Conference paper

Reinventing D'Jillong: current regeneration initiatives challenging the identity and place of Geelong

Urban renewal Cities and towns Regional planning Urban planning Australia Geelong
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Abstract: Regional city regeneration is increasingly becoming an important topic as such towns attempt to position themselves mid-way between larger discourses about capital cities and peri-urban landscapes.  Historically these cities, like Newcastle, Wollongong and Geelong, have been marginalised in infrastructure and planning support systems, yet subject to erratic Commonwealth and State funded initiatives that have divested major specific-purpose complexes into their cities. Such has been as a consequence of of ‘decentralisation’ and ‘regionalisation’ political platforms, but also to address employment and voting needs. As an example, Geelong embraced contemporary industrialism, particularly automotive, and built on its port and wool export capacities. Politics, intransigence and lack of economic investment compounded the failure to create quality urban fabric and enable innovative planning. With this legacy, this regional city finds itself at the cusp of heavy industry disintegration, education and health sectorial growth, population increases aided by regional escapism, and a lethargic city centre. In attempting to redress these trends, Geelong is consciously attempting to re-image itself, regenerate key sections of its urban fabric, but also manage the regional escapism (sea change / tree change) phenomena. This paper critiques the larger context, and then uses three examples - “Vision 2” in the city centre, the Mega Port proposal, Fyansford Green and the Moolap salt marsh – as foils to reflect whether these initiatives are and can assist the facilitation of city structural change, economic renewal and enhanced urban design and place-making outcomes.

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