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Woodcock I, Dovey K, Wood S. Limits to Urban Character. 2004.
Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://e-publications.une.edu.au/1959.11/5352
Limits to Urban Character
In Victoria 'neighbourhood character' became the primary criterion in 2001 for assessing residential planning applications in established urban areas. The concept of 'character' developed from a cameo to a starring role in a decade, and the 'character' of most metropolitan areas has now been studied and defined. This paper traces the emergence of 'character' in local planning discourse, its shifting definitions and contradictions. The focus on character is partly a product of conflicting desires: the desire of the State to increase the density of the city (to limit sprawl); and residents' desires to conserve valued neighbourhoods (to limit change), but 'character' is not easily contained or legislated. 'Character' is the taken for granted 'doxa' of urban life that becomes a paradox of urban design and planning: it defies the limits placed upon it. With its many paradoxes and contradictions, exclusions and slippages, we argue that this is more than just a local or suburban issue. The vagueness and slipperiness of 'character' both camouflages practices of power and enables new debates about urban place identity and placemaking practices. The public realm becomes a more contested space with its limits constantly in question.
LIMITS: Proceedings from the 21st Annual Conference of the Society of Architectural Historians Australia and New Zealand , v. 2, p. 545-550 (2004) -- isbn:0646440624 -- SAHANZ: Society of Architectural Historians Australia and New Zealand -- 2004