Geographical classifications have provided an effective means of interrogating the role of place in shaping our society and economy.
The distinction between urban and rural has provoked considerable theoretical development about the nature and viability of both urban environments and rural settlements.
However, in today's interconnected world the distinction between urban and rural is becoming less reliable and the need to understand the relationships between urban and rural places more urgent. This is particularly the case in Western Australia, where the recent rapid expansion of Perth and the regional settlements of Mandurah, Bunbury, Karratha, Port Hedland and Broome, as well as a re-population of many smaller rural settlements, has unsettled the traditional demarcation between rural and urban.
Interrogating social, economic and geographical phenomena according to categories based on geo-historical conditions has resulted in limited attention being directed to understanding the social, economic and cultural relationships between Western Australia’s capital city and its regional cities and towns.
This research program aims to address this critical knowledge gap by examining the spatial relationships between the metropolitan area and the cities and towns of regional WA. In the first year, this program will focus on the South West Planning Sector, which includes Perth and the areas immediately adjacent to the north, east and south.
The program will collate and interrogate data to support the State Planning Strategy (Draft 2013), including inter alia:
This research program is expected to provide baseline information on the social, economic, cultural and environmental characteristics of the South West Planning Sector, with a particular emphasis on the nature of the relationships between the populations and economy of Perth and the cities and towns of the adjacent regions.