Australian Urban Planning: New Challenges, New Agendas

By Brendan Gleeson; Nicholas Low | Go to book overview
Save to active project

Unsettling Australia: new forms
of urban diversity

As we explain in chapter 2, Australians have long shown a preference for urban life. Today, the vast majority of Australia's 18 million citizens live in the coastal metropolises that ring the island continent (Table 3.1). In 1996, four out of 10 Australians resided in the two largest cities, Sydney and Melbourne. Cities provide the centre stage for Australian cultural and economic life.

In recent decades Australian cities have been transformed by a variety of local and international forces. Political observer Paul Kelly has described the 1980s as ‘the end of certainty’ for Australia. Another influential commentator, the social psychologist Hugh McKay (1993), believes that Australia, like other Western nations, entered in the 1980s an ‘age of redefinition’, a time when established sociocultural institutions became ambiguous for many Australians. Kelly agrees, observing that the 1980s witnessed ‘the collapse of the Australian Settlement, the old protected Fortress Australia’ (Kelly 1992: 13).

Kelly here stresses various axes of political-economic change that combined to enhance the economic diversity of Australian society. Just as profound were the deep transformations that enhanced Australia's cultural diversity. In particular, the shift in the 1970s from assimilation to multiculturalism as policy ideals in official immigration and cultural programs was a profound source of social change. Other sociocultural shifts deeply affected gender roles, sexual expression and identity, and spiritual and ecological values.

Kelly's story of the 1980s charts a transition, beginning in the 1960s, from a relatively stable, homogeneous society towards a more volatile, more sophisticated, and certainly more diverse social formation. It would be wrong to portray pre-1980s Australia as a simple, homogeneous


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Australian Urban Planning: New Challenges, New Agendas


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 273

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?