The Melbourne Model

Cross-Sectoral collaboration to address complex urban challenges


The Cities Programme was established in 2003 by the United Nations Global Compact to provide a framework for cities to advance the Ten Principles of the Compact which:

“catalyses and combines the resources of  government, business  and civil society in order to find concrete solutions to seemingly intractable urban social, economic and environmental problems”.

The Melbourne Model was developed by the Committee for Melbourne and City of Melbourne from 2001. It trialled with a group of partners in the Utility Debt Spiral project in Melbourne. Download the 2004 report (4,3 M).

cross collaborationThe model was then offered to a number of the initial city participants of the United Nation Global Compact to pilot from 2005 onwards. It was piloted in 11 cities with a diverse range of projects, see below. Some projects produced long standing results, shown in Porto Alegre and San Francisco whose models and projects continue some 15 years later.

The Melbourne Model of cross-sectoral collaboration continues to be the central platform of the Cities Programme and is promoted to all participant cities as an effective mechanism to tackle complex urban challenges.

See more on the Melbourne Model and the development of the Cities Programme in the paper published in the Journal of Corporate Citizenship by Cities Programme former Director, David Teller, The Melbourne Model: Solving Hard Urban Issues Together.


Melbourne Model Pilot Projects

Melbourne Central StationUtility Debt Spiral Project – Melbourne

Conducted between 2003-2007, the Utility Debt Spiral project worked to explore and address the relationship between the impact of utility bills and broader social issues. The ‘Melbourne Model’ of cross sectoral collaboration in tackling complex urban problems was developed from this successful innovative project.

Porto Alegre - Nova Chocolatao 2012 VW Driving up Main StreetSocial Inclusion Project – Chocolatão

The ‘Social Inclusion Project for Vila Chocolatão’ was a project of many years which worked towards the resettlement of approximately 800 residents of the inner-city Vila Chocolatão slum in Porto Alegre, Brazil. The overarching aim of the project was to restore human dignity and to provide education, training and access to employment opportunities to enable Chocolatão community members to live with independence and dignity. This was part of the preparation to resettle. It happened over a seven-year period.

1024px-As_Salt,_JordanThe Environmental Street Project – As-Salt

As-Salt suffered from over-crowdedness and congestion of roads and buildings. Social services and developmental projects were unavailable due to the deep congestion and unreflective planning. Transport was difficult to navigate and parking was scarce. Unplanned and haphazard modern progression in this old city had put at risk the heritage architecture and style of which As-Salt had become famous. The ‘Environmental Street Project’ sought cooperative efforts between governmental and civil community institutions to develop and build appropriate designs for specific areas. These included: establishing a Central Market; environmental street park; a new industrial area; all created using a comprehensive geographical information system.

1280px-Płock,_Tumskie_HillThe Grant Fund for Plock – Plock

The Grant Fund was established in 2003 with the objective to help the implementation of the Sustainable Development Strategy for the town of Plock, as adopted by the Municipal Council. The Strategy had been formulated as a result of public consultations carried out with the participation of representatives of NGOs, local administration, local businesses, and other local institutions. It aimed to create a more dynamic Plock and to improve the quality of life of the local population.

Semsvannet in Asker - Glassy LakePreventing Corruption and Unethical Behaviour by Working Together – Asker

In 2008, the City of Asker engaged in the Cities Programme. The engagement was led by the Municipality of Asker with a focus on exploring the issue of anti-corruption and unethical behaviour, consistent with the tenth principle of the Global Compact. More specifically, Asker is interested in learning about the community’s understanding of corruption and ascertaining how the municipality and key organisations could work collaboratively to measure corruption and prevent it in the future.

Dampferfahrt_Berlin_05_KraschinskiBerlin as a Health Care Centre – Berlin

This project focused on improving health management and health care services in Berlin. It provided an exchange of experience with other cities on the subjects of health care in metropolitan areas and social responsibility, a physicians’ exchange and partnerships in the area of public health management, also involves the Business Coalition against AIDs.

LeHavre (1)Sustainable Tourism – Ville du Havre

Rapidly evolving tourism practices in Le Havre had further complicated the political, social, and environmental sectors. More visitors were attracted to the area for longer periods, while the growing industry had to support an intricate system. The city and surrounding areas were made up of a complex patchwork of very diverse but complementary environments: old and new, urban and rural, industrial and natural protected areas, and towns and villages. Significant steps were continually required to protect these complimentary differences.

UlaanbaatarUrban Development – Ulaanbaatar

As there was a limited ability to provide citizens with urban services and resources to address social problems such as unemployment, the Ulaan Baatar project sought to support the exchange of urban planning experiences and good governance by creating highly developed decentralisation systems from national to local authorities. The project established an enabling environment for social and economic growth, alleviated poverty through local job creation and built institutional capacity for improved governance.

JinanfromqianfoshanJinan Traffic Safety Project – Jinan

Jinan government recognised that its transportation links are vital to the city’s urban economy development and social stability. The city aimed to become the model traffic safety city by implementing the ‘Jinan Model’. The project aimed to improve the general traffic safety as well as developing a more harmonious traffic environment in Jinan City.

Riverbank in JamshedpurBasti Water – Jamshedpur

Jamshedpur aimed to solve the issue of water sustainability in the city. Many undertakings, such as media campaigns on water conservation, water theme marches on World Water Day, and quizzes and science shows on water in schools, were initiated to gain sufficient support from the public and educate them on the importance of water in the city. The Jamshedpur project has shown ways of successfully tackling significant and seemingly intractable urban problems and has since placed proven solutions into the international learning forum.

San Francisco City LightsBusiness Council on Climate Change (BC3) – San Francisco

San Francisco’s project as a UNGCCP Innovating City had been the establishment of the Business Council on Climate Change (BC3), a partnership of 100+ San Francisco Bay Area businesses committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The objective of the project was to make San Francisco a model city for climate stewardship. The City of San Francisco adopted a Climate Action Plan in 2004, setting a greenhouse gas (ghg) reduction goal of 20% below 1990 levels by the year 2012. The City’s Global Compact project sought to inspire and enable its business and residential sectors, two of its large ghg emissions sources, to track and reduce their emissions.