16 Jul VU Creating it’s own University Town in Footscray
Maribyrnong City Council and Victoria University have partnered in an exciting new project to revitalise Footscray and open up the west of Melbourne. This project of transforming Melbourne’s west through education is Footscray University Town.
The mining boom has peaked. Now the key to Victoria’s (and the nation’s) prosperity lies in education, and Victoria can become well-known as ‘the Education State’.
Footscray’s geographical location makes it a natural gateway to western Melbourne, one of the fastest-growing regions in Australia but under-represented in terms of quality educational infrastructure and employment opportunities.
The ripple effect of improved educational facilities and revitalised businesses in Footscray will have profound economic and cultural benefits for greater western Melbourne.
Footscray already contains many of the elements of a University Town. What is needed is a linking theme. The activities and infrastructure will demonstrate to the world and our local residents that we’re serious about education and the benefits it will bring to both Footscray and western Melbourne.
We will rejuvenate Footscray through stimulating its economy, activating unused spaces, integrating existing infrastructure, building new infrastructure and encouraging innovation.
Victoria University has two campuses in Footscray and a number of other partnerships and activities in the area. These include strong collaborations with the Footscray Community Arts Centre, and teaching and research activities at Victoria University Whitten Oval (home of the AFL’s Western Bulldogs and the VFL’s Footscray Bulldogs) and the Western Hospital.
Almost 20,000 university students already study in Footscray, and an increasing number will be living in Footscray under the plan. A range of other partners will also be part of this project. It is more than an urban renewal project, and more than a tertiary education project. It will be the linking theme that generates confidence, investment, business growth and employment, to ensure that the West of Melbourne plays its part in Victoria’s ongoing prosperity.
Key features of the program will be:
the seamless integration of the University within the fabric of Footscray. It will include a range of academic, social, community and retail facilities, as well as student accommodation, permeating the town. The first of these – the MetroWest development in downtown Footscray – is due to open in the third quarter of 2014.
building on an increasingly thriving creative and recreational industry sector in Footscray and its surrounds, particularly driven by Victoria University’s College of Arts and College of Sport and Exercise Science.
developing Footscray as an educational and R&D hub for the West of Melbourne, with strong connections to other educational and research activities.