Draft images for a government-backed, $35-million “greening” of inner-Melbourne have been revealed.

Southbank art precinct has been chosen for a plan that would see more than six acres of public, open space created by 2020. The Draft Concept Plan covers ten key actions that would be spread across three phases of construction. These include new urban design primed for flood mitigation; upgraded public transport, including “green” tram tracks; improved biodiversity through extensive planting; a “critical neighbourhood space” for Southbank; and over 1 kilometre of extra bicycle lanes added to the inner city.

According to lord mayor, Robert Doyle, the public space planned for outside the ABC offices alone would be “roughly the same size” as Melbourne’s existing City Square. This space is designed to cater for everything “from street performances to farmers’ markets and medium-scale music festivals at the doorstep of the Victorian College of the Arts”.

Southbank is currently home to 20,000 residents and 50,000 office workers, making it one of the city’s most densely populated suburbs. The addition of six acres of open space is intended to support this population, which is expected to rise by 175 percent over the next 15 years.

The City of Melbourne’s Draft Concept Plan will be presented to the Future Melbourne Committee this Tuesday 18 July. If approved, the lord mayor says that the reconfigured public space will still be able to accommodate the same traffic volumes.

More information on the plan for Southbank Boulevard can be found on the City of Melbourne website.