Conference paper

Private property rights and the public interest in land use conflicts: the case of Sydney's lost greenbelt

Green reserves Suburban growth Cities and towns Property development Urban planning Australia Sydney
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Abstract: Conflicts between the rights of private landowners and wider public interests are of central concern in urban planning. Increasing rates of urbanisation mean cities continually intrude into fringe rural land fostering expectations of windfall gains by some landowners and threatening the agricultural livelihoods of others. While such land use change is not new, increasing sustainability imperatives require consideration of biodiversity conservation, green space, bushland and the retention of sustainable rural operations within and around cities. However, strategic planning is often constrained by the strengths of the market and landowners’ assumed rights and expectations. This paper examines such conflicts through a review of the relationship between property rights and social responsibilities. The role of neoliberalism in strengthening property rights and fostering land development is also explored. The paper analyses the case study of the policy reversal of a greenbelt proposal under Sydney’s latest metropolitan strategy due to a landowner backlash in light of these considerations. The implications of the Sydney case are explored and a discussion of planning policy and process in an era of renewed focus on the market is presented. The need for a re-examination of property rights and responsibilities and strategic planning approaches becomes apparent if cities like Sydney are to move closer to a sustainable future

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