Conserving urban cultural landscapes : a critical examination of social values in landuse planning decisions

  • Pamela E. Kaufman

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    Increased development pressure in inner city areas of many Australian and North American cities has resulted in the loss of locally valued cultural landscapes. Accompanying this process is palpable concern by local residents that their values have not been taken into account. While architectural and historical values are well recognised by heritage and planning practitioners, less tangible social values are often ignored. This thesis argues that a gap has formed between the process through which people interact with place and the process of landuse planning. The aim of the research is to critically examine this gap. Pyrmont and Ultimo, an inner city redevelopment area of Sydney, provides a context of rapid social and physical change. Open-ended, unstructured and semi-structured interviews with residents of Pyrmont and Ultimo, and professionals involved in planning and development provide insight into perspectives about the consideration of social values in landuse planning. The results indicate that the loss of valued places may have physical and social implications on people and place including loss of local character and identity, increased conflict, resident anxiety and disillusionment with planning processes. Residents and planners develop strategies for coping, but these do little to improve limited information flow and understanding. Bridging the gap between the two processes calls for a stronger link between heritage conservation and planning, in addition to planning reform. The research suggests the need for formal landuse planning to recognise the value of situational knowledge and social significance, rather than rely on technical expertise and physical fabric. Efforts spent on refining methods for identification and assessment of social value may be better directed towards developing and improving methods for integrating the concept of social value into the planning framework.
    Date of Award1999
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorKen Taylor (Supervisor) & Brian Egloff (Supervisor)

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