Category Archives: SUSTAINABLE SETTLEMENTS

Advocacy and research to achieve resilient, engaging and healthy settlements

bureaucrats lack empathy

Costigan-P1120577It was during a recent North Canberra Community Council meeting that I realised I was hearing something very rare. The presenter was talking about fairly matter-of-fact issues to do with changes to local traffic lights and footpaths and it sounded as though she identified with the issues being dealt with.

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Dickson Parklands – Land Grab

Article Lead - wide998573026gija9aimage.related.articleLeadwide.729x410.giivvm.png1437707368480.jpg-620x349The North Canberra Community Council (NCCC) has expressed both surprise and disappointment at yesterday’s shock announcement by the ACT Government proposing residential development in Dickson between the Dickson Pool and Dickson Playing Fields. It is known formally as Dickson Section 72 and informally as Dickson Parklands. click here for the full media release from the community council.

Big Coal

Big Coal wins again in Queensland

solar-singaporeThe Australian Government is ripping money out of the development of ‘old technologies’ such as solar and wind farms. And we all know why – because Big Coal demands it of Abbott. Meanwhile Big Coal goes on taking enormous subsidies from taxpayers. Here’s the latest in Queensland. Click here. Note the figures comparing jobs in arts and recreation compared to Big Coal.

Climate Change

francis

We live in strange times. The Australian Government has led the country into being backward looking and to be so far behind so many countries that are moving to address climate change. Into this important international debates has stepped the Pope. The Australian Prime Minister continues to portray himself as a man of the Catholic Faith. Yet he has chosen to ignore the Pope. Here are some thoughts on the Pope’s timely actions – click here.

 

Walking

image_startWhile Australian governments spend a lot of time on transport matters, it usually means cars, maybe public transport and occasionally bicycles. In Canberra the pedestrian is not often on the agenda. Walking is far more fun. I visited Vienna recently and was impressed about many things to do with its urban structure. And now I read that they have a new emphasis on walking and urban planning is allowing for this!

Continue reading Walking

Cars for Canberra

11651085It was during a radio program on the future of Civic, the centre of Canberra, that an architectural academic came forward with his Big Idea on how this city centre could be refurbished. To my surprise the academic suggested that Civic’s pedestrian areas should be opened up for cars. I have to say that ‘architectural experts’ often speak on urban matters as if they are living on another planet.

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Dickson Shops

An update on development in Canberra

Looking to the next elections for resident friendly solutions

dickson-shops3 The Dickson residents continue to be disappointed with the ACT Government for allowing so many inappropriate development proposals to be taken seriously. The latest let-down is that local politicians look as if they are allowing a supermarket and residential proposal to progress even though the evidence indicates how wrong it is for this inner suburb.

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Yarralumla Development

Development to alter the Yarralumla ambience

Master-plan-Feb-2015_The following is a slightly longer version of a post I uploaded to RiotACT. This post concentrated on the new development sites which will replace much of the greenery around the southern edge of this part of Yarralumla. I have left comments about the redevelopment of the former brickwork’s sit for another time.

Continue reading Yarralumla Development

Dickson Planning Consultation Dilemmas

Development dilemmas: part three
The future of the Dickson Precinct and beyond

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This is the third of several posts on planning and development issues for Dickson in Canberra. Residential groups around the country share similar frustrations, dilemmas and challenges in dealing with planning and development bureaucracies.

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Dickson Parklands

Development dilemmas: part two
The future of the Dickson Parklands

Section72-DicksonThis is the second of several posts on planning and development issues effecting the local residents of Dickson in Canberra. The issues are not unique to Dickson. Residential groups around the country share similar frustrations, dilemmas and challenges in dealing with planning and development bureaucracies.

Continue reading Dickson Parklands

Dickson Shops

Development dilemmas: part one
Residents and the future of the Dickson Shops

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This is the first of several posts on planning and development issues effecting local residents. The stories and issues are not unique to Dickson in Canberra. Many residential groups around the country share similar frustrations, dilemmas and challenges in dealing with planning and development bureaucracies.

Continue reading Dickson Shops

Dickson Flats and Canberra Planning Madness

The madness of Canberra’s planning and development

flats-P1100033Since the 1960s there has been several rows of public housing located on the main road into Canberra. In the last year, the Dickson Flats have been listed for demolition to allow for brand new multi-unit developments. So far so good. Maybe! (pic by Paul Costigan)

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Dickson Shops

Planning and Development of the Dickson Shops

A bad case study in community engagement

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It was just days before Christmas (2014) when local residents may have noticed that a development application with big ramifications for their precinct was now available online for comment – with a month in which to submit any comments.

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Corruption in Planning

The widespread corruption within planning agencies

Conflict-conferenceOver many years I have been observed the annual round of numerous industry events. This includes award dinners as well as seminars and conferences. Besides all the usual suspects that attend such functions, there are invitations to a cohort of government departmental officers and/or key personnel from planning and development agencies. These invitations are usually in the form of complimentary tickets.

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Climate Change

Book Announcement

This Changes Everything: Capitalism Vs. The Climate,
Naomi Klein 2014

ThisChangesEverything398x425Yet to read this, but I am listing as a suggestion for your Christmas reading and/or gift list. We have to move on climate change and I agree that it is an economic discussion, one about capitalism and corporate greed. No wonder our infamous Australia politicians want it off the agenda. It is about dealing with their mates and how they are ripping off the planet.

Continue reading Climate Change

climate action

Comment: Action being taken on climate action

rabbott01With Australia’s Rabbott government continuing to be an embarrassment both at home and internationally, it has been a welcome relief to see actions being forecasted by the Chinese Government and President Obama. While there has to be some scepticism around these political announcements, there is at least acceptance that any such agreements are significant small steps in the right direction.

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Putting a Value on Community Spaces

Comment: Locals often do not get it right

P1070342In my home suburb of Dickson in Canberra, the push is on to allow some commercial residential development on what has always been designated as a community space. The site is now known as the Dickson Parklands.

I have written about this in previous blogs – click here.

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Seven Myths About New Urbanism

Re-Posted from ThisBigCity blog

brooklyn-bridgeSeven Myths About New Urbanism: Joel Kotkin, a fellow at Chapman University and an untiring defender of the suburbs, begins a recent column in the Washington Post with a valid question: “What is a city for?” He then proceeds to get that question completely wrong. But really, we should be thanking him. In his article, he neatly sums up many of the key myths emerging from the anti-urbanism set, making the job of debunking these myths a lot easier. Click here.

section 72 Dickson – the future

An Opinion Piece

The Future of Dickson Section 72 as a Community and Cultural Site

The Dickson Community Cultural Parklands.

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I wrote a piece yesterday about the disappointment expressed by residents about the manner in which the ACT Government is dealing with the local communities over the future of the community site officially known as Section 72 Dickson. Click here.

Continue reading section 72 Dickson – the future

section 72 Dickson

An Opinion Piece

Dickson Section 72 – Community Consultations – 20th Oct 2014

P1080436On a cool Monday evening, more than one hundred local residents from surrounding suburbs gathered in the Dickson College hall in response to the invitation to attend a workshop staged by the ACT Government.

Continue reading section 72 Dickson

Architecture discovers the bleeding obvious

Comment: Architects realise something is wrong with cities

rmitJust read a short article about how an architect at the world architecture festival stated that something has gone wrong with the design of our cities!

Wow! Now there’s a revelation from the profession largely responsible for the problem.

Continue reading Architecture discovers the bleeding obvious

Big Coal

Comment: there’s hope yet on how to hinder big coal.

coaldrag2Many national governments, including Australia, persist in allowing Big Coal to influence its environmental and energy policies. However there is hope as a world-wide trend continues as corporations start to divest themselves of investments in the Big Coal companies.

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Climate Change

Comments: Climate Change in 2014

Cover-September-2014There’s talk that Vladimir Putin must be invited to the G20 Summit as it is not up to Australia to limit the attendees. The positive is that other world leaders will have the opportunity to tell Putin what they think of his aggressions.

Likewise, Tony Abbott, who is leading a dangerous government of climate change deniers, was not banned from attending the UN summits on terrorism and another on climate change.

Continue reading Climate Change

Architecture Eyesores

Commentary: Architecture Basket Cases

rmitI love the joy of good architecture, being both places and buildings. There is something really wonderful when you experience the enjoyment of good design. However there are other contributions that simply take your breath away for all the wrong reasons!

Here are a couple of gems.

Continue reading Architecture Eyesores

Brickworks, Austral Bricks, Developers & political shenanigans

Commentary: emails and corporate shenanigans and lies

Brickworks – Austral Bricks – Developers and political shenanigans

rabbitt01The Abbott funding scandal story gets more interesting day by day.

I am referring to the story generated by the release of the emails between Brickworks (owner of Austral Bricks among other subsidiaries) and the Chief of Staff for Tony Abbott. The point being made now is how this company assisted in the lies about and attacks on carbon pricing while they made profits from the government subsidies then available.   click here

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Paul Costigan, 10 September 2014

Melbourne Botanic Gardens Guilfoyle’s Volcano

Review: Landscape

Guilfoyle’s Volcano at Melbourne Botanic Gardens

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This is a job well done. I saw an article about this and was determined to have a look. Now if only those promoting it had been sensible and given an address.

Continue reading Melbourne Botanic Gardens Guilfoyle’s Volcano

The Norway Alternative

Comment: Australia threw away the mining wealth.

 

Tour Of Statoil ASA's Oseberg Gas Drilling Platform

 

In Australia the government has completely messed up any opportunity to gain long-term economic sustainability for the country. We have just witnessed the current government do a dirty deal with another party led by a mining millionaire to do away with an opportunity for a just tax on the miners.

Continue reading The Norway Alternative

Going Backwards Fast

Commentary: on how the country is being trashed

 

GREEN ARMY INITIATIVE LAUNCHThe Conversation has just completed an informative series on the range of devastating changes being made to this country.

The writers cover most topics including:  health, the environment, education, migration, science and the economy.  It is definitely worth the time to make your way through them.

Continue reading Going Backwards Fast

Urban Bikeway Design Guide

Notice: Urban Bikeway Design Guide, Second Edition

National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO)

 

cover1The Urban Bikeway Design Guide, Second Edition, is based on the experience of the best cycling cities in the world. Completely re-designed with an accessible, four-color layout, this second edition continues to build upon the fast-changing state of the practice at the local level. The designs in this book were developed by cities for cities, since unique urban streets require innovative solutions.

To create the Guide, the authors conducted an extensive worldwide literature search from design guidelines and real-life experience.

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New Garden Cities

Competition winner: for new Garden Cities

 

It was announced in the UK that the winner of a competition has proposed that to deal with population growth that new cities should be built nearby established ones. These would be garden cities connected back to the older city by public transport.

 

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Continue reading New Garden Cities

Guilfoyle’s Volcano

Review: Landscape

Guilfoyle’s Volcano at Melbourne Botanic Gardens

Andrew Laidlaw, landscape architect

 

P1070196

This is a job well done. I saw an article about this and was determined to have a look. Now if only they had been sensible and given an address.

Continue reading Guilfoyle’s Volcano

Greener London

How making London greener could make Londoners happier

an interactive map

From The Guardian: London – with all its tarmac, brick and glass – is actually 38.4% open space and ranks as the world’s third greenest major city. Now Daniel Raven-Ellison wants to go further … and make Greater London a national park. His campaign and online petition aims to have the city treated in the same way as parks like the Peak District and the Brecon Beacons, to conserve its natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage.

click here for the article.

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Paul Costigan, 20 August

 

 

LA for Bikes

Los Angeles a city for cyclists?

LA wasn’t always a driver’s town. In the 1920s, it had the longest urban rail network in the world, and innovative infrastructure was built for cyclists as well. Despite this, Angelenos fell in love with the car early on and moved for more highway projects, making it the road-based city it is today.

click here for the story.

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Paul Costigan, 19 August 2014