chapter  13
28 Pages

Institutional impediments to planning professionalism in Victoria, Australia

WithAustralia Alan March

It is common for urban spatial planning professionalism to be understood primarily as the expertise and skills required of practitioners in their assigned roles, putting aside the importance of the governance mechanisms within which planners work. However, urban spatial planning is located across a range of governance mechanisms, requiring particular understandings of the possibilities and problems of professionalism in this setting. The case of Victoria, Australia, is used to demonstrate how the institutional roles of planners strongly influence the exercise of their professional judgement and action. The concept of ‘mediatization’ is used to show how particular governance arrangements can result in a fragmented professional knowledge base that erodes planners’ ability to act as a meaningful force for collective change. It is argued that planners, when being ‘professional’, need to consciously acknowledge and take on roles as democratic facilitators of knowledge development via planning processes. This enlarged role would begin with an appraisal of the existing institutional impediments to the process of democratic planning in a given setting.