Spaces for Radical Practice

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New towns have been frequently built on utopian visions. Whether idealist enterprises such as New Lanark in early nineteenth century Scotland, or Yallourn, a mining town planned in early twentieth century rural Australia, constructed communities have theorised radical new relationships between person and environment, and between working men and home, within a consensual normative field.

In this paper I explore the imminent birth of a new town on the edge of Melbourne, Australia, marked by ethnic diversity, in a complex, stressful and challenging economic climate for predominantly low income first home buyers, in a country with one of the highest house price to income ratios in the world. This town’s development is driven by government expediency rather than utopian dreaming. It assumes a growth paradigm rather than ecological balance and sustainability. Its diverse population will share only some norms. Research focuses on the implementation and evaluation of an innovative community development model for working with the collective potential of the community as it grows, negotiating difference and conflict, and building social connectedness through dialogue, democratic participation and common cooperative experiences. The paper will explore the opportunities that new spaces provide for radical practice and briefly compares three such projects, each a century apart.


Keywords: Community, Radical Practice, Diversity, Negotiating Difference
Stream: Knowledge
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Margaret L Lynn

Senior Lecturer in Social and Community Welfare, School of Humanities, Communications and Social Sciences, Monash University
Churchill, Victoria, Australia

I teach in a social and community welfare degree, and am interested in rural communities and the processes by which multiple community affiliations and identities are expressed. My research interests also include policy analysis of governmental community building, and the discourses of community.

Ref: H08P0437