• Ilan Wiesel
Part of the The Contemporary City book series (TCONTCI)


This chapter is focused on the angst experienced by Australian elite suburbs in the age of the ‘compact city’, and the associated pressure for higher density residential redevelopment. Mosman and Toorak have been at the forefront of local resistance to urban consolidation, with fierce campaigns initiated by individuals and organised groups fighting to preserve the low-density character of their suburb. In this chapter, I describe the dramatic clashes between a range of stakeholders: state and local governments renegotiating the boundaries of their urban planning powers; local and foreign developers riding the emerging wave of opportunity afforded by the compact city agenda; and powerful local residents who invest much of their economic, social, and cultural capitals to stop the densification of their suburb. The matter at stake here was never merely the physical form of buildings, rather elite class identities, dreams, prestige, and angst.


  1. Bourdieu, P. (1986). The forms of capital. In J. G. Richardson (Ed.), Handbook of theory and research for the sociology of education (pp. 241–258). New York: Greenwood Press.Google Scholar
  2. Bunker, R., Holloway, D., & Randolph, B. (2005). The expansion of urban consolidation in Sydney: Social impacts and implications. Australian Planner, 42(3), 16–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Cook, N. T., Taylor, E. J., Hurley, J., & Colic-Peisker, V. (2012). Resident third party objections and appeals against planning applications: Implications for higher density and social housing. AHURI Positioning Paper Series, 145, 1–45.Google Scholar
  4. Costello, L. (2005). From prisons to penthouses: The changing images of high-rise living in Melbourne. Housing Studies, 20(1), 49–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Easthope, H., Reid, S., & Wiesel, I. (2017, March 15–17). Residential prophesy. Paper presented at the Strata Community Australia (QLD) Conference, Gold Coast.Google Scholar
  6. Healey, P. (1998). Building institutional capacity through collaborative approaches to urban planning. Environment and Planning A, 30(9), 1531–1546.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Lin, B., Meyers, J., & Barnett, G. (2015). Understanding the potential loss and inequities of green space distribution with urban densification. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, 14(4), 952–958.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Michell, A., & Wadley, D. (2004). The process and progress of urban consolidation: Perspectives from Brisbane. Australian Planner, 41(4), 56–65.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Ruming, K., Houston, D., & Amati, M. (2012). Multiple suburban publics: Rethinking community opposition to consolidation in Sydney. Geographical Research, 50(4), 421–435.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Searle, G. (2007). Sydney’s urban consolidation experience: Power, politics and community (Vol. 12). Brisbane: Urban Research Program, Griffith University.Google Scholar
  11. Searle, G., & Filion, P. (2011). Planning context and urban intensification outcomes: Sydney versus Toronto. Urban Studies, 48(7), 1419–1438.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Souter, G. G. (1993). Mosman: A history. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Sydney Morning Herald. (2018). Sydney’s biggest NIMBY and developer friendly councils. Accessed 16 Feb 2018.
  14. Taylor, E. J. (2013). Do house values influence resistance to development?—A spatial analysis of planning objection and appeals in Melbourne. Urban Policy and Research, 31(1), 5–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Williamson, W., & Ruming, K. (2017). Urban consolidation process and discourses in Sydney: Unpacking social media use in a community group’s media campaign. Planning Theory & Practice, 18(3), 428–445.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ilan Wiesel
    • 1
  1. 1.School of GeographyUniversity of MelbourneMelbourneAustralia

Personalised recommendations