Document Type

Conference Proceeding


University of Western Australia


Faculty of Business and Law


School of Law and Justice




This article was originally published as: Middle, G., Perkins, T., & George, J. (2011). A comparative study of the views of planning students and professionals about planning education in Western Australia. Paper presented at the World Planning Schools Congress. Perth, Australia. More information on conference here


This paper reports the finding of a study into the relevance of Planning Education in Western Australia (WA). Phase one involved surveying students Planning at both Curtin and Edith Cowan Universities and WA Planning professionals. Participants were asked to rate the importance of the various 'streams' of planning education, their passion for planning, and to identify what were the key attributes of an 'excellent' planner. The survey was followed up with qualitative research involving focus groups of selected students to explore in depth the similarities and differences between the views of students and professionals and the issues raised by the results. The key similarities in views on the planning education streams showed the importance of environmental and sustainability planning, regional planning, strategic planning and infrastructure planning. There was agreement that research methods, planning history and computer aided design were the least important. The key differences concerned the importance of statutory planning and evaluation techniques (professionals saw these as important and students saw them as unimportant). In regard to key attributes of an 'excellent' planner, there was agreement that communication and negotiations skills, being ethical, being adaptable, being innovative and thinking strategically were key attributes. The passion participants expressed for planning from all groups was high, being over 7 out of 10 for all groups. The results of the focus groups are reported and explored.

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