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Design review

Design review is a tried and tested process that improves design outcomes in the built environment. It supports the development of better buildings and urban spaces through critical and impartial expert review, assisting projects to realise their full potential. 

The Melbourne Design Review Panel sitting together for a meeting.

Melbourne Design Review Panel

The Melbourne Design Review Panel is an expert group who provide independent design advice on city-shaping projects. The panel comprises 16 experienced architects, landscape architects and urban designers. A further nine members can be called on to provide technical expertise on topics such as heritage, sustainability and environmental design, development feasibility and Aboriginal cultural heritage.

The panel reviews the design quality of significant development proposals before they are lodged for assessment. The panel’s role is not to redesign proposals but to identify and discuss opportunities to encourage excellent design with the proponent. This process ensures a right of reply from all parties and that the advice is practical and can be implemented.

The benefits of design review include:

  • supporting excellent design outcomes
  • enabling access to independent and expert design advice early in the planning and design process
  • supporting consistent and informed planning decisions
  • facilitating positive collaboration between expert designers and developers.

The panel was refreshed in July 2023, retiring 16 panel members and welcoming 10 new members for a two-year term.

To view the current membership of the panel, visit Committees and advisory groups.

Design review

As part of the planning application process for new private developments, city designers work closely with council's statutory planners to support high quality built outcomes to help achieve design excellence.

This design referral process involves critiquing designs, assessing proposals against design guidelines and policies and often times workshopping improved outcomes with applicants, including identifying unique site opportunities with the potential to positively impact how people enjoy the city.

Each year, there are over 200 design referrals involving more than 1,000 touchpoints between council officers and applicant planners and designers.

our acknowledgement

  • Torres Strait Islander Flag
  • Aboriginal People Flag

The City of Melbourne respectfully acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the land we govern, the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung and Bunurong / Boon Wurrung peoples of the Kulin and pays respect to their Elders past and present. 


We acknowledge and honour the unbroken spiritual, cultural and political connection they have maintained to this unique place for more than 2000 generations.

We accept the invitation in the Uluru Statement from the Heart and are committed to walking together to build a better future.