The Obama and Rudd Administrations are focusing on placed based development strategies with cities and urban regions as the prime focus. Both Administrations are embracing the notion that urban regions, cities and towns are now the focal points of national and international economic competition. As a result, for the first time in more than four decades national domestic policy has a sharp focus on what investments in places will result in increased economic output with reduced environmental impacts. It seemed only logical that policymakers from both nations meet early in the terms of both governments to compare notes and forge common understandings as to the goals and instruments to be used to reach the objectives of making more sustainable high quality communities that can take advantage of technology and infrastructure investments to shape better place based national policies.

The professional visit took 5 days and covered the following places and themes as depicted in the video:

  • Oakland, California Monday 12 October Visit the Association of Bay Area Governments to compare notes on regional planning and collaboration in land use planning and management to reach state and national climate change and sustainability goals. We are hosted by Ezra Rapport of ABAG with his team who showed how transportation system design, funding and transit oriented development programs are being used to reduce auto oriented development. In Pleasant Hill and Emeryville nearby suburbs more compact high quality affordable living space is being built to meet and increased demand in this type of living environment.
  • San Francisco Tuesday 13 October The San Francisco Redevelopment Agency led by Executive Director Fred Blackwell described the Agencies well established and very successful use of tax increment financing as a tool to revitalize inner suburban areas.
  • Denver Wednesday 14 October Transit Oriented Development is the central the redevelopment of Denver. A combination of strict land use controls combined with major investment in a well designed regional transit system combining buses and light rail are producing a more liveable environment in the central city and suburbs.
  • Washington DC 15-16 October Focus on national policymaking institutions including the Brookings institutions such as The Congress with Congressman Blumenhauer's Staff, the US Departments of Energy, Transportation, Housing and Urban Development with dinner meeting with the US Conference of Mayors.


  • Sean O'Toole, Managing Director, Landom
  • Michael Buchan, Chief Financial Officer, Land Management Corporation
  • Alison McClelland, Executive Director, Strategic Policy, Research and Forecasting, Department for Planning and Community Development
  • Paul Eagles, Chief Executive Officer, Urban Land Development Authority
  • Gary Prattley, Chairman, Western Australian Planning Commission
  • Tom Gellibrand, Department of Planning NSW
  • Peter Clarke, Design and Urban Environment, City of Melbourne
  • Peter Monks, Director Planning and Development, City of Perth
  • Dorte Ekelund, Major Cities Unit, Infrastructure Australia
  • Martin Halliday, General Manager, Station Precints and Planning Approvals, SydneyMetro