Simpler, faster, cheaper? Australia’s urban aspirations and the planning reform agendas

Robin Goodman, Paul J. Maginn, Nicole Gurran, Kristian Ruming

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contributionpeer-review


    Urban policy and reform are high on the political agenda at all levels of Australian government. Capital city planning frameworks must deliver globally competitive regions which are “productive, sustainable, liveable and socially inclusive and are well placed to meet future challenges and growth” (Department of Infrastructure and Transport, 2011) , while at the same time responding to ongoing pressure for efficiency-based administrative reforms (COAG Reform Council, 2011). In contrast to the ambitious strategic objectives, reform agendas largely focus on productivity gains which are perceived might flow from deregulation. This disconnect implies significant potential conflict between the ambitious strategic plans and the regulatory processes on which they depend for implementation. The demands on strategic planning continue to expand while the means of delivery are diminishing. In this paper we examine this tension with reference to the alignment, or misalignment, of urban policy aspirations and reform to regulatory systems and processes. We focus on a sample of metropolitan strategic plans (for Sydney, Melbourne, and Perth) and corresponding state planning reform agendas, considering both the substantive underlying objectives as well as the delivery mechanisms for implementation. We use content analysis techniques to establish and compare the overt and underlying thematic claims and concerns of both sets of documents. The analysis will show that many of the reforms potentially undermine wider objectives for city liveability, environmental resilience and social inclusion. We also demonstrate a growing trend of policy transfer between jurisdictions, evident in both the aesthetic and semantic content of metropolitan plans and the reform directions pursued.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationSOAC 2013
    Subtitle of host publicationState of Australian Cities National Conference : Conference Proceedings and Powerpoint Presentations
    EditorsKristian Ruming, Bill Randolph, Nicole Gurran
    Place of PublicationSydney
    Number of pages17
    ISBN (Print)1740440331
    Publication statusPublished - 2013
    EventState of Australian Cities Conference (6th : 2013) - Sydney, Australia
    Duration: 26 Nov 201329 Nov 2013


    ConferenceState of Australian Cities Conference (6th : 2013)


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