To ‘Planners’ – If you are Responsible – Get Real and Stop the Sprawl

We hear that Perth now has a ‘footprint’ the size of Los Angeles but for a tiny fraction of the population! The natural environment setting for the ’Swan River Colony’ has been completely obliterated and a vast area of the adjacent coastal plain together with it, all in less than five generations. Not only are those very scary statistics, but Perth seems to be sprawling even further by the month apparently uncontrolled.  Further to drive for everyone, especially from the tiny boxes on tiny sites that we young people can afford.

Surely some organisation must be held ‘ACCOUNTABLE’ for this? We seem to have ‘Planning’ Departments and offices all over the place and so called ‘Urban Planners’ seem highly paid as new graduates. Why?  What do all these people actually learn and what do they do?

They sure don’t do what I would regard as actual PLANNING of what happens on the ground elsewhere in the world. Maybe they just research statistics, learn about and administer an elaborate set of laws to control ‘setbacks’ and the shape of backyards, but they certainly aren’t doing sensible Planning that I can see for the future of Perth and WA.

This has all happened under successive State Governments of different colours, so it isn’t just down to the politicians. They at least surely would have gathered that we aren’t hip-happy people seeing our natural landscapes disappear under asphalt and concrete.  We now have to drive further and further from home for everything. Even out into the bush to have break with the kids, from the ‘daily grind’ and experience the quality of life that the birds and animals have – at least those that we haven’t scared away by destroying their homes.


  1. Hi JG,

    You make a good point – much of what town planners in WA do isn’t ‘town planning’ at all – it is house planning. Probably 2/3 planners work for local government and this is their bread and butter – an unplanned (oops) consequence of our increasingly technical Residential Design Codes, Town Planning Schemes and policies.

    But all is not lost.

    Many planners across the state are actively engaged in ‘strategic town planning’. I fail to see what other sort of planning you could do really (unstrategic?). Peter Newman gave a talk at Curtin Uni on March 20 this year where he explored his idea of a future Perth growing to 5 million but within its current footprint. The biggest surprise was how little of the existing fabric of the city would change – many people wouldn’t even notice it.

    It is these strategic planners who will be the driving force that reshapes Perth over the next decades – all they need is support from the ground up and a coherent vision from the top down. The vision of these individuals is definitely one that addresses your concerns – a city that is designed for less cars (or even car-less living), local living and working, convenience, ‘sustainability’, stronger communities and improved quality of life.

    Hopefully sites like this can help bring these people together – both with each other and with the community because for good change to happen everyone needs to be involved in the discussion!

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