Conference paper

By way of definition, dictionaries such as the Oxford Dictionary note that the word ‘icon’ is a noun meaning ‘a person or thing regarded as a representative symbol or as worthy of veneration’ (p. 654). More recently, the phrase ‘iconic development’ has crept into the town planning vernacular making reference to built or planned works that are intended to be an urban ‘benchmark’. However, in terms of planning practice in the State of Victoria, Australia, the meaning of ‘iconic development’ is unclear amongst property development professionals – one only needs to peruse the local newspaper, The Age on any given week and publications by key bodies such as the Planning Institute of Australia, the Victorian Planning and Environment Law Association, the Urban Development Institute of Australia and the Property Council of Australia on their websites and in professional newsletters, to appreciate the different ways the phrase is used in the property development context. This paper reports on key themes arising from interviews with 52 Victorian property development professionals, who were interviewed to determine their perceptions about what constitutes ‘iconic development’ in Victoria. Arising from the interviews, the study confirms that ‘iconic development’ is the new buzz phrase in property development circles, it is no longer just being used as a sales and marketing tool, but has been appropriated by technical professionals and introduced into different planning documents including certain local clauses in the Victorian Planning Provisions. Different professionals in the development industry, such as architects, planners and lawyers ascribe different meanings to this phrase, thereby presenting confusion in the property development industry. By understanding what these different professionals mean by the phrase ‘iconic development’ a more collaborative understanding of the phrase is arrived at to provide the practitioner and public with a more informed understanding to review realised and/or planned 'iconic development’.

Publication Details
Source title:
Proceedings of the 13th Australasian Urban History Planning History Conference 2016