By accident or design? Peri-urban planning and the protection of productive land on the urban fringe
In the context of climate change, changing fuel regimes and population growth, peri-urban regions have taken on renewed importance as sites of food production. However, peri-urban agriculture is subject to competing pressures, not least demand for housing and rural living. This chapter focuses on the planning instruments and processes at the heart of these tensions. It opens with the prosaic deliberations of an independent panel charged with the review of a Local Planning Scheme in the Rural Shire of Moorabool, Victoria. Through an in-depth case study of the plan's amendment and review, the chapter shows that the preservation of agricultural land is a contingent achievement, rather than a strategic, coordinated attempt to maintain local and regional food economies. However, through the discourses of those living and working in the municipality during the 2008-2009 droughts, it shows that peri-urban agriculture also depends on shared resources between the city and its fringe. If this suggests that routine planning processes are at the coalface of creating food secure spaces, it also suggests that preservation is the beginning, not the end of planning's role in a food secure future.