Functional Change and Imagined Spaces: The Performance of Peri-urban Planning in Victoria, Australia

By Andrew Butt.

Published by Spaces and Flows: An International Journal of Urban and ExtraUrban Studies

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The process of peri-urbanization suggests a broad set of symbolic and material changes in the understandings and uses of landscapes and places. Land use and development activities perform a role in this change, yet planners operating in these environments are challenged by the perceived legitimacy of the broader, urban-derived, planning project, as well as by their capacity to act in the face of socio-economic processes derived from global drivers such as agricultural restructure and emerging “taste-markets” for ex-urban migration. This paper utilises findings from a series of interviews with planners practicing in the broad peri-urban region surrounding Melbourne, Australia. The paper will explore the way in which modes of practice and assumptions about the purpose of peri-urban spaces are reproduced and reinforced in planners’ approaches to the peri-urbanization “problem” and their performance within this process, particularly in relation to farmland protection. The paper describes norms and habits of practice in the face of both material and symbolic processes of change in peri-urban regions that challenge the effectiveness of planning in this sphere, and that reveal planners as aware of the limitations of their shared narratives of rural land within a wider public and political realm, while also acknowledging the scope for considering approaches beyond instrumental solutions to those of performance and engagement.

Keywords: Rural Planning, Peri-urbanization, Performance

Spaces and Flows: An International Journal of Urban and ExtraUrban Studies, Volume 4, Issue 4, pp.37-47. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 237.423KB).

Andrew Butt

Lecturer, Community Planning and Development Program, La Trobe University, Bendigo, Victoria, Australia