The Infrastructure Governance Incubator

The Infrastructure Governance Incubator is a multidisciplinary collaborative research project across three universities, funded by the Henry Halloran Trust across three years (2020-2023). 

Our research aims to investigate the planning and delivery of urban infrastructure in Australian cities, identifying strengths and gaps in current practices, and assist in developing an integrated infrastructure governance model for Australian cities. This involves a focus on the planning, funding, and social legitimacy of infrastructure, acknowledging contexts of multiple crises, and First Nations voice. 

The Incubator is currently conducting a case study of the Western Parklands City in Western Sydney.      

The Incubator's research approach

Infrastructure ought to nurture places and support the betterment of cities and people. However, three decades of neoliberal orthodoxy alongside the misalignment of projects to strategic plans, as identified across numerous academic and independent assessments, suggests there is little clarity surrounding for whom and to what ends infrastructure is serving. It is evident that infrastructure governance in Australia struggles with a lack of social legitimacy or mandate as public outrage continues over numerous flagship infrastructure projects.

The unprecedent social, environmental, economic, and public health challenges facing Australian cities have raised the stakes for infrastructure planning, and the planning profession more broadly. In responding to the spotlight being cast onto infrastructure, the Infrastructure Governance Incubator advances a timely research agenda seeking to interrogate current approaches to infrastructure governance in Australia.

Informed by international best practices, the Incubator aims to develop an integrated infrastructure governance framework for Australian contexts, seeking better alignment between strategic planning and project delivery in terms of planning, funding, and public legitimacy of infrastructure, and foregrounding the context of unceded First Nations Country.

The Incubator builds on this extraordinary moment in our history to create more inclusive and deliberative infrastructure governance processes and frameworks enabling advocacy for, and delivery of, fairer, more just and more sustainable cities and regions.