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One year on: Footscray University Town on track

Victoria University and Maribyrnong City Council’s 10-year plan to transform Footscray into a ‘university town’ is already gaining traction – only a year after the project was announced.

Footscray University Town is drawing on the combined resources of VU and the local council to strengthen the suburb as a prosperous, innovative, and cohesive gateway to Melbourne’s western growth corridor.

The project will integrate the University into the fabric of Footscray by linking VU’s two Footscray campuses with an active street life of cafes, businesses, parks and plazas for the 20,000 VU students who currently study in Footscray, and for the local community.

A public discussion on Wednesday 5 November will reveal how the plan is already generating economic and social change and rejuvenating the suburb as an arty, edgy and exciting place to study, live, work, and invest in.

Progress includes:

  • the launch of ‘MetroWest’ on 1 December, a $2 million centre on Nicholson Street Mall in the heart of Footscray, with VU-led services such as hot desks for students, an arts incubator studio for creative ventures,  a public psychology clinic, as well as a book store, art exhibition space and café;
  • a 12-storey, 500-bed student accommodation facility near VU’s Footscray Park Campus, now under construction and scheduled to open in 2016;
  • the launch of V4U Day from Footscray earlier this month, a volunteer day in which 300 students and staff gave back to the community;
  • installation of large-scale street art at VU’s Footscray Park Campus;
  • upgrades to the streetscapes and parkland around Footscray Park Campus;
  • development of a master plan that will open the University’s campuses, services and facilities to the community.

In September, a team of Victoria University and Maribyrnong City Council staff visited other university towns in the US and Canada and found it was “on the right track,” said Dr Rob Brown, Victoria University’s vice president of government relations.

“We are already using the creative energy of the university and the area’s existing and planned creative arts and sports infrastructure to kick-start projects aimed at attracting more businesses, jobs and services, engaging residents and traders, and above all, changing the perception of Footscray,” he said.

Footscray University Town Public Discussion

WHO:

  • Charles Landry, an international authority on the use of imagination and creativity in urban change. He invented the concept of the ‘Creative City’ in the late 1980s and helps cities make the most of their potential;  
  • Rob McGuaran, an urban designer who has visited dozens of university towns around the world, and principal of MGS Architects;  
  • Susan Street, executive director of Queensland University of Technology precincts.

WHEN:
Wednesday 5 November – 5.00pm – 7.00pm

WHERE:
VenU - Victoria University, Footscray Nicholson Campus
Corner of Nicholson and Buckley Streets (enter via Albert St)

VU Media Contact:
Ann 
Marie Angebrandt, Media Producer
Marketing and Advancement, Victoria University
annmarie.angebrandt@vu.edu.au
Phone: (03) 9919 5487

 

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