Architecture, Building and Planning - Theses

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    Conceptions of community and the planning of urban areas
    Ogilvy, Ewan (University of Melbourne, 1982)
    The central task of this thesis is to explore why so few of the results of sociological research are applied in planning practice. Early propositions suggest that the research is not organized in a form appropriate for practitioners, that there are problems with the nature of planning practice, and finally that the political economic context acts as a significant constraint. The sociological research selected is concerned with conceptions of community. The planning environment is the City of Melbourne of the mid to late 1970's. The investigation commences with a review of the literature on community, the planning activity and the legal-political-economic environment. This review then provides a framework for considering three planning exercises : the rebuilding of a community centre, the renewal of an inner-city block, and policy development for the Mixed Use areas of the city. These case studies in turn provide the opportunity to review the theoretical perspectives and address the initial propositions. It is concluded that much community research can only be applied indirectly in planning practice, not because of the "form" of this research, but because a key conclusion from this work is that the different expressions of the communal relationship have to be understood in each specific context; there is no inherently correct expression. This suggests that it will be important for planning styles to evolve which allow the peculiarities of each situation to be revealed. The problem for planning practitioners is that they have to deal with the builders of the built-environment, people whose interests are not necessarily congruent with the users. Finally, it is concluded that the initial problem statement needs to be rephrased to take into account the significant political and economic characteristics of our contemporary society; characteristics which have the effect of downplaying sociological research which emphasizes users, and discouraging planning styles which are likely to highlight the rich diversity of social arrangements of present day Melburnians.
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