Internships with City of Melbourne- Projects for Geography and Environmental Science Students


Project Details:

Research Summary- Capacity Model

1. Overview 

The City of Melbourne would like to develop an internal Capacity model to allow timely assessment of future changes to plans within the municipality. Broadly the purpose of the Capacity model is to answer the following question:

Given the current planning controls, what is the potential capacity of the Municipality to accommodate growth in resident and employment?

A capacity modelling is a spatial analysis which uses individual property level data and the urban form rules to establish the theoretical three dimensional space that could be developed and the associated uses that could locate within the space.

Currently this method of analysis has been applied on an ad hoc basis, for several structure plans in the City of Melbourne, see the following studies

  • Melbourne Metro 1 Study (2009)
  • Southbank Structure Plan (2010)
  • Transforming Australian Cities (2010),
  • Housing Capacity Assessments (2011)
  • City North Structure Plan (2012)
  • Arden-Macaulay Structure Plan (2012)

The City Research team has access to all of the base data that will be required to develop the model. The team will manage the development and setting of key assumptions in the model. It is believed that there is potential for University students to work with the team to develop the spatial and interface elements of the model.

2. Use of the Model

The capacity model provides information about the employment and residential population that could locate in the area in the long term. This is important to help the Council to plan for longer term capital works, such as road networks or community infrastructure. These assets tend to have long life spans so the council must understand the potential need of each area in the longer term.

3. Requirements

Stage 1- Site Selection

The team will need to develop a GIS tool that allows us to add or remove any of the overlays dynamically or ‘on the fly’. The team will be encouraged to assess which criteria may be relevant and which could be applied.

The resulting map will show a two-dimensional map of properties that have development potential (for example grey properties in figure1) and those that do not have development potential (black properties in figure 1).

City Research can provide spatial data for most of the criteria (zoning, heritage overlays, construction date, site area, owners corps) and a property base file

Stage 2 – Urban Form

The team will need to develop a GIS tool that allows us to increase or change the urban form rules, add or remove restrictions dynamically or ‘on the fly’. The model will allow three-dimensional representations of the urban form in capacity terms (see figure 2).

City Research will work with the team to establish height limit overlays for the municipality and to collect urban form rules (setbacks, shadowing etc). The CLUE database will also be provided to allow the calculation of historic site coverage ratios and heights to be applied.

Stage 3 – Use Determination

The final step in the model is the assessment of the potential use of the space. Given the uncertainty around space use the model should allow the user to assess different scenarios and assumptions. The model will have a reporting table which allows the user to extract an Excel table of the results by suburbs.

City Research will work with the team to establish the range of potential scenarios for the municipality

Places: 2 students would be working in a team


1. Undergraduate Students from the following areas of studies:

Sustainability, environment and society

Geography and environmental science

2. Should have completed the following units:

ATS2780 Geographical analysis

ATS2259/ATS3259 Geographical information systems (GIS) for environmental management

3. The students should meet the eligibility criteria to enrol in ATS3129 Arts Internship unit.

Application process:

Please submit an updated resume along with a cover letter outlining how the project fits in with your major by Sunday, 20th October2013 to

Shortlisted candidates shall be invited for an interview.

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