Town Planning Review

Going for growth and managing decline: the complex mix of planning strategies in Broken Hill, NSW, Australia

Town Planning Review (2017), 88, (1), 43–57.

Abstract

In countries throughout the developed world, including Australia, large cities are growing while remote cities are shrinking. Unfortunately, planners in shrinking communities employ growth-oriented policies – influenced by neoliberal thinking – that have been found to be ineffective in addressing the effects of population decline. A growing number of researchers are calling for the adoption of so-called ‘decline-oriented’ planning (which involves accepting future decline and actively planning for it) in shrinking communities. In this paper, the case study of Broken Hill is used to explore the limits of the ‘decline-oriented ideology’. Firstly, Broken Hill’s planning challenges and strategies are outlined then the tension between growth-oriented strategies found in policy documents, and the actions of local officials, who are adopting elements of decline-oriented planning, minus the ideology is highlighted. It is argued that it is unlikely that local officials in Broken Hill will adopt the decline-oriented ideology anytime soon, calling into question the likelihood of ‘decline-oriented planning’ ever being wholeheartedly adopted.

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Author details

Schatz, Laura