This presentation explores the exhibitionary phenomenon as a narrative in the making of modern planning culture. This arose in the formative propagandist years of the discipline in the early 20th century and reached its apogee in the 1940s when the incontrovertible lessons of world history unified politicians, capital and civil society around the acceptance of urban planning as a desired activity of the modern state.

The succession of planning exhibitions across the first half of the twentieth century are thus a remarkable record of the very public maturation and codification of planning’s aspirations. Establishing a suite of themes connecting to broader intellectual and policy concerns, the presentation documents the typologies, chronologies, personalities and legacies which attach to a distinctive visual lens for exploring planning history.

About Robert Freestone

Professor of Planning and Associate Dean Research, Faculty of the Built Environment, University of New South Wales, Dr Freestone’s research interests lie in the development of modern planning theory and practice in Australia, heritage conservation, metropolitan re-structuring and planning education.  He has been involved in ARC funded research on the role of cultural heritage in the sustainability of remote communities, the contribution of early town planning associations in development of Australian planning theory and practice, knockdown and rebuild processes of suburban renewal, and the evolution and policy implications of major airport activity centres, internationally and within Australia.

Image by Falk Lademann via Flickr/CC BY 2.0


RMIT University City Campus Building 13 Level 2 Room 29 (Emily McPherson Building) Corner of Russell & Victoria Streets, Melbourne VIC 3000


Tuesday, 27 May 2014, 4.00 – 5.00 pm