In the past, wandering around down at Melbourne's docks would give you an insight into the workings of our entire nation: bails of wool going out and bolts of cloth coming in, along with grains, livestock, manufactured items, fresh produce, all manner of people bustling about. An interface, a place of connection, with commodities shipped in from across the whole world and more heading out, drawn from across the continent.
For our future, we could have a "digital docklands" or "neural hub", where people can likewise wander around and experience our "creative commons" as it unfolds, with live feeds piped in from around Australia. With so much of our content already online - or soon to be - there's no shortage of digital goods in transit to draw on. A place to showcase a modern nation's cultural artefacts, with contributions from the arts (gigs, exhibitions, multimedia installations), academia (lectures and seminars), commerce (presentations and meetings), politics (interviews, hearings and Parliamentary sessions) and, of course, families and individuals (websites, podcasts, blogs and photo galleries).
This would be the challenge for our architects, planners and designers: to provide an accessible physical space in which visitors and residents could navigate this constantly-changing cacophony of audio, video and text. Melbourne's Docklands would be restored as the place where people can experience Australia connecting with the world.