City equity and wellbeing explores contemporary issues facing planners working in an increasingly diverse and complex society. Interests in social and community planning infuse multiple scales, and we focus in particular on the metropolitan and local scale. At the wider city scale, students are encouraged to critically engage with the broader social, economic and cultural shifts which are continually reshaping the neoliberal city and consider questions of spatial disadvantage, social exclusion, ‘spatial justice’ and equity and ‘rights to the city’. Change in the built environment often impacts on disadvantaged and disenfranchised groups disproportionately, where for example redevelopment and gentrification may be accompanied by quickly changing community profiles, rising housing costs and potential displacement. As planners we must steward the future direction of our cities and communities in ways which value and foster diversity, and ensure that the interests and needs of all groups, including ethnic communities, children, the aged, women, people with disabilities, LGBT, indigenous and homeless people are heard. Proactively, we are also interested in creating healthy built environments, and fostering wellbeing in decisions taken which affect the built environment. The role and capacity of current planning frameworks to achieve more equitable outcomes are explored, including the preparation of community strategic plans, the use of social impact assessment as well as more creative inter-disciplinary and bottom-up approaches.
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