“Progress in Australian planning history: Traditions, themes and transformations”

Robert Freestone, “Progress in Australian planning history: Traditions, themes and transformations” Progress in Planning V91, July 2014 pp. 1-29


Planning history is a distinctive strain in modern planning scholarship that provides dividends in the broader understanding of planning’s aims, development, impacts, achievements and limitations. Since the 1970s, with the infusion of more critical social science and creative humanities perspectives, planning history has developed a global reach characterised by cross-cutting themes and international institutions but research remains largely organised on a national basis. This review of recent and cutting edge literature deals exclusively with the Australian realm: its origins, governance, preoccupations and potentials. The major focus is on recent (mainly post-2002) literature and contributions capturing of innovative takes on the historical development of planning. Like urban history, planning history takes shape primarily within topical clusters and Abbott’s (2006) threefold characterisation of urban history concerns for planners provides a useful typology. Against this backdrop, the paper describes the culture, structure and progress of planning history studies from an Australian perspective. It establishes an interdisciplinary framework with other adjectival histories (architectural, urban, environmental, social), reviews recent path-breaking research organised around six major themes resonant of wider planning concerns, and reflects on directions for future research.


• The culture, structure and progress of planning history studies from an Australian perspective are described.
• Timely stocktake of literature focusing on recent (mainly post-2002) contributions.
• An interdisciplinary framework for work at the interface of architectural, urban, environmental, and social histories is established.
• Six major strands of cutting edge work resonant of wider planning concerns are established.
• Reflections on the direction of future research needs and opportunities.

CFP: Special issue of Fabrications

Special issue of Fabrications – Call for papers
Fabrications: The Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia & New Zealand

Volume 23 number 1 will be a themed issue, ‘Competitions and Capitals’, in recognition of Canberra’s centenary in 2013.

Announcement: Call for Papers for Fabrications 23:1 closes 1 November 2012.

The international design competition for Canberra was widely advertised and generated international interest in 2011-12. It was of course won by the Americans, Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony Griffin, and the city was built from 2013. The competition and particularly the winning design, with its strong axes and geometries, helped to popularise the idea of town planning, in Australia and elsewhere. In recognition of the centenary, Fabrications 23:1 invites papers exploring themes of relevance to the design of Canberra, from competitions and capitals to the use of geometry in city design. Papers might be specifically focused on Canberra and/or the Griffins. Equally, they might address other competitions (for buildings, cities or parts of cities); the design of other capital cities; town or cities utilising geometric systems in their design; or architects connected with the Griffins. For papers not explicitly concerned with Canberra, some reference or comparison to it is welcome but not essential.

Papers are due in with Deborah van der Plaat (d.vanderplaat@uq.edu.au) and Julia Gatley (julia.gatley@auckland.ac.nz) by the due dates identified above.

Fabrications: Guidelines for Authors