chapter  2
Edge of centre: Australian cities and the public architecture of recent immigrant communities
ByDavid Beynon
Pages 14

In the late 1990s, the author undertook a survey of the public architecture of nonWestern immigrant communities in Melbourne (Beynon 2002). The survey was undertaken within a social context of rapid recent growth in non-Western immigration to Australian cities, coupled with a political context where at state and local level Australian governments were engaged in managing cultural diversity through multiculturalist policies. By the late 1990s, the number of overseas-born, or with overseas-born parentage, had become almost 40% of Australia’s total population (Australian Bureau of Statistics 1998-89). Substantial numbers of such immigrants originated from outside the ‘West’. Compared to other Australian cities, Melbourne had at the time of the survey the largest communities of certain birthplace groups: notably Sri Lankans, Malaysians, Turks and Somalis. The purpose of this survey was to see to what extent Melbourne’s diversifying demography had changed its architectural landscape, and more broadly, what such changes in the built environment indicated about Melbourne’s (and by extension Australia’s) cultural identity.