Conflict and conflict management in urban planning : the application of general theories to urban planning in the Queensland Local Government context

Minnery, J. R. (John Robert) (1983). Conflict and conflict management in urban planning : the application of general theories to urban planning in the Queensland Local Government context PhD Thesis, School of Geography, Planning and Architecture, The University of Queensland.

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Author Minnery, J. R. (John Robert)
Thesis Title Conflict and conflict management in urban planning : the application of general theories to urban planning in the Queensland Local Government context
School, Centre or Institute School of Geography, Planning and Architecture
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 1983
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Total pages 766
Language eng
Subjects 380306 Planning and Problem Solving
310103 Urban and Regional Planning
Formatted abstract This thesis is concerned with conflict and conflict management in urban planning. It starts from the premises that (a) conflict is an important element in urban planning; that (b) it has not been adequately considered by urban planners in the past; that (c) lessons can be learnt from the many other disciplines which do give conflict its proper place; and that (d) through doing this it is possible to improve the management of urban planning conflict. The thesis deliberately considers conflict management as something wider than, but including, conflict resolution.

The overall approach is firstly to explore the concept of conflict and the relationship of conflict to human society, to explore the nature of urban planning and then to combine these explorations of theory into a typology of areas of conflict relevant to urban planning. In doing this, definitions are derived for both "conflict" and "urban planning". Throughout this initial exploration emphasis is placed on the ambivalent attitude society and urban planners have to conflict. The nine areas considered in the typology are: (a) organizational conflicts; (b) professional conflicts; (c) individual or personal conflicts; (d) social conflict; (e) political conflict; (f) international conflicts; (g) conflicts over resources; and (h) conflicts arising from the use of urban planning techniques in practice. Throughout the thesis emphasis is placed on the fact that urban planning is both an intellectual discipline and a field of professional practice. This leads to an emphasis on the importance of implementation in the urban planning process and on the place of conflict in implementation. The thesis also addresses the question of the restricted role of the urban planner in the total urban planning process, an important factor in assessing his role in conflict management.

Although each of the nine areas of conflict is considered in some detail, the greatest attention is paid to organizational and professional conflicts, particularly role conflicts and inter-organizational conflicts. The general theory reviewed and organized earlier is applied to the Queensland local government context through these. The basis of this application is a questionnaire survey of Mayors/Chairmen, Clerks and Planners in appropriate Queensland local authorities. Additional illustrative material was gained from extended case studies and from examples quoted in the public record.

Having clarified the importance and characteristics of urban planning conflict, the second major section of the thesis is devoted to conflict management. Firstly it investigates the range of conflict management mechanisms available and the end states which can be reached, all in terms of general theory. In the light of these findings a critique of current methods in use in urban planning is undertaken.
The last part of the thesis draws together the lessons learnt about conflict and the lessons for conflict management, in both cases utilizing material from the survey to link theory with practice. The last chapter then develops a model of the conflict management process applicable to urban planning.

A number of threads run throughout the thesis. One is that conflict is a powerful and ubiquitous social force which is poorly understood by urban planners; another is that conflict is not necessarily destructive; a third is that conflict can be regulated and managed; and a fourth is that both the resource focus and the administrative structure of urban planning make it prone to certain types of conflict. The thesis concludes that paths to the management of conflict are available. By indicating these paths and showing how they relate to the structure of both conflict and urban planning, it hopes to make a contribution to both urban planning theory and urban planning practice.

Keyword City planning -- Queensland
City planning -- Management
Additional Notes This study has been uaidertaken essentially as a contribution to social history, to the exploration of facets of the Catholic sub-population in Queensland over the years 1910 to 1935. It is not an ecclesiastical history, nor a political or economic one, though considerations of prior concern for each such history impinge centrally on its subject matter. It will be argued that around both the years 1910 and 1935 new kinds of consciousness were emerging, both v/ithin the Church in Queensland and in its wider environment. This interval has been seen, therefore, as a unit permitting of a degree of discrete study.

 
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