Shaping our city

People-person partners with North and West Melbourne

23 June 2022

The communities of North and West Melbourne have shared their vision for the future, and neighbourhood partner Tallia Gilarry is helping make their goals a reality. 

Tallia studied anthropology, philosophy and community development, and began her career in a non-profit organisation that introduced her to concepts of social justice and the importance of connection to place.

‘I’m utterly fascinated by people, where and how we live together, and how we make sense of our world,’ Tallia said.

‘Almost every job I’ve had over the last 15 years has had “neighbourhood” in the title, and I’ve loved getting to know different pockets of Melbourne.

‘I’m drawn to the idea that neighbourhoods are these lived environments with their own distinct personalities, and we each have a relationship with these places, as well as with the people within them.’

‘Often that happens organically over time, but it’s also something that can be nurtured.’

The City of Melbourne’s new neighbourhood partner model is designed to help better represent the priorities of communities across the municipality to council, to facilitate stronger service planning and decision-making.

‘My gig is partly about knowing what’s happening in the ‘hood and who’s who, so I can broker collaboration opportunities between organisations or help neighbours lead their own local initiatives,’ Tallia said.

‘It’s a pretty awesome role. I get to meet lots of people, learn what matters to them, and join the dots.’

About our neighbourhood model

We’re working to better understand and respond to community needs in a highly localised way through a new neighbourhood model.

Led by passionate neighbourhood partners, the model aims to ‘connect the dots’ between the City of Melbourne, residents and businesses, to empower local people, build community capacity and guide city projects.

To find out more and have your say on what matters to you in your local area, visit Participate Melbourne.

Tallia is the neighbourhood partner for West Melbourne and North Melbourne.

She describes West Melbourne as an expansive postcode that includes the residential area around Flagstaff Gardens and Queen Victoria Market, and – if you follow Dynon Road – the warehouse and port facilities that rest up against the Maribyrnong River, as well as parts of the Birrarung and Moonee Ponds Creek.

She says that North Melbourne ‘has it all’, with its own football club, a village vibe around the Errol Street precinct, cult-inspiring eateries, and numerous arts and culture institutions.

‘I feel super lucky to work in this patch of the city,’ Tallia said.

‘West Melbourne is so intriguing. Every day I discover some fascinating story about its history, and the role it plays in today’s commercial and creative industries.

‘In North Melbourne, I really like how people own their public green spaces.

‘Take a stroll on a weekday and you’ll see folks hanging out on the wide grassy median strips eating their lunch or reading a book. You just don’t see these things in other suburbs.’

All of our neighbourhood partners have been working hard on a massive community consultation project to gather deep insights from local people and facilitate neighbourhood planning to determine priorities that reflect distinct local views.

In North and West Melbourne, there are major urban renewal transformations underway, which will reshape the way these neighbourhoods look, function and feel.

‘This is the nature of cities – they evolve, and I think our community is ready for the ride,’ Tallia said.

‘Overall, I look forward to building on the really strong foundations that already exist here, and perhaps make it easier for people to live more locally-based lifestyles.

‘Locals get it already, and are very proud of their connection to this area.

‘I’d love to shine a light on all these incredible neighbourhood assets for others to see: the characters, the stories, the landscapes, the spirit of this special spot.’

Visit Meet Your Neighbourhood Partners to hear from partners for other local suburbs.

A group of people smiling on a city street

Neighbourhood partners outside Melbourne Town Hall

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