With the rise of place-based planning, neighbourhood character (and its variants such as ‘urban character’, ‘place character’, ‘local character’, ‘town character’, ‘preferred character’, etc.) has become a key criterion in planning policy in Australia and other parts of the Anglophone world (Manzo and Perkins 2006; Mason 2007; Untaru 2002). While the phrase has everyday meanings articulated in policy in often tautological phrases such as ‘how the features of an area come together to give that area its own particular character’, the concept is most usefully understood through the lens of place theory and in particular as a form of place-identity (Department of Infrastructure 2001, 1; Proshansky 1978; Hague and Jenkins 2005; Casakin and Bernado 2012; Sepe 2013; Dovey 2013). Conceptions of place-identity combine clusters of thinking from the fields of geography, planning, design and environmental psychology that bring together place and identity to understand the meaning and significance of places for their users and inhabitants (Hague and Jenkins 2005). Place-based planning, place management and place-making approaches work with the idea that place-identity involves a reflexive process of place transformation operating through the physical and social realms simultaneously (Hague and Jenkins 2005), necessitating ongoing feedback loops between planners, developers and communities, mediated by systems of strategic planning and development control (see also Searle, Chapter 2, and further perspectives on place making by Newton and Glackin, Chapter 14 in this volume). Within these democratic notions of planning, both the role of rights of appeal (a procedure) and the issue of character (a concept) are contested, with the latter frequently thrown into stark relief through the former.