Dr Jon Drane wrote the first practitioner doctorate (worldwide) on city development processes and the way property developers operate in both the private and public sector.
The doctorate is titled ‘The Seed in the Cityscape’ which focused on city development processes and mechanisms. He focused on property developer culture and practices in the private and public sector and created the concept of the ‘land parcel’ and associated ‘land parcel dynamics’. ‘Land parcel’ was a term used freely in the property development world but not the academic realm at the time.
Dr Drane discovered the theory base on city development processes had not been covered since the 1990s in any detail. There was little to no contemporary practitioner research into the subject. Research on city development processes was also the province of academics in the geography, economics and town planning disciplines with little practitioner input.
City Development Processes
The concept of city development processes was created earlier by the work of Patsy Healey (1) (1991) who established ‘models of the development process’ which categorised them into four forms from equilibrium, agency, event-sequence and structural then on to institutional forms.
Dr Drane built on Healey’s concept of ‘development processes’ by identifying that property development was also ‘mechanistic’ and he drew on the concept of Hoopers discussed with Healey years earlier. “Hooper (personal communication) has described such models as a ‘machine waiting for a power source’.” (Healey1991, p. 232).
City Development Mechanisms vs Processes
Dr Jon Drane identified the fact that city development in itself was controlled by both public and private developers and occcurred in ‘proliferations’ over time. Instead of exploring current development sites and precincts he took a longitudinal, historical view of a precinct and tracked its changes from earlier ‘dormant’ states in dead city areas that occurred in the Honeysuckle Precinct in Newcastle NSW and Palmer Street in Townsville as examples.
Land Parcel Dynamics
Dr Drane identified how a series of land lots can become a potential development even if it was not planned by a developer. In this way a city formed its owned land parcels naturally and the land parcel had a DNA ( of sorts) of its own. A land parcel has a potential for development though the collection of land lots in this way.
Dead City Areas and City Dormancy
Dr Drane also identified the life cycle of dead city areas from their former vibrant state to what he termed ‘dormant’ not ‘dead’ and tracked the nature of ‘dormancy’ or being held in a suspended state until other forces and mechanisms worked to bring it back to life again.
Property Developer Culture and Dynamics
Dr Drane had been involved as a practitioner in high rise construction and property development since the 1970s and he created a cultural analysis of how property developers operate to create land parcels and developments in the city.
Public and Private Development
Through his study of large dormant precincts Dr Drane showed how the actions of public and private developers aligned at certain times to re-activate dead city areas. He was the first to identify the term ‘Windows of Alignment’ in this context.
A Teaching Framework for City Development Processes
Dr Jon Drane provided a framework for understanding City Development Processes and more recently updated this to include the concept of Place Economy and Property Development Dynamics. See youtube video below and his Faster Class offering for professional development in Property Development.
Advocating for Professionalisation of Property Development
The property development industry is experiencing the continued entry of untrained, non professional players. There are very low barriers to entry to the world of property development. The result has been the rise of poor quality buidings and the horrors of the past decade of dangerous defects.
Dr Drane is advocating for the creation of a doctorate in ‘city and property development processes’ that supports the improvement of professional recognition and credentialing of property developers. See our youtube video on A Decade of Dangerous Defects which includes the tragedies of the decade.
Please contact Jon for more information. See sidebar contact form->>
- Healey, Patsy(1991) ‘Models of the development process: A review’, Journal of Property Research, 8: 3,
219 — 238
- Drane. Jonathan (2013) The State of Contemporary Property Development Theory- City Development Processes, 19TH ANNUAL PACIFIC-RIM REAL ESTATE SOCIETY CONFERENCEMELBOURNE AUSTRALIA, 13-16 JANUARY
Read Dr Drane’s Doctorates and supporting articles
About Us- City Development Processes and the Mental Health of Cities
Learn more about Dr Jon, the City Whisperer and its focus on city growth and mental health.
More by Dr Jonathan Drane
The State of Contemporary Property Development Theory- City Development Processes 2013
Summary: Dr Jon Drane discovers that research into City Development Processes from the point of view of the Property Developer is sadly lacking. He picks up on research done in the 1990s and modernises the theory base from the point of view of a practitioner.
Building Defects: How they can be avoided- City Development Processes
Summary: Dr Jon Drane creates a research initiative that investigates dangerous building defects in the apartment tower industry. The industry is suffering from corrupt property developer practices. Dr Drane provides models on how to rectify defects from the top down through better delivery systems and city development processes.