Urban and regional planning systems: A component of mainstreaming fire and emergency management across policy sectors

The contribution of urban and regional planning to managing bushfire risk is increasingly significant, and integrating spatial planning and bushfire risk is a national policy priority.

This research has advanced the identification of leading practice in spatial planning for bushfire risk and emergency management in the context of climate change. It also highlighted barriers and enablers to leading practice.

The University of Canberra’s Professor Barbara Norman led the project, with the research team made up of Dr Jessica Weir and Dr Kate Sullivan.

The project involved a series of literature reviews on integrating spatial planning, bushfire risk and emergency management in the context of climate change. This was followed by an audit of strategic and statutory planning responses to bushfire risk, drawing on geographically based case studies. A national roundtable of key stakeholders involved in planning for bushfire risk and emergency management complemented a series of end user workshops.

The research identified four key factors for integrating urban and regional planning with bushfire risk and emergency management in a changing environment.
These were:
• Better understanding the links between planning and bushfire risk.
• Recognising the influence of history, landscape and experience in creating different perceptions of risk.
• Employing effective planning and development controls.
• Providing appropriate education and training.

These factors are the key dimensions to integrating urban and regional planning with bushfire risk and emergency management in a changing environment.

The case study process and research workshops have also help set up a network of professional practitioners involved in spatial planning at the local and regional level. This network can continue to share knowledge and experience that supports ongoing professional development in this area.
 

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