Melbourne Skyline
Melbourne Skyline - ©Donaldytong (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Global Learning Village

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Main actors

Local Government, City Government, Regional Government, Supranational / Intergovernmental Institutions, Private Sector, NGO / Philanthropy

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Project area

Neighborhood or district

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Ongoing since 2007

The Global Learning Village is a concept, which aims at establishing smarter, healthier and better connected communities

The Global Learning Village (GLV) is not a place but a model for establishing smarter, healthier, and better connected communities. Using technology as one of its main instruments, the initiative aims at reinforcing social inclusion and lifelong learning in community development, restoring a sense of pride for disadvantaged or marginalized groups. The Global Learning Village Foundation promotes the Global Learning Village’s concept and mobilizes actors to concentrate efforts on community development.

The GLV model has demonstrated positive economic, social, and environmental impacts. It represents a positive example of what partnerships between government, corporate, and philanthropic sectors can achieve to improve social services for communities. The establishment of two new community hubs in the suburb of Melbourne has concretized the model and given greater impact to it. There, people can have a computer access and benefit from mentoring and training programs. It also revealed the potential of the model to adapt to different community contexts and be replicated elsewhere.

Sustainable Development Goals

Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
Reduce inequality within and among countries
Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
Melbourne , Australia

Size and population development
2011: 3,961,000; 1990: 3,117,000; 2025: 4,962,000; 2010-2015: +1.71 % per year

Population composition
world's 3rd largest Greek speaking population (city level), very diverse ethnic composition

Main functions
Capital City of the state of Victoria, leading financial centre in Australia, renowned for performing and visual arts; Melbourne is among the most livable cities in the world according to the Economist Intelligence Unit and also one of the most expensive cities.

Main industries / business
highly diversified; finance, manufacturing, IT, research, tourism

Political structure
governance of Melbourne is divided between the government of Victoria and the 26 cities and five shires that make up the metropolitan area; local councils

Administrative structure
31 local government areas or municipalities, hundreds of suburbs; 54 electoral districts, 23 divisions (national and regional elections etc.)

This project arose from a desire to change plans and attitudes from a ‘law and order’ ethos, which focuses on building police stations, courts, and prisons, to investing in community infrastructure for community building. The objective was to use new technologies as a tool to connect the disconnected population and jump the digital divide. The motto of the initiator of this initiative was “If in the past it has taken a village to raise a child, in the 21st Century each child must be globally connected”. The Global Learning Village develops a blueprint for smarter, healthier, and better-connected communities.

The independent non-profit Global Learning Village Foundation was established to coordinate, develop and promote the GLV model nationally and internationally. The strategy was implemented by securing key funding partners and persuading the Victorian Government (state) to invest a slice of its income from gambling revenue into the GLV model to help connect the disconnected by computers instead of poker machines.

The GLV was designed to provide the social infrastructure necessary for 21st Century communities in the areas most desperate for help. The GLV model is unique in its integrated strategy that:

  • Provides built infrastructure as symbols of pride in disadvantaged areas.
  • Uses technology as a tool to connect people who have been disconnected.
  • Focuses on attributes that largely determine where everyone ends up in life: attitude, education, and opportunity.
  • Delivers a sense of purpose for individuals and communities through lifelong learning.
  • Provides a range of programmes for life skills, training, and jobs that have evolved to add significant economic, social and cultural value.
  • Tailors to build infrastructure, programme delivery, and virtual communities to the wants, needs, scale, and budget of specific communities to make them sustainable.



The GLV is tailored to the specific needs of each community and scaled for sustainability.Models have been established for $1 million, $2-5 million, $8-10 million, and a new town centre model at $15 million.

Partnerships were established with the three tiers of government (Federal, State, local government), as well as sponsorship deals with major companies (Ford, Visy Board), and charitable organizations (Pratt Foundation, Scanlon Foundation). Both the RMIT University and the Melbourne University support the aims of the GLV and provide‘in-kind’ sponsorship.

The most critical partnerships were with the City of Hume (a municipality within metropolitan Melbourne) and the Victorian Government which led to the recruitment of Microsoft, Intel and Cisco for the creation of the Ideas Lab.

The GLV model promotes lifelong learning and investments in community facilities. It allows to provide young children with additional educational opportunities and to offer access to job ánd trainings opportunities to their parents.
The United Nations Global Compact Cities Programme has tested the model and its Secretariat wishes to promote it internationally. The GLV model has been acknowledged internationally and won bipartisan political support in Australia, winning two Prime Minister’s awards and a number of Victorian awards.

The main impediment was getting all the three tiers of government to cooperate.´

Once the partnership had been established, the concept and the model found support from the corporate sector. No other significant barriers or conflicts were encountered.

The establishment of the two first Global Learning Centres has had a profound impact. The plan now is to use the GLV model to retrofit other communities left behind and to use it as the foundation for the new fringe suburbs, towns, and cities required to underwrite Australia’s next era of prosperity.

The Australian Government says it wants the GLV model to be part of Australia’s biggest nation building infrastructure project, the $42 billion rollout of National Broadband Network. Various State Governments also want to adapt the GLV model. The GLV model has been specifically designed to be replicated in communities throughout the world. The built infrastructure can be established according to the wants, needs and budget of specific communities. As described above, funding models have also been designed to make the GLV sustainable.

The project should be able to be applied to other Metropolis member cities. It may be targeted at addressing a particular factor, but it should be flexible enough that it could be applied anywhere else without, of course, losing its original form.


- Integrated Urban Governance Manual

- Integrated Urban Governance Manual annex

- Global Learning Village Foundation

- Pascal International Exchanges - Hume Global Learning Village

(see the links below)

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Want to know more about this project?
Contact our community manager.

Anne Schmidt
Berlin, Germany

Anne Schmidt

Individual | Architect, urban designer, researcher

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