Australian Urban Planning: New Challenges, New Agendas

By Brendan Gleeson; Nicholas Low | Go to book overview
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4
Changing urban governance I:
social democratic managerialism

The changes in Australia's cities noted in chapter 3 have been wrought by many political, economic and social forces. Among these—and of special relevance to planning—is the changing way in which the cities are governed. In this chapter and chapter 5 we outline the changing nature of urban governance in Australia, drawing attention especially to the much-debated transition from managerialism to neoliberalism (Considine & Painter 1997).

To talk about ‘urban governance’ is to cast a very wide net—too wide to deal with fully within the confines of one book, let alone a couple of chapters. But planning can no longer be adequately thought of as a discrete package involving regulation aimed at avoiding conflict between land uses. As we argue in chapters 1 and 2, planning is part of urban governance. We postpone consideration of the theoretical issues surrounding planning until Part II when we place the discussion in a broader conceptual context. Here we try to bring into focus the general currents of change that reshaped urban governance within the different states and territories of Australia in recent decades.

This chapter has six main parts. We first explain the concepts that we use to describe the development of urban governance at state level in Australia. We address the form of governance we term ‘social democratic managerialism’. Then we go on to explore in greater detail the key aspects of this form of governance. These are: reform of the public service to provide greater political control, a new relationship between economic planning and the management of urban development, and a desire to reform local government. Finally we explore how planning is situated within social democratic managerialism.

Changing urban governance I: social democratic managerialism

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