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Design for Decline: Landscape Architecture Strategies for the Western Australian Wheatbelt


Driven by economic restructuring, environmental degradation, and demographic shifts, the vast Wheatbelt region of Western Australia is faced with ongoing population decline as residents leave farms and towns for the coastal urban centers. Landscape architects are increasingly engaged by local communities and governments to facilitate the efforts of rural towns that seek to address decline. Revitalization efforts tend to be undertaken in isolation on a town-by-town basis, and frequently encounter limited opportunities for reversing structural decline in marginal agricultural regions. This paper expands the limited body of knowledge on this topic by contributing a contextual overview of the types of projects undertaken in Wheatbelt town revitalization and the actual and potential role of landscape architecture in catalyzing these endeavors. This exposition also presents alternative criteria for evaluating the success of town revitalization initiatives other than population and economic growth.

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