An Australian Backlash Against Planning?

Australian urban planning critics are casting planning as the 'villain' in destroying the rapid suburbanization that has fueled a home-ownership dream. But this is a dangerous view, writes urban management professor Brendan Gleeson.
September 6, 2006, 1pm PDT | Chris Steins | @urbaninsight
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"Now the fists are shaking at planning from the federal watchtower. Planning is cast as the principal villain in a simple tale of Aussie battlers betrayed; of the great Australian home-ownership dream shattered by grasping, interfering state governments, egged on by tree-hugging home wreckers and crypto-Stalinist planners. By slowing the stampede into the paddocks, planning has ended the glorious suburban gold rush that promised wealth for all.

...The Prime Minister and the Treasurer have joined a children's crusade against planning launched by sections of the development industry. Perhaps they're seeking to deflect attention from the fact commonwealth taxes and policies (including immigration) are a large part of the present housing affordability pressures in cities (another inconvenient truth).

The anti-planning push is high-risk politics. Do its proponents know how much they are gambling? The intoxicating simplicity of its rationale and crudeness of its ambition suggest a mug punt.

The attack threatens to unravel the near consensus among most planners, developers and environmentalists, who support a compact city model as a guiding vision for our cities."

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Published on Wednesday, September 6, 2006 in The Australian
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