Publication Details

Dowling, R. & McGuirk, P. (2006). Master-planned estates and suburban complexity. In K. Anderson, R. Dobson, F. Allon & B. Neilson (Eds.), After Sprawl: Post-Suburban Sydney


The establishment of new residential neighbourhoods - by builders, developers, government and residents - has been one of the defining features of twentieth century suburbs in general and western Sydney in particular. Recent years have witnessed a number of changes in the processes establishing these neighbourhoods: in the organisations and relationships providing them; in the political and planning processes governing their provision; in the ideologies underpinning them; and in the practices of everyday life constituting them. One of the more recent forms of residential neighbourhood is seen to exemplify these changes: master-planned communities, master-planned residential developments, or, in our preferred terminology, master-planned estates. They are becoming increasingly popular to both local and state governments, and developers, as a means of residential provision. A recent national conference aimed at developers and local planners, for instance, positioned them as 'the key to handling rapidly growing population pressure in outer suburban areas' (http://www.halledit.com.au/conferences/mpud/). It appears they are also increasingly popular in everyday suburban life, meeting an apparently burgeoning consumer demand (Minnery and Bajracharya, 1999) and intersecting with residents concerns for privacy, safety and property values. Master-planned estates (or MPEs) have become similarly popular across western Sydney, as will become evident in the examples we use throughout this paper.