Visiting: Guildford Lane

Greening your Laneways

Not everyone is lucky as I am!

When I open my blinds in the morning I am greeted by a view of open ground, green trees and, in the background, Mount Macedon. Although some of the main streets in Melbourne feature a leafy canopy providing shade from the summer sun and soften the otherwise hard cityscape of concrete and glass, the many backstreets and laneways offer no such relief.

This no doubt was one of the drivers behind Melbourne’s ‘Green your Laneways’ initiative. In 2017, the program started with four laneways being selected to transform them into leafy, green and useable spaces for everyone to enjoy. With substantial input from the local communities, the results speak for themselves. Complementing the famous street art laneways, they have become destinations for walking tours, photography tours and wedding photographers.

To date, out of more than two hundred CBD laneways, only four have implemented successful projects. I recently visited one of these – Guildford Lane, tucked in the Latrobe Street, Little Lonsdale Street, Elizabeth Street, Queen Street block.

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At a macro level, the planting successfully softened the hard lines of the stone facades of the buildings along the lane, but I was more interested in the relationship between the individual plant groupings and the backdrops of introduced artefacts, the aging infrastructure and individual design features, as illustrated in the following images.

Coromandel Place, Katherine Place and Meyers Place are the other laneways worthy of visiting the next time you have a spare 15 minutes – you may even find a café to entice you to linger even longer over a coffee.

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