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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Federation Square: Melbourne's place to meet

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Since its opening in October 2002, Federation Square has become the place for Melburnians and visitors to the city to meet.

Over the last 10 years Federation Square has developed into the new centre of the city and a natural place for Melburnians to come together to have fun, watch major social and sporting events and participate in the life of the city.

Urban historian and Monash University lecturer Associate Professor Seamus O'Hanlon, from the School of Philosophical, Historical and International Studies explores the place of Federation Square in the city of Melbourne in his latest book Federation Square Melbourne: the first ten years.

"Since its birth 10 years ago, Federation Square has become the new centre of Melbourne - from a place that was once so reviled it has ended up popular and successful; it is now a place that brings the people of Melbourne together," Associate Professor O'Hanlon said.

Designed to link the city, the Yarra River and the adjoining Riverside Park, Associate Professor O'Hanlon sees Federation Square as a symbol of the 'new' Melbourne.

"This 'new' Melbourne emerged as a post-industrial leisure and tourism-oriented city after the factories closed in the 1970s and 1980s and Federation Square has certainly embraced the leisure and tourism nature of this new city," Associate Professor O'Hanlon said.

"Throughout the book I have aimed to locate Federation Square within the roles of city centres in the economy and culture of the globalising world."

While covering the history of the Square, Associate Professor O'Hanlon also explores its design and management structure, the tensions between its public and private roles and where the line is drawn between public and private spaces.

"With any spaces like Federation Square, there is a need to find a balance between the public's right to the space and the social and commercial needs in managing the site,"

"In looking at the Civic and Cultural Charter under which the Square operates, and which mandates if there is a conflict between public and commercial use, the public will always win."

"With over nine million visitors in 2011 Federation Square has certainly become the public space it was designed to be."

Federation Square Melbourne: the first ten years is available through Monash University Publishing.

'Federation Square Melbourne: the first ten years' will be launched on Friday 26 October at BMW Edge, Federation Square as part of the 10th anniversary celebrations. For more information on the launch visit the Monash events website.

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