Conference paper

The Role of Political and Financial Factors in the Provision of Parks: The Case of Logan City, Queensland

Cities and towns Urban planning Sustainability Open spaces Environment Australia
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Researchers have found that open space provision (e.g. parkland) is vitally important for meeting the social, economic and environmental needs of urban populations globally. The international literature on park provision identifies many factors that influence a local government’s ability to provide adequate parkland including political agendas, governance tools and resources. This paper draws upon a conceptual model devised through a systematic review of the open space literature to critically examine the challenges for the City of Logan in providing adequate parkland to support its urban population. Recent legislative changes in Queensland mean significantly less developer funding is available to support the provision of parkland for Logan residents. This paper addresses three important questions: (i) What is the current approach to planning for green space in Logan? (ii) What are some of the factors that influence the provision of parks in Logan and how do they compare to those identified in the literature? And (iii) are there alternative approaches to providing parks in Logan? Like many other Australian cities, in the face of competing economic, social and environmental demands Logan exhibits a widening gap between planning standards and actual provision of parks. With rapid urban growth and land use intensification set to continue in South East Queensland (SEQ), now is a critical time to evaluate the success of the current approach to planning open space in Logan, as a major regional city. This paper mobilises findings from the international literature on open space provision to identify directions for future research.

The papers presented at the 2015 State of Australian Cities National Conference (SOAC 7) were organised into seven broad themes but all shared, to varying degrees, a common focus on the ways in which high quality academic research can be used in the development and implementation of policy. The relationship between empirical evidence and theoretical developments that are presented as part of our scholarly endeavours and policy processes is rarely clear and straightforward. Sometimes, perhaps because of the fortuitous alignment of various factors, our research has a direct and positive impact on policy. Sometimes it takes longer to be noticed and have influence and, sometimes, there is no little or no evidence of impact beyond or even with the academy. And while there are things we can do to promote the existence of our work and to present it in more accessible formats to people we believe to be influential, ultimately the appreciation and application of our work lies in the hands of others.

This paper is one of 164 papers that have each been reviewed and refereed by our peers and revised accordingly. While they each will have been presented briefly at the SOAC conference, they can now be read or re-read at your leisure. We hope they will stimulate further debate and discussion and form a platform for further research.

Adapted from the SOAC 7 conference proceedings introduction by Paul Burton and Heather Shearer

The State of Australian Cities (SOAC) national conferences have been held biennially since 2003 to support interdisciplinary policy-related urban research.

SOAC 7 was held in the City of Gold Coast from 9-11 December 2015. The conference featured leading national and local politicians and policy makers who shared their views on some of the current challenges facing cities and how these might be overcome in the future.

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