Building collaboration between planning academics and practitioners for urban research in South East Queensland

Bhishna Bajracharya, Daniel O'Hare, Roger Brewster, Matthew Schneider

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractResearchpeer-review


South East Queensland (SEQ) is one of the fastest growing metropolitan regions in Australia with the urgent need for research on dealing with emerging planning issues and managing urban growth. SEQ is home to seven urban planning programs (in six universities) and one major urban research institute. Some planning academics in SEQ have secured grants from industry partners (such Queensland Department of Main Roads, Gold Coast and Brisbane City Councils, and Brisbane Airport) for their various research projects. Others have worked on important topics such as Women in Planning, Placemaking in collaboration with practitioners. Some universities also have Planner-in-Residence positions for practitioners to work with staff and students of the planning programs. Researchers from different universities have come together to publish books, journal articles but without much active participation from industry in general. In most cases, there seems to be a gap between academics and practising planners in conducting joint research.

Reasons possibly include the different priorities and focus of planning academics and practitioners, limited dialogue between the two, and inadequate funding for joint research. Moreover, the practitioner-oriented organisations such as the Planning Institute of Australia, (PIA) and Urbis seem to focus on outcome driven issues for the profession and industry.

The paper will first discuss why it is important for planning academics and practitioners to work together to conduct joint research in SEQ and other regions. It will then examine the current state of collaborative research by planning academics and practitioners in SEQ and identify the current challenges facing research collaboration between them. The paper will discuss how these barriers can be dealt with and develop key ideas to enhance collaboration between academics and practitioners.

Research methods and data

The paper will review planning programs and urban research institutes in SEQ to gain insights on the research conducted by them and to identify the nature of collaboration with industry and practitioners (such as councils, state government departments and other industry partners). It will also scan journals such as Australian Planner, Urban Policy and Research, Cities, and Journal of Planning Education and Research and ARC Linkage Grants for further information. Later the authors will have informal discussions with key academics and practitioners in SEQ to gain deeper understanding on their views about challenges and opportunities to develop collaborative research.

Main findings

The paper will summarise the current state of collaborative research between academics and practitioners in SEQ and identify challenges facing them. It will suggest ways for academics to collaborate with practitioners and with different universities to work together on research gaps in SEQ.

Practical implications

The study has implications not only for SEQ but for other parts of Australia and New Zealand. It can further strengthen planning education in terms of enhanced teaching, research, community service and graduate outcomes. Organisations such as ANZAPS and PIA can play important roles in facilitating collaborative research between academics and practitioners.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2019
EventThe Annual Conference of the Australia and New Zealand Association of Planning Schools. ANZAPS 2019: The role of research and the researcher in city making - Griffith University’s South Bank campus, Brisbane, Australia
Duration: 4 Jul 20195 Jul 2019


ConferenceThe Annual Conference of the Australia and New Zealand Association of Planning Schools. ANZAPS 2019
Abbreviated titleANZAPS 2019
Internet address


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