Conference paper

The role of discourse in the construction of place: a case study of master planned estates in the Lower Hunter Region

Suburban growth Cities and towns Urban planning Planned communities Australia
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Abstract: This paper presents a piece of research from a broader project that explores the processes involved in the creation of “successful” new suburban development. Part of this involves exploring the way relationships might be conceptualised, valued and practiced in master planned estates. Current approaches to the development of master planned estates emphasise getting the morphology, design elements, facilities and spatial arrangements right with the intention that desirable places will emerge. Yet these morphological aspects might be more appropriately considered as being embedded within a network of relationships that manifest in the construction of particular types of urban spaces. The paper explores how relationships are (re)established, conceptualised and given meaning within discursive networks that both construct and are constructed by the places/spaces of master planned estates. In this regard three master planned estates in the Lower Hunter Region were selected (Murray’s Beach, Pacific Dunes and Sanctuary Living) and the content of basic promotional material and websites were analysed. The results indicate that master planned estates are the manifestation of material relationships linking consumption to emotional qualities such as desire, satisfaction and happiness, and dualistic rationalities of nature and economy.

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