Conference paper
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Abstract: This paper explores shifts and internal perceptions of social planning practice in Australia against the background of the profession’s past, present and future. With the majority of people in Australia living in urban areas, most social planning occurs and is implemented in Australia’s cities. For this reason – and also because it has a great deal of interdependence with the field of urban planning – the present and future of social planning practice has a critical role to play in the future of Australian cities. Drawing on research findings from empirical survey research with sixty social planning practitioners in Australia, the paper briefly explores the diversity and shifting landscape of social planning practice over the past century before drawing on the survey findings to develop a picture of current social planning practice within Australia and the challenges and opportunities that its practitioners face. It explores social planners’ views about the scope, core principles, values and practices of social planning in Australia and suggests some challenges for the future of social planning, a profession with an important role to play in creating sustainable futures for Australian cities.

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