This paper discusses the periodic emergence of regional Australia as a focus of policy and action, the development of a network of regional centres in Australia, the difficulties and shortcomings in confining a national urban policy to only the very large cities and how regional policy and an urban policy agenda relates to Australia's 'non-urban' cities and larger towns.
The State of Australian Cities (SOAC) national conferences have been held biennially since 2003 to support interdisciplinary policy-related urban research.
This paper was presented at SOAC 5held in Melbourne from 29 November – 2 December 2011.
SOAC 5 was hosted by the University of Melbourne, RMIT University, Monash University, Swinburne University of Technology and Latrobe University as well as the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute and the Grattan Institute, the Victorian State Government and the City of Melbourne.
Three plenary panels brought researchers from across the country to address ‘big issues’: place-based disadvantage, the design and form of Australian cities, and metropolitan governance. Over 175 papers, in 46 themed sessions, cover topics ranging from planning and governance for environmental sustainability, to housing affordability and adequacy in the context of an aging population. Healthy communities, better public transport, high quality open space, participatory planning, and issues affecting the peri-urban fringe are also strong sub-themes within this conference.
All published papers have been subject to a peer reviewing process.