Footscray University Town is a bold and innovative partnership between Victoria University and Maribyrnong City Council to revitalise Footscray as a hub of knowledge, learning, creativity and opportunity, with benefits for the whole community.
The partnership was established in 2013 when a Memorandum of Understanding was signed by VU and Maribyrnong City Council to commence a long-term partnership with the aim to revitalise Footscray.
Through Footscray University Town we are harnessing and building on the existing strengths of Footscray and the University:
- our leading sports facilities
- our growing creative and recreational industries
- our knowledge enterprises
- our vibrant cultural diversity
- our proud industrial heritage.
This is positioning Footscray as a university town with a strong social and economic future. By working together we're aligning University, Council, business and community interests and activities, opening up new opportunities for employment, enterprise and investment throughout Melbourne’s west.
Footscray University Town is playing a key role in cementing the west's reputation as a safe, healthy, prosperous and sustainable region in which to live, work, study and recreate.
Footscray's location makes it a natural gateway to western Melbourne; it’s just six km from the CBD; and it is one of the fastest-growing regions in Australia.
It has all the elements of a university town:
- three of Victoria University’s campuses, home to tens of thousands of students:
- one of the busiest railway stations outside Melbourne’s CBD
- hundreds of culturally diverse cafes and restaurants
- a thriving arts and recreation scene.
Footscray University Town links all these features as a way to generate confidence, investment, business growth and employment to ensure that the west of Melbourne plays its part in Victoria’s ongoing prosperity.
University towns seamlessly integrate university life within the local community. University people are deeply involved in the life of the town – lending their expertise and knowledge to support local enterprise and contributing to the local economy.
We’ve studied examples in Berkeley, Seattle and Vancouver to understand what makes a university town successful, and discovered the following common characteristics:
- a strong focus on sports, activity and creative arts
- prioritising walking, cycling and transit connections
- a high-quality public environment
- a boost to local jobs, the local economy and income levels
- a culture of incubating businesses and fostering innovation, encouraging entrepreneurs to start up and stay.
Using these principles, we're revitalising Footscray in the following ways:
- stimulating its economy
- activating unused spaces
- integrating existing infrastructure
- building new infrastructure
- encouraging innovation
- building and improving infrastructure and public spaces.