Impacts of Planned Activity Centres on Local Employment and Accessibility



Led by Dr Jennifer Day and Dr Sophie Sturup, Faculty of Architecture, Building, and Planning, University of Melbourne Victorian Government Champions: Andrew Wear, Regional Director – Metropolitan Melbourne; Acting Director – Community Investment, Regional Services, Community Development, Department of Planning and Community Development and Christine Kilmartin, Manager, Sustainability Analysis, Department of Planning and Community Development. Research Champion: Professor Bob Stimpson, Director, AURIN, The University of Melbourne.


The purpose of this tool was to develop an open-source software tool for identifying urban employment clusters, that will be accessible to anyone with a suitably-appointed computer and internet access. The tool enables governments and researchers could examine spatial employment clustering in metropolitan regions in much finer spatial units than are currently supplied by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. This project responds to a consensus among local policy makers, that Melbourne needs to adopt a multi-nodal metropolitan planning strategy in order to foster local economic development and reduce commuting. For decades, metropolitan planning strategies have sought to promote non-CBD centres in Melbourne. The tool further responds to a consensus among economic development planners that ABS data is insufficient to identify local urban clusters for analysis. We wish to understand whether spatial policies aimed at cluster development have actually resulted in employment clusters. This tool moves us toward examining those policies by providing a framework to identify whether and where local employment clusters have formed.



This project has been supported by the University of Melbourne Centre for Spatial Data Infrastructure and Land Administration (CSDILA), the Victorian Government Office of the Valuer General, the Australian National Data Service (ANDS) and the Australian Urban Research Infrastructure Network (AURIN) through the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy Program and the Education Investment Fund (EIF) Super Science Initiative.

Using the tool

  • Go to and log on via your ordinary Uni login.
  • Find the dataset you wish to use. It will need to be a shapefile with all the files combined into a single .ZIP. Here is an example Footscray dataset. You can access more coverages for NSW, SA and VIC via Cloudstor
  • Click [Select your data Upload >  enter Title and Abstract browse to zipped shape file (.zip> Upload enter Geo. Level and KeyAdd into Data Cart]
[Click to Enlarge]

[Click to Enlarge]

  • Click [Analyse your data >Specialist Tools > Employment Clustering]
  • Enter the following parameters

Input Dataset: Footscray dataset

Geo Distance Threshold:    1

Target Cluster Number:    1

Non-spatial Attribute:    C000,I000

Additional Attribute:    LGA_CODE

Non-spatial Weights: 0.5,0.5

Spatial vs Non-spatial Distance Weights: 0.5,0.5

Non-spatial Minimum Count: 1

Value Chain Mode: true

  • Open tool and click Execute
  • The algorithm will start. It could take some time if you chose a large dataset. The message “Execution of workflow is successfully completed…”
  • The data results will appear in your Select Your Data panel. Click the eye to view the results as a table.
  • Create a choropleth clicking [Visualisations > Maps, Charts and Graphs > Map Visualisations > Choropleth]
  • Enter the following parameters

Dataset: Wards Clustering (the second one),

Attribute: wardclut,

Classifier: pre-classified,

Palette: qualitative,

Centroid: false

  • Click Add Visualisation then click the eye next to the entry to view. It should look something like this:
[Click to Enlarge]

[Click to Enlarge]