Melbourne’s west could transform into a $30 billion Silicon Valley-style technology hub, which would see 80,000 new jobs being created and could ease off the pressure from the CBD and inner city.

The most awaited site, dubbed as the Australia’s first smart, sustainable city, will be just south of Werribee, estimated to be 25 km west of Melbourne’s CBD.

Australian Education City is being led by a consortium, under the leadership of former Docklands Authority and Bangaroo Delivery Authority CEO John Tabart.

Jacobs is creating the long-range master plan for the new city. The architectural urban design concept on the 412-hectare greenfield site encompasses six million sqm in gross floor area of educational, commercial and residential buildings.

The completed precinct will house an estimated population of 100,000 people, support 80,000 local jobs and attract tens of thousands of commuters every day.

Combining industry and universities, the high-tech hub will fill the shortfall of skilled professional employment in the area while fostering high-value manufacturing jobs as Australia transitions from traditional industries, such as car manufacturing.

A new university will also stood in the new precinct, which will accommodate more than 40,000 international students. Art galleries and major sport facilities, a bustling city centre bordering the water and high-rise apartments are also included in the grand vision.

Richard Ebbs, who manages the relationship between Jacobs and AEC says the design “maximises mobility and community connectedness” and offers a “world-class example of sustainability”.

“As a large infill urban design project in one of the world’s most liveable cities, we have carefully designed the precinct to incorporate cutting-edge architecture, facilities and services, while respecting the character and history of the community,” he says.

“It will have a direct connection to Melbourne’s extensive transit system, a network of trails, parks and accessible open space and aggressive targets for energy use, water recycling and building performance,” he says.

Jacobs worked with the lead investor and technology partners – including IBM, Cisco, Telstra and Honeywell – to develop a “cognitive city strategy” which provides a framework for smart services.

It “also recognises the role that technology plays in enabling smart infrastructure solutions – like the ‘smart lake’ that uses intelligent systems to manage water levels based on predictive weather data and use of below-ground aquifers,” Ebbs adds.

Subject to Victorian Government approval the initial phase of development is planned for 2023 and will include the university, community and commercial components.

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