Session: Challenges for Urban Planning

Sustainable Urban and Regional Futures Stream


Day 3, Parallel Session 3A: 11:00am – 12:30pm

Location: Storey Hall (Building 16) – Main Auditorium, Level 5, Room 1

Chair: Professor Paul James (RMIT University)


Christopher IvesChristopher IvesCathy OkeCathy Oke


Values for Green Open Space and How They Can Inform Urban Planning

  • Presenters: Dr Christopher Ives (main author, RMIT University) and Dr Cathy Oke (co-author, RMIT University)
  • Abstract: Green open space is crucial to public health, personal well-being, the provision of ecosystem services and the maintenance of biodiversity in cities. However, green open space is under increasing pressure as cities grow. Open space planning in Australia is generally based on local policies and guidelines, yet rarely are they informed by empirical evidence. Moreover, the majority of existing academic research has focused narrowly on a single use or social outcome of open space (e.g. promoting physical exercise). In this study we surveyed residents of the Lower Hunter Valley region in NSW to explore how a range of values are assigned to different types of open space and which types of activities they support. Map-based public participation GIS (PPGIS) techniques were used to spatially define individual green spaces and enable characterisation of participants’ surrounding landscape. It was found that residents value green open spaces for a variety of reasons related to the physical characteristics of the site and spatial scale. It is vital therefore that new and existing residential areas contain a variety of parks and reserves. This will ensure they meet the diverse needs of the public and promote the long-term social and environmental sustainability of urban landscapes.
  • About Christopher: Chris Ives is a postdoctoral research fellow in the School of Global Urban and Social Studies at RMIT University. He obtained his PhD in 2012 from Macquarie University, where he studied the ecology of urban riparian systems. His research interests lie in exploring the interactions between people and ecosystems in cities, and how ecological and social data are applied to public environmental policy. Chris is currently undertaking research on the community values of urban green open space as part of the Australian Government’s National Environmental Research Program.
  • About Cathy: Dr Cathy Oke has a Bachelor of Science (marine biology, zoology) Hons (genetics) degree. Her PhD looked at the use of genetics in fisheries management to discriminate stocks of orange roughy across its global range. Cathy spent the last 8 years facilitating local environmental projects with schools across Australia through the Kids Teaching Kids education program, and most recently joined the Interdisciplinary  Conservation Research Group at RMIT University as a research fellow looking at community values of urban green open space as part of the Australian Government’s National Environmental Research Program.
John Jackson Towards More Sustainable Cities: What Glasgow, Melbourne and Toronto’s Planners Say

  • Presenter and main author: Associate Professor John Jackson (RMIT University)
  • Abstract: Since the Global Financial Crisis of 2008 the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada, like other English-speaking western countries, have sought to have balanced budgets, have made public servants redundant and have increasingly relied on the private sector to deliver social and physical infrastructure to their cities and regions. In the context of these changing global politico-economic circumstances, this presentation reports on how public sector urban planners, working at both the state and local government level in Glasgow, Melbourne and Toronto have responded to their more constrained political and funding circumstances. It is based on semi-structured, repeat interviews conducted in 2005/6 and 2011/2, approximately 15 in each metropolis. In interpreting the interview transcriptions, attention is given to each metropolis’s economic and demographic profile and to its institutional arrangements, to the sub-metropolitan geography of the workplace jurisdictions and to the planners’ personal values. It is argued, from the qualitative material presented, that individual planners and the planning profession more generally, have the capacity to deliver the more sustainable economic, environmental and social outcomes their plans espouse but they often fail to do so. Much depends on how effectively planners work with others, outside urban planning’s traditional land use focus.
  • About the presenter: John Jackson teaches urban policy and planning at RMIT University. He pioneered courses in work-integrated learning and helped establish overseas exchanges at this university. His current research interests centre on comparative planning practices and the career paths of RMITUniversity planning graduates.