A final chapter generally ties up loose ends, providing closure and resolution. Here I intend to unravel them. The transformation of the Melbourne waterfront offers a diversity of case studies and outcomes of varying value from the formularised and privatised waterfronts of the casino and docklands to the avant garde excursions of 'water world' and Federation Square; from the enclosure and conformity of Beacon Cove to the authentic resistances of St Kilda and Southbank; from the eruptions of height (Grollo, Eureka, Lonsdale and the Espy), to the dynamic forms of the Exhibition Centre and explosions of fire lining the Casino. These projects are all laced with the contradictions of the time. While I have been critical of many of them and of the lost opportunities, there is little doubt that the Melbourne waterfront is a more vibrant and interesting place as a result. Fluidity is a condition all cities must face up to: like its opposite of 'stability', fluidity in urban development is both good and bad. Fluidity is flexibility and change; it is flows of money and desire; it is the formation of new identities of both people and places. The flows of desire for a better future are the very basis of urban placemaking, yet unregulated desires are also the source of urban destruction. In the passage quoted earlier from his remarkable
book Invisible Cities, Calvino draws a distinction between cities that 'give their form to desire' and cities where 'desires either erase the city or are erased by it'.1 This is the central issue for those who believe in gearing the urban development process to the creation of a better future; from it stem the two primary yet contradictory imperatives of urban development – to produce a city that is open to the flows of desire, yet protected from the ravages of them.