Has planning been de-democratised in Sydney?

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Journal Article
Geographical Research, 2018, 56 (2), pp. 230 - 240
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© 2017 Institute of Australian Geographers This paper investigates the complex and continuously evolving processes of de-democratisation evident in urban planning practice in Sydney between 2011 and 2017. New South Wales' successive rounds of planning reform, establishment of a metropolitan commission, and amalgamation of local governments over that period have aimed to reduce local democratic participation in planning decisions, but they have had uneven success. I argue that while New South Wales' efforts to streamline development and de-democratise planning have evolved considerably in response to multiple forms of opposition, the success of the neoliberal project is still uncertain. The insights this story offers add complexity to theorists' claims about the inevitability of depoliticisation and the end of meaningful democratic engagement. The story also offers insights about how power is created, lost, and regained in particular local circumstances.
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