Publication Date



Integrated planning is an elusive ideal: it is difficult to define and even harder to implement. Nevertheless, it is used to frame planning endeavours across Australia and internationally. Broadly, integrated planning aims to define coherent planning goals and deliver joint strategies between different sectors and actors in specific spatial contexts. To achieve this, inter-sectoral governance processes are used to support partnerships and collaboration. This paper contributes to strengthening the understanding of integrated planning by drawing on research conducted in Melbourne, Australia. Specifically, it uncovers contemporary drivers, meanings and mechanisms of ‘integrated planning’ in Melbourne, Australia. Empirical evidence was gathered through content analysis of federal, state and local government policy documents between the mid-1990s and 2015. Semi-structured in-depth interviews were also conducted with policymakers and planners from Victorian Government agencies, local government and non-government organisations. The paper offers a framework for conceptualising and evaluating integrated planning approaches based on four key categories: spatial; vertical organisational; horizontal organisational and holistic. Overall, the research findings indicate strong awareness and intent to apply spatial, organisational and holistic integration in strategic planning in Melbourne. Operationalisation occurs to varying degrees, though often not to the extent intended. Nevertheless, there is some evidence of institutional learning through building on past experiences to improve contemporary integrated planning practices. Preliminary research findings point to some challenges for integrated planning in Melbourne and the need for further research into some still unclear mechanisms of this phenomenon.


School of Allied Health

Document Type

Open Access Conference Paper

Access Rights

Open Access