A carpark in the Melbourne suburb of Prahran is being converted into a public park by the City of Stonnington council. Designed by Lyons Architecture and Aspect Studios, the new park is estimated to cost $60 million, and will be fully funded by the council. Construction is expected to begin later this year, with completion in 2019.

City of Stonnington Mayor Jami Klisaris said that Cato Square would set a new benchmark for innovative reclamation of urban open space in Australia. Existing carpark users will not be inconvenienced as a new underground parking structure with 20 percent more capacity will be installed beneath the new park.

The conversion of the carpark into a public park was necessitated by the high growth in the local population, which was putting a lot of pressure on public spaces in the neighbourhood. The City of Stonnington estimates an increase of 30,000 new residents by 2036, 58 percent of which will be in the Chapel Street area.

The 9,000sqm expanse will be divided into nine distinct areas. In addition to a central square featuring a fountain, the design also includes ecologically sensitive features such as solar energy generation and stormwater capture and management.

The park design integrates Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED), Victoria’s design and planning strategy for crime reduction, intended to build a sense of both perceived and experienced security.