The City of Melbourne has recruited a number of well-known designers and established two peak bodies to provide expert design advice on major public developments.  

The new Design Excellence Advisory Committee and Melbourne Design Review Panel were endorsed by councillors at Tuesday’s Future Melbourne Committee meeting.  

40 leaders from the design development sector have been appointed, including Infrastructure Australia CEO Romily Madew, architect Vanessa Bird, architecture expert Shelley Penn and technical expert Karl Fender. 

Deputy Lord Mayor Nicholas Reece says the new bodies will help shape Melbourne’s streets, buildings and skyline for decades to come. 

“This is going to be a game changer for Melbourne in terms of cementing our place as a world leading design city.”

“We want to see streets and squares as beautiful as Amsterdam, a skyline that is as classy as Chicago and a design culture that is as hardcore as Copenhagen – all done in a Melbourne way.”

“We’ve brought together some of the best and brightest in their fields to help us set the standards and transform Melbourne.” 

The Design Excellence Advisory Committee will advise Council on design advocacy and culture, with a focus on opportunities to re-assert Melbourne’s global reputation as a leading design city. 

The Melbourne Design Review Panel will complement Council’s internal design review processes by providing independent advice on significant private developments and City of Melbourne projects. 

Monash University Architect Shelley Penn says she was “…thrilled to join the City of Melbourne in leading the culture and delivery of design excellence in my hometown.”

“Design quality is critical to ensure public places - and the buildings that impact them - are inclusive, amenable and delightful for all people, and the review process is key to achieving that.” 

The first meetings of the two new bodies will take place before the end of 2021. 

Image: Flinders Street redesign /