The 21st Century promises to be a challenging era for urban planning. The University of Sydney’s Planning Research Centre looks forward to expanding its increasingly important role as a forum for research, debate and discussion in all quarters of the profession. The Planning Research Centre strives to undertake meaningful research projects that assist in the future planning of Sydney and its region. The PRC has research specialisations in:

  • Planning for housing accessibility, diversity and affordability
  • Urban governance and policy
  • Urban residential developments (master planned estates)
  • Coastal planning in sea change communities
  • Urban social and environmental justice
  • Urban infrastructure planning
  • Comparative urban planning systems
  • Australian Urban Land Use Planning Policy Monitor
  • Spatial analysis and Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

Current Research Projects

Finding new economic drivers for sea change (coastal) and similar rapidly growing communities in Australia
The project aims to create a suite of novel assessment and modelling tools to enable Sea Change Communities to optimize both their economic development options and the quality of their coastal environments. These tools will enable Sea Change Communities to gain an accurate and comprehensive understanding of the economic drivers of their local economies - in particular, the relationships between tourism, other economic development, and natural resources - and to pursue strategies based on each community's new human capital and other resources. In particular, this project will develop methodologies for: using these tools to translate research findings into public policy at the local community level in rapidly growing communities; and, applying these tools to outer-metropolitan areas with economies based narrowly on such industries as tourism, extraction or services with new populations and sensitive environmental and related issues.
Funding: $151,400 (ARC Linkage)
Contact: &

The Impact of State and Local Taxes and Regulation on Local Economic Growth
For the past 40 years there has been a considerable econometric work on the impact of state and local taxes and regulation on growth. The outcome of this work is unclear with a slight majority of studies showing little or no impact and other studies indicating the opposite. Possible reasons for the conflicting results are that studies typically use dedicated data sets and that econometric modeling has advanced considerably in recent years with the result that different studies often make use of different econometric advances. We are performing a meta-econometric study of taxes on growth. This means trying to identify the impact of using particular datasets and particular econometric methods on the results. Identifying these will given us a much better sense of whether state and local taxes and regulation do, in fact, have some effect on local economic growth. The research team consists of Alan Peters at the University of Sydney, Tim Bartik at the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, and Peter Fisher and Richard Funderburg at the University of Iowa.
Funding: This project is funded by the US National Science Foundation.

Research Clusters

The PRC hosts one of the Faculty’s newly established research clusters for 2010. Each cluster has seed funding of close to $30,000 to initiate new projects in important fields for urban research: immigrant groups and sustainable urban design.

Making migrant spaces
Australian cities are predicted to experience considerable population growth through immigration in the next few decades. Migrant groups have historically played an important role in shaping the social and physical landscapes of Australian cities. However, little is known about the ways in which urban spaces are made and re-made by different immigrant communities to support their social and cultural activities. As a result, the unique spatial needs are often ignored by designers, planners and city officials, which can sometime aggravate ethnic tensions and conflicts. The cluster brings together an interdisciplinary team of research from architecture, urban planning, sociology and Japanese studies to conduct the research into the formation and transformation of migrant enclaves and hybrid settlements, and the roles of urban policy and planning in supporting or undermining these processes.
Funding: $28,092

Contract Research

Staff of the PRC are also engaged in contract research. For information on these research projects please contact .