Getting the city right: the city as crucible for social reform

Journal article

Felton, Emma. (2005). Getting the city right: the city as crucible for social reform. Journal of Australian Studies. 29(85), pp. 127 - 141.
AuthorsFelton, Emma

The connection between ideas of social reform and strategies of urban management is evident throughout the history of the city. The intensification of populations in urban areas places great demands on resources that require careful planning and management. Urban living, moreover, renders transparent social and economic difference and disadvantage among citizens. This article charts the ways in which urban planning has attempted to address disadvantage through social reform agendas which have been integral to urban planning, particularly since the origin of mass urbanisation and industrialisation in Europe in the nineteenth century. The development of urban planning and the provision of a comprehensive infrastructure occurred during this period, informing the ways in which Australian cities were planned. Approaches to urban poverty and the problem of inadequate housing at this time were underpinned by a somewhat straitened and paternalistic Victorian morality which impacted upon the way the provision of resources was determined and distributed. This article examines the ways in which housing and homelessness are treated as problems of urban disorder, first through an overview of the origins of governmental provisioning for the urban poor in the nineteenth century, and through an analysis of the discourses surrounding the problem. By contrast, a study of two projects in Brisbane, focused upon groups of homeless people in inner city precincts, looks at approaches to homelessness in contemporary Australia. Governmental strategies, community attitudes and media discourse reveal the tensions and ambivalence towards the notion of the contemporary city as a truly inclusive one.

JournalJournal of Australian Studies
Journal citation29 (85), pp. 127 - 141
PublisherAustralian Research Institute
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Page range127 - 141
Research GroupCentre for Education and Innovation
Publisher's version
File Access Level
Place of publicationPerth, Australia
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