Dr Stephen Rowley

Stephen Rowley is a lecturer in Urban Planning with RMIT's School of Global, Urban and Social Studies, specialising in areas of planning systems and practice.

Stephen’s research focuses on planning systems, planning practice, regulatory design, and the cultural depiction of cities and towns. His first book, Movie Towns and Sitcom Suburbs: Building Hollywood’s Ideal Communities, was published in 2015. His second book, The Victorian Planning System: Practice, Problems, and Prospects, was published in 2017.

Stephen is a practising urban planner, working as an independent consultant and Planning Editor of the Victorian Planning Reports. He is a former Vice President and Policy Convenor of the Planning Institute of Australia Victorian Division. He is also a former co-editor of the magazine Planning News.

As a practising urban planner, Stephen has worked in the industry for nearly twenty years in local and state government, and as an independent consultant. He has been an active commentator on the industry during that time, with a particular focus on planning system reform, publishing in Planning News, The Age, and Crikey.

Industry roles undertaken include:

  • Vice President of the Planning Institute of Australia Victorian Division (October 2014 – October 2015)
  • Policy Convenor of the Planning Institute of Australia Victorian Division (October 2012 – July 2014)
  • Committee Member of the Planning Institute of Australia Victorian Division (June 2011 – May 2016)
  • Co-editor, Planning News (June 2007 – December 2010)
  • Planning Editor, Victorian Planning Reports (July 2013 – present)

Expert commentary on...

The Victorian planning system, Planning systems and statutory planning, Regulatory design, Cultural depictions of cities, towns and urban planning.

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Related Content

News & Blog


The mark of the covenant on housing and planning

18 May 2018

The recent Reserve Bank of Australia report The Effect of Zoning on Housing Prices put forward the argument that restrictive zoning is driving Australian house prices up - particularly in Melbourne and Sydney - arguing that that planning policy reform is necessary in order to meet projected population increases.


How tree bonds can help preserve the urban forest

20 March 2018

Great cities need trees to be great places, but urban changes put pressure on the existing trees as cities develop. As a result, our rapidly growing cities are losing trees at a worrying rate. So how can we grow our cities and save our city trees?


The Victorian Planning System: Practice, Problems and Prospects

20 March 2017

Dr Stephen Rowley discusses his new book 'The Victorian Planning System' – the perfect introduction to the Victorian planning systems for new planners and the wider public who need to deal with the planning system.