Category Archives: green infrastructure

Argyle Housing and the Dickson Land Swap

ACT Government entangles Common Ground in Land Swap

Stephen Bartos, chair of social housing provider Common Ground, said his organisation wasn’t involved in the planning processes around the planned Dickson site and certainly didn’t want to be, when he spoke to “CityNews” on June 3.

Continue reading Argyle Housing and the Dickson Land Swap

ACT politician almost gets it right

Here’s praise for an ACT politician. The accolade goes to the Greens’ Caroline Le Couteur for her work in chairing (from 2016) the Legislative Assembly committee on planning and urban renewal and the release of the April report – “The Inquiry into Engagement with the Development Application Process in the ACT”.

Continue reading ACT politician almost gets it right

ACT Government’s toxic planning

Canberra’s community representatives struggle to find positive things to say about the ACT’s planning directorate. Most have seen too much bad stuff going down.

Continue reading ACT Government’s toxic planning

Mistake being polite with ACT Government

Time to stop being polite to rude people

Artwork: Stephen Harrison

Some of us sit at desks writing loads of stuff to bring about change while the barbarous politicians and bureaucrats just keep on doing what they do best – wreck the joint!

Continue reading Mistake being polite with ACT Government

ACT Greens fail to be green

 

On the last day of April, the Inner South Canberra Community Council (ISCCC) issued a media release advocating the importance of streetscapes, open spaces and trees.

Continue reading ACT Greens fail to be green

NCA and inequity in decisions

How the horse paddock grab is about inequity

Residents are often taken aback by the culture of disrespect for locals that has become firmly embedded within the ACT’s political and bureaucratic ranks.

Continue reading NCA and inequity in decisions

NCA takes away community horse paddocks

Secretive land swap with ACT Government

Alternative facts are being used to deny the ramifications on a national asset and on the lives of Canberra’s active equestrian communities as the public wakes up to the ACT government’s secret land swap with the NCA.

Continue reading NCA takes away community horse paddocks

ACT Government avoid facts on West Basin

The City Renewal Authority uses spin rather than facts

In November, Juliet Ramsay of the Lake Burley Griffin Guardians presented a paper to the Australian ICOMOS (International Council on Monuments and Sites).

Continue reading ACT Government avoid facts on West Basin

ACT Government to trash West Basin

NCA trades North Curtin horse paddocks

It’s not often that the community sector gets stunned completely by an ACT government development announcement.

Continue reading ACT Government to trash West Basin

ACT Government allows urban blocks to be neglected

More rubbish, more neglect, more bureaucracy

In September 2019, when I wrote about the regulatory disaster that was taking place in Paperbark Street in Banks, many people responded with like stories from across Canberra.

Continue reading ACT Government allows urban blocks to be neglected

ACT Government attack on Dickson residents

Yvette Berry continues her Boris Johnson moments

As the COVID-19 crisis took hold and people bunkered down, residents hoped for less stupid things by the ACT Planning Directorate.

Continue reading ACT Government attack on Dickson residents

The degradation of Canberra by the ACT Government

Canberra’s lack of good design

After any neighbourhood auction, the conversations usually follow a similar line: will the property be occupied and the garden maintained or will it be up for demolition for yet another large, grey box with the established greenery taken away as rubble?

Continue reading The degradation of Canberra by the ACT Government

Sneaky planning moves by the ACT Government

the tricks of Yvette Berry MP and other ACT politicians

As the ACT’s state of COVID-19 emergency gets tougher, people look to those in authority that they should be able to rely on – those they want to trust.

Continue reading Sneaky planning moves by the ACT Government

fence-sitting Greens let Labor run amok

ACT community betrayed by ACT Greens

Before the 2016 ACT elections the Labor Party indicated that it was to make changes to how planning and development happened.

Continue reading fence-sitting Greens let Labor run amok

The ACT Government spins about trees again

More spin about trees but nothing changes

When the government slipped through the unique variations to the rules for south-east corner of section 72 Dickson, all the local government members, including Green/Labor member Shane Rattenbury, signed off on this most inappropriate action by the planning minister.

Continue reading The ACT Government spins about trees again

ACT Government hospital mismanagement

Woden Valley Community deal with serious issues

Woden Valley Community Council (WVCC) meetings have commenced the year 2020 with priority themes that are much the same as in 2019.

Continue reading ACT Government hospital mismanagement

ACT Government on climate emergency

When an emergency is not an emergency

In May 2019 the ACT Government declared a climate emergency. The expectation would have been for high-profile urgent actions.

Continue reading ACT Government on climate emergency

ACT Greens and Trees

ACT Greens throw stones at themselves!

A tree came down earlier this week in Dickson (above).

Looking at the trees nearby, it will not be long before more of these trees meet a similar fate.

Continue reading ACT Greens and Trees

ACT Minister links a tender to philanthropy

More questionable behaviour from an ACT Minister

Previously I reported that there remains a looooong list of dubious matters involved with the proposed building of a Common Ground apartment complex on Section 72 Dickson. These date back to the infamous Dickson land swap.

Continue reading ACT Minister links a tender to philanthropy

ACT Government’s inability to listen

Residents speak but the government interprets

In August 2019, Ben Ponton, the ACT’s chief planner, said: “Your feedback plays a key role through your unique ability to communicate useful observations into issues that may affect your neighbourhood…”

And the reality? 

Continue reading ACT Government’s inability to listen

ACT Minister continues vandalism behaviour

Berry Bulldozers Dickson Residents again

The year begins with yet another event around Dickson section 72 (Dickson parklands) involving ACT Housing Minister Yvette Berry doing her best to upset and alienate the voters within the inner north, just in time for the 2020 elections.

Continue reading ACT Minister continues vandalism behaviour

The ACT Labor/Greens Government fails Canberra

The Singapore government of the ’70s, led by Lee Kuan Yew, was hell-bent on building a modern and prosperous city/state. It took a close relative to point out that if he wanted tourists to visit, then he needed to stop bulldozing the old stuff.

Continue reading The ACT Labor/Greens Government fails Canberra

Parrots and ACT politicians

Using the media to mislead the residents

Taking the time to observe the many birds in our garden provides a complete distraction from the more serious matters of life.

Well, at least this is what it should be.

Continue reading Parrots and ACT politicians

Yarralumla does Christmas

Big Red Bows and a Jolly Suburb

Is there a more significant way of celebrating Christmas than with a tree?

Yes, with lots of trees! How about a suburb of trees? This is what the Yarralumla Residents Association is doing for Christmas this year.

Continue reading Yarralumla does Christmas

Canberra and trees

Thinking about trees at Christmas time

It’s Christmas! A time to be jolly.

A Christmas tree is such a positive symbol. No matter how crazy or plain, Christmas trees, like the real ones, bring joy. And we could do with a lot more fun in life.

Continue reading Canberra and trees

Molonglo – An ACT Government planning mess

When the ACT Legislative Assembly voted in October to establish a committee to examine the planning problems that plagued the development of the Molonglo suburbs of Wright and Coombs, it would follow that this signalled that someone may be paying attention to what residents have been saying for the last few years.

At least that is what we should be thinking.

Continue reading Molonglo – An ACT Government planning mess

Canberra Brickworks and Doma

The suburb where common sense took 32 years!

The Yarralumla Residents Association (YRA) is 32 years old.

The association was formed because of the first proposals to redevelop the Brickworks site on the western edge of the suburb.

Continue reading Canberra Brickworks and Doma

ACT Greens and spin

Into the inner-north letterboxes has appeared a pamphlet from one of our local members, the ACT Greens’ Shane Rattenbury. There will be more from others given the October 2020 ACT elections.

The problem with the Greens’ pamphlet was the spin. The heading read “Putting our climate first”.

Continue reading ACT Greens and spin

ACT Government and changing flood map information

How did the water recede from the ACT Flood Map?

Here’s an issue now being looked at in the inner north – and no-one has yet to work out what happened.

Continue reading ACT Government and changing flood map information

ACT Government and trees

Let’s talk trees

It was announced on Wednesday (October 23) that the government is reviewing the ACT’s Tree Protection Act. Good news! Maybe.

The devil is in the detail and we are talking about a government that we have learnt not to trust.

Continue reading ACT Government and trees

ACT Greens and trees

Greens do not react to more trees being removed!

The ACT government is hoping to plonk Common Ground onto Section 72 in Dickson and is asking for feedback on the concept design for the building and site design.

Continue reading ACT Greens and trees

more on Canberra and trees

Bureaucracies can be so out of touch with reality. Not for the first time there are serious questions around decisions being made about the fate of trees in the suburbs of Canberra.

The catalyst for this piece starts with a sad story in Holder where a resident is being driven crazy by decisions about the obvious need to remove an inappropriate tree next to his house.

Continue reading more on Canberra and trees

Yvette Berry insults Canberra’s inner north residents

After almost a decade of residents saying very clearly what their preferred options were for a precious community site within Dickson in the inner north of Canberra (Dickson Parklands) , residents have been told that Yvette Berry, Minister for social housing (housing clearances mostly) is to announce that her wonderful deaf government is to build on this community site.  Click here for the opinion piece published in City News.

for another instance of Yvette Berry’s talent – click here – being dismissive about the urgent and long over due needs for sports, community and cultural facilities in Woden.

Griffin impugned for the West Basin’s awful future

Good journalism is welcomed and embraced. Journalism that is written to promote bad decisions by government must  be called out. Here’s an example of the latter.  The author, Tom Greenwell, starts well by making some points about Walter Burley Griffin’s planning for Canberra. But then he commits the crime of using Griffin’s name and visions to justify some outrageous developments being planned by the ACT Government (Urban Renewal Authority again!) that will destroy a wonderful part of the foreshore of Lake Burley Griffin. Click here for the article in City News.

and for more about West Basin alternative facts – click here;  includes letters from Richard Johnstone of kingston – a supporter of West Basin developments.

And for more on the arguments against what Tom Greenwell has written – click here for a very well informed  piece by Penny Moyes, one of the Lake Burley Griffin Guardians.

It’s not easy being green around Kippax centre

When developers eye off ACT Government green spaces – the trend in Canberra is that those developers get to buy that land and the people lose yet another piece of precious community open space. This is happening with land behind the Kippax shops in west Belconnen in Canberra.The local Labor member is Yvette Berry and she loves to show up with a shovel to be photographed when community land and green spaces are being removed from the public ownership. Click here for the opinion piece in City News.

ACT Government about to bulldoze a community site

Crunch time looms for Dickson parklands

There’s a long saga at play in Dickson in Canberra. Here’s the latest on this – click here.

and there’s more..

Continue reading ACT Government about to bulldoze a community site

Downer residents rally against development push

You can tell when residents are hitting the government where it hurts – when the press coverage from the government turns to spin – and more spin.  There is no doubt that this is a response to the successes the pesky residents of Downer have had in getting attention through their brilliant “Don’t Dump on Downer” grassroots campaign. Click here.

Mischievous elves dump on Downer

THE ACT’s muddle-headed bureaucrats keep coming up with planning brochures laden down with alternate facts and marketing spin. Ministers then blindly sign letters to residents based on the bureaucrats’ gobbledygook and then wonder why people get upset. I wrote about what is happening in Downer in City News.

Strange tale of the Manuka tree

THE people of Canberra love our trees and when one is threatened unnecessarily, people do whatever they can to save it. Here’s a tale about a significant tree, the ACT’s chief planner, the developer and  – the tree’s future. Here’s my piece in City News on this.

Traffic chaos delivered by Canberra planners

 

Unfortunately what has been happening for years in Canberra, being bad planning and development, looks to continue given the on-going bad decisions by the ACT’s planning minister and his bureaucrats in the planning directorate. Click here.

Trees and smart planning

Smart city planning can preserve old trees and the wildlife that needs them
File 20180629 117377 112lzty.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1Mature trees have horizontal branches that are attractive to wildlife and birds.from shutterstock.com

Philip Gibbons, Australian National University

Continue reading Trees and smart planning

Signs of intrigue within the inner north

First an update on the 2016-2017 ACAT appeal about the proposal to remove the carpark in front of Woolworths and to build an apartment and supermarket complex.

Continue reading Signs of intrigue within the inner north

Bad design spreads like a disease

My post last week on the lack of good design and planning that is evident in the more recent parts of Gungahlin definitely caught a lot of people’s attention.

Continue reading Bad design spreads like a disease

Put landscape and biodiversity first

This post starts with being in front of our house at 6.15 am listening to the cacophony of sounds coming from what must have been a rowdy Christmas Day gathering of Sulphur Crested Cockatoos at end of the street (near the Dickson Drain).

Continue reading Put landscape and biodiversity first

Architecture

Architecture and all that spin

If there is one occupation that I could not imagine doing, it is being an ACT Government planner who spends most of the day looking through development applications (DA) for commercial developments.

Continue reading Architecture

Blame the Griffins – Really?

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When about 250 citizens venture out on a cold night to hear about plans for the foreshores of West Basin one would expect that they would be taken seriously.

Continue reading Blame the Griffins – Really?

Talking Plants

7018536-3x2-300x200Interested in all things to do with the garden – and listening to people’s discussions around gardens? Talking Plants is a  recommended program from Radio National on the ABC. Here’s a link to the program’s web page – click here.

Someone had the audacity to call green-walls – nothing but horticultural bling! Yes – totally agree.

Continue reading Talking Plants

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

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

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

 

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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 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

 

 

Urbanity: Canberra Planning & Development

Commentary: The problems of Canberra’s Planning & Development

watson-House-P1030003Canberra, as with most major centres in Australia, is caught up in complex and sometimes nasty urban planning debates.

On the one side there is the property council groupings that include the gung-ho developers*, and their colleagues amongst the architects, planners and the planning authorities.

Continue reading Urbanity: Canberra Planning & Development

Mia Lehrer & the L.A. River

The story behind a landscape architect and the Los Angeles River

 

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The landscape architect, Mia Lehrer, has spent nearly two decades helping transform a mammoth drainage canal into a true urban amenity.

click here for the story

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Pul Costigan

Hospital Architecture Brisbane

Review:  Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital

photographed late June/early July 2014 – due to open later in 2014

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On two recent visits to Brisbane I noticed this new hospital building under construction in South Brisbane.  I first noticed it as while crossing the river.  I was impressed that at last there was something in the area that was not simply bland-box architecture. (click on photographs to enlarge)

Continue reading Hospital Architecture Brisbane

Trees

Comment on the Art of Trees

 

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I have said it before and am happy to say so again, I live in a suburb in Canberra that has a fabulous amount of trees. The amount of trees in the public arena, streets and parks etc, combined with those throughout the residential properties delivers an ambience that is hard to explain to anyone who has not experienced it. With our local trees comes other biodiversity and heaps of bird life. Researchers have just worked this out. Click here for a story on this.

Continue reading Trees

Trees and sustainable settlements

Comment on the Art of Trees

 

botgrdn-P1020230

I have said it before and am happy to say so again, I live in a suburb in Canberra that has a fabulous amount of trees. The amount of trees in the public arena, streets and parks etc, combined with those throughout the residential properties delivers an ambience that is hard to explain to anyone who has not experienced it.

Continue reading Trees and sustainable settlements

Urban Trees

Comment and Link to UK article on Urban Trees

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I have the benefit of living in a suburb with plenty of tree cover. In fact the view outside onto the streets is almost as if the street is a parkland. The concept that any suburb should have an abundance of trees and shrubs and associated bio-diversity is simply so logical that one wonders why would anyone think otherwise.

Continue reading Urban Trees

Roma Street Parkland, Brisbane, Part Two

Review: Roma Street Parkland, Brisbane
Part Two: The Urban Development Atrocities

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The Queensland state government spent millions on the Roma Street Parklands. This parkland was set to add huge value to any apartments built around its edges. One would have thought that the City would have insisted on at least some higher levels of design for such buildings. Continue reading Roma Street Parkland, Brisbane, Part Two

Roma Street Parkland, Brisbane, Part One

Review: Roma Street Parkland, Brisbane
Part One: It is about creative Garden Design

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I first visited these gardens and parklands back in 2004 and was very impressed then. This parkland project was a major commitment by the then state government to re-develop a former industrial site and to join it to the existing Albert Park to form one larger parkland, the Roma Street Parklands. I highly recommend anyone and everyone visiting Brisbane to allocate at least an hour to wander about these parklands ten minutes or more away from the Brisbane CBD. (click on any image to enlarge it)

Continue reading Roma Street Parkland, Brisbane, Part One

Urban Trees

Comment and UK Research

 

 

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I have the benefit of living in a suburb with plenty of tree cover. In fact the view outside onto the streets is almost as if the street is a parkland. The concept that any suburb should have an abundance of trees and shrubs and associated bio-diversity is simply so logical that one wonders why would anyone think otherwise.

Continue reading Urban Trees

Vertical Garden

Review: Landscape Design  and Vertical Garden

A-Mazing Vertical Garden, Da Nang City, Vietnam

 

IMG_40651I came across this garden when looking through the short listed projects for the World Architecture Awards to be announced in Singapore in early October 2014. At first I was very impressed with the technical qualities and that it was a form of the old fashioned maze, but done with plants in a more sustainable manner.

I later searched for more on this and realised that it was very much a decorative maze in a resort in Vietnam. The resort being a re-use of a former French colonial resort. Below I have given a report on this garden from World Landscape Architecture.

Continue reading Vertical Garden

Value the Landscape

How can we work with the landscape to make liveable places?

A video, about six and half minutes, introducing the concept of valuing landscape and the link to liveable settlements.

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see also – Sustainable Sites Initiative

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Paul Costigan, 24th June 2014

 

Value Landscape

How can we work with the landscape to make liveable places?

How the liveability of our cities means designers and planners working with the landscape rather than against it.

A video, about six and half minutes, introducing the concept of valuing landscape and the link to liveable settlements.

Continue reading Value Landscape