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Setting the bar | World’s best
in the world – which has become both an iconic
cultural asset and a tourist attraction.
Many cities worldwide seek to emulate
Melbourne’s unique mix of European-style
cafe culture, with its hidden coffee spots and
restaurants, and its passion for sports. Three
times it has shared top position in a survey by
The Economist of the world’s most liveable cities, a
placement that is judged on the basis of a number
of attributes, including Melbourne’s broad cultural
offerings. It puts the city’s 4.08 million-strong
population in an enviable position.
Melbourne has one of the highest densities
of commercial art galleries anywhere in the
world, more than 130 art galleries and museums
(including the largest museum in the Southern
Hemishphere, Museum Victoria); it has the largest
collection of Australian art on permanent display
at the Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia; it has a
rich history of literary culture and creative talent,
and was recently appointed as a UNESCO City of
Literature, home to a third of all Australian writers
and to Australia’s publishing sector.
The city’s cultural endeavours span major events
and festivals, drama, music and musicals, comedy,
art, architecture, literature, film and television. In
addition, to the city’s own Symphony Orchestra,
Melbourne is also home to the Australian Ballet.
Melbourne is the only city in the world that
has five international standard sporting facilities
(including three with retractable roofs), on the
fringe of its central business district. Each year
Melbourne plays host to tens of thousands of
interstate and overseas visitors who come to see
the Australian Open Tennis Championships, the
Australian Grand Prix, the Australian 500CC
Motorcycle Grand Prix, Spring Racing Carnival, the
AFL Grand Final and many more special events.
Melbourne’s inventive use of city space to
accommodate its extensive cultural pursuits can
be seen from the ground up – a maze of laneways
where food, fashion and art venues are small,
quirky and sometimes hidden. You’re likely to
stumble on a late-night jazz bar, watch the world
go by from a tiny trattoria or check out urban art.
Melbourne has been placed alongside New York
and Berlin as one of the world’s great street-art
meccas, its extensive laneways, alleys and arcades
voted as Australia’s top cultural attraction by
Lonely Planet readers.
It’s even possible that the city’s unique
character comes from its grid-like plan of streets
and laneways, and the juxtaposition of historic
architecture against innovative modern buildings.
They synergise with one another, and the
architecture gives something back to the streets.
“A thriving arts and culture environment is
central to a strong and engaged community.”
Street art on Hosier Lane.
And it’s not just at street level that the action is
occurring: look to the skies for Melbourne’s high
life, where bars, cinemas and restaurants roll out
across the rooftops each summer.
Adding to the cultural diversity is a multicultural
population that has grown by approximately 50,000
people a year since 2003, and is now attracting
the largest proportion of international overseas
immigrants (48,000). It’s outpacing Sydney’s
international migrant intake on percentage, along
with having strong interstate migration from
Sydney and other capitals due to more affordable
housing and cost of living, two recent key factors
driving Melbourne’s growth.
Melbourne is a city designed to accommodate
people, which is cementing its future economic
success and ability to attract a population that will
help the city flourish.
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