AHURI CITIES AND URBAN RESEARCH

Indigenous perspectives

Indigenous perspectivesIncorporating Indigenous knowledge and perspectives into the development of Australian cities

Recognition of traditional owners and their knowledge of Country, cultural values and traditions that influence urban design, and governance

In-depth considerations of Indigenous perspectives are notably absent in Australian urban policies beyond acknowledging the traditional owners of the land. The Federal Government’s flagship Smart Cities Plan  does not mention the term Indigenous or Aboriginal throughout the entire document. State-level metropolitan planning strategies references to the local Indigenous community are mostly limited to an acknowledgement of country and heritage of Indigenous culture with the need to protect sites and landscapes of cultural significance.

Australia’s cities are Indigenous places. European colonisers of Australia constructed their settlements on sites inhabited by Indigenous people. Australia’s cities remain not only sacred cultural sites, but are also home to many Indigenous Australians. In 2016, almost 80 per cent of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Island people lived in an urban area, and around 35 per cent in one of Australia’s capital cities, with over 70,000 people residing in Sydney.

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