The Municipal Planning Strategy (MPS) introduces Yarra by describing its context and setting out the vision and strategic directions for planning in Yarra. It sets the foundation for the local policies in the planning scheme and is based on Plan Melbourne 2017-2050: Metropolitan Planning Strategy (2017), updated data, further strategic work and adopted council strategies. See the full list of adopted Council strategies.

It is divided into four parts:

  • Context
  • Vision
  • Strategic Directions
  • Strategic Framework Plan


In planning for growth and change, Yarra is faced with managing the pressure on the valued heritage and the character of Yarra’s buildings and streetscapes, its open space, community facilities, infrastructure, natural environment and transport.

The Context section describes outlines things that are important to the planning scheme under the following themes:

Yarra’s activity centres are predominantly along and around Yarra's main retail shopping streets. They feature highly intact heritage streetscapes and places that are valued by the community and each has their own role and character.

Activity centres will continue to accommodate most of the city’s growth - with the addition of mid-rise commercial development and apartments - because of their proximity to transport infrastructure, shops and services making them the most suitable locations for development.

Yarra is an urbanised environment, with remnant native vegetation located within waterway corridors providing a home for indigenous flora and fauna.

Maintaining and enhancing habitat connectivity for both flora and fauna is key to improving and safeguarding biodiversity within Yarra and its environs.

Heritage is an important feature of Yarra’s identity, which comprises historic buildings, landscapes,

landmarks, streetscapes, subdivision pattern (made up of its streets, lanes and boulevards), and
indigenous heritage.

The existing scale of development within the municipality is mostly characterised by low to mid-rise buildings, with some taller buildings which are anomalies to the mid-rise character. Other taller elements in Yarra include towers, spires and signs, high rise social housing and health and education facilities.

Major employment precincts, employment land, neighbourhoods, streetscapes and activity centres in Yarra all have distinct identities.

Protecting heritage places and streetscapes while still allowing appropriate development is a key driver in Yarra.

Increased population in the inner city can bring sustainability benefits through more efficient use of existing infrastructure, more people being able to access existing services, local recreation and employment opportunities, increased use of sustainable transport modes and reduced sprawl on Melbourne’s fringe.

Climate change is resulting in the urban environment getting hotter and drier, with more extreme weather events. Inner city areas, such as Yarra are susceptible to the urban heat island effect and localised flooding and as such Yarra needs to manage the impact from urban development.

Yarra will need to continue to mitigate greenhouse gas contributions and act locally.

Managing the impact of housing growth on the city’s character and urban form is a key challenge

for Yarra as parts of the municipality have experienced rapid rates of development.

Yarra will continue to manage the scale, density and form of residential growth. This will continue to differ across the municipality depending on the capacity of sites to accommodate housing growth and the physical and strategic context of each site.

Facilitating accessible, adaptable, affordable housing options to cater for Yarra’s diverse community,
now and into the future, is a focus for Yarra.

Yarra has capacity for employment growth and is committed to supporting this growth in its employment areas in preference to residential development in these areas.

Yarra's diverse economy means that different land uses often overlap or vary within short distances. This mix of residential, commercial, industrial and entertainment creates a challenge as well as opportunities to manage environmental amenity impacts and enhance activity centres and precincts.

While Yarra is well positioned to facilitate the use of sustainable modes of transport, increasing car use and demand on parking continues to increase pressure and congestion in Yarra’s streets, not just for cars but also for other forms of transport. The competition for limited physical space in our streets is an ongoing issue.

Yarra needs to reduce car dependence by promoting walking, cycling and public transport as the preferred forms of transport.

Infrastructure is required to cater for Yarra’s growing population and the consequential increased
demand on infrastructure.

Open spaces within Yarra make a significant contribution to the distinctive character and amenity of neighbourhoods. They provide passive and active recreation, contribute to the city’s tree canopy, and possess cultural values in places of European and indigenous heritage.

Opportunities to improve and extend the open space network is required to cater for Yarra's increasing population.


The vision sets out a spatial response to the vision in Yarra's Council Plan for 2017-2021.

A vibrant, liveable and sustainable inner-city that the community can be proud of.

Strategic Directions

These Strategic Directions outline how we will implement the vision:

  • Support and strengthen the vibrancy and local identity of Yarra’s network of activity centres.
  • Protect and enhance Yarra’s natural environment
  • Lead on sustainability and seek to manage the long-term effects of climate change
  • Manage development and growth in Yarra to maintain and enhance the unique character and heritage of the city
  • Plan for future housing growth and for more housing choice to support Yarra’s diverse community.
  • Promote Yarra as an attractive location for economic activities and an important part of Melbourne’s inner city economy
  • Facilitate connectivity and travel options that are environmentally sustainable, integrated and well-designed.
  • Respond to Yarra’s changing social and physical infrastructure needs
  • Provide attractive and accessible open spaces for people to enjoy.

Strategic Framework Plan

The Strategic Framework Plan is a spatial representation of the key strategic directions for Yarra. It provides a visual response to our opportunities and constraints.

Learn more about the Municipal Planning Strategy

Watch the video below to learn more about the proposed Municipal Planning Strategy, or watch all of our information videos on AmendmentC269.