Civic and Cultural Charter

Panoramic view of Prahran Square

The purpose of the Civic and Cultural Charter(PDF, 1MB) is to:

  • Articulate the place experience, programming and activation principles for Prahran Square;
  • Outline the requirements and key outcomes expected of Prahran Square and its intended use; and
  • Ensure public benefit in programming and activation of the site.

The Prahran Square Civic and Cultural Charter (The Charter) recognises Prahran Square as the future of inner city living, offering an interconnected hub of health and wellbeing, growth and connection for its locals, businesses and visitors alike.

The Charter intends to ensure the future of Prahran Square continues to meet community aspirations and create a shared understanding of the principles that underpin the place experience.

This Charter requires that these themes carried alongside the Place Pillars, are expressed in the management philosophy, intended use, and activation of Prahran Square. This also includes the hiring and leasing activities of the retail tenancies at Prahran Square.

Place vision

Prahran Square was developed to actively build on City of Stonnington's civic and cultural strengths, operating to provide a liveable future of health and wellbeing, connection and growth.

Its mission is to be an innovative and inclusive public place, providing open space and a dynamic mix of community and cultural experiences that celebrates the rich diversity of Prahran and interconnected Chapel Street precinct.

This will be achieved by:

  • Providing a vibrant and safe public open space to linger, interact and connect;
  • Engaging visitors with a variety of enriching cultural programs and experiences;
  • Being a model for sustainable development and urban revitalisation;
  • Fostering local and community partnerships, inspiring pride of ownership and positively contributing to the visitor economy; and
  • Serving as an accessible destination for everyone.

Intended use

Intended use refers to how the built environment is designed to interact with and be utilised by, the visitors and users of Prahran Square.

The public space at Prahran Square will be:

  • A combined use of public open space and programmed events and activation;
  • A multifunctional space where active, passive or contemplative experiences and activities can be enjoyed;
  • Open 24 hours a day, generating a safe space that can be active day and night in accordance with Local Law and EPA guidelines; and
  • A place to foster community connections and a sense of belonging through shared arts and cultural initiatives.

The key objectives of Prahran Square are to achieve the following activation outcomes:

Offer shared experiences

  • Create opportunities for the community to connect to the built environment;
  • Celebrate arts and culture and invite communities to interact with new ideas and concepts; and
  • Foster community connections and sense of belonging through shared arts and cultural initiatives.

Enhance quality of life

  • Offer health and wellbeing experiences and opportunities to meet new people and try new activities;
  • Ensure the built environment supports visitor relaxation and recreation in an inner-city environment; and
  • Offer an accessible, affordable and welcoming place to all – a place that dynamically responds to visitor needs.

Offer layers of discovery

  • Showcase Prahran Square as an integrated part of the Chapel Street precinct, functioning as an active, community, commercial and retail destination;
  • Promote ways to encourage sustainable living and respond to changing climate conditions; and
  • Reflect the precinct's local character and rich diversity.

Become a place to grow

  • Attract, support and invest in opportunities that will increase visitation and economic growth;
  • Build the capacity of local businesses and community groups to be involved in place programming; and
  • Integrate smart technology and innovative design.

Implementation requirements

City of Stonnington is committed to achieving these Place Pillars and will do so by implementing the following key actions:

  • Working with the local community, precinct associations and event organisers reflective of Prahran’s local character and diverse culture;
  • Developing and overseeing an annual program of activities, installations and events to provide engaging community and visitor experiences on a local, national and international level;
  • Promoting the use of Prahran Square, developing a balance between active programming and passive recreation; and
  • Developing working partnerships with major public festivals, events and programs to support the visitor economy.


Activation refers to how the site is programmed deliberately and informally, in order to create a sense of place, and to encourage social connections and engagement. Applications for events and programmed activity will be assessed based on a priority of activity, requirements and selection criteria.

Priority of Activity

  1. A Priority of Activity ensures the frequency and type of activation expected at Prahran Square aligns with the Civic and Cultural Charter(PDF, 1MB), and Prahran Square vision. The type of activation identified as key areas of focus for Prahran Square are listed in order of priority below.
  2. Daily and weekly activities that are focused on local community engagement and participation;
  3. Activation and experiences that provide a platform for community led place programming, and Council supported local activities;
  4. Signature Council-run events and other major events and festivals that benefit the municipality and promote the activities of the local businesses and economy in and around Prahran Square.

Commercial, promotional and sampling activities

Private events and high impact events which require significant occupation of Prahran Square. 

Private events

Private events are defined as any event or activity that is by invitation only and cannot be accessed by the general public, and requires a purchased ticket and/or requires exclusive use of Prahran Square facilities and event spaces.

All private events will be assessed on size and scale, and ability to ensure Prahran Square can remain accessible to the general public in a reasonable manner. All event spaces and facilities cannot be hired for private events at any one time. Public access must remain available to at least some of Prahran Square at all times.


The following thresholds will act as a guide for the type and frequency of activity expected at Prahran Square:

  1. No limit on daily and weekly activities pending availability and assessment against the Civic and Cultural Charter(PDF, 1MB);
  2. No limit on community led place programming pending availability and assessment against the Civic and Cultural Charter(PDF, 1MB);
  3. Up to ten (10) signature Council events, major public events or festivals per year based on suitability to align to the Civic and Cultural Charter, and positively contribute to the precinct’s visitor economy;
  4. Priority of arts, cultural and community experiences over commercial activity with a preference for commercial experiences that support educational, cultural or civic activities; and
  5. Limiting private events to ensure community benefit where necessary.

Assessment criteria

All programming enquiries and concepts will be assessed for their suitability to align with the Civic and Cultural Charter(PDF, 1MB). To that end, all prospective programming enquiries, events proposals and key activities will be selected against the following criteria:

Community benefit (weighted at 30%)

  • Enhance local life with prioritisation of local residents, businesses and the community in place programming;
  • Celebrate arts and culture and invite communities to explore new ideas and concepts that communicate Prahran Square as a hub of innovation and creativity;
  • Respect and publicly acknowledge the local indigenous heritage and traditions; and
  • Promote Prahran Square as the future of inner-city living, offering dynamic experiences that celebrate Prahran Square as a place that is:
    • healthy and active;
    • accessible, safe and welcoming to all;
    • engaging and inspiring; and
    • authentic and unique.

Economic benefit (weighted at 20%)

  • Provide a welcoming and accessible experience for local, national and international visitors that positively contributes to the identity and reputation of the Chapel Street precinct;
  • Support and complement the activities of the surrounding businesses and economy of Prahran Square; and
  • Prioritisation of local businesses and service providers for engagement and/ or partnership opportunities.

Event impact (weighted at 20%)

  • Appropriateness of event on site; determined by size, layout, activities and potential risks and safety;
  • Limited disruptions for local community accessing space; and
  • Minimising impacts on local community and managing competing demands for use of the public space.

Environmental impact and sustainability (weighted at 15%)

  • Remain environmentally conscious and implement sustainable event practices;
  • Ensure the protection of fauna, flora and Council assets; and
  • Raise awareness or respond to emerging environmental issues.

Previous experience (weighted at 15%)

  • Relevant experience of event organisers and proven capacity to produce successful events.

Download a copy of our Civic and Cultural Charter(PDF, 1MB).

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