There’s a 1989 song by Pere Ubu, Flat, that has the following lyrics, “In the early part of the 20th Century, Deep inside the American wilderness, In the state of Kansas – 82,000 square miles of flat -There were two automobile cars. On July 5th 1904 they ran into each other”.
Continue reading Share your space
Sometimes the words of local politicians are a thing of wonder. Here’s a very curious story.
Continue reading Was that a dog-whistle, Chief Minister?
What does it take for the ACT Government to have vision for developments in and around my own suburb of Dickson? I’ll get back to the question.
Continue reading Dickson monstrosity approved
Any tree is worth saving. Any group of trees is always worth fighting for. But I also acknowledge that when absolutely necessary any tree can be replaced.
Continue reading Dickson trees
While we often celebrate wood and things made out of such ‘natural’ products – it is good to reminded just where that all that wood came from and wonder whether we will see such beauty again.
Two stories on the state of architecture..
Continue reading Architecture
Here’s another sad tale about the ACT Government’s patronising attitude towards residents.
Continue reading Your place in community consultations
City planners allow for all manner of formal spaces when plotting out the municipal aspects of any new township.
Continue reading Civic Square architecture
Book Review: Places Women Make, Jane Jose, 2016
This book is a celebration of the contribution by women to our cultural, social and urban lives. The book has the secondary title ‘Unearthing the contribution of women to our cities.’
Continue reading Places Women Make
Canberra’s planners in the 1950s and beyond delivered an infrastructure made for cars. There were even major freeways planned (a story for another day).
Continue reading They’re digging up the parking lots
Almost every day I walk by a set of new apartments here in Dickson. These are now part of the history of the push by residents not to have rubbish developments plonked in the area.
Continue reading Proud to be a NIMBY
One of the pleasures of this city is to sit down by Lake Burley Griffin in the evening to watch the light fade.
Continue reading Lake Burley Griffin – What would Menzies do?
Streetfight: Handbook for an Urban Revolution
Author: Sadik-Khan, Janette; Solomonow, Seth
New Book – here’s text from the publishers: As New York City’s transportation commissioner, Janette Sadik-Khan managed the seemingly impossible and transformed the streets of one of the world’s greatest, toughest cities into dynamic spaces safe for pedestrians and bikers.
Continue reading how cycling changed New York
Sometimes you do have to wonder about things that come your way. Today I have to report on a media release that was sent around today on a new set of federal awards.
Continue reading Urban Redevelopment Awards for Canberra
Response – Revised Development Application 201425744
Continue reading Dickson Parklands
It will come as no surprise to anyone that knows me that I will be lodging comments on the revised Dickson Development Application: 201426717.
Continue reading Dickson supermarket DA
The first impression of Canberra from the north is of trees.
Continue reading Canberra needs more trees, not less
It has been absolutely no surprise that the ACCC has given the go-ahead for Coles to buy out five Supabarn stores, with three of them being here in Canberra.
Continue reading Colesworth dominance of Canberra
I don’t think the residents will be holding celebrations about what is being proposed for the new supermarket complex here in downtown Dickson.
Continue reading Mediocre design comes to Dickson
Along with some very pointed questions that were posed at the recent talk at the Albert Hall, there were a couple about the lack of government leadership in emphasizing the value of good design and the importance of architecture.
Continue reading The failure in Canberra’s domestic architecture
Take a very hot day, take a small crowd of press and politicians and a few designers – and where would you head on a day of 36 degrees in Canberra.
Continue reading Mount Ainslie lookout designers announced
There’s one thing you can say about the present Chief Minister and his government, is that when it comes to dealing with residents over matters to do with urban development, they really know how to get people off-side right from the start with any and every proposal.
Continue reading Manuka oval development proposal
Let’s start with the reality of this claim. Lake George is not in the ACT.
Continue reading Canberra Tales: Lake George
Anyone who has been through the Dickson shops lately will have noticed an unsettling trend. The number of vacancies is increasing.
Continue reading Dickson planning ad hockery
The ACT Government has commenced a period of consultations for the development of a five-year heritage strategy (see links below this post).
Continue reading The fog around Heritage Strategy
Here’s a few links on current research and commentary on green spaces, our cities and health.
Continue reading Greening the city & health
On a recent visit to Wollongong I observed the notices for and then read about the consultations for a major project: Wollongong – A City for People. Being a frequent visitor to this wonderful coastal city, I have some understanding of the urban issues facing that city’s local council.
Continue reading ACT Planning Minister seeks an idea
I like to drive. I enjoy the drive to and from Sydney. It is not everyone’s favourite drive but I find there is always something happening and there are always changes due to the weather and/or the season.
Continue reading Taking time in the landscape
There’s a talk at the Albert Hall here in Canberra on Tuesday 16th February. The title for this session definitely sounds as though a focus group of bureaucrats have signed off on it.
Continue reading Urban Renewal in Canberra
There is some brilliant work being delivered within the public realm by local governments across Australia.
Continue reading Wollongong – urban opportunities?
Interested 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
Billboards have long been part of our culture and have been popping up here there and anywhere all over the place throughout the world. We seem to love to clutter up our landscape with anything that makes money.
Continue reading Billboards – what billboards?
The ACT Government has released an updated overview of its planning for the redevelopment of Northbourne Ave.
Continue reading Northbourne Ave
A couple of follow ups to the previous post on Dogs, ducks and dubious decisions
Continue reading More dogs, ducks and dubious decisons
The Dickson Wetlands have been a success both as a water-engineering project (providing water for the nearby sports grounds) and as attractive open space parkland.
Continue reading Dogs, ducks and dubious decisions
There are many tales to be told about the design and the delivery of Australia’s Parliament House. There is one that involves a very clever person who realised he had the opportunity to use an everyday object as part of his own business branding.
Continue reading Canberra Tales: Parliamentary Gardens
For too many cities are being altered in not such a good way by over the top architecturally design structures by ‘star architects’.
Continue reading Architecture
I am not sure how many times I have driven people up Mt Ainslie to take in the magnificent panoramic views.
Continue reading Mt Ainslie
When Jon Stanhope commented on his disappointment – or was it frustration – with the lack of the ACT Government’s achievement in delivering on social housing, it struck a note with anyone who likewise considers that the LDA/directorate is focused on land sales at the expense of urban development and issues such as social housing.
Continue reading Urban development leadership
It has now become a habit for thousands of Canberrans to jump into their cars on Saturday morning and to drive to North Canberra and to make their way to a very special local retail event.
Continue reading Capital Region Farmers Market
It seems that the UTS Gehry building has won another award, this time as the Eyesore of the Month from James Kunstler.
Continue reading Architecture: UTS Gehry eyesore
The decision by the ACT Heritage Council to heritage list 17 of the Northbourne housing precinct does confuse the developments being proposed for the gateway to Canberra.
Continue reading Architecture
The ACT has a Planning Minister and he has put out a document titled — Statement of Planning Intent.
Continue reading ACT Planning Minister has intent
We start with words from the City of Sydney – that contains all those words that make sensible people run for cover:
Continue reading Green Square Zetland Sydney
When the ACT Government announced in October that they were putting out to tender the development of an arts precinct within the Kingston Foreshore, it did send a quiet ripple through those involved in the arts.
Continue reading Kingston Arts Precinct – to be or not to be?
George Monbiot on moral blankness
Even though I have been involved in political advocacy for far too many years, I am still constantly amazed by the total lack of empathy shown by many decision makers – being both bureaucrats and politicians. These people do not take the time to look at the evidence of what happens as a result of their decisions.
Continue reading Political empathy
Canberra residents have noticed that whenever the Chief Minister and his LDA/Directorate bureaucrats want to send in the bulldozers into an established suburb, that they use the same propaganda.
Continue reading Reid three-storey proposal ticks the boxes
Imitate to Innovate: Vitoria-Gasteiz Shows How Cities can Address 21st Century Challenges. Click on image for the story.
A nice blog worth visiting, philscopenhagen – click on the image above.
Just when most locals probably thought that there have been more than enough discussions and surveys about the Canberra’s new light rail (or trams), the ACT Government has launched another consultation on the topic.
Continue reading Trams, trams and more trams
Having any urban park is to be celebrated and all efforts should be made to ensure their continued existence. Parks are constantly under threat from various property industry lobbyists who have the ear of government.
Continue reading York Park and wet feet
The ACT Government and its business advisors have adopted a destructive language to justify their negative approach to parklands and open spaces in Canberra.
Continue reading Canberra Parklands declared terra nullius
As mentioned in an earlier post, the ACT Government is under pressure from the National Capital Authority to move Floriade out of Commonwealth Park west.
Continue reading What next for Floriade
There’s was a recent announcement that the government is calling for developers to put forward proposals to develop part of the Kingston Foreshore site as an arts precinct.
One wonders what their perception and concept of what is art precinct. Then there will be the issues that the government is looking for a commercial entity to propose an arts precinct.
Continue reading Kingston Arts Precinct
The Bowen Place underpass has been a long time in coming — and is very welcomed. It is a job well done.
Continue reading The Bowen Place underpass
Many years ago the suburb of Downer had a thriving shopping centre and a bustling school next door.
Continue reading One giant step for Downer
click on the image for the story from the Guardian
More than thirty years ago there was a very vocal community campaign to halt the take over of Glebe Park.
Continue reading Glebe Park threatened by The ACT Chief Minister
The whole of the Barangaroo story is messy. Sydney based architectural writers are not very happy. Yes their chosen few did not get the contract. Yes even the next team did not survive.
Continue reading Barangaroo & architectural sour grapes
Last week I made the bold statement that “There is little evidence that this ACT Government understands the importance of and the linkages between integrated design, aesthetics, landscape, infrastructure, cities, the environment and climate change.”
Continue reading Creating boring
Barangaroo Reserve, opened to the public in August 2015. It was immediately greeted with much enthusiasm and was declared a success.
Continue reading Barangaroo
Tuggeranong town centre has received some mixed commentary in recent weeks. Ever since it was reported that Tuggeranong’s population is declining, locals have mounted their soap boxes. They’ve pointed out how it is much loved, that they are proud to live there, and made the call for local action.
Continue reading Tuggeranong town centre
Some stories make you wonder. Here’s one of them.
Passengers on Moscow’s underground system can now access a toilet for the first time – but only at one station. click here.
The High Court of Australia, which opened in 1980, is the tallest building on the southern central foreshore of Lake Burley Griffin. Its architectural style, being brutalist concrete and glass, is not exactly friendly.
Continue reading How high for the High Court?
It was not long ago that occupants of a new Civic office building reported faults appearing in the structure. Office workers noticed that floors were sagging.
Continue reading Canberra tales: As your building sinks, get out!
There’s a good read online about the ‘ShotGun’ houses of New Orleans.
Continue reading Architecture
The ACT Government’s Land Development Agency (LDA) circulated a media release late last week that I think was meant to be good news and was supposed to inform us that something is about to happen along Northbourne Ave.
Continue reading Another Northbourne obscure message
Canberra is a city where residents are continually at odds with the ACT’s planning and development agencies.
Continue reading Canberra Tales: Planners bend their own rules
I support the introduction of light rail networks across Canberra. We should not be having this debate in 2015. The first tracks should have been laid down in the late 1950s or at least by the mid 1960s.
Continue reading Government propaganda may kill light rail
It was not that long ago that winter in Canberra meant that the air was filled with smoke.
Continue reading Canberra Tales: Keeping the home fires burning
There’s no doubt that the ACT Government has put an emphasis on communications and marketing when it comes to particular urban developments. This is very evident in the number of media statements in circulation.
Continue reading Wanted: Quality replacements for Currong Apartments
There are serious systemic problems within the ACT’s planning and development agencies.
Continue reading Canberra’s systemic planning problems
As reported earlier, the Dickson Parklands (Section 72 Dickson) has been identified as critical to ensuring that Canberra’s growing inner north population can access arts, recreation, cultural and other community facilities.
Continue reading Dickson Parklands
The changing face of a much-loved street
Walking down Smith Street in Collingwood (Melbourne) there’s a massive new development underway that is about to bring change to the culture of the street. Continue reading Smith Street Collingwood
How many time have heard people (motorists) complain about any change to the traffic infrastructure to encourage more people to get on your bike.
Continue reading on your bike
Highly Recommended Reading.
The July 2015 issue of New Philosopher has the theme of Property. This magazine has loads of engaging short essays and heaps of great graphics — and photographs.
This issue on Property is very timely as the debate around housing, affordability and ownership continue to dominate how we are making decisions about our cities and towns.
Continue reading New Philosopher
It 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.
Continue reading bureaucrats lack empathy
Fact checking statements about Dickson Parklands.
There have been inaccurate media statements and comments online by the bureaucracy and others about the actions of residents to save the Dickson Parklands.
Continue reading Dickson Parklands
Recently the Dickson Residents Group were sent copies of reports that were published following a series of consultations about the redevelopment of a range of sites in South Canberra.
Continue reading Dickson Parklands and Bureaucratic Failures
I recently took the opportunity to observe the new shareway along Bunda Street.
Continue reading Bunda Street Shareway
After seven months of silence since the last workshop to discuss the future options for the Dickson Parklands (Section 72 Dickson), the Dickson Residents Group requested a meeting to clarify a range of issues.
Continue reading Barr kicks Dickson residents (again)
I enjoy the drive between Sydney from Canberra. I do it reasonably often. The mood of the country changes according to the weather, the drought, the latest rains and the time of the day.
Continue reading Gateways into Canberra
Dickson Residents Group Media Release
REZONING DICKSON’S COMMUNITY PRECINCT A BACKWARD STEP FOR NORTH CANBERRA
Continue reading Dickson Parklands – Dickson Residents Group
The 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.
A study of the ACT’s master planning processes reveals thorough research and consultations to produce a range of comprehensive documents on options for many of Canberra’s established shopping centres.
Continue reading Master Plan Honesty
Good to see the work by locals, Harris Hobbs Landscapes, being recognised.
click on the image.
A good day for the profile of the use of bricks in architecture with recognition by the UN of important 20th Century German brick buildings – The Speicherstadt . click here. and for a feast of bricks – click here.
Over the years I have wondered about the placement of public art and memorials in and around the parliamentary zone. Here are three stories.
Continue reading Mysterious placement of public art and memorials
A few years ago the ACT Government had a bright idea to confront the problem of the power of the supermarket giants. It introduced a policy to encourage more competition to the usual two or three. It didn’t deliver.
Continue reading Supermarket Dilemmas
The demise of Malls
With Canberra struggling with its malls and the government agencies still following old models in what they encourage in the way of shopping centre developments – I am keeping track of stories about the demise of the great shopping malls – here’s a recent one – click here.
Central Canberra needs a dedicated open space for large special events at any time of the year.
Continue reading Central Canberra events park
In researching the establishment of these Chinese Gardens I came across some of the consultation documents when the public was asked to comment on the gardens being built within Lennox Gardens.
Continue reading Canberra Beijing Garden – Lennox Gardens
There is one thing that planning officers excel at: creating jobs for themselves. They do this by constantly reinventing planning and development processes that are so complicated that it takes a planning officer to be able to make sense of them.
Continue reading Canberra Planning
The state of Canberra’s shopping centres is a hot topic of conversation at present.
Continue reading Gungahlin Shopping Centre
Last July the ACT Government announced plans to develop a shipping container village by the lake on the west side of Commonwealth Avenue.
Continue reading Canberra’s Westside wonder