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Where is growth of our city really going to occur?

Planning - Neighbourhood Residential Zone (NRZ).

Planning – Neighbourhood Residential Zone (NRZ).

By Tom Harringon
Director / Senior Principal

Planning is in the news here in Victoria, in particular the use of the Neighbourhood Residential Zone (NRZ).

Both sides of Government have tinkered with, or propose to tinker with the NRZ post State election in November.

If you are wondering what all of the fuss is about, here’s a little snapshot…


The NRZ is one of a number of residential zones. It has been applied to established residential areas where Councils are seeking minimal change to occur.

Land zoned NRZ generally comprises conventional density residential lots containing single dwellings. Some areas have heritage, environmental, or neighbourhood character values.

Critics of the zone identify with three main issues:

  1. There is too much NRZ.
  2. The zone itself doesn’t allow for enough growth (and by extension does nothing contribute to Melbourne’s overall housing supply).
  3. The zone has been applied disproportionately across Melbourne.

Proponents of the zone would argue that a ‘one size fits all” approach to planning of the city is inappropriate and that some established areas warrant a greater level of protection.

At this point, both sides of Government have elected to retain the Neighbourhood Residential Zone. This could be because each knows that NRZ areas offer very little opportunity to provide for growth (regardless of the zoning). Conventional density residential lots and fragmented land ownership are not where significant growth and development is likely to occur. Growth in these areas will be minimal making little contribution to Melbourne’s overall housing supply.

For this reason the NRZ is not a meaningful election battleground. Surely the planning debate about where to grow and house our future population should focused on where growth and positive city building can be practically achieved? This includes:

  • Large parcels of land in single ownership / strategic redevelopment sites
  • Urban renewal precincts
  • Activity centres
  • Regional centres
  • Former industrial or commercial areas
  • Land with proximity to reliable modes of transport
  • Land adjacent to main roads
  • Designated growth areas

PLC has some terrific city shaping projects underway in the above locations.

To find out more, please contact:

Tom Harrington

+61 0419 006 014

(03) 9978 7823