Exhibitions played a vital role in promoting the benefits of modern town planning through the first half of the twentieth century. They helped convey the environmental, economic, and social dividends of strategic and statutory planning to the broader community as well as constituting a vehicle for planning advocates themselves to showcase advances and best practice design. Internationally, a series of influential events, such as the Royal Institute of British Architects Town Planning Conference in London in 1910, provide a major window on the development of the planning movement. What of the Australian scene? This paper surveys the national, city and touring exhibitions held in Australia during the major propagandist phase of the planning movement to inquire into the ideas, ideologies and legacies involved. It presents a typology of different exhibitions before zooming in on a series of thumbnail sketches in a chronology of individual exhibitions. Across the evolution of planning preoccupations conveyed, ecological issues emerge as a secondary concern alongside the main priorities of housing, traffic, playgrounds and land use zoning. The paper connects to the ‘experimental cities’ conference theme in revealing how the ideal city environment was portrayed by early planning advocates.
The authors 2014
Proceedings of the 12th Australasian Urban History Planning History Conference 2014