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Canberra — A city within the landscape an evaluation of the provision of parkland and public open space

Landscape Planning
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/0304-3924(79)90033-9
  • Design
  • Economics
  • Philosophy
  • Political Science


Abstract Canberra, the National Capital of Australia, grew out of an intermix of political necessity, economic and social development, and the need to decentralize the major population centres of the State Capitals. The area selected and the subsequent construction of Canberra over some 60 years were influenced by the natural topography and landscape qualities, as well as an awareness of a need to create and maintain beautiful landscapes within the city. Since Canberra was being established soon after the birth of the concept of the Garden City Movement, its planning and construction embodied many of the then world philosophies about creating healthy and attractive living conditions. In particular, this included the need to establish an integrated parkland and public open space system, easy access to open space, and different recreation facilities. Awareness of the value of the landscape as an essential component in the design of the City influenced the selection of the site by the first surveyor and politicians and also the designers and planners who have worked to create this 20th century city. The setting up of the National Capital Development Commission, some twenty years ago, set the scene for Canberra to grow rapidly at a time of technological change and creative planning. The Commission built upon the experience of the post war reconstruction programmes and planning philosophy. These led to the integration of landscape design into the development of all the parts of the city and satellite towns. Today, Canberra is a city of great beauty with easy access to the bushland within its framework and to the surrounding countryside. Born out of political necessity, it has become a city of 190,000 people, and enfolds within itself the structure of modern planning ideals.

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