What If?

This loading dock was heritage listed?
(Just like the Eastern Freeway)

After all, it  has led to:
    250,000 tonnes of delivered produce
    500 trucks a year
    28,665 pedestrians
    280 haggled prices
    2,572 bargains
    40,306 family meals
    478 barbeques
    150 pieces of gossip
    154 referrals for a plumber
    345 business deals
    2,384 handshakes
    438 nods of recognition
    129 children throwing a tanty
    29 fights over car parking
    15 third party insurance claims
    13 misguided match making schemes


Loading dock, Brunswick
37°45'42.3"S 144°57'46.7"E


The Eastern freeway was nominated for heritage listing in late 2019 as the "first example of an urban design-led road transport corridor" and "was a precursor to the present-day "aesthetic" approach to freeway design". 1

If a freeway can have "outstanding heritage value ... in exhibiting ... aesthetic characteristics valued by a community or cultural group", this then poses the question; what parts of our city have value and is infrastructure worthy of preservation?

Urban spaces and buildings that facilitate trade have always been an integral part of our cities and societies. Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne and Marché des Enfants Rouges in Paris are heritage listed and the Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo is to be rebuilt. Contemporary retail brings the consumer into the production space through brewery/beer halls, chocolatier, coffee roaster/cafe, sushi bar/restaurant.

They provide spaces where tension and differences between groups can be experienced and resolved. They are essential for the preservation of languages and social values, providing a sense of community and social cohesion. These places can be found across the whole of Melbourne wherever people eat, shop and meet. Collectively they are places that conflate local issues, power structures and culture. 

For spaces that hold such a plethora of potential, loading docks hold as much value as freeway infrastructure, heritage listed train stations and national parks.

How can public spaces be designed with these ideas in mind? How can intentional conflict be designed into shopping centres?  How can encounters of “the other”2 be designed into community centres? What would our city look like if the front of house and back of house were not separate? How do we  value other workplaces, the mechanic garage, the commercial kitchen, not just the front desk and office? What does it mean for a city to make visible services, servicing and goods as an integral part of consumerism and community?


2 Long, Colin, Kate Shaw, and Claire Merlo. 2005. Suburban Fantasies. Melbourne: Australian Scholarly Pub. p. 107-127.

Other Policies that recommend guidelines for building interfaces in the CBD and Southbank. https://participate.melbourne.vic.gov.au/amendmentc308/melbourne-design-guide