This paper argues that the capacity for metropolitan wide integrated planning coupled with underpinning governance ideology, not an independent planning authority, is most important for successful city planning, using Melbourne, Australia, as a case study. Advocates of independent planning commissions argue that such bodies are more likely to plan a city as a unitary system on the basis of evidence, expertise and policy in place of political considerations. However, such bodies are not the only effective means of achieving metropolitan governance. Three alternative successful urban governance models are examined: vertically integrated models, coordination of independent powerful local authorities, and state control over metropolitan governance coupled with regulatory land-use policies. The model of planning governance adopted for Melbourne in the 1980s combined strong centralised government overview of the planning system with cross-sectoral policy while delegating defined powers to local authorities. Its regulatory provisions were an explicit rejection of neoliberalism and led to accountable, efficient decisions from democratically elected state and local governments. Its eventual replacement by neo-liberal governance was a key factor leading to fragmentation and an end to continuity in metropolitan wide urban planning.
Abstract included in PLA’s Research Connections article in Parks and Leisure Australia Vol 24.1 Autumn 2021. ISBN 1446-5604
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