Urban regeneration: Australian case study insights for cities under growth pressure

Simon Huston, Sebastien Darchen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


The purpose of this paper is to review sustainable planning literature and investigate a major development in an Australian regional city, looking for broad sustainable insights to improve urban growth management.

First, the authors sketched the backdrop to Ipswich and looked for the drivers propelling its rapid growth. They then generated a sustainability framework from the urban regeneration literature. In the empirical phase, they analysed a major development – the Icon project. They evaluated three of five regeneration domains using secondary sources, site observations and interviews with stakeholders and experts.

First, each city’s situation is unique, so the authors proffer no simplistic development formula. Internally, cities, including Ipswich, are spatially fragmented. Second, urban regeneration extends temporally and spatially beyond the project site boundaries or deadlines. Diminished property-driven regeneration neglects the social dimensions to sustainable housing or relegates it to an afterthought, but community participation is insufficient. Government needs to seed or drive (directly or via incentives) substantive social transformation. Projects supported with credible community social development are less risky, but, in competing for investment funds, local government can rush approve unsuitable projects.

Research limitations/implications
The analysis focused on the planning and urban design aspects of the project. Only limited demographic, economic and social analyses were conducted, and the study would also benefit from interviews with a broader sample of experts.

Practical implications
Sustainable urban regeneration needs to consider not only the unique mix of regional growth drivers and constraints, but also specific local precinct characteristics. Intelligently configured community consultation should inform but not dilute design leadership.

This work investigates appropriate urban responses to growth pressure for sustainable outcomes in fast-growing regional cities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)266-282
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Housing Markets and Analysis
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 27 May 2014
Externally publishedYes


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