For those wondering how the cranes on our skyline will impact the city, Melbourne council has created an [interactive 3D map](https://developmentactivity.melbourne.vic.gov.au/ that includes every building under construction, approved for construction, or with approvals that have been applied for.

“It's like Google Earth, except some of the buildings don't exist yet,” says Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle. “For the first time, we can see the level of building activity in Melbourne’s CBD in context.”

The map and accompanying data shows not only how many large-scale developments are in Melbourne’s near future, it also gives a sense of how these developments may change the city at a social level. In a press release accompanying the map’s launch, Doyle says with more than 30000 international students living in the city, there’s a clear need for more student accommodation. “The interactive model shows there has been a surge in student accommodation over the past 12 months to May 2017, with 4100 student beds currently under construction and a further 2400 approved. This compares with the 12 months to May 2016 when there were just 791 student beds under construction.”

While most current development is for office and commercial use, the surge in student accommodation is more than matched by residential apartments. More than 50000 new residential dwellings are in the pipeline for the city, along with 8000 new hotel rooms.

“Of the apartments being built, 52 per cent contain two bedrooms, 41 per cent are one-bedroom apartments, and more than six per cent contain three bedrooms or more. Three-bedroom apartments are being built at the highest rate in the past five years, reflecting the number of families who want to live in the inner city,” says the mayor.

While recent ABS data shows Melbourne is Australia’s fastest-growing capital city, a much-quoted 2016 report by research and forecasting firm BIS Oxford Economics pointed to an oversupply of homes in Melbourne, particularly apartments. Last year, Domain reported that unoccupied dwellings – those held as second homes or kept empty as a speculative investment – accounted for 14 per cent of inner-Melbourne’s total apartment stock.

The City of Melbourne’s interactive 3D map will be updated monthly, and can be found at developmentactivity.melbourne.vic.gov.au