Lakeside Living: Realising Dreams in a Master Planned Community

Theodore Herbert Rosenblatt (2010). Lakeside Living: Realising Dreams in a Master Planned Community PhD Thesis, School of Social Science, The University of Queensland.

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Author Theodore Herbert Rosenblatt
Thesis Title Lakeside Living: Realising Dreams in a Master Planned Community
School, Centre or Institute School of Social Science
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2010-07
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Supervisor Professor Geoffrey Lawrence
Dr. Lynda Cheshire
Total pages 228
Total colour pages 14
Total black and white pages 214
Subjects 16 Studies in Human Society
Abstract/Summary Over the last thirty years Master Planned Communities have become a prevalent feature of the Australian residential development landscape. Together with the inclusion of high-quality services and infrastructure, some developers of these communities have also espoused a 'community building' agenda purported to increase social interaction and communal outcomes. This thesis seeks to understand the social/community agenda of market-driven developers, and the effect of this on the lives of residents in those communities. The impact of the market on the social is an ongoing interest of social research. Recent studies have shown the market's emerging concern for greater engagement with the social using the language of corporate social responsibility and corporate community involvement. Within a long tradition of community studies, there is little Australian research relating to the social intentions of developers in new communities and the consequences of these intentions. Drawing on Lefebvre's concept of social space, this thesis is concerned with the nature of, and the social consequences that arise from, social spaces that are designed and managed by the market. The above issues are examined through a case study of Springfield Lakes, a large master planned community under development in south east Queensland by Australia‘s largest developer of master planned communities. A predominantly qualitative approach is adopted and data generating methods include 60 open-ended, in-depth, interviews with residents and developer staff members, participant observation, and examination of documents and visual material. An interpretivist approach is taken to data analysis to gain an 'insider' perspective. Use is also made of data from a questionnaire that formed part of a larger research project, of which this doctoral study was a component. The thesis argues that the developer's social agenda proposes that social outcomes can be achieved through quality design, facilities and services, aesthetics, marketing and administrative processes. Fundamental to this is the idea of place-making, in the form of the production of a 'special place' – an aestheticised, packaged community, and the generation of a strong psychological sense of community and attachment to place. Individualising processes of the market and the satisfaction of individual needs and desires predominate, rather than communal processes and creation of collective opportunities. In terms of the way residents respond to, and live in this space, the research shows the prevalence of a strong sense of community and attachment to place. This derives from the physical and social aesthetic of Springfield Lakes – key aspects of the developer's social agenda. These affective responses relate to the idea of communities in the mind, or imagined communities, and are a preferred form of community for many residents, and are important for identity formation and generating a sense of stability and cohesion. In contrast, actual social interaction and collective civic action is not extensive for many residents, and the developer has limited positive influence on this. For a minority of residents, however, the combination of sense of community and new opportunities is a stimulus for heightened interaction. It is argued that some aspects of the developer's social agenda, like the promotion of community groups, facilitate social interaction for some residents. This research, in making the processes and outcomes of developers' attempts to impact on the social more transparent, offers an insight into the advantages and limitations of the developer's efforts to 'build community'. This provides a basis for critiquing further action and guiding future decisions. However, it also highlights the complexities of the relationship between market-driven design and social outcomes, and shows that the market may be antagonistic to the social, but can also facilitate new social forms. Finally, the research suggests that 'community' takes many forms in a master planned community, and while some of these forms may not conform to normative expectations they are nevertheless important resources for residents.
Keyword master planned community, social space, social interaction, suburbs
Additional Notes Colour printing - 11, 96, 100, 101, 103, 104, 114, 119, 121, 122, 131, 132, 141, 168

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Created: Mon, 22 Nov 2010, 19:40:50 EST by Mr Theodore Rosenblatt on behalf of Library - Information Access Service