Carlton's boundaries are Melbourne University to the west, Princes Street to the north, Victoria Parade to the south, and Nicholson Street to the east.
The suburb is well known for its "Little Italy" precinct on Lygon Street, for its Victorian architecture and its garden squares including the Carlton Gardens, the latter being the location of the Royal Exhibition Building, one of Australia's few man-made sites with World Heritage status.
Carlton is thought to have been named after Carlton House, London. It is characterised by medium- to high-density housing, with a mix of apartments and student accommodation, attached and semidetached terraces mostly from the Victorian era and mix use buildings.
In contrast to the outer suburbs, detached homes are quite rare in Carlton, making up just 3% of residences. Apartments (77%) are the most common form of housing. Carlton's apartments are low incomes, including crisis and student accommodation, with Housing Commission of Victoria towers and modern student apartment buildings. The two main housing commission estates are between Lygon and Rathdowne Streets, and between Nicholson and Canning Streets. These are configured as a mixture of 4 and 5-storey walk-up flats and 22-storey high-rise towers which are in the process of being redeveloped as mixed-tenure housing. 75% of Carlton's housing is rented, the vast majority of which is concentrated in these apartment towers.
The development of new apartment buildings to accommodate international student market since the late 1990s has transformed the once low-rise skyline of Swanston Street, so that its predominant height is about 10–11 storeys. Some strata titled apartments are clustered fronting suburb's parks and gardens. Semi-detached housing makes up the remaining (19%). Much of this type of housing is the suburb's remaining stock of terrace houses which proliferated in the Victorian era. Today these homes are highly sought after, attract high prices and have been the primary of gentrification. Many are contained within heritage overlays and have individual heritage listings. Some of the best examples of this style can be found on Drummond Street, a long wide boulevard flanked by grand homes, including Rosaville (no46 built 1883), Drummond Terrace (no 93-105 built 1890–91), Lothian Terrace (no175-179 built 1865–69), Terraces at 313&315 (1889).
Though many terraces in Carlton no longer function as residences and have either been converted for mixed use or facaded as part of larger developments.
Princes Park is nestled in the heart of Carlton North, and is one of the few parks available for your four-legged friends to be able to roam free, off-leash. It is the best compromise for someone who is also looking to have a good work out while simultaneously taking their dog on a walk, as the area is surrounded by a massive jogging track.
- East Melbourne
- Carlton North
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