Partnerships for community building and governance in master planned communities: A study of Varsity Lakes at Gold Coast

Date of this Version


Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Details

Interim status: Citation only.

Bajracharya, B., Earl, G., & Khan, S. (2008). Partnerships for community building and governance in master planned communities: A study of Varsity Lakes at Gold Coast. Paper presented at the International Planning History Society (IPHS) 13th biennial conference: Public versus private planning: Themes, trends and tensions, Chicago, Illinois, United States.

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2008 HERDC submission. FoR Code: 1205

© Copyright Bhishna Bajracharya, George Earl and Shahed Khan, 2008.


The development and management of master planned communities (MPCs) involve achieving the twin goals of building a sense of community and creating a distinctive place identity. The roles of private, public and community sectors in realising these goals of MPCs have been evolving over time with the increasing role of developers in provision of services with the local government playing a regulatory/facilitative role and community calling for greater engagement and local control.

The major objective of the paper is to critically examine the nature and outcomes of collaboration between developers, local/state governments and existing/emerging community groups in the development of new MPCs in South East Queensland, Australia. The paper will review emerging theories of community building and place making to develop an analytical framework for collaboration of stakeholders for MPCs in South East Queensland. The paper will conduct a case study of an emerging master planned community of Varsity Lakes (343 hectares with expected population of 7,800 in 2010) in Gold Coast and examine the contributions of the public-private-community partnerships in: 1) developing a strong sense of community; and 2) creating a distinctive and vibrant place. The paper will also briefly discuss the historic evolution of master planned communities in South East Queensland and the changing role of public-private community partnerships to provide the context for detailed study of Varsity Lakes.

As part of research methodology, the study will carry out: 1) content analysis of developer’s brochures and government documents; 2) visual analysis of place making elements in MPC; and 3) key informant interviews with developers, local government departments as well as community groups. The paper will use the case study to draw lessons for effective governance of master planned communities for greater community engagement and a stronger sense of place identity.

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This document has been peer reviewed.