Space, place, and agency in the Roe 8 highway protest, Western Australia
School of Arts and Humanities
The struggle to save the Beeliar Wetlands, an urban remnant bushland in Perth, Western Australia, demonstrates elements of both urban social and urban environmental movements. At the end of 2016, 30 years of objection to the continuation of the Roe Highway development (Roe 8) culminated in months of intense protest leading up to a state election and a cessation of work in 2017. During the long-running campaign, protestors fought to preserve high-conservation-value bushland that was contained in the planned road reserve. At the heart of this dispute were competing spatial uses. This article will analyze four protest actions from the dispute using Henri Lefebvre’s concept of the production of space, and will demonstrate that the practices of protest gave those fighting to preserve Roe 8 the agency to reinscribe meaning to the natural uses of the Beeliar Wetlands over and against the uses privileged by the state.