“Not a Lot of People Read the Stuff”: Australian Urban Research in Planning Practice

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At the 2013 State of Australian Cities (SOAC) Conference, a dedicated plenary session examined the blunt prospect of “Who cares about Australian Urban Research?” One group apparently not reading, or not making extensive use of, urban research is Australian urban planners. Drawing on interviews and focus groups undertaken for a recent research project, in this paper we examine the nature of the research-practice Relationship in an Australian urban planning context. We explore the limited extent to which practitioners engage with research outputs; and the entrenched barriers to research to practice information exchange. While our interviews indicate planners are concerned about the lack of a solid research base with which to underpin many policies, assumptions and decisions; we find that time-poor professionals largely rely on popular media, industry publications and practice networks to inform decision making. Further, the political and reactive environment of planning practice means the role for evidence in consensus-driven decision-making is fraught and far from clearly defined. Ultimately the project highlights the extent to which the resources required to digest research, interpret its local significance, and apply it to practice can be underestimated.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)116-131
Number of pages16
JournalUrban Policy and Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • research to practice
  • evidence based practice
  • planning research
  • communication

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