Planning history in Australia: The state of the art

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<ul><li><p>This article was downloaded by: [Swansea University]On: 04 November 2014, At: 14:47Publisher: RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registeredoffice: Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK</p><p>Planning PerspectivesPublication details, including instructions for authors andsubscription information:</p><p>Planning history in Australia: The state ofthe artRobert Freestone a &amp; Alan Hutchings ba School of Town Planning , University of New South Wales , POB1,Kensington, NSW, 2033, Australiab Commissioner, Planning Appeal Tribunal , Adelaide, South Australia,AustraliaPublished online: 08 May 2007.</p><p>To cite this article: Robert Freestone &amp; Alan Hutchings (1993) Planning history in Australia: The stateof the art, Planning Perspectives, 8:1, 72-91, DOI: 10.1080/02665439308725764</p><p>To link to this article:</p><p>PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLE</p><p>Taylor &amp; Francis makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of all the information (theContent) contained in the publications on our platform. 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Anysubstantial or systematic reproduction, redistribution, reselling, loan, sub-licensing,systematic supply, or distribution in any form to anyone is expressly forbidden. Terms &amp;Conditions of access and use can be found at</p><p></p></li><li><p>Planning Perspectives, 8 (1993) 72-91</p><p>Planning history in Australia: the state of the art</p><p>ROBERT FREESTONE* and ALAN HUTCHINGS</p><p>*School of Town Planning, University of New South Wales, POB1, Kensington, NSW 2033,AustraliaCommissioner, Planning Appeal Tribunal, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia</p><p>Over the last two decades, planning history in Australia has firmed as both a specific research fieldand pragmatic endeavour geared to planning practice. The emergence of an identifiable planninghistory strand across the borders of such disciplines as planning, political science, human geography,and history in the mid-1970s gained much of its rationale from other developments at this time,including the academic legitimation of urban studies and urban history, an unprecedented level ofgovernmental interest in urban and regional development, reassessment and reaction to traditionalland use planning, and the benevolent imprimatur of the British Planning History Group. From thevantage point of the early 1990s, a substantive literature can now be critically surveyed. Diverse if notfragmented, parochial and sometimes quirky, the general nature of this body of work partly reflectsthe spatial isolationism and parochialism that have been hallmarks of Australian cultural and politicaldevelopment. Beyond the straitlaced general surveys of state, city and metropolitan planning, severalestablished lines of inquiry are evident, notably colonial town layout, civic design, the impact ofplanning movements, evaluations of metropolitan planning, political conflict, and federal urban policy.The links with cognate fields such as housing, landscape architecture and, increasingly, environmentalstudies, are close. Alongside these general themes have come more distinctively Antipodean preoccupa-tions like the planning of Adelaide and Canberra as well as the work of Walter Burley Griffin. Futurechallenges lie in more original research, integration, theory development, and policy relevance.</p><p>Planning history emerged in Australia as a recognizable and distinctive field of intellectualinquiry in the mid-1970s. The timing can be linked to the ascendancy of social science-flavoured urban studies teaching and research, the reassessment of traditional physical landuse planning practice after a generation of post-war planning, a strengthening mandate forurban history, and increased urban consciousness accompanying the rise and fall of federalurban policy initiatives during the decade.</p><p>From the present vantage point, we can now look back to work which pre-dated this risingtide of interest and enshrine pioneers. They would include Gavin Walkley [1], and the teamof Alfred Brown and H.M. Sherrard [2], who assumed the task of systematizing historicalknowledge for the benefit of the first graduate students in town and country planning afterthe war. There was Denis Winston, whose 1957 book Sydney's Great Experiment [3] used</p><p>* Robert Freestone is Senior Lecturer in Town Planning at the University of New South Wales. He worked previouslyas a planning consultant and with the state government. He is Associate Editor (Pacific) for Planning History. Alan Hutchings holds the judicial post of Commissioner, Planning Appeal Tribunal in South Australia. Aprofessionally trained planner, he formerly held senior state government positions and has written extensively onthe history of planning and urban design in South Australia.</p><p> 1993 E. &amp; F. N. Spon 0266-5433</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Swan</p><p>sea </p><p>Uni</p><p>vers</p><p>ity] </p><p>at 1</p><p>4:47</p><p> 04 </p><p>Nov</p><p>embe</p><p>r 20</p><p>14 </p></li><li><p>Planning history in Australia 73</p><p>applied history to win over hearts and minds for Australia's first statutory metropolitanplanning scheme. And there were the amateur historians like Collinridge Rivett, whosequirky 1955 history of the original town plan of Parramatta, the second settlement incolonial New South Wales, extended the popular historical imagination in this direction [4],and Tasmanian Clifford Craig [5], whose interest was also colonial town design.</p><p>The pointer to a new era was undoubtedly Hugh Stretton's Ideas for Australian Cities(1970). Written as the by-product of a Canberra sabbatical, and published privately afterbeing rejected as uncommercial, it is widely acknowledged as the seminal text on Australianurban issues and a third edition has recently appeared [6]. A readable mix of commonsense,humanitarianism, pragmatism, and fabianism, Stretton's perceptive exploration of themanner in which state planning and development agencies have gone about their tasksinfluenced and challenged many policy makers and analysts over the intervening years.</p><p>Imbued with similar concern for social democratic reform and justice, his former studentLeonie Sandercock went on to examine the politics and failures of planning in threeAustralian cities since 1900 in her Cities for Sale (1975) [7]. In a similar but less politicallyimpassioned mould came Sydney since the Twenties (1978) [8] by Peter Spearritt whosemajor contribution was to link interests in physical planning, the evolving urban landscape,political and class power, and the artifacts of popular culture into a palatable pot-pourri forwider consumption. All of these seminal works were nurtured in the Urban Research Unit,a liberal thinktank within the Australian National University in Canberra. The influence ofthe Unit, and its leading lights Max Neutze, Patrick Troy, and the late Peter Harrison, inlegitimizing modern planning history, if only indirectly through their commitment to urbanresearch, might be easily underestimated.</p><p>Though apparent to many only some years after it happened in 1974, the formation ofthe British Planning History Group provided a further fillip from abroad in this same period.The individual example and encouragement of Gordon Cherry and Anthony Sutcliffe fromafar was not unimportant. Cherry's keynote address to the World Housing and PlanningCongress in Adelaide in 1986 helps reveal why. Characteristically broad in its scope,philosophical in its basis, and historical in substance, it helped bring home the relevance ofthe historic dimension in understanding and planning cities and regions to even the mostblase practitioner [9].</p><p>Interest in planning history has grown steadily since, enthusing non-academic planners asmuch as their university colleagues. A special planning history issue of the Royal AustralianPlanning Institute's journal Australian Planner to mark the bicentenary of European settle-ment in Australia in 1988 was perhaps a symbolic watershed [10]. No formally structuredsociety or interest group on the British or American model has emerged, rather, there is aninformal national network of kindred minds corresponding and meeting in the various Statecapitals from time to time as circumstances permit.</p><p>Planning history has thus firmed as a field of both specific research and general application.There have been previous stocktakes [11] and research bibliographies [12]. This paperattempts at once a more expansive and selective state-of-the-art review from the perspectiveof the early 1990s. On the one hand, while it seeks to reflect broadly and critically on whathas been happening and where we seem to be heading, it deals only with major publishedcontributions. But with relatively few books published, in stark contrast to the Anglo-</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Swan</p><p>sea </p><p>Uni</p><p>vers</p><p>ity] </p><p>at 1</p><p>4:47</p><p> 04 </p><p>Nov</p><p>embe</p><p>r 20</p><p>14 </p></li><li><p>74 Freestone and Hutchings</p><p>American scene, our coverage is perforce somewhat inflated by substantive articles injournals and essays. As far as possible, the focus is restricted to writing in an explicit ifnarrow historical paradigm, thereby eschewing the wider urban studies and planningliterature [13] in which many of the same themes and preoccupations resonate.</p><p>The Antipodean context</p><p>For all the interest in planning history documented in this paper, it is not possible to proclaimtruly national achievements; our endeavours remain largely those of interested part-timersensconced within their own milieux across a large continent. As we have noted, only veryloose arrangements bind or bring us together. The fundamental reason lies in the peculiarcircumstances of Australia's national urban development and the emergence of independentand concomitant planning systems.</p><p>With modern Australia having its initial roots in British and Irish society, the motivationsfor, and the spatial arrangements of, the earliest settlements can be related to the mores ofthe British Isles in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. But in a vast land colonised fromthe ocean, parallels with the North American frontier soon developed as indigenousconstraints and opportunities began their interplay with Anglo-Celtic traditions.</p><p>There were distinctively Australian ingredients in this process. For there was not onefrontier moving ever westwards, but rather several, moving to all points of the compass froma number of coastal encampments (namely Sydney, Hobart, Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide,Perth and Darwin). These frontiers did not meet for decades, a century even, so far apartwere the principal urban centres of each colony. Inevitably, variations in the ways, meansand results of physical settlement and urban society crystallized early. The crucial explana-tory role of distance here harks back to the classic thesis of Blainey [14] rather than therecent reinterpretation of Frost [15].</p><p>The so-called colonies were, in effect, separate nations each evolving separate administra-tive and developmental characteristics which have endured even after the umbrella ofFederation in 1901. Eight decades later, the state governments are strong sovereign states,no less so in terms of planning administration, as highlighted by Fogg [16], Bowman [17],and Ryan [18]. The contrasts between the various state planning systems, and the laws andprofessional cultures which support them, are often quite marked.</p><p>Successive waves of technological innovation have had their impact on the form andnature of Australian cities, but the splintered isolationism remains. Just as it has determinedthe independent evolution of planning systems, it continues to indirectly flavour and directlyshape the diverse if not parochial concerns of contemporary planning historians.</p><p>We are left to survey not so much a nascent national tradition of historiography as muchas a body of literature which remains largely the sum of its parts. It is the quest forintegration - through comprehensive accounts building upon fragmented studies, analysesof the impact of planning ideas across state boundaries, the search for policy relevancethrough applied history, and, though less typically, through theoretical explorations of therole and limitations of modern urban planning that has produced some of the more lastingand important contributions over the past 20 years. We will start with the synoptic works.</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Swan</p><p>sea </p><p>Uni</p><p>vers</p><p>ity] </p><p>at 1</p><p>4:47</p><p> 04 </p><p>Nov</p><p>embe</p><p>r 20</p><p>14 </p></li><li><p>Planning history in Australia 75</p><p>General surveys</p><p>In the absence of starting points akin to the kind of national histories produced for Britainby Cherry [19] and the United States by Scott [20], the more generalized works have tendedto focus on either one state or a single city. The range is wide in terms of subject matter,time span and issues explored. Many are putative factual accounts, organised chronologi-cally. Some have concentrated more selectively on administrative systems and concomitantlegislative instruments. Others have explored more specific interests.</p><p>The most substantive work so far is With Conscious Purpose: A History of Town Planningin South Australia (1986) [21] edited by Alan Hutchings, who has elsewhere elaborated theuniqueness of this state in the Australian scene [22], and Raymond Bunker, whose earlierreflections on the same theme lend the book its name [23]. With Conscious Purpose,published in association with the South Australian Division of the Royal Australian PlanningInstitute, is perhaps the first attempt to survey fully all issues of planning and developmentin one State over a comprehensive time span, in this instance the 150 years since whitesettlement. Colonial expansion, the early planning movement, suburbia, new towns, andpost World War II metropolitan planning are all reviewed. In a final chapter, a formerMinister for Planning, Don Hopgood, uses the historical platform as a springboard forcontemplating the desired form and growth of metropolitan Adelaide toward the end of the20th century.</p><p>J.M. Powell has written a condensed history of plannin...</p></li></ul>