School of Geography - Theses

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    The Port Melbourne condition: normative geographies of legitimation for urban development
    Batten, David Clark ( 1994)
    This thesis argues that the legitimation of urban development projects is an important dimension to urbanisation as such. It argues that legitimation is the role of the discourse of urban development and as such is complementary to the more usual political economic or policy analyses of urban development. The local scale of development projects makes for a complex legitimation problem for State-sponsored development, because of the influence of local differences. A case study of a State sponsored major project, the Bayside Project in Melbourne, Australia (1984-1992) explores this proposal. The thesis uses the notion of normative geographies of legitimation to examine the discourse of Bayside from its procedural and substantive participatory dimensions, and for the definition of Port Melbourne that provides insight into the normative construction of places in development discourse. A normative geography defines what some space ought to be like. Normative geographies have forms both of expression and content. Expression has a normative geography in the public sphere of discourse, both from a procedural (when and where things happen, with whom) and a substantive point of view (who participates how and to what effect). Normative geographies of content are the definitions of places through the mobilisation of knowledge, and are frequently in conflict with other geographies of the same place. Analysis of these normative geographies in the case study of the Bayside Project reveals some interesting relations of power, especially as they relate to the use of the public sphere and its rules of operation. The Bayside project eventually collapsed and with it the State Government of Victoria. The whole saga was an exquisite example of the complexities of the relationship of legitimation and urban development. ii