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Conference paper
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Abstract: In the Australian landscape the Gold Coast is famous for its development without a plan. The rapid growth of the city was undoubtedly developmentally driven and the white shoe brigade’s coalition with the pro-development state government in shaping the city is well known. The Gold Coast is also unusual for not having a traditional central business district but the concentration of high-rises presents a contrasting vision. This paper examines the causes and the consequences of this unplanned urbanisation process and seeks to answer the following questions: How different is the nature of urbanisation on the Gold Coast? What are the factors that make it unique? Physically how does the city compare with similar places in Australia and around the world? How did the lack of planning influence the form of the city and its internal arrangements? How did the shift from ad hoc decision making to more systematic planning efforts affect the city’s urbanisation? And finally, what are the factors that shaped the Gold Coast as we now know it? These questions are answered through the examination of the city’s past and its effects on its present and the future. In this sense, the morphology of the Gold Coast is viewed as a physical embodiment of past decision making.

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