Australian Urban Planning: New Challenges, New Agendas

By Brendan Gleeson; Nicholas Low | Go to book overview

2
Planning values and ‘the
Australian Settlement’

We begin our review of Australian planning by tracing its development in the second half of the 20th century, and by relating this to the broad sociopolitical shifts that reshaped capitalism during this time. Though urban planning in various forms had been contemplated, debated and even experimented with within the industrialised world throughout the first half of the 20th century, it did not become firmly embedded in national regulatory systems until after World War II.

In this book we will argue that urban planning must now be viewed as a form of institutional governance, ‘urban governance’ (to be elaborated in chapters 4 and 5). Planning takes its place within a variety of overlapping and discrete state activities and regulatory frameworks that together form the institutional basis for urban governance. This institutional framework has been shaped over a considerable period by political values. To comprehend planning and urban governance, we must first understand political values and their embedding in institutions. More than this, if there is to be a renewal of support for planning in contemporary Australia we must recover the values and ideas that attended its birth. Yet, if we are to move on, we must also understand the limitations of institutions that have supported planning in the past.

In this chapter we first explore the values of planning that emerged in postwar Europe. We then show how these values came to be inscribed in the specific form of welfare state that emerged in Australia: the ‘Australian Settlement’, and its geographic extension and cultural expression. Finally we consider the ways in which the Australian interpretation of urban policy in the Settlement underpinned the planning of Australian cities.

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