Planning in Indigenous Australia: From Imperial Foundations to Postcolonial Futures, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Planning in Indigenous Australia

From Imperial Foundations to Postcolonial Futures, 1st Edition

By Sue Jackson, Libby Porter, Louise C. Johnson


250 pages

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Planning in settler-colonial countries is always taking place on the lands of Indigenous peoples. While Indigenous rights, identity and cultural values are increasingly being discussed within planning, its mainstream accounts virtually ignore the colonial roots and legacies of the discipline’s assumptions, techniques and methods. This ground-breaking book exposes the imperial origins of the planning canon, profession and practice in the settler-colonial country of Australia.

By documenting the role of planning in the history of Australia’s relations with Indigenous peoples, the book maps the enduring effects of colonisation. It provides a new historical account of colonial planning practices and rewrites the urban planning histories of major Australian cities. Contemporary land rights, native title and cultural heritage frameworks are analysed in light of their critical importance to planning practice today, with detailed case illustrations. In reframing Australian planning from a postcolonial perspective, the book shatters orthodox accounts, revising the story that planning has told itself for over 100 years. New ways to think and practise planning in Indigenous Australia are advanced.

Planning in Indigenous Australia makes a major contribution towards the decolonisation of planning. It is essential reading for students and teachers in tertiary planning programmes, as well as those in geography, development studies, postcolonial studies, anthropology and environmental management. It is also vital reading for professional planners in the public, private and community sectors.

Table of Contents

List of Figures

List of Tables


Planning in Indigenous Australia: An Introduction

Sue Jackson, Louise C. Johnson and Libby Porter

Part I: Planning and Indigenous Peoples

1 Framing Relations Between Planning and Indigenous Peoples

Libby Porter

2 Australian Planning Texts and Indigenous Absence

Louise C. Johnson

Part II: Imperial Foundations

3 Dispossession and Terra Nullius: Planning’s Formative Terrain

Libby Porter

4 The Colonial Technologies and Practices of Australian Planning

Sue Jackson

5 Planning Sydney: Australia’s First City

Louise C. Johnson

6 Planning Melbourne

Louise C. Johnson

7 Darwin: A Planner’s Dream

Sue Jackson

Part III: Towards Postcolonial Futures

8 Land Rights: A Postcolonial Revolution in Land Title

Sue Jackson

9 Planning in the Native Title Era

Sue Jackson

10 Heritage Management

Libby Porter

11 Indigenous Planning: Emerging Possibilities

Libby Porter, Sue Jackson and Louise C. Johnson

12 Towards a New Planning History and Practice

Sue Jackson, Louise C. Johnson and Libby Porter


About the Authors

Sue Jackson is Associate Professor and Principal Research Fellow at Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia. She is a cultural geographer with expertise in the social dimensions of natural resource management in Australia, particularly Indigenous community-based conservation initiatives, knowledge practices and institutions. In 2014 Sue was awarded an Australian Research Council Future Fellowship.

Libby Porter is Associate Professor and Vice Chancellor’s Principal Research Fellow at RMIT University, Australia. Her work addresses the politics of dispossession and displacement in planning and urban theory. Libby is Assistant Editor of the journal Planning Theory and Practice and co-founder of Planners Network UK. Her major publications include Unlearning the Colonial Cultures of Planning (2010) and Planning for Coexistence? Recognizing Indigenous rights through land-use planning in Canada and Australia (2016, with Janice Barry).

Louise C. Johnson is Professor of Australian Studies at Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia. A human geographer, she was awarded the Institute of Australian Geographers Australia International Medal in 2012 for her contributions to geography. Louise's major publications include Suburban Dreaming: An interdisciplinary approach to Australian cities (1994), Placebound: Australian feminist geographies (2000) and Cultural Capitals: Revaluing the arts and remaking urban spaces (2009).

About the Series

RTPI Library Series

Published in conjunction with the Royal Town Planning Institute [], this series of leading edge texts is intended for academics, educators, students and practitioners in planning and related fields. Written by globally renowned authors the series looks at all aspects of spatial planning theory and practice from a comparative and international perspective.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ARCHITECTURE / Urban & Land Use Planning