in the planning process to shape this significant urban renewal opportunity. It highlights the opportunity to translate this approach to other precincts, demonstrating the benefit of considered strategic interventions that can be applied early to deliver vibrant communities.