Robert Freestone

Robert Freestone
UNSW Sydney | UNSW · Faculty of Built Environment

About

175
Publications
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1,608
Citations

Publications

Publications (175)
Article
Full-text available
This paper presents findings from a national survey of Australian planning experts examining future settlement patterns and locations at the continental scale. Collective judgement supported efforts to achieve population decentralisation and favoured three possible scenarios-Satellite Cities, Boosted Secondary Capital Cities, and East West Megaregi...
Article
The Chicago architect/planner Walter Burley Griffin (1876–1937) is known world-wide for his plan for Canberra, Australia’s national capital. Working with his life and professional partner Marion Mahony, he was also responsible for a series of suburban and smaller town schemes in the US and Australia from 1913 until the late 1920s. Most of his Austr...
Article
The City Beautiful movement was an early‐twentieth‐century planning paradigm strongest in the United States and with its roots in various social and professional impulses aiming to improve the aesthetic qualities of the urban environment. This entry codifies its values, its main constituent elements, the nature of its proponents, and its outcomes b...
Article
Despite the negative environmental impacts, the aviation sector and its land-based industries are now considered critical infrastructure for cities to maintain growth and a competitive global edge. As such, they have become integrated into city planning, development and function. In Western Sydney, Australia, the development of a new international...
Article
Queuing is central to the way city dwellers spend their time, access critical resources and perform social differences. In this paper, we explore the tactics of individuals negotiating access to goods, speed and status in the waiting line; and the strategies of authorities managing these queues. We propose that across numerous queues throughout the...
Article
Full-text available
Genuine engagement about how best to achieve liveable urban futures should be part of planning’s raison-d’etre but it has a chequered history of delivery. Exhibitions harnessing the communicative power of mixed media and linked to a progressive and responsive programme of focused discussion and debate remain relevant to community consultation and c...
Chapter
This chapter provides an overview of the City of Sydney’s Competitive Design Policy (CDP) formally adopted in 2000, and its developmental progress to its present form by 2012. It has been designed, reviewed and implemented as a key initiative of the City’s pursuit for design excellence along with the City’s growing aspiration for a global city in t...
Chapter
This chapter presents the competitive design experiences and outcomes of three recent signature commercial development projects (one completed, two under construction) in central Sydney. Each project is unique, but they share the common tenet of pursuing design excellence to contribute to global competitiveness and global city remaking. In all thre...
Chapter
This chapter discusses the City of Sydney’s Competitive Design Policy (CDP) in broader intellectual and practical contexts. It reflects on the policy’s contribution to design governance and considers how design competitions can be successfully utilised as a design governance tool. Drawing upon a retrospective assessment, the chapter points to sever...
Chapter
The conclusion chapter revisits the central concern of the book—the pursuit of design excellence through a Competitive Design Policy (CDP) in a globally significant Central Business District (CBD). Considering the various intersections of globalisation, competitiveness, design excellence and design competitions, the chapter is comprised of four sec...
Chapter
This chapter summarises and evaluates the development scale and design outcomes of the Competitive Design Policy (CDP) that has involved nearly 50 projects since the turn of the century. The policy has been applied to the largest and highest, and often the most expensive private property projects across central Sydney. The development parameters, d...
Chapter
This chapter contrasts the pros and cons of the City of Sydney’s Competitive Design Policy (CDP), drawing upon insights from a wide range of architects, regulators, developers, planners and jurors involved in competitive design processes. The policy has been successful in enhancing design quality; advancing the local design culture and architectura...
Chapter
This chapter contextualises global Sydney under the dual forces of the global economy and neoliberal urbanism. Global Sydney is most captured in the economic and spatial transformations in the central city area: the concentration of advanced producer services (APS), the verticalisation of urban forms and urban redevelopment hotspots. These transfor...
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This chapter reviews a vast body of literature to provide a framework for thinking about the role of public sector agencies in the pursuit of design excellence. The chapter casts the property development process as a form of ‘battlefield’ in which developers, planners and designers must struggle for ‘opportunity space’. In this context, design gove...
Chapter
This chapter provides a background on the drivers and aspirations for design excellence in Sydney in the last three decades of the twentieth century. It identifies three historical threads: a more enlightened climate encouraging quality design, a more progressive civic leadership recognising design values and the demonstration of traditional archit...
Book
This text explores how architectural and urban design values have been co-opted by global cities to enhance their economic competitiveness by creating a superior built environment that is not just aesthetically memorable but more productive and sustainable. It focuses on the experience of central Sydney through its policy commitment to ‘design exce...
Article
This paper critically examines recent responses by and interactions between stakeholders in negotiating the acceptability of aircraft noise standards in Australia in order to help inform debate in Britain. It investigates the interplay of the politics of noise with the broader land use planning context focusing on the role of government, airports,...
Chapter
While a robust voluntary town planning movement emerged in Australia before World War I, the long-standing goal of university-provided professional education did not become a reality until after World War II. This chapter considers the genesis of the first three tertiary programs in Australia between 1949 and 1951 in the wake of national moves towa...
Article
Patrick Abercrombie looms large over British planning history and the global spread of town and country planning philosophies through the twentieth century. However, the life and contributions of his only son Niel, a capable architect-planner in his own right, have not been documented. This paper examines the career of Niel Abercrombie (1911-1984)...
Article
From the 1910s to the 1950s, Los Angeles was a surprising exemplar of progressive planning for Australian cities. LA’s planned neighborhoods early captured the garden suburb ideal. Regional planning initiatives attracted increasing interest, then transport planning and management of auto traffic. Mechanisms of urban governance and formal alliances...
Article
Future needs and challenges, the respective contributions of practice and research, and the state of education are constant preoccupations of the planning profession. These issues are regularly canvassed in academic and professional forums. This paper provides an Australasian (Australia and New Zealand) perspective in reporting the findings from an...
Article
Despite their different roles, academic and professional planners share many common goals. Both are concerned with the future of cities, and committed to goals of sustainability, equity and prosperity. Many academics hope to contribute knowledge that will influence practice and many practitioners wish to draw upon current research to promulgate bes...
Article
Full-text available
The pursuit of high-quality urban design through the planning process is made challenging by two key problematics. First, control over the decisions that produce or alter the built environment is differentially distributed across numerous public and private agents. Second, there is little agreement about what ‘good’ urban design is and how it is be...
Chapter
https://www.routledge.com/Place-and-Placelessness-Revisited/Freestone-Liu/p/book/9781138937116 UK & US discount flyer now included in supplementary resources Since its publication in 1976, Ted Relph’s Place and Placelessness has been an influential text in thinking about cities and city life across disciplines, including human geography, sociolog...
Article
High-quality architectural and urban design are now widely regarded as key contributors to the competitive advantage of global cities. Sydney, Australia is no exception. Since 2000 ‘design excellence’ has become a central mantra applied to improve design quality. Focusing on the jurisdiction of Sydney City Council, this paper identifies an assembla...
Article
This paper examines Melbourne’s first statutory metropolitan planning scheme in 1954 in terms of its origins, production, promotion and reception. While a cautious trend-tidying template, it represented a landmark in Melbourne’s planning history and established permanently a metropolitan planning apparatus at the state government level. Metropolita...
Article
The post-war reconstruction era was marked by numerous planning exhibitions which provide a window on the contemporary nature of communication and consultation in planning practice. The 1943 Exhibition of the County of London Plan prepared by J.H. Forshaw and Patrick Abercrombie was a major event with the king and queen making a high-profile visit....
Article
Full-text available
Much contemporary reworking of suburban form takes place both beyond the gaze of urban theory and outside the regulatory ambit of planning systems. An increasingly significant phenomenon in many low density cities dominated by private property markets that has fallen under the radar in these terms is the owner-led incremental demolition and rebuild...
Chapter
Planning ranks as a significant social movement of the twentieth century. Its modern history is an ongoing story of achievement, resilience, failure, and adaptation to place, culture, and circumstance. The scope of planning has expanded dramatically from its nineteenth-century origins addressing the challenges of industrial urbanization. Early plan...
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This article examines the story of Canberra Airport's transformation from a dilapidated aviation facility to a world-class small ‘airport city’ juxtaposing aeronautical and non-aeronautical land uses with a critical focus on the tensions with established planning and corporate institutions. The analysis is framed within five main discourses: the gl...
Article
Exhibitions have been a longstanding fixture of planning culture, especially during the first half of the twentieth century when reform propaganda arguing for intervention into market-driven urban development processes was at its height. Exhibitions thus offer a distinctive and productive thematic approach for planning history. This paper identifie...
Article
Sir Peter Hall, who passed away on 30 July 2014, was best known for his contribution to urban planning scholarship and policy, but his training in, and early career orientation to, human geography instilled a strong spatial imagination in his work. His name is indelibly associated with important urban and regional planning concepts of enduring sign...
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Sir Peter Hall passed away at the age of 82 in July 2014. As a leading figure in the fields of planning, geography, urban regeneration, regional studies and transportation, numerous tributes and obituaries have already been published. In this memoir, Associate Editor Rob Freestone draws from his essay in the 2014 book which he co-edited with Mark T...
Article
Public participation in plan-making is now accepted as mainstream at all spatial scales. Decisive moves to inject consultative provisions are usually dated to the 1960s, a decade of worldwide civil unrest marked by the rise of community social movements. However, there is a neglected pre-history. In Australia, the ideology of democratic planning wa...
Article
In her lifetime Florence Taylor was celebrated as an advocate of town planning reform in Australia. Based in Sydney, she trained as an architect but spent most of her long professional life as a publisher and trade journalist, developing strong ties with the building industry. Unified by a strong environmental determinist position, early preoccupat...
Article
The political mandate for postwar reconstruction in the 1940s demanded an ideological consensus for state-directed town planning to regulate urban development. Exhibitions showcasing theoretical and practical proposals proved a popular medium for securing that consensus. Of interest here are two travelling exhibitions spreading the message of moder...
Article
Globally, the changing nature of airports, and particularly the juxtaposition of general commercial land uses alongside aviation functions, is captured in the concept of the ‘airport city’. In Australia, commercialisation has impacted nearly all privatised capital city and general aviation airports. Essendon Airport's contested transformation from...
Article
Planning history is a distinctive strain in modern planning scholarship that provides dividends in the broader understanding of planning's aims, development, impacts, achievements and limitations. Since the 1970s, with the infusion of more critical social science and creative humanities perspectives, planning history has developed a global reach ch...
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Full-text available
Gender issues in planning, urban design and the built environment are an established focus for academic studies, as well as in the everyday professional environment. Most interest has been directed at the organisation of urban space, rather than the instrumental roles of women in shaping the environment. This paper commences an expedition into the...
Article
Increasingly popular “supersized” dwellings, often twice as big as the traditional detached suburban house, have been widely criticized on social, environmental, economic and aesthetic grounds. This paper examines the emergence of infill-supersized dwellings in the older post-war suburbs of Sydney, Australia, through piecemeal replacement of older...
Article
Decisions by individual owners about reinvesting capital in their homes are important drivers of wider processes of suburban renewal. This paper examines the motivations for owners in mostly middle-ring suburbs of Sydney, Australia, to reinvest through ‘knockdown and rebuild’ (KDR). This process—not unique to Australia—involves the wholesale demoli...
Article
Throughout the first decade of the twentieth century, the countdown to securing a city plan for Australia's national capital took many twists and turns. The major narratives are now fairly well documented: defining the parameters for the ideal site, identifying and acquiring a suitable location on the Limestone Plains, devising an acceptable proced...
Article
Frank Costello's long career represents a series of illuminating encounters with the development of Australian planning, design practice and education. His career stretched from the 1920s to the 1970s, first in Sydney and subsequently in Brisbane where he was the senior architect-planner at Brisbane City Council between 1941 and 1952. He also worke...
Article
Many suburban areas in Australian cities built between the 1930s and 1960s are facing major challenges from socio-demographic change, ageing housing, long-term disinvestment and entrenched pockets of social disadvantage. Yet despite emerging relative disadvantages, these middle ring or ‘third city’ suburbs are experiencing locally generated pieceme...
Article
Problem, research strategy, and findings: The privatization of airports in Australia included airport property development rights, regulated only by federal, not local, land use control. Airports then developed commercial and retail centers outside local community plans, resulting in a history of poor coordination of planning and reflecting strong...
Article
Planning is inherently about looking ahead. The future orientation entwined in the DNA of the discipline is crucial given the environmental, social and economic challenges confronted at the start of the 21st century. Planning practice shows signs of responsiveness, but what about planning education? Academic discourse suggests concerns often lie el...
Article
A distinctive feature of suburban development in Melbourne, Australia, from the late 1920s was the fully serviced cul-de-sac subdivision in which houses, gardens, streetscape, and infrastructure were conceived as a planned entity. The typology can be linked to the Californian bungalow court concept, transmitted via professional journals, trade maga...
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One of the hallmarks of many planned garden suburbs of the early twentieth century is the internal reserve: open space at the rear of residences, without street frontage. An idealistic conception with direct links to overseas planning theory, these spaces were not always well received by either local councils or residents; despite this, many surviv...
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Canberra, Australia's national capital city, was transformed through the 1960s from a straggling city beautiful on garden city lines, to a modern new city of international standing by the powerful National Capital Development Commission (NCDC), established in 1957. Gordon Stephenson first visited the city in 1954, became a consultant to the NCDC in...
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Privatisation of world airports is a global trend. The implications of ownership transfers have been assessed from various standpoints, especially operational and economic efficiency. This paper considers the urban planning implications through the lens of the Australian experience. While most jurisdictions maintain planning systems regardless of a...
Article
Airport development is an inherently risky proposition and regulation can add to uncertainty in the business environment. The privatisation of Australian federal airports between 1996 and 2003 mainstreamed airport development into metropolitan non-residential property markets with all the normal commercial risks including adverse community reaction...
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Full-text available
Airports have been relatively neglected in scholarly planning literature despite their historic role in shaping metropolitan form. Their transformation into major mixed-use urban nodes anchoring subregional realms of aviation-oriented development has underscored their significance as agents of and products of globalization. Reviewing the trends and...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Mega cities have attracted increasing attention for their importance in global, national and regional economies. Their attraction for employment, scale economies and agglomeration of economic activities has a profound impact on urban geography, the quality of life, the environment, and hence sustainability. This paper examines the applicability of...
Article
National and international conferences were a vital force for advancing the theory and practice of modern town planning from the early twentieth century. A conference held in Melbourne, Australia, in May 1901 on the ‘Laying Out and Building of the Federal Capital’ represents one of the, if not the, first national meetings dealing with the topic of...
Article
In the history of city planning, the dichotomy between the aesthetic aspirations of the City Beautiful and City Practical movements is overstated. The aesthetic impulse did not disappear but persisted as an important thread through the development of comprehensive planning approaches into the 1920s. The nexus between beauty and utility was negotiat...
Article
The heritage of the Cold War is attracting increasing international interest. Much of that revolves around technological legacies; less attention has been paid to the community infrastructure which supported defence research, weapons testing and military installations. Security and operational logistics meant that research and development was condu...
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This article reviews salient characteristics of planning historiography, primarily since 1990 but noting earlier tendencies, and identifies the principal networks which have fostered this work. Some key recent tendencies are explored, including (an incomplete) Anglophone dominance, tempered by recognition of international connectivities in both sub...
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This paper provides a preliminary foray into the historical role of planning exhibitions in the development of modern town planning culture drawing on the Australian experience. While the catalytic role of major expositions on urban society has been acknowledged in the literature, the staging, evolution and meanings attached to purpose-built planni...
Article
Cities are continually built and unbuilt (Hommels, 2005), reflecting cycles of investment and disinvestment across space, the machinations of housing and urban policy interventions, and shifting patterns of household need, demand, choice and constraint. The drivers of change are fluid and reflect shifting political, institutional, technological, en...
Article
Airports are remaking Australian cities as they remake themselves as privatised enclaves of commercial entrepreneurialism. In line with overseas trends towards airport cities, all major federally leased Australian airports now derive a significant proportion of their revenue from non-aeronautical property development. New land uses such as direct f...
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Urban regeneration has intermittently been identified within Commonwealth policy circles as central to the functioning of Australian cities since the 1940s. This paper adds to existing knowledge by exploring the role of the Commonwealth Department of Urban and Regional Development (DURD) in the 1970s in facilitating a series of urban regeneration p...
Article
The privatization of major Australian airports in the late 1990s unleashed an unprecedented development wave as corporate lessees implemented ambitious business plans. While planning and environmental regulations governing on-airport development were significantly enhanced, there has been national disquiet about a governance regime that remains und...
Article
The 1948 Planning Scheme for the County of Cumberland was the first regional land-use plan prepared for the Sydney area and provided the statutory framework for post-war metropolitan planning. Strongly influenced by Patrick Abercrombie's two seminal 1940s plans for London, the Sydney strategy accorded great weight to the role of open space in struc...
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Sydney real estate agent-surveyor Henry F Halloran was an unusual town planning advocate in the interwar years. Not only did he turn his schemes for new communities, which used the rhetoric and features of the early planning movement, into actual land developments, he also concentrated considerable effort on regional Australia. Halloran was particu...
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In Australia, airports have emerged as important sub-regional activity centres and now pose challenges for both airport operation and planning in the surrounding urban and regional environment. The changing nature of airports in their metropolitan context and the emergence of new pressures and problems require the introduction of a fresh conceptual...
Article
Full-text available
In this paper our aim is to examine the historical role that planning exhibitions have had in communicating ideas. While the catalytic role in urban change of major expos is acknowledged, the staging, evolution and meanings attached to purpose-built planning exhibitions have made only modest incursions into planning history, despite the importance...
Book
Urban Nation: Australia's Planning Heritage provides the first national survey of the historical impact of urban planning and design on the Australian landscape. This ambitious account looks at every state and territory from the earliest days of European settlement to the present day. It identifies and documents hundreds of places - parks, public s...
Article
Patrick Abercrombie was one of the most celebrated planners of the twentieth century both in the UK and internationally. The impact of his international activities provide insights into the core values of British planning of the early post-war period and their transferability to other countries. This paper examines a little-documented tour by Aberc...
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The 1930s marked a transition in the town planning movement from early progressivism toward a more pragmatic problem-oriented focus setting the scene for wider reforms after World War II. The decade saw a shift from amateur advocacy towards a more professional outlook and organisation. The surviving capital city-based Town Planning Associations whi...
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Airports are no longer places where planes just take off and land but have evolved into major business enterprises with spatial impacts and functional implications that extend deep into metropolitan areas. They are vital hubs in the global space of flows. Airport-led urban development, notwithstanding its employment and income generating capabiliti...
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Town planning for Australia's cities and towns emerged as a new community and public policy concern in the years after Federation. In 1913, George A. Taylor, the Sydney-based editor of Building magazine, mooted the formation of the Town Planning Association of Australia as a unifying nation-building force. Drawing on newly discovered records of the...
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Ebenezer Howard's Garden City idea occupies an important place in the history of British planning, and in various guises it made a significant international impact. A preliminary exploration of the history of the idea in Australia is attempted, focussing on its meaning as a schema for social reform and on its impact on the landscape. The first two...
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From an accidental city without a plan, Sydney has become a city with many plans. Some would say too many, and there have been endless rounds of planning system reform since the 1980s. The central city and suburbs no longer grow ‘like topsy’ but with the greater metropolitan area still being propelled by market forces towards a population of seven...
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North Ryde in Sydney provides an instructive case study of the emergence in little over a generation of a new suburban activity centre on a greenfield site. While its image is that of a siliconised ‘technopole’, the real significance lies in the evolution of the wider locality into some-thing more akin perhaps to an American ‘edge city’. The notion...
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Although urban planning has made strategic and notable contributions to the production of the built environment, these are under‐represented in heritage discourse. Planned environments deserve more attention as a particular class of place because a better understanding of planning and planning excellence can inform best heritage practice. A stepwis...
Article
Assessing student perceptions and opinions of their university education is now standard in quality assurance processes for learning and teaching. In Australia, the Course Experience Questionnaire (CEQ) has been institutionalised as a national survey of graduand opinion and is used as the key indicator of tertiary teaching quality. A little‐used va...

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