Urban Design Strategy

North East Link is Victoria’s largest ever road project and an exciting opportunity to positively shape a significant area of Melbourne. Urban design will play a key role.

The Urban Design Strategy for the North East Link Project outlines the vision and quality expectations for all elements of the project – including how the final detailed design should look and feel and improve local areas. The approved strategy is available to view online here PDF, 27.2 MB.

The strategy for North East Link recognises that the final project design must keep Melbourne as one of the most diverse and liveable cities in the world. It sets high standards for the next stage of the design process to ensure North East Link is part of a legacy for a better, smarter, more efficient Melbourne and Victoria.

The Urban Design Strategy for the North East Link Project received approval from the Minister for Planning on 23 March 2020.

The urban design strategy includes:

  • Principles, objectives and design directions for the whole project
  • Place specific requirements to guide a customised approach for local areas
  • Quality standards for built elements (such as lighting and bridge design)

The teams developing detailed designs for North East Link will need to carefully consider and respond to the requirements in the Urban Design Strategy. The strategy will also be used to assess their designs.

The strategy was developed in collaboration with the Traditional Owners of the land the project passes through, as well as through extensive consultation with local councils, community and other stakeholders including Department of Environment Land Water and Planning (DELWP), Transport for Victoria, Department of Transport, Melbourne Water, Parks Victoria and the Office of the Victorian Government Architect (OVGA).

An Urban Design Advisory Panel (UDAP) has also been established to provide ongoing expert design guidance and advice, and to advocate for high-quality design outcomes for North East Link. The panel includes members representing the OVGA and meets regularly.

The revised and approved Urban Design Strategy is available to view online here PDF, 27.2 MB.


The Urban Design Strategy was exhibited with the project’s Environment Effects Statement (EES) for public comment, reviewed by an independent committee and considered as part of the Minister for Planning’s assessment of the EES.

The Minister for Planning asked us to do some more work on the strategy to give the builders preparing detailed designs more information and guidance about what’s most important to achieve at five key locations to help ensure the final project design delivers better outcomes for local communities.

Locations include interchanges at the M80 Ring Road, Lower Plenty Road, Manningham Road and the Eastern Freeway and the area around Watsonia Station and shops.