Introduction: new challenges
He sees hope In asking me about cities. How can I tell him the cities are debris driven by explosions whose regulation takes a merciless cunning?
Les Murray, ‘Toward the Imminent Days’
This book describes and analyses the various theoretical, political and institutional forces that have shaped and reshaped public urban planning in Australia since World War II. It is written at a low ebb of planning in Australia. In practice, planning has been outsourced, marketised and stripped of the knowledge and confidence that informed its founders. Also, theoretical and political perspectives have emerged in recent decades that posit new political-ethical grounds for the regulation of urban development. Planning has powerful opponents, but many of its supporters are also calling for recognition of a broader range of cultural and ecological values in urban governance. If public planning is to regain its place in the proper regulation of a market society it must be rethought and reconstituted. We need to argue the case for planning most urgently if this form of governance is to survive in the new millennium in any meaningful form.
In arguing for more and better planning, our intention is to explain the historical purpose of planning in Australia and the nature of the diverse recent changes that have both reshaped and threatened this purpose. We argue for a political view of planning as a form of urban governance. We argue that Australian planning can be renewed through the articulation of a new set of political-ethical ideals. This renewed vision for planning must reassert the justification for spatial regulation