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MDW: Can the suburbs save the city?

7:12:48 15 April 2021
62°19’12”N 9°16’06”E

Well, that was fun! With all the glory and fun of a 70s gameshow, Adam Scott hosted a wonderful debate between Team Suburbs and Team Cities last week as part of Melbourne Design Week. We have a few words of summation, which are going to be rubbish, because it was such a great debate. We do encourage you to re-watch or watch the event via the link below, and let’s keep the conversation going!



Round one
Team Suburbs opened that Melbourne is a city of small doses. The city can’t sustain us, there’s too many pain points, too many thoughts that are leading us to the suburbs. There are many great cities in Australia, but their identity comes from the edges.

Team Cities rebutted that the city is not toxic, it is an intoxicating place to meet. It provides social connection, exposure to diversity that inspires, educates and drives change, and makes more efficient uses of resources. The city is not toxic, the future is not suburban, and the city will lead the way in the future.


Round two
Team Cities opened with a strong statement, the city never sleeps. It’s a place of protest, and a place of life. That strata, that slice of life, is told in every layer of the laneway. There’s freedom to express that city as stimulation.

In a striking rally back, Team Suburbs hit home that Main Streets are about connection and belonging. They embrace us, like warm chicken soup. It’s a place that all Toms can co-exist.


With the eyes on the street, both the city and suburbs sustain us, and both provoke us. There’s history of protest and movement to cities as a spring board for change and mobility. The city as stimulus, and the suburbs as chicken soup.

These ripples, these connections, and clearly this re-balance is about the blurr between these and what they can learn from one-another. We learnt a huge amount from everyone, we’re so glad the voting was one-a-piece. Watch the debate via the following link to see who won what round.


Watch anytime: https://vimeo.com/533834271




We’d like to thank Team Suburbs, Ernez & Kate, and Team Cities, Oliver & Stephanie. We’d like to thank Melbourne Design Week, and thank the audience – you were brilliant. We do hope we can continue the debate.

Let’s supercharge the rebalance together!

Next up


The new methodology: The art of being together


NYDW: How storytellers will build the post-pandemic city