Understanding conflict in transport mega-projects: social impacts and power dynamics in the WestConnex project, Sydney

Syeda Rafsana Hossain*, Sara Fuller

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Conflicts around transport mega-projects, driven by social and environmental impacts, are increasingly prevalent around the world. While environmental impacts have received significant attention, less is known about how the intangible social impacts of these projects stimulate conflict. Assessment of these impacts is crucial; however, the process is often influenced by the underlying power relationships within neoliberal governance. This paper analyses the discursive context of state-community conflicts in transport mega-projects and explores how power dynamics shape the perceptions of both the intensity and extent of its social impacts. Drawing on a case study of the WestConnex project, a controversial motorway development in Sydney, the paper analyses government policy documents and online community submissions to explore the conflicts around the project. Through critical discourse analysis, the paper provides insights into the nature of power relationships that limit the scope of impact assessment and underpin conflicts.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages21
JournalAustralian Geographer
Early online date25 Aug 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Aug 2021

Keywords

  • Australia
  • Conflict
  • Power relationships
  • Social impacts
  • Transport mega projects
  • ‌Infrastructure

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