Planning for People: A Community Charter for Good Planning spells out the planning system changes that many organisations are asking the NSW Government to introduced in NSW.
The Charter was drawn up by representatives of a wide range of community, neighbourhood and environmental organisations including Inner Sydney Regional Council. The companion urges mechanisms through which land use planning decisions can be effectively integrated with other Government decisions relating to infrastructure and natural resource management. To achieve that elusive integration, the Companion document recommends a distinction should be made between strategic planning and development assessment.
This article describes the differences between what I have called planners’ strategic plans and, for want of a better description, effective strategic planning.
Since the 1940s, when legislation for Urban and Regional Planning first was introduced, strategic planning and development assessment have been not seen as separate exercises but, rather, two sides of the same coin.
In the 1940s the new profession of planning had to muscle in to the existing silos of the very traditionally structured state and local governments. Subsequent planning legislation, actual or proposed, still only gives the Planning Department the power to set up a system for controlling land uses. This projection is converted, first, into households, and, second, into a demand for houses and jobs. The physical and natural geography of the area to be planned is assessed and land that can potentially accommodate the increased demand for houses and jobs is identified. An assumption is made about what percentage of growth will be on “greenfields” land and what percentage will be by way of redeveloping existing urban areas. Certain standards are then applied to identify the percentages of specific land uses that will be needed for the new and redeveloped land. The “cadastral plan” (a plan showing property boundaries) for the area is then coloured in to reflect the existing, the new and the redeveloped land use zones.
Because the product of planning has to function as both a strategic plan and as the basis of land use regulation, every parcel is zoned.
Publication of the plan fixes land values and makes difficult any future changes that could reduce values. Overall, the assumption is that the major objective of planners is to separate land uses, rather than, for example, do whatever it takes to create ecologically sustainable development.
Instead of an “end state” cadastral plan for some date in the future, an effective strategic plan is a management tool setting out what needs to be done if a particular vision of the future is to be achieved. Vision – With a plan for an urban or regional area, those doing the planning (this could and should include the widest range of people interested in the issues) should articulate in descriptive (not abstract) terms the desired vision of the future.
SWOT – A traditional SWOT analysis then looks at where we are now, and analyses what is going to assist us to achieve the vision and what are the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Objectives or Outcomes – Using the SWOT analysis, the planning team then works out what outcomes or objectives have to be achieved to build on the strengths, deal with the weaknesses, take advantage of the opportunities and combat the threat. Actions – Having identified the strategy or strategies to be followed, the team then needs to identify what actions are required to achieve the objectives. The reality of the necessary actions occurring will test the reality of the vision, objectives or strategies, which may need to be adjusted. The output on a planners’ strategic plan is a set of zones and accompanying development controls. By contrast, for an effective strategic plan, zoning and development controls are merely a strategic action that may be needed to achieve an objective to achieve a particular vision.


Some time ago in a distant city a typical planning authority was called on to provide a new metropolitan strategic plan.
At the time an optimistic population projection was expected and therefore the strategic planning team had in process the identification of large new areas for rezoning, subdivision and development. A strategic analysis identified that the major cause of the development of the proposed new areas were demands from the public housing authority, whose tenants benefitted from rents based on the actual cost of each new house, and cottage builders whose customers benefitted from subsidised loans, provided they were for first homebuyers buying a new house. At that time, in the middle-ring suburbs, where there were schools, bus services and other facilities with declining customers, some existing houses cost less than it cost to construct a new house on the outer fringe. To stop bribing new first home buyers and public housing tenants, the latter increasingly unemployed, to live on the fringe, the strategies and actions of the new strategic plan changed. The strategic planning changed from a supply solution (that is, rezone more development land) to a demand solution (changes to the bureaucratic drivers that were creating what was judged to be an increasingly inequitable city). The strategic outcome led to considerable savings to the state budget and a better social structure for the metropolitan area.
The strategic plan did provide an important supply strategy – the rapid development of a high amenity new suburb directed at second home buyers. Effective strategic planning is both meaningful and capable of being participated in by everyone in the community. A wide selection of strategies should be available, rather than the single strategy of a planners’ plan – the separation of future land uses.
An effective strategic plan can and should be revisited regularly because things change and different opportunities arise. The City Council’s 2030 Plan was more an effective strategic plan than the land use zoning plan that followed as one of the strategies. The Community Charter for Good Planning proposes that a unit of strategic planning policy be created to prepare an effective strategic plan for the future of Sydney’s metropolitan area.
We acknowledge and pay our respects to the Gadigal people, the traditional owners of the land where our office is located.
Outcomes: The approach to the development of Alconbury Weald is focussed on attracting new investment, jobs and opportunities. Alconbury Weald is, however, a sustainable mixed use development and as commercial development continues to move forward with further reserved matters consents for three additional buildings, planning permission has now also been granted for the first 128 homes and the first Primary School has commenced construction on site with a view to being open for September 2016. Key Proposals:The scheme was submitted as part of the Government’s Eco-town Initiative, and in April 2008 was shortlisted as a possible Eco-town location. Outcomes: The proposals integrated the flooded clay pits of previous industrial activities alongside a new community forest with a vibrant new settlement. The goal of Strategic Thinking Week was to bring representatives from our many constituencies together to continue to define what an impactful, innovative School of Education must look like in 2020 and how the Rossier School will achieve that status.
During Strategic Thinking Week, the faculty from each one of our four concentrations met for a half-day and focused specifically on that concentration. This meeting broadened the scope of the discussion and involved representatives, chosen by the planning team, from our faculty, staff, the student body, alumni, and other external stakeholders.  This Integration Meeting  used the work of the concentrations to focus on establishing bold goals for the School’s future, in the context of an educational landscape that continues to change dramatically.
Bli forst att betygsatta och recensera boken Strategic Planning of Sustainable Urban Water Management. It sets out the principles, expected outcomes and mechanisms required to achieve good planning. There is a longer companion document which acts as a more detailed guide on how planning should be changed.


The Department does not have the power to direct the activities of the more powerful silos, such as roads, transport, mining, water, education, health and so on. This ill-considered project has had little regard to the planners’ strategic plan for Sydney, which has as its core objective reducing, rather than reinforcing, the dominance of the CBD. The future land use pattern is fixed, even though, given the time taken by the planning exercise, the assumptions on which the plan was based can be out of date by the time the plan is published.
The existing very traditional end-state land use zoning plan had reached its nominated end point. This new department was then staffed, not just by the urban planners, but also by urban economists and those experienced in analysing the drivers of urban development and their social consequences.
Instead of new rezoning cheap fringe land, action was taken to change the terms of the Commonwealth State Housing Agreement. In time, some of the cottage builders changed their products to take advantage of this and redevelopment opportunities in the inner suburbs.
It should be able to overcome the silo mentalities of the very traditional organisation structures to be found in state government and in local government. His CV includes rewriting the NSW Local Government Act, being a NSW ICAC Commissioner and reforming the planning system in South Australia. The strategy focused on the practical application of sustainable technologies for waste, energy production, water and achieving zero carbon set within a unique living environment. In February 2009, O&H Properties decided to promote the scheme through the Local Authority’s emerging Local Plan. The Urban Water programme covered projects from various disciplines at 9 Swedish Universities, from 1999 to 2006. While their plans are called “strategic plans”, they are essentially coloured maps that separate land uses. WestConnex is a classic example of a simplistic silo solution to a complex set of strategic issues. Mechanisms designed by government to capture some of that value may, or may not, be imposed at that time.
David Lock Associates has been working closely with the land owners, the LEP and the Local Planning Authority to secure delivery and has submitted, and had approved, detailed planning applications for enabling works in the Enterprise Zone and for the first new commercial building, the Innovation Centre, which opened in February 2014. While recently these zone names have been given less descriptive titles, the intent remains the same. The housing authority was able to charge rents on a different basis than the cost of the particular house being rented. Strategic Planning of Sustainable Urban Water Management synthesises the results and presents a comprehensive approach, which includes not only the technical, economic and environmental aspects, but also the challenges of institutional capacity and public participation in the planning process.
It became possible to adopt a much wider range of solutions to adding to the public housing stock.



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