Collaborative Governance under Austerity: an eight city comparative case study

The Melbourne case study focused on the revitalisation process of Central Dandenong.

This case study of collaborative governance in the process of revitalisation in Central Dandenong, Melbourne formed part of a larger, comparative project funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (UK) of eight city contexts on Collaborative Governance under Austerity. These cities were initially selected to explore the differentiated ripple effects of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) in relation to governance practices. The research highlights how the relationship between austerity and collaboration varied significantly between the cities. In particular, austerity discourses and practices are common in Athens, Dublin and Leicester, while in other contexts, such as Melbourne, Nantes and Montreal, they aren’t a dominant feature of policy-making, where stimulus is an approach adopted at times. The study of particular collaborative mechanisms draws out many similarities and differences between the cases

The Melbourne case study focused on the revitalisation process of Central Dandenong, a publicly-funded renewal project with significant investmests by both the State (approx. AUS$300,000,000) and local governments (at least AUS$100,000,000 in related projects), as well as private and community sector involvement. It is emblematic of the kind of strategic and targeted interventions (e.g. 'renewal', 'neighbourhood improvement', 'revitalisation) led often by state governments in Australian cities over the last two decades.

In the media: Comeback City? Lessons from revitalising a diverse place like Dandenong, The Conversation, 2 December 2019

Research Briefing

Executive Summary

This Research Briefing shares lessons learnt about the experience of revitalisation in Central Dandenong,
Melbourne. The key messages are for policymakers as well as community and business leaders concerned about revitalisation, especially in culturally diverse centres suffering from urban decline. Our research on Central Dandenong was conducted as part of a comparative study of seven other European and North American city experiences and offers insights for both Australian and international contexts. Overall, we found that both the Victorian Government and City of Greater Dandenong (CGD) along with the strongly connected private and community sectors have delivered strong advancements in revitalisation since 2005 with some areas of work that require ongoing and deeper attention to realise the benefits of the public investment made.


Prof Helen Sullivan
Crawford School of Public Policy
Australian National University

Prof Brendan Gleeson
Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute

Dr Hayley Henderson
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Crawford School of Public Policy
Australian National University