City with/out a plan
One of the distinct features of urbanisation of the Gold Coast is its historically ad hoc approach to development with little or no strategic planning to guide it. Many have commented on the lack of planning on the Gold Coast (Hitch 1959; Pigram 1977; Fitzgerald 1984; Jones 1986; Burchill 2005). Juppenlatz (1959, p. 51) called it ‘an experiment in freedom’, Mullins (1984, p. 44) dubbed it ‘free enterprise city’, Jones (1986, p. 62) called it ‘a free market city’. Fitzgerald (1984, p. 469) quoted the Australian Financial Review stating that the Gold Coast ‘was borne to pre-eminence in an era devoid of design or planning. Consequently it was destined to be ravaged by inexperienced, selfish and vested interests in their reckless rush to seize their choice of its delightful foreshores’. Following a major restructuring of the region’s councils (see Chapters 8 and 9), the 1990s witnessed a shift from ad hoc decision-making to more systematic planning. This chapter reviews the history of regulatory planning on the Gold Coast, encompassing decisions affecting the form and development of its earliest settlements through to its periods of greatest construction and most streamlined decision-making. It examines the reasons behind the unplanned development, briefly touches on its consequences as they have been detailed elsewhere (see Chapter 2), but focuses mainly on past planning processes, the problems identified in each planning exercise and the interventions introduced, asking whether these were implemented or not and why. The chapter positions the Gold Coast as a physical embodiment of this history of decision-making, assessing the effects on the city as a whole of specific measures either affording freedoms or insisting on accountability to various levels of regulation. It examines how the absence of some planning measures influenced the form of the city and its internal arrangements and considers how the shift towards increased planning affected the city’s urbanisation.
Off the Plan: The Urbanisation of the Gold Coast
History and Theory of the Built Environment (excl. Architecture)