The contribution of local strategic planning to effective governance: a case study of the Local Planning Strategy in Perth, Western Australia

Judi Bell

    Research output: ThesisMaster's Thesis

    277 Downloads (Pure)


    The potential contribution of strategic spatial planning, with its emphasis on territorial development and quality of spaces, to urban governance at the metropolitan and local level has attracted considerable attention since the 1970s. Although strategic planning at the local government level within a wider state planning framework is an established element of Australian planning systems, there has been limited research on how such planning takes place and its contribution to creating more effective governance. There is vigorous and ongoing debate about creating a more sustainable, affordable, liveable and politically efficient metropolitan area in Perth. This provides an opportunity to explore the nature, character and contribution of local strategic planning to effective governance within a situated context and in the process contribute to wider knowledge about this planning endeavour in other metropolitan areas.

    This study adopts a ‘pracademic’ and case study approach to explore the historical, geographical and institutional contexts underpinning the conception and evolution of the Local Planning Strategy (LPS). The LPS planning instrument is a WA state government mandate on local government introduced in 1999. More specifically, this study is concerned with analysing (i) the rationale behind and the delivery expectancies of state government for this instrument; (ii) the response of local government to this state government imposition and the underlying influences on this response; and finally (iii) an evaluation of the potential future contribution of local strategic planning to urban governance in the Perth metropolitan region (PMR).

    In overall terms, local strategic planning has struggled to gain solid traction and comprehensive coverage within the PMR. This is reflected by the relatively low adoption rate of the LPS by local councils. But, more importantly, the value of local strategic planning, its potential for coordination, networking and regulation and contribution to ‘joined up’ governance is barely recognised in the metropolitan planning and governance landscape. The study explores why this is the case, some 14 years after the setting of this distinct policy direction, and in particular what have been the key resistances to its implementation amongst the actors and within the institutional, political and policy environment. The case study demonstrates close links to theoretical debates about urban governance and planning and provides a useful contribution to a wider understanding to the role of local strategic planning in promoting effective governance.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusUnpublished - 2014


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