Integrative urban planning is central to sustainable territorial development and important for the socio-economic betterment of any society. This PhD research seeks to identify the needs of the diverse segments of urban dwellers in Sunshine Coast, and proposes an integrative urban planning strategy for the greater Sunshine Coast region. The proposed integrative urban planning is intended to help protect the rich coastal and in-land environment of Sunshine Coast region, while meeting the needs of its growing population and providing space for future sustainable growth. As per the Economic Regional Development Strategy, in the past couple of years, the Sunshine Coast Council has begun implementing a number of specific big urban projects in the Maroochydore district in the northern part of Sunshine Coast, and the Caloundra district to the south. The primary aim of these development projects seems to be to improve the economic growth of the districts, so that Sunshine Coast can become a business friendly and employment hub of the region. However, rapid urban sprawl as witnessed in comparable cities around the world is not an answer to meeting the needs of a growing population. It can generate pressures on the region’s infrastructure, its services and amenities and the available agricultural land. The research would raise questions whether the launching of big projects, like those that have been currently envisioned for Sunshine Coast is conducive for comprehensive sustainable growth. Rapid un-integrated sprawl may not only be harmful to the functionality of the region as a whole but also eludes the benefits that could have been accrued through clustering of urban core and agglomeration. The research thesis would propose that urban planning and policies be integrative with a view to taking a holistic perspective of the big projects in the context of addressing the present and future economic, social and environmental needs of the Sunshine Coast region. Integrative urban plans should not only aim to enhance the efficacy of the current proposed Sunshine Coast development plans but should also be compatible with the internationally accepted United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In doing so, the plans would help make the cities in Australia more sustainable and serve as a global leader in territorial growth and development.


Advisors: Professor Neil Sipe, Dr Dorina Pojani

Funding: Research Training Program

Project members

Mubeen AHMAD

PhD Candidate