Precinct Activation Concept Paper for Outer West Dormancy Research Project

Dead city areas, Building smarter cities, City and property development processes, Mental Health and the City, Dr Jon Drane, City and property development processes, dead city areas, property developer culture,

Precinct Activation: From Dormancy to Proliferation: A Model of Potential Property Proliferation in Dormant Areas of Sydney’s Outer-West Centres.

A Research Project by Dr Jonathan Drane, Sydney Graduate School of Management, Western Sydney University, Sydney, Australia.

The Urban and Living Society Institute Grant Scheme 2017

Precinct activation- Dr Jon Drane - Rhodes Homebush Bay
Precinct activation- Dr Jon Drane – Rhodes Homebush Bay

By Dr Jonathan Drane


This research studies outer west centres in the Sydney basin to understand and chart dormant town areas and their potential to proliferate new developments. One page flyer (pdf):

Outer West Dormancy Study – Drane 2017

Concept Paper for Outer West Dormancy-Proliferation Research accepted at SOAC 2017

Precinct Activation Conference attended by Dr Jon Drane

A concept paper relating to the research was accepted for the State of Australian Cities Conference 2017 which was held in Adelaide on 28 to 30th, November 2017. The paper uses an analytical framework drawn from the research to date on Honeysuckle, Palmer St and other precincts and provides a discussion of the state of transition of Penrith’s central car park. It is intended that a similar analysis be done for the other outer west centres as part of the research moving forward. The article title is as follows:

Dormancy in two regional cities and its relevance to the growth of Western Sydney,(The cases of Honeysuckle, Newcastle; Palmer Street, Townsville and Penrith) Dr Jonathan Drane, Western Sydney University, Sydney Graduate School of Management


The dormant cityscape continues to haunt many of our burgeoning, high growth cities. Former port lands, ‘brownfield’ sites and degraded suburban areas persist in these states for what appears to be decades without any apparent revival. Despite the usual forms of planning, zoning and controls they appear to display obstinacy over large time periods that continue to confound local and state planning authorities and leaders.

This article studies dormant cityscapes in two regional cities (Newcastle and Townsville) and their revival, to bring a clearer understanding to the nature and dynamics of dormancy. The cityscapes are viewed through a time-lapse, mechanistic view by charting of stimulus events over several decades to identify the often invisible forces at work. The results are discussed in light of the outer west centres of the Sydney Basin and their states of dormancy, with an example of one of these, a regional centre; (Penrith) and its transformation status.

The often urgent political reliance on lineal, visible change is shown to confound our view, along with the ‘meta’ use of the economic/demographic lens to view our cities. Missing is a view of not only artefactual indicators but the invisible markers of change. This, along with a mechanistic ‘time-lapse’ view is discussed as a means of enhancing our knowledge of dormancy periods and revival.

The study enhances our understanding of dormancy and the historical timelines that they operate under. In this way a revisionist view of this phenomenon informs planners and city leaders to understand dormancy and its revitalization, which goes beyond political urgencies.

Keywords: City growth, dormancy, cityscape, development processes.

Pdf of abstract on this link:

SOAC 2017 Drane Dormancy Article final

Please note the full article is available upon request and with the collaboration of the conference organisation.


Articles and News Items

Related News/Blog Articles on Growth Characteristics in the Outer West

The Outer West Collection: Articles on the outer west of Sydney and its growth characteristics.

Penrith Weekender 2015
‘Penrith of the Future’

Daily Telegraph  2015
Penrith is experiencing growing pains

Read The City Whisperer News:


Research Sites – Jonathan Drane

Jonathan’s Linked In Profile

Read The City Whisperer News


WSU Web Page Guidelines

This is a web page created by Dr Jonathan Drane in his capacity as a lecturer and researcher at Western Sydney University. It is created in accordance with the university’s social media policy and guidelines see link to pdf:


Social Media Guidelines