Conference paper

Supporting evidence-informed urban policy and practice: a role for digital collections

Urban planning Grey literature Information resources management Australia
Attachment Size
apo-nid178386.docx 32.66 KB

Informed decision-making and democratic debate relies on access to urban policy resources. Such access is critical to understanding policy context, analysing path dependencies and critiquing accepted knowledge of what is possible for Australian cities. It can support systematic historical analysis—which can be an important tool for planning practitioners (Abbott & Sydler 1989; Ward, Freestone & Silver 2011). Despite the importance of access, there is little research on strategies for management or use of policy resources, especially ‘grey literature’—material published directly by government, universities, think tanks and commercial consultants (Lawrence et al 2014). Collection of key historic urban policy material is inconsistent across jurisdictions and levels of government. Contemporary resources that are ‘born digital’ are removed from the internet in ad hoc ways, raising concerns of a ‘digital dark age’. Barriers to practitioner use of evidence (Taylor & Hurley 2015) and the closure of specialist libraries underscore the need for a more strategic approach.In this context, Analysis & Policy Observatory (APO, formerly Australian Policy Online) and university partners have embarked on a number of projects that seek to support access to urban policy material. This paper briefly reviews literature on the role of historical analysis and evidence-informed planning. It describes the projects undertaken by APO to support access to and use of research and policy resources. Ultimately, it argues that strategic digital collections can play a role in supporting informed policy making, analysis and debate about Australian cities.

Publication Details
Peer Reviewed:


Access Rights Type: