Participation, process and change: Negotiating public participation in metropolitan planning in the ACT

Andrew MacKenzie, Rebecca Sorensen

    Research output: A Conference proceeding or a Chapter in BookConference contributionpeer-review


    The National Capital Authority (NCA) has voluntarily implemented its own protocol for public participation. While many of the NCA’s projects concern works approval for small developments, the NCA also develops sophisticated and extensive public consultation processes for projects that concern strategic metropolitan planning issues that impact on Canberra’s future development. This paper reports on the NCA’s consultation processes which have uncovered a literate, interested and engaged public whose participation has contributed to metropolitan planning policy. Recent reviews into parking in the Parliamentary Zone and surrounding areas, and the provision of landscape spaces in the city produce very different objectives. Yet they share a common outcome, that is, the consultation process has generated meaningful public commentary on complex issues facing city planners concerned with transport, density and city form. These reviews also highlight the ongoing dilemma faced by cities. Fourty-five years ago, Christopher Alexander argued that “cities are millions of people’s attempts to reconcile their desire for access and their desire for land” (Alexander 1966). This paper finds that planning with the community using web based formats is not only possible, but desirable when agencies seek to engage in higher order strategic and transdisciplinary thinking to gain a collective understanding of an issue. Such an approach also carries risks, but on balance, planning with the community produces a more enduring and acceptable outcome for producing policies to promote and develop a more resilient city. The challenge has been to find ways to make engagement meaningful to an otherwise dispersed public voice.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publication5th State of Australian Cities National Conference 2011
    EditorsCarolyn Whitzman, Ruth Fincher, Robin Goodman, Michael Buxton, Peter Newton, Austin Ley
    Place of PublicationMelbourne
    PublisherAustralian Sustainable Cities and Regions Network
    Number of pages8
    ISBN (Print)9780646568058
    Publication statusPublished - 2011
    EventState of Australian Cities - Melbourne, Australia
    Duration: 29 Nov 20112 Dec 2011


    ConferenceState of Australian Cities


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