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Abstract: This paper describes an open-source software tool for identifying employment clusters, available through the Australian Urban Research Infrastructure Network. The purpose of developing this tool was to create a means to examine spatial employment clustering in metropolitan regions at finer spatial units than are currently supplied by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. This project responds to a consensus among local policy makers, that Melbourne needs to adopt a multi-nodal metropolitan planning strategy in order to foster economic development and reduce commuting. For decades, metropolitan planning strategies have sought to promote non-CBD centres in Melbourne. The tool further responds to a consensus among economic development planners that ABS data are insufficient to identify local urban clusters for analysis. We wish to understand whether spatial policies aimed at cluster development have actually resulted in employment clusters. This tool moves us toward examining those policies by providing a framework to identify whether and where local employment clusters have formed. To build the tool, we have used the open-source Cran R spatial analysis packages. After the user specifies an industry of interest, the tool splits Census Destination Zones (DZNs) into smaller polygons based on land use data, and attributes Census Journey to Work (JTW) job destinations to each smaller polygon. Then, a modified Ward’s algorithm clusters the small polygons using spatial and non-spatial attributes. The tool also allows the user to specify whether clustering should be at local or regional scale.

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