Research and Publications

New paper on public participation by UQ|UP team published in Geographical Research

In this study, performance‐based planning is implicated in the destabilisation of community trust in the planning system. Set in a contested inner city area of Brisbane, Australia, the research associates neoliberal planning objectives with the discretionary decision‐making specifically embedded in performance‐based planning. The neoliberalisation of planning is, we submit, symptomatic of a post‐ideological politics of consensus that actually erodes properly political moments and renders the political merely administrative. We explore these matters by reference to a particular case study involving a spatial planning project that resulted in height and density being extended to unprecedented levels, and competitive economic value and city branding being prioritised over the local value of the place. This discretionary action, limited formal participation opportunities, and existing low levels of community trust motivated local residents to mobilise against the plan and design alternatives. To understand the role of trust and participation in performance‐based planning, both in this case and more generally, a number of stakeholders were interviewed and surveyed to gather their views on participation, trust, and discretion in planning, and on the performance‐based planning system. A surprising research finding is that many stakeholders expressed trust in planning professionals but distrust in the planning system in which planners operate, and they did so on the understanding that the system gives unfettered priority to economic growth objectives.