Australia's first peri-urban conference

La Trobe University is exploring the complex, challenging and often-neglected issues facing some of Australia’s fastest growing communities.

Melbourne's peri-urbanThe University is hosting Australia’s first national conference focusing on how we plan for those living in the peri-urban – the area situated beyond the outer suburbs of a city or town and in the surrounding countryside.

More than 100 policy makers, researchers and practitioners from Australia and overseas will converge at La Trobe University campus at Bundoora on 1 and 2 October 2013 to discuss solutions to some of the challenges facing those communities.

La Trobe University planning expert Associate Professor Trevor Budge said peri-urban areas were the fastest growing regions in many countries worldwide.

‘Strong interest in this conference reflects the growing importance within the community of managing the peri-urban areas that surround Australia’s major cities and towns,’ Professor Budge said.

‘These are the areas where the suburbs transition into farmland or bush. There has been strong population growth in these areas, but often minimal attention is given to issues of planning, service delivery and natural resource management,’ Professor Budge said.

‘In Australia, one of the key issues facing the peri-urban is how to best deal with bushfire risk. Urban responses to fire don’t work in the urban-rural fringe, but the rural approach also doesn’t work due to a higher density of housing and the reduced awareness of landowners about fire risk.

‘These areas don’t fit into the traditional planning models that suit the more clearly defined urban or regional areas, so this conference is extremely timely in terms of raising some key issues and finding solutions as these areas continue to grow,’ he said.   

La Trobe University Vice-Chancellor Professor John Dewar said that La Trobe was partnering with RMIT University to host the conference, as both universities recognised the pressing nature of some of the issues facing peri-urban areas.

‘Research relating to peri-urban areas is a major emerging issue. This relates to La Trobe University’s research focus areas such as building healthy communities and securing food, water and the environment,’ Professor Dewar said.

Case studies from peri-urban regions in the Netherlands and Japan will be presented by international keynote speakers at the conference – Professor Vincent Nadin, from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands and Professor Makoto Yokohari, from the University of Tokyo in Japan.

Providing a local context, Australian keynote speaker Professor Graeme Hugo from the University of Adelaide will explore the unique challenges and opportunities presented by the mix of new urban populations in Australia’s peri-urban areas. Professor Michael Buxton from RMIT University will address the integration of regional settlement with rural land use planning.

The conference speakers will present a range of papers and workshops on topics around planning and policy, food security, building communities and understanding changing environments.

Conference details

Event: Beyond the Edge, Australia’s first national peri-urban conference

When: Tuesday 1 and Wednesday 2 October 2013

Where: West Lecture Theatre, La Trobe University, Kingsbury Drive, Bundoora

Registration: Register online to attend the conference. Registrations close Thursday 26 September.  

Further information is available online. 

Media contact

Suzi Macbeth: T +61 3 9479 5353 | E

Tim Mitchell: + 61 3 9479 5246 |