- 1965 – 1999 (Creation)
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The Urban Research Unit was originally conceived as a collaborative project between RSSS’s Departments of Economic History and Economics, with URU staff being formally appointed to one of the two departments. Initially, the URU’s research agenda was determined by a Research Advisory Committee made up of members of the Economic History, Economics, Political Science, Law and Demography Departments. In 1967–1968 the URU became a separate entity within RSSS.
The URU was intended as an inter-disciplinary research unit, which would source potential staff from a variety of disciplines and from both the public and private sectors. The primary focus of research was to be processes of urbanisation in Australia with a greater emphasis on practical rather than theoretical methodology. One of the URU’s first major research projects was a study of urbanisation processes in Sydney, soon expanded to include Melbourne. During its first decade the Unit’s other major concerns were housing, the environmental quality of urban areas, social indicators, land policy, transport, infrastructure investment and planning, and employment.
The URU was particularly involved in researching urban planning issues for the Whitlam Government (1972–1975), mainly through Tom Uren, the Minister for Urban and Regional Development. Patrick Troy, a founding member of the URU, was Deputy Secretary of the Department of Urban and Regional Development during this time, after which he returned to the URU.
The URU ran several important series of seminars. They took over responsibility for the Joint Urbanisation Seminar in 1966, and also ran an extensive series of their own Work-in-Progress seminars.
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Working files for collaborative publications c.1994–1999;
Hunter District Water Board interviews 1986–1990;
Federal Court of Australia, New South Wales District Registry: Between Marrickville Council (applicant) and Minister for the Environment, Sport and Territories (respondent) c. 1995–1996;
Urban Research Program working papers 1993–1999;
Administration, Compliance and Governability Program working papers 1991–1995;
Urban History Planning History conference 1995;
Seminar papers, conference papers and drafts for publication 1965–1993;
Annual Reports 1972–1984, 1996–1998;
Published material 1971–1999