Conference paper
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Description

Land is a finite resource with highly variable quality. Its rate of creation is negligible on the human scale. Land is also not a commodity as are other tradeable goods. The supply of high quality land, amenity-rich land with high-quality supplies of natural resources, such as clean water, is severely limited. Land is critical to the functions of terrestrial life, yet there is increasing evidence that contemporary approaches to land use will lead to collapse of the systems that sustain and support life. Scientific evidence indicates that current rates of resource consumption is depleting resources at a rate exceeding replenishment. This exposes limits in resources such as oil, fresh water and phosphorous. The use of these resources for contemporary modes of operation such as transport and food production are leading to rapid climate change. Contemporary modes of operation are predicated upon policies of economic growth and consumption. Market economies seek to exploit the values of land for human benefits. Classical economic theory underpins market economies This approach fosters growth not sustainability and relies on constant throughput of production and consumption to sustain economic growth and activity. Approaches such as ecological economics have attempted to redress deficiencies in neo-classical economics, but even these approaches still rely on an economic perspective that continues to consider ecosystem services and land as dependent on human wants and activities. Ecosystem services are inextricably linked. Land use and human activities need, therefore, to be considered as integral, rather than separate. Current approaches to land use planning rely increasingly on solutions that address competing priorities in a manner that results in a continuous cycle of re-solving a problem rather than problem resolution. The traditional sectoral and project-based approach to landuse planning and management continues to inadequately address competing social, economic and environmental objectives. As the global population continues to grow and rapidly urbanise, resolution of the effects of human activity are becoming increasingly urgent. How then to improve land use management is a question yet to be resolved. Using an Australian context, this paper explores the current trajectory of land use management and suggests general planning reforms that would facilitate a planning system more appropriate to an Age of Limits.

Publication Details
Publication Year:
2018