Urban space is space in flux. Over time, land use, land patterns and builtform alter, either by gradual accretion or by redevelopments of varyingscale. In particular the late twentieth century has produced the to the tech-nology to enable sweeping changes to the urban environment, often in theprocess obliterating all evidence of the past.While the patina of a city is the result of a complex interaction of historyculture and politics, this paper argues that the underlying dynamic of thetarnsformation is the dominant economic mode of the time. Thus for exam-ple, buildings built for single family residential are converted for multiunit use, or industrial buildings are converted to commerical use astheirformer status becomes obsolete and incompatible with current economicneeds and demands. Nevertheless, the built environment does have a certainpermanence and traces of the past often persist and meld into the presentuse and development despite the power of our current technology to obliter-ate. In fact, much current architecture makes a virtue of combining the past and present, while the overall uneven patter of the city development is amicrocosm of uneven international development.Austuralian cities are some of the worl's youngest, having been imposedupon a virtual rable fasa following the late 18th and early 19th century ar-rival of permanent European inhabitants. Since then the country can beshown to have had four identifiable periods of phases in its economic histo-ry, which have become reflected in the urban built environment.The phasesare:1) the colonIal/administrative period prior to the 1850s gold rushes whichproduced significant administrative function buildings as well as a few elitelandholders' residences;2) the coionlaticommerlcai phase of the secod half of the 19th century whenthe emphasis was on transhipment or the export of raw materials and im-port of finished products from the mother country, as well as the requisitefinance and associated services;3) the Industrial phase which covers the period spanning the two worldwars when many small and medium sized imdustrles were set up creatingnew housing and service demands; and4) current corporate/administrative phase which has produced yet againdifferent residential demands as well as a seemingly inexhaustible demandfor office space to house the complex array of sophisticated services whichare part of the Internatlonailsing of the capital and labour markets. In the example discussed the urban landscape effects ofthe latter three ofthese phases are traced via a detailed examination of the time space trans-formation of an Indicative section of Melbourne.Using a synthes of data de-rived from maps, documents and illustrative material the relationship be-tween the shifts in the economic mode and the form of use of the builtenvironment is demonstrated. The results can be most effectively seen from a series of maps which have been developed. In general the study the inexorable nature of the changes as adaptations aremade to enable extraction ofthe highest and best use of a site compatiblewith the economic mode of the time . But it also demonstrates the unevennature of the process, such that traces at all periods can be found in thesame environment.