Dr Peter Walsh is a researcher in public policy, governance and cities. Peter is a Visiting Fellow at the Institute for Public Policy and Governance at UTS. He is also a Fellow of the Planning Institute of Australia, a Registered Planner, and a member of the international Sustainability Transitions Research Network (STRN).
Peter is a Commissioner of the NSW Land and Environment Court. The LEC is a specialist superior Court. In his Court role Commissioner Walsh hears environmental, development and planning disputes. Prior to joining the Court Peter ran a multi-award winning consulting practice.
Peter's doctoral thesis used a blending of planning theory and socio-technical transitions (also known as sustainability transitions) theory to develop a new process model for planning system reform. His current research is linked to the justice system: whether and how sustainbility insights might better position jurisprudence to assist in the steering of society towards sustainable development.
Artist, S, Walsh, P, Gibbs, M & Sansom, GC 2009, Integrating Natural Resource Management into Local Government Operations. Volume 1: Corporate Planning and Reporting, Local Government and Shires Associations of NSW, Sydney.
This guideline is part of a package which aims to support councils in NSW to integrate natural resource management (NRM) into local government operations.
Sydney has emerged as a major global city in the 21st century. We review the “global city thesis”, which dominates urban scholarship and practice, and ask whether it adequately captures the Sydney experience. Although the global city thesis is a useful analytical construct for policy makers and scholars, we argue that it does not adequately chart Sydney’s rise as a leading global city and its current problems. The global city thesis ignores the political institutions and processes that shape and direct the global city. The City of Sydney is a small
area of the city-region, accounting for only about four percent of the metropolis. Sydney lacks a metropolitan or regional government and has few regional collaborative processes or platforms. Instead the global city strategy of Sydney is shaped and directed by the New South Wales state government. This is contrary to the political decentralisation and devolution trends heralded by international actors such as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
Sydney also illustrates the dilemma of global cities in that those members at the top of the knowledge economy are highly rewarded and those in the middle and lower strata face difficulty maintaining or improving their situations. Local governments lack the capacity to act independently and the state and federal governments are unwilling to address serious urban problems associated with globalisation, such as public transit or housing.
Given the governments' embrace of neoliberalism, the global city vision advanced by leaders is threatened. There is little concrete policy offered by any level of government to address the crisis.
Walsh, P 2018, 'Translating Transitions Thinking and Transition Management into the City Planning World.' in Frantzeskaki, N, Hölscher, K, Bach, M & Avelino, F (eds), Co-creating Sustainable Urban Futures A Primer on Applying Transition Management in Cities, Springer, Cham,, pp. 261-286.View/Download from: Publisher's site
City planning draws out relationships between land use patterns, housing
form and density, transport, energy provision and other infrastructures. While commonly struggling with the task, a city’s planning system could be one of the key integrating forces for tackling the sustainability challenge. As it happens, these particular systems are quite regularly subject to coordinated and relatively well resourced reform efforts, usually not generated from a sustainability viewpoint. This chapter raises the question of whether, and how, transition management ideas might more directly enter and influence this “turbulent” reform space. Sydney
provides the case-setting for the introduction of transition management, and related conceptions, to a recent major planning system reform project for that city. Working from a theoretical meshing of planning, relational-institutional and transitions studies, a new process model for planning system reform projects is introduced: the Planning System Transition (PST) framework. This framework’s development and
testing, through empirical research, is explained. This chapter suggests positive prospects for transition management in city planning reform, but also highlights the critical requirement for contextualisation with practical and scholarly planning insights, as exemplified in the PST framework.
Walsh, P 2016, 'Wicked planning problems and the reform of planning systems: a case study of Sydney.'.
Over the last three decades or so the set of societal conditions which have been emerging are making it more difficult for urban spatial problems to be addressed. Problems like the inability to provide housing at acceptable price points, traffic congestion and resultant long commutes, and spatially-based socio-economic disadvantage, have never
been worse in Sydney for example. When added to poor progress in greenhouse gas emission reductions (from among the highest per capita levels in the OECD) and overall resource consumption trends (Newton, Pears et al. 2012) we see the difficulties faced in the quest for sustainable urban settlement models for Australian cities. More worrying is that the situation doesn’t appear to be cyclical and these problems are worsening over time. This trajectory can be expected to continue with the relatively high population growth levels which are predicted over the next thirty years. While spatially-related, such problems are not restricted to the planning domain. They reach into many corners of government policy
and are deeply related to wider economic and socio-cultural shifts. But city planning is in the thick of each of the nominated problems. While not the only answer, an effective city planning system is a pre-requisite for any shift towards more sustainable urban settlement over time in Australian cities.
Walsh, P 2015, 'So many enlightened politicians: What are planners to do?', New Planner, pp. 12-13.
So many enlightened politicians: What are planners to do?