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Case Studies 

Federation Square



Contributed by 
Fiona Whitworth
Project for Public Spaces
April 10, 2003
December 14, 2017

Federation Square is a creative mix of attractions and public open spaces in the heart of Melbourne, Australia.

What makes it Great?

Why it doesn't work?

Federation Square is the size of an entire city block and incorporates an array of attractions that are symbolic of all that is great about Melbourne, including fine art, hospitality, bold architecture and a vibrant calendar of events. It hosts the Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia (home of the world's largest Australian art collection) and the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, in addition to a broad range of restaurants, cafes and shops. The new amphitheatre, BMW Edge, is a stunning public space equipped with the latest in performance technology, positioning it as a unique architectural venue.

Access & Linkages

Federation Square is situated on the busiest intersection in central Melbourne, across the road from Flinders Street Train Station and at the most prominent section of Melbourne's busy tram network. Whether traveling on foot, by rail, bike, car, tram, or any other means, there is no other place in Melbourne's CBD that is as easy to get to. Federation Square connects the city with the Yarra River precinct and is built over a railway, creating new connections from Melbourne's CBD to the River.

Comfort & Image

Federation Square provides a central and unifying square for Melbourne, a place to gather and meet in times of fun and in times of protest. It operates around the clock with security and cleaning staff present 24 hours, meaning it is a safe and welcoming place at all hours.

Uses & Activities

Within the first six months of opening, an estimated three million people have visited Federation Square, exceeding all expectations of visitation. Recent surveys highlight that a significant number of visitors are interstate and international tourists.


Weekends are the busiest time, with families taking advantage of the array of events and exhibitions to see at Federation Square. It has rapidly been absorbed into the local 'scene.'

How Light?

How Quick?

How Cheap?

History & Background

Related Links & Sources

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*Please note that these Hall of Shame nominations were written in a moment in time (most over a decade ago) and likely have since changed or even been transformed. If the above entry is now great, or still not so great, go ahead and comment below on how it has evolved or nominate it as a great place.


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