Balanced Urban Development: Options and Strategies for Liveable Cities

Volume 72 of the series Water Science and Technology Library pp 153-170

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.


The Role of Peri-Urban Land Use Planning in Resilient Urban Agriculture: A Case Study of Melbourne, Australia

  • Michael BuxtonAffiliated withSchool of Global Urban and Social Studies, RMIT University Email author 
  • , Rachel CareyAffiliated withResearch Fellow, University of Melbourne
  • , Kath PhelanAffiliated withSchool of Global Urban and Social Studies, RMIT University


Peri-urban agricultural production remains important globally and its value will increase as the impacts of climate change, energy costs, rising world population and changing patterns of food consumption are felt. Maintaining the natural resource base for food production around cities will become an increasingly important part of city planning. Yet peri-urban areas continue to undergo radical change over much of the world, displacing traditional agriculture and reducing the capacity of cities to adapt to non-linear change. Urban resilience is best maintained through a regional approach which connects urban and peri-urban systems. Such system relationships are examined in a case study focused on the city of Melbourne in South-East Australia. Peri-urban Melbourne produces a significant proportion of the fruit and vegetables grown in the state of Victoria, but agricultural production on the city’s outer fringe is under pressure from rapid urban development. This case study examines three scenarios which relate rural and urban land supply and demand, and explore land use planning techniques for limiting rural land development and transferring demand for rural land to regional settlements. It argues that stronger statutory planning measures are required to stem the loss of peri-urban agricultural land and that these will need to be accompanied in future by a range of other strategies to strengthen the resilience of city food systems.


Agricultural production Peri-urban land use planning Rural land development Peri-urban agricultural land Food systems