Reconciling competing values of urban open space in two national capitals

Andrew MACKENZIE, Gay Williamson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Protecting the heritage values of urban open space in the face of significant change to the surrounding urban structure highlights a particular tension between two apparently conflicting goals of sustainable development. On one hand the imagined city of the future is more compact as urban designers, planners and urban researchers advocate to increase the density of cities. On the other hand, large tracts of urban open space, left undeveloped for its scenic quality, conservation, heritage or recreation values, provide innumerable ecosystem services. This paper explores the history of the development of policies for open space systems gazetted by national governments in Ottawa and Canberra, the respective capitals of Canada and Australia. It examines how these cities have approached their metropolitan planning strategies and comments on the way urban landscapes have been accommodated in future growth through strategic plans and policies. In doing so it identifies the challenges faced when urban open spaces, deemed to be of national heritage significance, compete for increasingly scarce government resources and face increasing pressures from urban consolidation.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)102-115
    Number of pages14
    JournalHistoric Environment
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2015


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