World Economic Forum

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Posted by sonny 03/22/2009 @ 01:07

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World Economic Forum on Mideast kicks off in Jordan - Xinhua
SHUNEH, Jordan, May 15 (Xinhua) -- The World Economic Forum (WEF) on the Middle East kicked off by the Dead Sea in Jordan on Friday to discuss the region's response to the worst economic crisis in at least half a century. "We need to look back to the...
Arab leaders split over peace moves - Jerusalem Post
"They must not meet with him if building in the settlements continues and if demolitions of homes in Arab villages continue," Moussa said at the World Economic Forum in Shuneh, Jordan, on Sunday. "This will change the demographic balance and undermine...
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Proteus embeds computers and sensors into proven therapeutic products, drugs and devices and recently was honored with the 2009 Technology Pioneer Award by the World Economic Forum. Proteus takes an existing therapy like a pacemaker and improves its...
Adrian Monck to Head World Economic Forum Communications Team - lifepr.de (Pressemitteilung)
The World Economic Forum is pleased to announce that Adrian Monck will join the Forum as Managing Director and Head of Communications in August. An award-winning journalist, author, commentator and social media expert, he leaves his post as Head of...
Audi Centre Jordan provides World Economic Forum with 14 Audi ... - AME Info
As a continuation of its previous partnerships, Audi Center Jordan represented by Nuqul Automotive, recently collaborated with the World Economic Forum to provide a fleet of twelve Audi A8 and two Audi Q7 to shuttle its official delegates....
ECONOMIC FORUM: 'This is going to get worse' - Las Vegas Review - Journal
Before the bygone real estate boom imploded, the convention attracted as many as 50000 attendees from around the world. On Monday morning, however, about 27000 had signed in, 3000 fewer than organizers had hoped would attend....
Top news Middle Urals: Russian Economic Forum, The World Bank - УралПолит.Ru
Russian Economic Forum was held in Ekaterinburg last week. Observers view it as a rehearsal of the summit of Shanghai Cooperation Organization. More public attention has been focused on the problem of preservation of the architectural monuments in the...
The Three-State Solution: East Palestine, West Palestine and Israel - Huffington Post
On Sunday I sat in a small room with 40 or so Young Global Leaders during the 2009 World Economic Forum on the Middle East. Among us were Israelis, Palestinians, Jordanians and a host of international and regional figures. This was the last event after...
Israel's Peres Says Time Has Come for Regional Peace - Bloomberg
Peres, who spoke at the closing session of the World Economic Forum in Jordan, said that the “time has come to make peace on a regional level.” The three-day annual meeting attracted 1400 business leaders, including executives, central bank governors...
Mayor RICHARD M. DALEY Co-host of WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM (WEF) Event ... - PR Leap (press release)
COM) Chicago, IL, 05/12/09 – The CITY OF CHICAGO's Office of Compliance reports that Mayor Richard M. Daley co-hosted a World Economic Forum (WEF) event in Chicago with Samuel A. DiPiazza Jr., CEO, PricewaterhouseCoopers International....

World Economic Forum

World Economic Forum logo.svg

The World Economic Forum (WEF) is a Geneva-based non-profit foundation best known for its annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland which brings together top business leaders, international political leaders, selected intellectuals and journalists to discuss the most pressing issues facing the world including health and the environment. The Forum also organizes the "Annual Meeting of the New Champions" in China and a series of regional meetings throughout the year. In 2008 those regional meetings included meetings on Europe and Central Asia, East Asia, the Russia CEO Roundtable, Africa, the Middle East, and the World Economic Forum on Latin America. In 2008 it launched the "Inaugural Summit on the Global Agenda" in Dubai, where 700 of the world's sector experts related to 68 global challenges identified by the Forum.

The World Economic Forum was founded in 1971 by Klaus M. Schwab, a business professor in Switzerland. Beyond meetings, the Forum produces a series of research reports and engages its members in sector specific initiatives.

The Forum is headquartered in Cologny, Geneva, Switzerland. In 2006 the Forum opened regional offices in Beijing, China and New York, USA. It is impartial and not-for-profit and is not tied to any political, partisan or national interests. It has observer status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council and is under the supervision of the Swiss Federal Government. Its highest governance body is the Foundation Board consisting of 22 members including former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Queen Rania of Jordan. The Forum’s mission is "committed to improving the State of the World".

During the five-day Annual meeting in 2009, over 2,500 participants from 91 countries will gather in Davos. Around 75% are business leaders, drawn principally from the Forum's members – 1,000 of the foremost companies from around the world and across economic sectors.

More than 1,170 CEOs and chairpersons from the world’s leading companies are participating in 2009.

Other major categories of participants from around the world include: 219 public figures, including 40 heads of state or government, 64 cabinet ministers, 30 heads or senior officials of international organizations and 10 ambassadors. More than 432 participants from civil society including 32 heads or representatives of non-governmental organizations, 225 media leaders, 149 leaders from academic institutions and think tanks, 15 religious leaders of different faiths and 11 union leaders.

The Forum is funded by its 1000 member companies. The typical member company is a global enterprise with more than five billion dollars in turnover, although the latter can vary by industry and region. In addition, these enterprises rank among the top companies within their industry and/or country and play a leading role in shaping the future of their industry and/or region. As of 2005, each member company pays a basic annual membership fee of CHF 42,500 and a CHF 18,000 Annual Meeting fee which covers the participation of its CEO at the Annual Meeting in Davos. Industry Partners and Strategic Partners pay CHF 250,000 and CHF 500,000 respectively allowing them to play a greater role in the Forum’s initiatives.

In addition, these enterprises rank among the top companies within their industry and/or country (generally based on turnover in millions of US dollars; for financial institutions the criteria is based on assets) and play a leading role in shaping the future of their industry and/or region, as judged by the Forum's selection committee.

Industry Partners come from a broad range of business sectors, including construction, aviation, technology, tourism, food and beverage, engineering, and financial services. These companies are alert to the global issues that most affect their specific industry sector.

The Forum’s flagship event is the Annual Meeting held every year at the end of January in Davos. The meeting in the Swiss alpine resort brings together CEOs from the Forum’s 1000 member companies as well as selected politicians, representatives from academia, NGOs, religious leaders and the media. Participation at the Annual Meeting is by invitation only. Around 2200 participants gather for the five-day event and attend some 220 sessions in the official programme. The discussions focus around key issues of global concern (such as international conflicts, poverty and environmental problems) and possible solutions. In all about 500 journalists from online, print, radio and TV take part in the Annual Meeting. The media has access to all of the sessions in the official program, some of which are also webcast .

All plenary debates from Davos are also available on YouTube, pictures are available for free at Flickr and the key quotes are available on Twitter. In 2007 the Forum opened pages on social media platforms such as MySpace and Facebook. At the Annual Meeting 2009 the Forum invited the general public to participate in the Davos Debates on YouTube allowing one user to attend the Annual Meeting in person. In 2008 the Davos Question on YouTube allowed YouTube users to interact with the world leaders gathered in Davos who were encouraged to reply from a YouTube Video Corner at the congress centre. In 2008 press conferences are live streamed on Qik and Mogulus allowing anyone to put questions to the speakers. In 2006 and 2007 selected participants were interviewed in, and the closing session was streamed into, Reuters’ auditorium in Second Life.

In 2008, some 250 public figures (head of state or government, cabinet ministers, ambassadors, heads or senior officials of international organization) attended the Annual Meeting, including: Abdoulaye Wade, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Álvaro Uribe Vélez, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Ban Ki-moon, Condoleezza Rice, Ferenc Gyurcsany, François Fillon, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Gordon Brown, Hamid Karzai, Ilham Aliyev, Jan Peter Balkenende, Lee Bollinger, Lee Hsien Loong, Pervez Musharraf, Queen Rania of Jordan, Salam Fayyad, Sali Berisha, Shimon Peres, Umaru Musa Yar'adua, Valdas Adamkus, Yasuo Fukuda, Viktor A. Yushchenko and Zeng Peiyan.

Al Gore, Bill Clinton, Bill Gates, Michael Wolf, Bono, Paulo Coelho and Tony Blair are also regular Davos attendees. Past attendees include Angela Merkel, Dmitry Medvedev, Henry Kissinger, Nelson Mandela, Raymond Barre, and Yasser Arafat.

The participants at the Annual Meeting were described as “Davos Man” by Samuel Huntington, referring to a global elite whose members view themselves as completely international.

In 2007, the Forum established the “Annual Meeting of the New Champions” (also sometimes called "Summer Davos") held annually in China. This is a meeting for what the Forum calls the “Global Growth Companies”. These are business champions primarily from rapidly growing emerging countries, such as China, India, Russia and Brazil but also including fast movers from developed countries. The meeting also engages with the next generation of global leaders, fast-growing regions, competitive cities and technology pioneers from around the globe.

Every year some ten regional meetings take place, enabling close contact between corporate business leaders, local government leaders and NGOs. Meetings are held in Africa, East Asia, Latin America and the Middle East The mix of hosting countries varies from year to year, but China and India have hosted consistently over the past decade.

In 2005 the Forum has established the community of Young Global Leaders, successor to the Global Leaders of Tomorrow consisting of under 40 year old leaders from all around the world and a myriad of disciplines and sectors. The leaders engage in the ‘2030 Initiative’ - the creation of an action plan for how to reach the vision of what the world could be like in 2030. Among the Young Global Leaders are: Among the Young Global Leaders are Shai Agassi, Anousheh Ansari, Maria Consuelo Araujo, Lera Auerbach, Sergey Brin, Tyler Brûlé, Patrick Chappatte, Olafur Eliasson, Rahul Gandhi, Crown Prince Haakon of Norway, Silvana Koch-Mehrin, Tariq Krim, Irshad Manji, Princess Mathilde of Belgium, Aditya Mittal, Gavin Newsom, Larry Page, Andrea Sanke, Anoushka Shankar, Peter Thiel, Karim Meïssa Wade, Jimmy Wales, Niklas Zennström et al. New members are selected on a yearly basis and the Forum of Young Global Leaders will count 1111 members.

Since 2000, the Forum has been promoting models developed by the world’s leading social entrepreneurs in close collaboration with the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship. The Foundation highlights social entrepreneurship as a key element to advance societies and address social problems. Selected social entrepreneurs are invited to participate in the regional meetings and the Annual Meetings of the Forum where they have a chance to meet chief executives and senior government officials. At the Annual Meeting 2003, for example, Jeroo Bilimoria met Roberto Blois, deputy secretary-general of the International Telecommunication Union, an encounter that produced a key partnership for her organization Child Helpline International.

The Forum also serves as a think tank and publishes a wide range of reports which focused on issues of concern and importance to Forum communities. In particular, the Forum's Strategic Insight Teams focus on producing reports of relevance in the fields of competitiveness, global risks and scenario thinking.

The Competitiveness Team produces a range of annual economic reports (first published in brackets): the Global Competitiveness Report (1979) measures competitiveness of countries and economies; The Global Information Technology Report (2001) assesses their competitiveness based on their IT readiness; the Global Gender Gap Report (2005) examines critical areas of inequality between men and women; the Global Risks Report (2006) assesses key global risks; the Global Travel and Tourism Report (2007) measures travel and tourism competitiveness and the Global Enabling Trade Report (2008) presents a cross-country analysis of the large number of measures facilitating trade between nations.

The Global Risk Network produces a yearly report assessing those risks which are deemed to be global in scope, have cross-industry relevance, are uncertain, have the potential to cause upwards of US$ 10 billion in economic damage, have the potential to cause major human suffering and which require a multistakeholder approach for mitigation.

The Scenario Planning team develops a range of regional, industry-focused and issue-specific scenario reports designed to challenge readers' assumptions, raise awareness of critical underlying factors and stimulate fresh thinking about the future. Recent reports include a major publication on possible near- and long-term impacts of the global financial crisis of 2008–2009, The Future of the Global Financial System: A Near-Term Outlook and Long-Term Scenarios and scenarios on the impact of demographic shifts on pension and healthcare financing, Financing Demographic Shifts: Pension and Healthcare Scenarios to 2030.

The Global Health Initiative (GHI) was launched by Kofi Annan at the Annual Meeting in 2002. The GHI’s mission is to engage businesses in public-private partnerships to tackle HIV/AIDS, TB, Malaria and Health Systems.

The Global Education Initiative (GEI), launched during the Annual Meeting in 2003, has brought together international IT companies and governments in Jordan, Egypt and India which has resulted in new PC hardware in the classrooms and more local teachers trained in e-learning. This is having a real impact on the lives of children. The GEI model which is scalable and sustainable is now being used as an educational blueprint in other countries including Rwanda.

The Environmental Initiative covers Climate Change and Water. Under the “Gleneagles Dialogue on Climate Change”, the UK government asked the World Economic Forum at the G8 Summit in Gleneagles in 2005 to facilitate a dialogue with the business community to develop recommendations for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This set of recommendations, endorsed by a global group of CEOs, was presented to leaders ahead of the G8 Summit in Toyako/Hokkaido held in July 2008.

The Water Initiative brings together different stakeholders like Alcan Inc., the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, USAID India, UNDP India, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Government of Rajasthan and the NEPAD Business Foundation to develop public-private partnerships on water management in South Africa and India.

In an effort to combat corruption, the Partnering Against Corruption Initiative (PACI) was launched by CEOs from the Engineering and Construction, Energy and Metals and Mining industries at the Annual Meeting in Davos in January 2004. PACI is a platform for peer exchange on practical experience and dilemma situations. Some 140 companies have signed.

The Technology Pioneers Programme recognizes companies all over the world designing and developing new technologies. The award is given to 30-50 companies each year. As of 2008, 391 companies have been so recognized. The award was first given in 2003.

In line with the World Economic Forum’s commitment to improving the state of the world, the Tech Pioneers are integrated into its activities with the objective to identify and address future-oriented issues on the global agenda, in proactive, innovative and entrepreneurial ways. By bringing these executives together with scientists, academics, NGOs, and Forum members and partners, the Forum's goal is to shed new light on how technologies can be used to, for example, find new vaccines, create economic growth and enhance global communication.

In 1971, Klaus M. Schwab, then Professor of business policy at the University of Geneva, invited 444 executives from Western European firms to the first European Management Symposium held in the recently built Davos Congress Centre. Under the patronage of the European Commission and European industrial associations Schwab wanted to introduce European firms to US management practices. He then founded the European Management Forum as a non-profit organization based in Geneva and drew European business leaders to Davos for their annual meeting each January.

Schwab developed the "stakeholder" management approach which based corporate success on managers taking account of all interests: not merely shareholders, clients and customers, but employees and the communities within which the firm is situated, including governments. Events in 1973, namely the collapse of the Bretton Woods fixed exchange rate mechanism and the Arab-Israeli War saw the annual meeting expand its focus from management to economic and social issues, and political leaders were invited for the first time to Davos in January 1974.

The European Management Forum changed its name to the World Economic Forum in 1987 and sought to broaden its vision further to include providing a platform for resolving international conflicts. Political leaders have used Davos as a neutral platform to resolve their differences. The "Davos Declaration" was signed in 1988 by Greece and Turkey which saw them turn back from the brink of war. In 1992, South African President F. W. de Klerk met Nelson Mandela and Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi at the Annual Meeting, their first joint appearance outside South Africa. At 1994’s Annual Meeting, Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat reach a draft agreement on Gaza and Jericho. In 2008 Bill Gates held a keynote speech on ‘Creative Capitalism’ – the form of capitalism that works both to generate profits and solve the world’s inequities, using market forces to better address the needs of the poor. In 2009 a remark by Turkish PM Erdogan that "When it comes to killing, you know well how to kill" to Israeli President Peres.

In the late 1990s the Forum, as well as the G7, World Bank, WTO and the IMF, came under heavy criticism by anti-globalisation activists who claim capitalism and globalization are increasing poverty and destroying the environment. 1500 demonstrators disrupted the World Economic Forum in Melbourne, Australia, obstructing the passage of 200 delegates to the meeting. Demonstrations are repeatedly held in Davos to protest against the meeting of “fat cats in the snow” as rock singer Bono tongue-in-cheek termed it.

In January 2000, 1,000 protestors marched through Davos and during the demonstrations the window of the local McDonald's was smashed. The tight security measures around Davos have kept demonstrators away from accessing the Alpine resort and most demonstrations are now held in Zürich, Bern or Basel. The costs of the security measures which are shared by the Forum and the Swiss cantonal and national authorities have also been frequently criticised in the Swiss national media.

Starting at the Annual Meeting in January 2003 in Davos, an Open Forum Davos was held in parallel with the main Annual Meeting opening up the debate about globalisation to the general public. The Open Forum has been held in the local high school every year featuring top politicians and business leaders and is open to all members of the public free of charge.

The Annual Meeting has also been decried as a “mix of pomp and platitude” and criticized for moving away from serious economics and accomplishing little of substance, particularly with the increasing involvement of NGOs that have little or no expertise in economics. Instead of a discussion on the world economy with knowledgeable experts alongside key business and political players, Davos now features the top media political causes of the day (such as global climate change and AIDS in Africa).

ISBN 0812930428, 336 pages.

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16th World Economic Forum on Africa

The 16th World Economic Forum on Africa: Going for Growth was a World Economic Forum economic summit held in Cape Town, South Africa, from May 31 to June 2, 2006. The summit is hosting 650 political and business leaders from 39 countries, focusing particularly on the surge of African commodity prices. It is also to examine issues relating to promoting investment, improving world opinion, hunger, sustainable development, and offer specific initiatives to address these and other economic issues facing part of or the entire continent.

Thabo Mbeki, President of South Africa and host; Armando Guebuza, President of Mozambique; Jakaya Kikwete, President of Tanzania; Syamal Gupta, Chairman of Tata International, India; Jim Goodnight, Chief Executive Officer, SAS Institute, United States; Maria Ramos, CEO of Transnet, South Africa; Charles Soludo, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria; and others.

This new mixed public-private venture is intended as a mechanism to promote investment in the continent.

This initiative is designed to address and improve on the generally negative perceptions suffered by the African continent.

This WEF taskforce is set to test a pilot model for developing grid and off-grid electrification for different parts of the continent.

This proposal is designed toward promoting a mixed private-public healthcare system in sub-Saharan Africa.

The PACI is intended to curb corruption, by having businesses commit to a "zero tolerance" of corruption principles.

This initiative is set to expand private participation in Southern African water resources and needs.

The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship is to announce the South African Social Entrepreneur of 2006.

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Melbourne

The location of Melbourne

Melbourne (pronounced /ˈmelbən/) is the more common name for the geographic region and statistical division of the Greater Melbourne metropolitan area. It is the second most populous city in Australia, with a population of approximately 3.8 million (2007 estimate) and serves as the state capital of Victoria. Melbourne is located on the lower reaches of the Yarra River and on the northern and eastern shorelines of Port Phillip and their hinterland.

A tiny pastoral town established by settlers from Van Diemen's Land around the estuary of the Yarra (47 years after the first European settlement of Australia) was rapidly transformed into a wealthy metropolis by the Victorian gold rush and immigration. By 1865, Melbourne had become Australia's largest and most important city, and by the 1880s "Marvellous Melbourne" was one of the largest and richest cities in the world.

Many international and national conferences and events have been held in Melbourne, including the 1956 Summer Olympics and the 2006 Commonwealth Games, the 1981 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting the World Economic Forum in 2000, and the 2006 G20 summit.

Melbourne is a major centre of commerce, education, tourism, the arts and cultural activities, and also industry. It is consistently ranked one of the most liveable cities in the world. The city is recognised as Australia's 'sporting and cultural capital' and it is home to many of the nation's most significant cultural and sporting events and institutions. It has been recognised by Emporis as a Major World City (beta) and gamma world city by the Loughborough University group's 1999 inventory. Melbourne is notable for its mix of Victorian and contemporary architecture, its extensive tram network and Victorian parks and gardens, as well as its diverse, multicultural society.

Before the arrival of European settlers, the area was occupied for an estimated 31,000 to 40,000 years by under 20,000 hunter-gatherers from three indigenous regional tribes: the Wurundjeri, Boonwurrung and Wathaurong, for at least 31,000 years. The area was an important meeting place for clans and territories of the Kulin nation alliance as well as a vital source of food and water. The first European settlement in Victoria was established in 1803 on Sullivan Bay, near present-day Sorrento, but this settlement was abandoned due to a perceived lack of resources. It would be 30 years before another settlement was attempted.

In May and June 1835, the area that is now central and northern Melbourne was explored by John Batman, a leading member of the Port Phillip Association, who negotiated a transaction for 600,000 acres (2,400 km2; 940 sq mi) of land from eight Wurundjeri elders. Batman selected a site on the northern bank of the Yarra River, declaring that "this will be the place for a village", and returned to Launceston in Tasmania (then known as Van Diemen's Land). However, by the time a settlement party from the Association arrived to establish the new village, a separate group led by John Pascoe Fawkner had already arrived aboard the Enterprize and established a settlement at the same location, on 30 August 1835. The two groups ultimately agreed to share the settlement.

Batman's Treaty with the Aborigines was annulled by the New South Wales government (then governing all of eastern mainland Australia), which compensated the Association. Although this meant the settlers were now trespassing on Crown land, the government reluctantly accepted the settlers' fait accompli and allowed the town (known at first by various names, including 'Bearbrass') to remain.

In 1836, Governor Bourke declared the city the administrative capital of the Port Phillip District of New South Wales, and commissioned the first plan for the Hoddle Grid in 1837. Later that year, the settlement was named Melbourne after the British prime minister William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne, who resided in the village of Melbourne in Derbyshire. Melbourne was declared a city by letters patent of Queen Victoria, issued on 25 June 1847. The Port Phillip District became a separate colony of Victoria in 1851 with Melbourne as its capital.

Before the arrival of white settlers, the indigenous population in the district was estimated at 15,000, but following settlement the number had fallen to less than 800, and continued to decline with an estimated 80% decrease by 1863, due primarily to introduced diseases, particularly smallpox.

The discovery of gold in Victoria in the 1850s led to the Victorian gold rush, and the rapid growth of the city, which provided most service industries and served as the major port for the region. During the optimistic 1850s and 1860s, the construction of many of Melbourne's institutional buildings began, including Parliament House, the Treasury Buildings, the State Library, Supreme Court, University, General Post Office, and Government House, as well as St Paul's and St Patrick's cathedrals. The city's inner suburbs were planned, to be linked by boulevards and gardens. Melbourne had become a major finance centre, home to several banks and to Australia's first stock exchange in 1861.

By the 1880s, Melbourne's boom was peaking. The city had become the second largest in the British Empire (after London), and the richest in the world. During this prosperous decade, Melbourne hosted five international exhibitions in the large purpose-built Exhibition Building.

During an 1885 visit, English journalist George Augustus Henry Sala coined the phrase "Marvellous Melbourne", which stuck long into the twentieth century. Growing building activity culminated in the "Land Boom" which in 1888 reached a peak of speculative development fuelled by optimism and escalating property prices. As a result of the boom, high-rise offices, commercial buildings, coffee palaces, terrace housing and palatial mansions proliferated in the city. This period also saw the expansion of a major radial rail-based transport network.

The brash boosterism which typified Melbourne during this time came to a halt in 1891 when the start of a severe depression hit the city's economy, sending the local finance and property industries into chaos during which 16 small banks and building societies collapsed and 133 limited companies went into liquidation. The Melbourne financial crisis helped trigger the Australian economic depression of 1890s and the Australian banking crisis of 1893. The effects of the depression on the city were profound, although it did continue to grow slowly during the early twentieth century.

At the time of Australia's federation on 1 January 1901, Melbourne became the temporary seat of government of the federation. The first federal parliament was convened on 9 May 1901 in the Royal Exhibition Building, where it was located until 1927, when it was moved to Canberra. The governor-general remained at Government House until 1930 and many major national institutions remained in Melbourne well into the twentieth century. While Sydney had overtaken Melbourne in size, Melbourne's transport networks were more extensive. Flinders Street Station was the world's busiest passenger station in 1927 and Melbourne's tram network overtook Sydney's to become the worlds largest in the 1940s. During World War II, Melbourne industries thrived on wartime production and the city became Australia's leading manufacturing centre.

After the war, Melbourne expanded rapidly, its growth boosted by an influx of immigrants and the prestige of hosting the Olympic Games in 1956. The post-war period saw a major urban renewal of the CBD and St Kilda Road which significantly modernised the city. New Melbourne City Council fire regulations and redevelopment saw most of the taller pre-war CBD buildings demolished, despite the efforts of the National Trust of Victoria and the Save Collins Street movement. Many of the larger suburban mansions from the boom era were either demolished or subdivided. The signs of Whelan the Wrecker became a symbol of Melbourne's progressive spirit during this era. To counter the trend towards low-density suburban residential growth, the government began a series of controversial "slum reclamation" public housing projects in the inner city which resulted in demolition of many neighbourhoods and a proliferation of high-rise housing-commission towers. In later years, increasing motor traffic led to major freeway development, causing the city to sprawl outwards. Under premier Henry Bolte, road projects including the Eastern Freeway, Monash Freeway, Tullamarine Freeway and the remodelling of St Kilda Junction changed the face of the city.

Australia's financial and mining booms between 1969 and 1970 resulted in establishment of the headquarters of many major companies (BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto, among others) in the city. Nauru's then booming economy fuelled several ambitious investments in Melbourne, such as Nauru House. Melbourne remained Australia's business and financial capital until the late 1970s, when it began to lose this primacy to Sydney.

As the centre of Australia's "rust belt", Melbourne experienced the worst of Victoria's economic slump between 1989 to 1992, following the collapse of several of its financial institutions. In 1992 the newly elected Kennett Coalition government began a campaign to revive the economy with an aggressive development campaign of public works centred on Melbourne and the promotion of the city as a tourist destination with a focus on major events and sports tourism, attracting the Australian Grand Prix to the city. Major projects included the Melbourne Museum, Federation Square, the Melbourne Exhibition and Convention Centre, Crown Casino and CityLink tollway. Other strategies included the privatisation of some of Melbourne's services, including power and public transport, but also a reduction in funding to public services such as health and education.

Since 1997, Melbourne has maintained significant population and employment growth. There has been substantial international investment in the city's industries and property market. Major inner-city urban renewal has occurred in areas such as Southbank, Port Melbourne, Melbourne Docklands and, more recently, South Wharf.

Figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed that Melbourne sustained the highest population increase and economic growth rate of any Australian capital city in the three years ended June 2004.

Melbourne is located in the south-eastern part of mainland Australia, within the state of Victoria. Geologically, it is built on the confluence of Quaternary lava flows to the west, Silurian mudstones to the east, and Holocene sand accumulation to the southeast along Port Phillip.

Melbourne extends along the Yarra through the Yarra Valley toward the Dandenong Ranges and Yarra Ranges to the east. It extends northward through the undulating bushland valleys of the Yarra's tributaries - Moonee Ponds Creek (toward Tullamarine Airport), Merri Creek, Darebin Creek and Plenty River to the outer suburban growth corridors of Craigieburn and Whittlesea. The city sprawls south-east through Dandenong to the growth corridor of Pakenham towards West Gippsland, and southward through the Dandenong Creek valley, the Mornington Peninsula and the city of Frankston taking in the peaks of Olivers Hill, Mount Martha and Arthurs Seat, extending along the shores of Port Phillip as a single conurbation to reach the exclusive suburb of Portsea and Point Nepean. In the west, it extends along the Maribyrnong River and its tributaries north towards Sunbury and the foothills of the Macedon Ranges, and along the flat volcanic plain country towards Melton in the west, Werribee at the foothills of the You Yangs volcanic peaks and Geelong as part of the greater metropolitan area to the south-west.

Melbourne's major bayside beaches are located in the south-eastern suburbs along the shores of Port Phillip Bay, in areas like Port Melbourne, Albert Park, St Kilda, Elwood, Brighton, Sandringham, Mentone and Frankston although there are beaches in the western suburbs of Altona and Williamstown. The nearest surf beaches are located 85 kilometres (53 mi) south-east of the Melbourne CBD in the back-beaches of Rye, Sorrento and Portsea.

Melbourne has a moderate oceanic climate (Köppen climate classification Cfb). and is well known for its changeable weather conditions. This is due in part to the city's flat topography, its situation on Port Phillip, and the presence of the Dandenong Ranges to the east, a combination that creates weather systems that often circle the bay. The phrase "four seasons in one day" is part of popular culture and observed by many visitors to the city.

Melbourne is colder than other mainland Australian state capital cities in the winter. The lowest maximum on record is 4.4 °C (39.9 °F), on 4 July 1901. However, snowfalls are extremely rare: the most recent occurrence of sleet in the CBD was on 25 July 1986 and the most recent snowfalls in the outer eastern suburbs and Mount Dandenong were on 10 August 2005, 15 November 2006, 25 December 2006 and 10 August 2008. More commonly, Melbourne experiences frosts and fog in winter.

During the spring, Melbourne commonly enjoys extended periods of mild weather and clear skies. On average, Melbourne is not as hot as more northern cities such as Sydney or Brisbane in summer, but occasionally experiences hotter and drier summer days, with maximum temperatures above 40 °C (104 °F) when northerly winds blow dry air from the arid Mallee region.

Like many urban environments, Melbourne faces some significant environmental issues. One such issue is water usage, drought and low rainfall. Drought in Victoria, low rainfalls and high temperatures deplete Melbourne water supplies and climate change will have a long-term impact on the water supplies of Melbourne.Melbourne has been in a drought since 1997. In response to low water supply's and low rainfall due to drought, the government implemented water restrictions and a range of other options including: water recycling schemes for the city, incentives for household water tanks, greywater systems, water consumption awareness initiatives, and other water saving and reuse initiatives; also, in June 2007, the Bracks Government announced that a $3.1 billion Wonthaggi desalination plant would be built on Victoria's south-east coast, capable of treating 150 billion litres of water per year, as well as a 70 km (43 mi) pipeline from the Goulburn area in Victoria's north to Melbourne and a new water pipeline linking Melbourne and Geelong.

In response to Attribution of recent climate change, the City of Melbourne, in 2002, set a target to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2020 however not all metropolitan municipalities have followed, with the City of Glen Eira notably deciding not to be carbon neutral.

Melbourne has one of the highest urban footprints in the world due to its low density housing, suburban sprawl, and car dependence due to minimal public transport outside of the inner city. Much of the vegetation within the city are non-native species, most of European origin, and in many cases plays host to invasive species and noxious weeds. Significant introduced urban pests include the Common Myna, Feral Pigeon, Common Starling, Brown Rat, European Wasp, and Red Fox. Many outlying suburbs, particularly those in the Yarra Valley and the hills to the north-east and east, have gone for extended periods without regenerative fires leading to a lack of saplings and undergrowth in urbanised native bushland, the Department of Sustainability and Environment partially addresses this problem by regularly burning off. Several national parks have been designated around the urban area of Melbourne, including the Mornington Peninsula National Park, Port Phillip Heads Marine National Park and Point Nepean National Park in the south east, Organ Pipes National Park to the north and Dandenong Ranges National Park to the east. There are also a number of significant state parks just outside Melbourne.

Responsibility for regulating pollution falls under the jurisdiction of the EPA Victoria and several local councils. Air pollution, by world standards, is classified as being good, however summer and autumn are the worst times of year for atmospheric haze in the urban area.

Another current environmental issue in Melbourne is the Victorian government project of channel deepening Melbourne Ports by dredging Port Phillip Bay - the Port Phillip Channel Deepening Project. It is subject to controversy and strict regulations among fears that beaches and marine wildlife could be affected by the disturbance of heavy metals and other industrial sediments. Other major pollution problems in Melbourne include levels of bacteria including E-coli in the Yarra River and its tributaries caused by septic systems, as well as up to 350,000 cigarette butts entering the storm water runoff every day. Several programs are being implemented to minimise beach and river pollution.

The original city (known today as the central business district or CBD) is laid out in the Hoddle Grid (dimensions of 1 by 0.5 miles (1.6 km × 0.80 km)), its southern edge fronting onto the Yarra. The city centre is well known for its historic and attractive lanes and arcades (the most notable of which are Block Place and Royal Arcade) which contain a variety of shops and cafes. The Melbourne CBD, compared with other Australian cities has comparatively unrestrictive height limits and as the result of waves of post war development contains five of the six tallest buildings in Australia, the tallest of these being the Eureka Tower. Prior to the Eureka tower, the Rialto tower was the tallest building in the CBD, which still has an observation deck which is open for the visitors. The CBD and surrounds also contain many significant historic buildings such as the Royal Exhibition Building, the Melbourne Town Hall and Parliament House. Although the area is described as the centre, it is not actually the demographic centre of Melbourne at all, due to an urban sprawl to the south east, the demographic centre being located at Bourne St, Glen Iris.

Melbourne is typical of Australian capital cities in that after the turn of the 20th century, it expanded with the underlying notion of a 'quarter acre home and garden' for every family, often referred to locally as the Australian Dream. Much of metropolitan Melbourne is accordingly characterised by low density sprawl. The provision of an extensive passenger railway and tram service in the earlier years of development encouraged this low density development, mostly in radial lines along the transport corridors.

Melbourne is often referred to as Australia's garden city, and the state of Victoria was once known as the garden state. There is an abundance of parks and gardens in Melbourne, many close to the CBD with a variety of common and rare plant species amid landscaped vistas, pedestrian pathways and tree-lined avenues. There are also many parks in the surrounding suburbs of Melbourne, such as in the municipalities of Stonnington, Boroondara and Port Phillip, south east of the CBD.

The extensive area covered by urban Melbourne is formally divided into hundreds of suburbs (for addressing and postal purposes), and administered as local government areas.

Melbourne is widely regarded as the cultural and sport capital of Australia. It has thrice shared top position in a survey by The Economist of the World's Most Livable Cities on the basis of its cultural attributes, climate, cost of living, and social conditions such as crime rates and health care, in 2002, 2004 and 2005. In recent years rising property prices have led to Melbourne being named the 36th least affordable city in the world and the second least affordable in Australia.

The city celebrates a wide variety of annual cultural events, performing arts and architecture. Melbourne is also considered to be Australia's live music capital with a large proportion of successful Australian artists emerging from the Melbourne live music scene. Street Art in Melbourne is becoming increasingly popular with the Lonely Planet guides listing it as a major attraction. The city is also admired as one of the great cities of the Victorian Age (1837-1901) and a vigorous city life intersects with an impressive range of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century buildings.

Melbourne is a notable sporting location as the host city for the 1956 Summer Olympics games, the first Olympic Games ever held in Australia along with the 2006 Commonwealth Games.

In recent years, the city has claimed the SportsBusiness title "World's Ultimate Sports City". The city is home to the National Sports Museum, which until 2006 was located outside the members pavilion at the Melbourne Cricket Ground and reopened in 2008 in the Great Northern Stand.

Australian rules football and cricket are the most popular sports in Melbourne and also the spiritual home of these two sports in Australia and both are mostly played in the same stadia in the city and its suburbs. The first ever official cricket Test match was played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in March 1877 and the Melbourne Cricket Ground is the largest cricket ground in the world. The first Australian rules football matches were played in Melbourne in 1859 and the Australian Football League is headquartered at Etihad Stadium. Nine of its teams are based in the Melbourne metropolitan area and the five Melbourne AFL matches per week attract an average 40,000 people per game. Additionally, the city annually hosts the AFL Grand Final.

The city is also home to several professional franchises in national competitions including the Melbourne Storm (rugby league), who play in the NRL competition, Melbourne Victory (Association football (soccer)) who play in the A-league, netball team Melbourne Vixens who play in the trans-Tasman trophy ANZ Championship and basketball teams Melbourne Tigers and South Dragons who play in the National Basketball League.

Melbourne is home to the three major annual international sporting events in the Australian Open (tennis), Melbourne Cup (horse racing), and the Australian Grand Prix (Formula 1).

Melbourne is home to Australia's busiest seaport and much of Australia's automotive industry, which include Ford and Toyota manufacturing facilities, and the engine manufacturing facility of Holden. It is home to many other manufacturing industries, along with being a major business and financial centre. International freight is an important industry. The city's port, Australia's largest, handles more than $75 billion in trade every year and 39% of the nation's container trade. Melbourne Airport provides an entry point for national and international visitors.

Melbourne is also a major technology hub, with an ICT industry that employs over 60,000 people (one third of Australia's ICT workforce), has a turnover of $19.8 billion and export revenues of $615 million. Melbourne retains a significant presence of being a financial centre for Asia-Pacific. Two of the big four banks, NAB and ANZ, are headquartered in Melbourne. The city has carved out a niche as Australia’s leading centre for superannuation (pension) funds, with 40% of the total, and 65% of industry super-funds. Melbourne is also home to the $40 billion-dollar Federal Government Future Fund, and could potentially be home to the world's largest company should the proposed merger between BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto Group be carried out. Tourism also plays an important role in Melbourne's economy, with approximately 7.6 million domestic visitors and 1.88 million international visitors in 2004. In 2008, Melbourne overtook Sydney with the amount of money that domestic tourists spent in the city.

The city is headquarters for many of Australia's largest corporations, including five of the ten largest in the country (based on revenue) (ANZ, BHP Billiton, the National Australia Bank, Rio Tinto and Telstra); as well as such representative bodies and thinktanks as the Business Council of Australia and the Australian Council of Trade Unions. Melbourne rated 34th within the top 50 financial cities as surveyed by the Mastercard Worldwide Centers of Commerce Index (2007), between Barcelona and Geneva, and second only to Sydney (14th) in Australia. Most recent major infrastructure projects, such as the redevelopment of Southern Cross Station (formerly Spencer Street Station), have been centred around the 2006 Commonwealth Games, which were held in the city from 15 March to 26 March 2006. The centrepiece of the Commonwealth Games projects was the redevelopment of the Melbourne Cricket Ground, the stadium used for the opening and closing ceremonies of the Games. The project involved rebuilding the northern half of the stadium and laying a temporary athletics track at a cost of $434 million. Melbourne has also been attracting an increasing share of domestic and international conference markets. Construction began in February 2006 of a $1 billion 5000-seat international convention centre, Hilton Hotel and commercial precinct adjacent to the Melbourne Exhibition and Convention Centre to link development along the Yarra River with the Southbank precinct and multi-billion dollar Docklands redevelopment.

Melbourne is a diverse and multicultural city and melting pot. This is reflected by the fact that the city is home to restaurants serving cuisines from all over the world.

Almost a quarter of Victoria's population was born overseas, and the city is home to residents from 233 countries, who speak over 180 languages and dialects and follow 116 religious faiths. Melbourne has the second largest Asian population in Australia, which includes the largest Vietnamese, Indian and Sri Lankan communities in the country.

The first European settlers in Melbourne were British and Irish. These two groups accounted for nearly all arrivals before the gold rush, and supplied the predominant number of immigrants to the city until the Second World War. Melbourne was transformed by the 1850s gold rush; within months of the discovery of gold in August 1852, the city's population had increased by nearly three-quarters, from 25,000 to 40,000 inhabitants. Thereafter, growth was exponential and by 1865, Melbourne had overtaken Sydney as Australia's most populous city. Large numbers of Chinese, German and United States nationals were to be found on the goldfields and subsequently in Melbourne. The various nationalities involved in the Eureka Stockade revolt nearby give some indication of the migration flows in the second half of the nineteenth century.

In the aftermath of the Second World War, Melbourne experienced unprecedented inflows from southern Europe, primarily Greece, Italy and Cyprus and West Asia mostly from Turkey, and Lebanon. According to the 2001 Census, there were 151,785 ethnic Greeks in the metropolitan area. 47% of all Greek Australians live in Melbourne. Ethnic Chinese and Vietnamese also maintain significant presences.

Melbourne exceeds the national average in terms of proportion of residents born overseas: 34.8% compared to a national average of 23.1%. In concordance with national data, Britain is the most commonly reported overseas country of birth, with 4.7 %, followed by Italy (2.4%), Greece (1.9 %) and then China (1.3 %). Melbourne also features substantial Vietnamese, Indian and Sri Lankan-born communities, in addition to recent South African and Sudanese influxes.

Over two-thirds of people in Melbourne speak only English at home (68.8 %). Italian is the second most common home language (4.0 %), with Greek third and Chinese fourth, each with over 100,000 speakers.

Melbourne is also home to a wide range of religious faiths. The largest of which is Christian (64%) with a large Catholic population (28.3%). However Melbourne and indeed Australia are highly secularised, with the proportion of people identifying themselves as Christian declining from 96% in 1901 to 64% in 2006 and those who did not state their religion or declared no religion rising from 2% to over 30% over the same period. Nevertheless, the large Christian population is signified by the city's two large cathedrals - St Patrick's (Roman Catholic), and St Paul's (Anglican). Both were built in the Victorian era and are of considerable heritage significance as major landmarks of the city.

The next highest response was No Religion (20.0%, 717,717), Anglican (12.1%, 433,546), Eastern Orthodox (5.9%, 212,887) and the Uniting Church (4.0%, 143,552). Buddhists, Muslims, Jews and Hindus collectively account for 7.5% of the population.

The Jewish population in Melbourne is significant as four out of ten Australian Jews call Melbourne home. The city is also residence to the largest number of Holocaust survivors of any Australian city, indeed the highest per capita concentration outside Israel itself. To service the needs of the vibrant Jewish community, Melbourne's Jewry have established multiple synagogues, which today number over 30, along with a local Jewish newspaper. Melbourne's largest university - Monash University is named after prominent Jewish general and statesman, John Monash.

Although Victoria's net interstate migration has fluctuated, the Melbourne statistical division has grown by approximately 50,000 people a year since 2003. Melbourne has now attracted the largest proportion of international overseas immigrants (48,000) finding it outpacing Sydney's international migrant intake, along with having strong interstate migration from Sydney and other capitals due to more affordable housing and cost of living, which have been two recent key factors driving Melbourne's growth. In recent years, Melton, Wyndham and Casey, part of the Melbourne statistical division, have recorded the highest growth rate of all local government areas in Australia. Despite a demographic study stating that Melbourne could overtake Sydney in population by 2028, the ABS has projected in two scenarios that Sydney will remain larger than Melbourne beyond 2056, albeit by a margin of less than 3% compared to a margin of 12% today. However, the first scenario projects that Melbourne's population overtakes Sydney in 2039, primarily due to larger levels of internal migration losses assumed for Sydney.

After a trend of declining population density since Second World War, the city has seen increased density in the inner and western suburbs aided in part by Victorian Government planning blueprints, such as Postcode 3000 and Melbourne 2030 which have aimed to curtail the urban sprawl.

Melbourne is served by three daily newspapers, the Herald Sun (a tabloid), The Age (broadsheet) and The Australian (national broadsheet). The free mX is also distributed every weekday afternoon at railway stations and on the streets of central Melbourne.

Melbourne is served by six television stations: HSV-7, which broadcasts from the Melbourne Docklands precinct; GTV-9, which broadcasts from their Richmond studios; and ATV-10, which broadcasts from the Como Complex in South Yarra. National stations that broadcast into Melbourne include the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), which has two studios, one at Ripponlea and another at Southbank; and Special Broadcasting Service (SBS), which broadcasts from their studios at Federation Square in central Melbourne. C31 Melbourne is the only local community television station in Melbourne, and its broadcast range also branches out to Geelong. Melbourne also receives Pay TV, largely through cable services. Foxtel and Optus are the main Pay TV providers.

A number of radio stations service the areas of Melbourne and beyond on the AM and FM band. Popular stations on the FM band include DMG Radio channels Nova 100 and Vega 91.5 as well as Australian Radio Network's Gold 104.3 and Mix 101.1, both in Richmond, and Austereo channels Fox FM and Triple M, which share studios in South Melbourne and Triple J. Stations that are popular on the AM band include 774 ABC Melbourne, 3AW, a prominently talkback radio station, and its affiliate, Magic 1278, which plays a selection of music from the 1930s-60s. Community radio is also strong in Melbourne, with a number of community and subscription based radio stations on both the AM and FM bands. The best known of these stations are Triple R, SYN, 3JOY, PBS & 3CR. There are also a number of community stations based around the greater Melbourne area.

The Melbourne City Council governs the City of Melbourne, which takes in the CBD and a few adjoining inner suburbs. However the head of the Melbourne City Council, the Lord Mayor of Melbourne, is frequently treated as a representative of greater Melbourne (the entire metropolitan area), particularly when interstate or overseas. Robert Doyle, elected in 2008, is current Lord Mayor. The rest of the metropolitan area is divided into 31 local government areas. All these are designated as Cities, except for five on the city's outer fringes which have the title of Shire. The local government authorities have elected councils and are responsible for a range of functions (delegated to them from the State Government of Victoria under the Local Government Act of 1989), such as urban planning and waste management.

Most city-wide government activities are controlled by the Victorian state government, which governs from Parliament House in Spring Street. These include public transport, main roads, traffic control, policing, education above preschool level, and planning of major infrastructure projects. Because three quarters of Victoria's population lives in Melbourne, state governments have traditionally been reluctant to allow the development of citywide governmental bodies, which would tend to rival the state government. The semi-autonomous Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works was abolished in 1992 for this reason. This is not dissimilar to other Australian states where State Governments have similar powers in greater metropolitan areas.

Education is overseen statewide by the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (DEECD), whose role is to 'provide policy and planning advice for the delivery of education'. It acts as advisor to two state ministers, that for Education and for Children and Early Childhood Development.

Primary and secondary assessment, curriculum development and educational research initiatives throughout Melbourne and Victoria is undertaken by the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA), which offers the Victorian Essential Learning Standards (VELS) and Achievement Improvement Monitor (AIM) certificates from years Prep through Year 10, and the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) and Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) as part of senior secondary programs (Years 11 to 12).

Many high schools in Australia are called 'Secondary Colleges', a legacy of the Kirner Labor government. There are two selective public schools in Melbourne (mentioned above), but all public schools may restrict entry to students living in their regional 'zone'.

Although non-tertiary public education is free, 35% of students attend a private primary or secondary school. The most numerous private schools are Catholic, and the rest are independent (see Public and Private Education in Australia).

Melbourne's two largest universities are the University of Melbourne and Monash University, the largest university in Australia. Both are members of the Group of Eight. Melbourne University ranked second among Australian universities in the 2006 THES international rankings. While The Times Higher Education Supplement ranked the University of Melbourne as the 22nd best university in the world, Monash University was ranked the 38th best university in the world. Melbourne was ranked the world's fourth top university city in 2008 after London, Boston and Tokyo.

Some of the nation's oldest educational institutions and faculities are located in Melbourne, including the oldest Engineering (1860), Medical (1862), Dental (1897) and Music (1891) schools and the oldest law course in Australia (1857), all at the University of Melbourne. The University of Melbourne is also the oldest university in Victoria and the second oldest university in Australia.

In recent years, the number of international students at Melbourne's universities has risen rapidly, a result of an increasing number of places being made available to full fee paying students.

The Government of Victoria's Department of Human Services oversees approximately 30 public hospitals in the Melbourne metropolitan region, and 13 health services organisations.

There are many major medical, neuroscience and biotechnology research institutions located in Melbourne: St. Vincent's Institute of Medical Research, Australian Stem Cell Centre, the Burnet Institute, Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute, Victorian Institute of Chemical Sciences, Brain Research Institute, Peter MacCallum Cancer Institute, the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Melbourne Neuropsychiatry Centre, Howard Florey Institute, the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute and the Australian Synchrotron. Many of these institutions are associated with and are located near universities.

Melbourne has an integrated public transport system promoted under the Metlink brand. Originally laid out late in the 19th century when trains and trams were the primary methods of travelling to the suburbs, the 1950s saw an increase in private vehicles and freeway construction. This trend has continued with successive governments despite relentless traffic congestion, with a resulting drop in public transport modeshare from the 1940s level of around 25% to the current level of around 9% Melbourne's public transport system was privatised in 1999. Between 1999 and 2008, funding for road expansion was five times greater than public transport extension. Melbourne's tram network is the largest tram network in the world. Melbourne's is Australia's only tram network to comprise more than a single line. Sections of the tram network are on road, others are separated or light rail routes. The iconic trams are also recognised as a cultural asset and tourist attraction. Heritage trams operate on the free City Circle route, intended for visitors to Melbourne, and heritage restaurant trams travel through the city during the evening.

The Melbourne rail network consists of 19 suburban lines which radiate from the City Loop, a partially underground metro section of the network beneath the Central Business District (Hoddle Grid). Flinders Street Station is Melbourne's busiest railway station, and was the world's busiest passenger station in 1926. It remains a prominent Melbourne landmark and meeting place. The city has rail connections with regional Victorian cities, as well as interstate rail services to Sydney and Adelaide, which depart from Melbourne's other major rail terminus, Southern Cross Station in Spencer Street. Melbourne's bus network consists of almost 300 routes which mainly service the outer suburbs fill the gaps in the network between rail and light rail services. Melbourne has a high dependency on private cars for transport, with 7.1% of trips made by public transport. However there has been a significant rise in patronage in the last two years mostly due to higher fuel prices, since 2006, public transport patronage has grown by over 20%. The largest number of cars are bought in the outer suburban area, while the inner suburbs with greater access to train and tram services enjoy higher public transport patronage. Melbourne has a total of 3.6 million private vehicles using 22,320 km (13,870 mi) of road, and one of the highest lengths of road per capita. Major highways feeding into the city include the Eastern Freeway, Monash Freeway and West Gate Freeway (which spans the large Westgate Bridge), whilst other freeways circumnavigate the city or lead to other major cities, including CityLink, Eastlink, the Western Ring Road, Calder Freeway, Tullamarine Freeway (main airport link) and the Hume Freeway which links Melbourne and Sydney.

The Port of Melbourne is Australia's largest container and general cargo port and also its busiest. In 2007, the port handled two million shipping containers in a 12 month period, making it one of the top five ports in the Southern Hemisphere. Station Pier in Port Phillip Bay handles cruise ships and the Spirit of Tasmania ferries which cross Bass Strait to Tasmania. Melbourne has four airports. Melbourne Airport located at Tullamarine is the city's main international and domestic gateway. The airport is home base for passenger airlines Jetstar and Tiger Airways Australia and cargo airlines Australian air Express and Toll Priority and is a major hub for Qantas and Virgin Blue. Avalon Airport, located between Melbourne and Geelong, is a secondary hub of Jetstar. It is also used as a freight and maintenance facility. This makes Melbourne the only city in Australia to have a second commercial airport. Moorabbin Airport is a significant general aviation airport in the city's south east as well as handling a limited number of passenger flights. Essendon Airport, which was once the city's main airport before the construction of the airport at Tullamarine, handles passenger flights, general aviation and some cargo flights.

Gas is provided by private companies, as is electricity, which is sourced mostly from coal-fired power stations.

Water storage and supply for Melbourne is managed by Melbourne Water, which is owned by the Victorian Government. The organisation is also responsible for management of sewerage and the major water catchments in the region and will be responsible for the Wonthaggi desalination plant and the North-South Pipeline. Water is mainly stored in the largest dam, the Thomson River Dam which is capable of holding around 60% of Melbourne's water capacity, while smaller dams such as the Upper Yarra Dam and the Cardinia Reservoir carry secondary supplies.

Numerous telecommunications companies provide Melbourne with terrestrial and mobile telecommunications services and wireless internet services.

Some other local councils in the Melbourne metropolitan area have sister city relationships; see Local Government Areas of Victoria.

Melbourne is a member of the C40: Large Cities Climate Leadership Group and the United Nations Global Compact - Cities Programme.

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Source : Wikipedia