Category Archives: planning

time to do something about West Basin

a call to all ACT politicians to do something

There’s misleading information being used to justify apartment developments on West Basin. It is overdue for all our local politicians to get involved. more on this – click here.

 

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

A Christian School and trees being removed

No punishment for felling trees on public land

a story of a Christian School corporation, their use of public lands and significant trees being removed. Here’s a link to my opinion piece in City News.

 

 

The ACT Builders and ACT planning directorate

The little guys beaten by a care less bureaucracy

Talk to a builder, a building designer/architect or tradesperson working in Canberra’s construction and soon the conversation turns to the frustrations of having to work through development applications (DAs) with what is seen as the badly managed ACT Government’s planning directorate.   click here for more

 

ACT Government bullies residents, again

Disneyland, like it or lump it in Coombs

Imagine this. You have bought a home and paid extra for views of the hills and to be opposite a quiet park alongside a pond with bird life and other animals. Trouble is the ACT Government then wrecks the place.. click here

 

ACT chief planner fails his own test

Chief planner’s quotes come home to haunt him

Two years ago the new ACT chief planner, Ben Ponton, went on the record in the daily paper with a statement about how wonderful he would be. I have used those statements  to assess whether he has met his own key performance indicators (KPIs). He didn’t!

Here’s the piece in City News – click here.

Destroying Australia’s National Capital

NCA quietly approves tower shock on Northbourne

There are serious problems with the National Capital Authority (NCA) that could be addressed by the soon-to-be-elected ACT Federal politicians. I have outlined the background to the issues in a piece in City News – click here

Wading through the fog of ‘busy words’

For residential representatives in Canberra, the last few months have been very onerous due to the simultaneous release of a load of government consultation documents as well as the usual tricky development applications (DA) that need to be consumed and feedback provided. Click here for my piece on this.

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.

West Basin blatantly a property deal

With the Christmas release of the draft City and Gateway Urban Design Framework, the ACT Government’s City Renewal Authority undertook media advocacy during February for an apartment suburb on West Basin. The ACT Government continues with its proposal for West Basin against the opposition of the Canberra community – click here.

Give us this day our daily spin…

It is annoying to constantly experience the culture within this ACT government that delivers a daily onslaught of spin. Who writes this stuff? Don’t they realise how hollow they sound? What do they think this nonsense achieves? click here for my piece on this

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.

Planning shock: regulators say no to developers!

In Canberra how developers bend and get around planning rules is a common debate. The ACT Government has several ministers who mess around in planning and development – and all not good at it. See my City News article – click here.

How does the ACT planning minister keep his job?

Here in Dickson we have seen the disgraceful, long-running mess created by planning ministers and bureaucrats about the establishment of a second supermarket in Dickson. This mess is typical of how business is carried out under the current planning minister.

I wrote about this in City News – click here.

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.

National Capital Authority and the developer

Late in 2018 residents rallied about a questionable development proposal for 71 Constitution Avenue in Campbell. This development comes under the National Capital Authority and residents were dealing with the fact that the development broke the NCA’s own rules yet somehow it was being progressed. Here’s my piece in City News.

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.

Canberra planners and respect

People are sick of the dumb statements that infill is necessary and therefore we must give up our cherished suburbs for high-rise. This is stupid.

The government’s real message on infill is not for residents but for developers seeking a green light to carry on as usual. Here’s my piece on this topic  – click here.

ACT Government in conflict of interest

There’s a massive urban development on the western edge of Canberra (beyond Belconnen) called Ginninderry. There are a lot of good things being done by the developer at Ginninderry. But it is hard not to notice issues around the ACT government’s involvement as a partner. It is a very dubious arrangement.

I wrote about this in City News – click here.

ACT Government ignores residents

The ACT Government has a bad reputation in its dealings with residents and their concerns for the future of Canberra.

I have written about this topic in City News – here’s my piece – click here.

Gungahlin – urgent climate adaptation required

 

A couple of weeks ago I wrote on the threats to biodiversity caused through inappropriate developments across Canberra.

Continue reading Gungahlin – urgent climate adaptation required

Respect and Responsibility in planning and development

Someone needs to ask the ACT Planning Minister why the planning directorate continues to encourage local residents to form residents’ associations to oppose inappropriate developments.

Continue reading Respect and Responsibility in planning and development

Dear Minister for Town Cramming

Why are we so unfortunate here in Canberra to have a string of planning and urban development ministers who feel that it is their duty to say something regularly to upset those who enjoy a fantastic ambience within inner Canberra?

Continue reading Dear Minister for Town Cramming

Marea Fatseas and Community Councils

The 2016 ACT election was just over 12 months ago (how time flies) and the hot election topics back then included planning, development, community engagement and a host of issues around the ACT Government’s dealings with residents.

Continue reading Marea Fatseas and Community Councils

Same old spin in new clothes

There is no doubt that the spin doctors within the ACT Government worked hard to get journalists to take a positive spin on the establishment of the City Renewal Authority and the appointment of their CEO, Malcolm Snow

Continue reading Same old spin in new clothes

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

Nicole Lawder, a Liberal who has your back

We expect a lot of our politicians. People rightly expect their elected representatives to do just that – be representatives of the people who elected them. That’s not always a success story.

Continue reading Nicole Lawder, a Liberal who has your back

Weston Creek Community Council

Weston Creek Community Council – Media Release

A group of Community Leaders met late last night to discuss the outcome from last week’s Weston Creek Community Council Meeting, which had to be postponed due to an overwhelming attendance.

Continue reading Weston Creek Community Council

Alternative Facts and the ACT Planning Chief

The ACT will be looking for a real Chief Planner

It was reported today in the Crimes (what we call the Canberra Times) that the ACT Head of the Planning Directorate will not be renewing her contract due to end this April.

Continue reading Alternative Facts and the ACT Planning Chief

Lawyers, files and money–and those responsible for this mess

lda-web-costigan

It took about three hours of argument on Friday 28th October for a decision by the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal (ACAT) on whether certain government planning documents should be released to those making objections to the Government’s agreement to the revised Development Application (DA) for the Dickson supermarket.

Continue reading Lawyers, files and money–and those responsible for this mess

Blame the Griffins – Really?

Meeting-P1190716

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?

Dickson DA goes to ACAT appeal

dickson-shops2

 Following the disappointing actions by the ACT Government to approve what remains a very questionable development application for a major mixed use development on the flagship shopping centre site in Dickson, appeals are being jointly lodged by the landlord of the Woolworths supermarket plus key local community associations.

Continue reading Dickson DA goes to ACAT appeal

how cycling changed New York

51szRwU7suL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_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

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.

Supermarkets

The duopoly of supermarkets in Australia

 

8061542291243433879There is a very hard-hitting article in the August 2014 issue of The Monthly on how the two large supermarkets have been allowed to rip anyone and everyone off. Even more depressing is that it points to how we, as consumers,  are continuing to allow this to happen.

The major point raised by the article is how this dominance of the two of these supermarkets has reduced the food security in this country.

Continue reading Supermarkets

Featured Landscape Architect

Recommendation

Looking for a Landscape Architect in Canberra?

We highly recommend a call to Harris Hobbs Landscapes.

Click on the logo below for more. (or here)

HHL GREEN

 

 

and I am sure that they could negotiate on a job outside Canberra.

 

 

Main street & human-scale

City main street networks show a drastic shift away from historic patterns of human-scale design

Have you ever wondered why some places seem built for automobiles as opposed to humans?

In a recent study, J. Alexander Maxwell and fellow researchers from the University of Strathclyde’s Urban Design Studies Unit find evidence that before the rise of the automobile, cities developed on a walkable “human” scale, with main streets that rarely exceeded 400 meters (a little more than 437 yards).

Along with Charles R. Wolfe, they argue that this uniformity reveals an underlying pattern to pedestrian city settings, which should be considered in contemporary urban design and policies.

click here for the full article

LA in 2033

From The Huffington Post

The Huffington Post presents a wonderfully optimistic report about a city that is often regarded as being a terrible example of urban development. I disagree. It has many things wrong with it but if you spend time there you can see that there are some really great things happening. All cities have their problems and many do not much to boast about.

Continue reading LA in 2033

Equity & Parks

Urbanity: Parks for everyone

There’s many a piece of research and publication about the links between access to parks and people’s health and wellbeing. Any urban area that includes ample public green spaces will always be sought after and the benefits are evident in the community attitudes towards their residential areas. Parks enhance the sense of community.

glebe-P1000979

Most Australian urban areas usually have had parks provided as part of the urban infrastructure. However in too many cases these parks and open spaces end up not being maintained well and sadly many also become places of neglect.

Continue reading Equity & Parks

UK Farrell Review

Report: The Built Environment

Farrell2 In January 2013 Ed Vaizey, the UK Minister for Culture, Communications and the Creative Industries, commissioned Sir Terry Farrell to undertake a national review of architecture and the built environment. The report is now available online.

Terry Farrell undertook this Review independently with his team at Farrells and advised by a panel of 11 industry leaders with a breadth of experience that covers education, outreach, urbanism, architecture, property and philosophy.

 

Continue reading UK Farrell Review

Happy City

Reviews: Book

Happy City, Charles Montgomery, 2013

From the blurb online:

“A brilliant, entertaining and vital book. Montgomery deftly leads us from our misplaced focus on money, cars and stuff to consider what makes us truly happy. Then everything changes – the way we live, work and play in humanity’s major habitat, the city.” – David Suzuki

After decades of unchecked sprawl, more people than ever are moving back to the city. Dense urban living has been prescribed as a panacea for the environmental and resource crises of our time. But is it better or worse for our happiness? Are subways, sidewalks and tower dwelling an improvement on the car-dependence of sprawl?

for more on the book – click here – or for a full review – see the article in Metropolis Online – click here

Suburbia

Book Review: The Charms of Suburbia

This is a link to a review on the online Magazine: Metropolis.

Paradise-PlannedI was attracted to this as I believe in suburbia but get very annoyed (or is that angry) about the way current planning and development agencies have gone about ruining concept of suburbia through their lack of care for developing sustainable settlements.

This new book is a comprehensive history that rescues the garden suburb from the periphery of urban design, and repositions it at the heart of the debate on cities.

 

Continue reading Suburbia