And now for something really silly – or maybe just naive.
I have been wondering just how long the world was going to accept diesel engines in cars given they are polluting nightmares. Yet they continued to be rolled out. I hope this latest scandal involving VW fixing their diesel cars so that they produced false results will now focus attention on to how bad diesel engines are for the environment. Yet again, George Monbiot has written a very timely piece on the topic – it is definitely worth the read. click here.
There’s a good read online about the ‘ShotGun’ houses of New Orleans.
Canberra residents have the perception, or at least the aspiration, that the elected ACT politician appointed to be the planning minister will oversee the future planning and development of the city on behalf of the residents.
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.
There were two planning announcements in recent days that would have raised people’s eyebrows just a little.
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.
There are serious systemic problems within the ACT’s planning and development agencies.
How many time have heard people (motorists) complain about any change to the traffic infrastructure to encourage more people to get on your bike.
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.
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.
Neil Young has released a 10-minute short film, Seeding Fear. Click here for the link.
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.
Dickson Residents Group Media Release
REZONING DICKSON’S COMMUNITY PRECINCT A BACKWARD STEP FOR NORTH CANBERRA
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.
Big Coal wins again in Queensland
The 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.
A video about how the Dutch people have legal means forced their government to deal with climate change – click here. Is it possible in Australia?
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.
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.
The Australian governments have consistently hidden behind the argument that Australia cannot cut back on its emissions because it would be of no effect given the amount of carbon emissions being pumped out by China.
George Monbiot has made a good call on the pope’s letter to the world on climate change – click here.
We all now sit back and watch the catholic prime minister of Australia, who is an ardent climate denier and environmental wrecker, deal with this message from his spiritual leader.
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.
The dumbness of our political leaders just gets worse.
The state of Canberra’s shopping centres is a hot topic of conversation at present.
With reports about the coming of much improved batteries by which households will be able to store their solar power, the concept of whole suburbs going off the grid is starting to be discussed.
Several decades ago, the centre of Canberra provided a very different shopping experience. Civic was a series of pedestrian plazas with a small complex named The Monaro Mall. In 1989 this mall was enlarged to become the first Canberra Centre.
or the disappearing gardens
Canberra was built with gardens being integrated into each household and throughout the neighbourhoods.
The ACT Planning and Land Authority today announced that the controversial Dickson Coles-DOMA development has been officially refused.
While 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!
It 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.
There’s not a lot to be said when something so blatantly wrong happens. With all the cut back to government spending, Abbott makes yet another crazy decision by funding this well-known problem maker for those trying to get the world to focus on climate change.
Reality check on Australia
While the many in the world address climate change, the present federal government in Australia continues to prop up Big Coal and anyone else who supports them. So what’s to be done about this? Continue reading Climate Change
An update on development in Canberra
Looking to the next elections for resident friendly solutions
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.
The Gehry Building at UTS, Sydney
Review: Dr Chau Chak Wing Building | University of Technology
Many universities in Australia have campuses with lush landscape settings. Then there are the universities that are very contained inner city urban environments. In Sydney, the University of Technology (UTS) is one of the latter.
The Good and loads of the Bad and Ugly
The Property Council has issued another one of their occasional gems about planning and development here in Canberra. This one is titled: Transforming Canberra’s CBD. Sometimes you are not sure whether to laugh or cry when you read these documents.
Development to alter the Yarralumla ambience
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.
Singapore moves to rely less on coal
Australia, once a world leading in solar technology, now has a government that is doing all it can to reduce the uses of alternative energies. Continue reading solar
Braddon Development on the Cusp
The destruction of Canberra through planning
Canberra as a planned city is a myth.
A posting I have uploaded to RiotACT – click here – puts the position that Canberra needs an urgent change a new approach to planning and development.
news from Climarte 2015 festival
Residents are having to deal with a stupid development proposal that is backed by the ACT Government for a new supermarket in Dickson.
Canberra Planning is so wrong!
Development dilemmas: part three
The future of the Dickson Precinct and beyond
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.
Development dilemmas: part two
The future of the Dickson Parklands
This 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.
Development dilemmas: part one
Residents and the future of the Dickson Shops
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.
Dickson Supermarket DA consultations extended
Just before Christmas the ACT Planning Authority (ACTPLA) had uploaded for comment the Development Application for the Dickson supermarket development. The original response deadline was the 27th January.
Corporations taking action on Climate Change
In this week’s “Time to Wake Up” speech on the Senate floor, Senator Whitehouse described how many American companies are planning for climate change. In the speech, Senator Whitehouse shares that companies with internal prices for carbon include Microsoft, Exxon-Mobil, Disney, and Google.
The madness of Canberra’s planning and development
Since 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)
Optimism about action on Climate Change
There are movements around the world that indicate that actions are indeed being taken to challenge Big Coal and Big Oil. From a national government point of view, there is simply spin and pandering to the Big Corporates. Here’s an article by George Monbiot that makes it clear how evil governments can be. click here.
Planning and Development of the Dickson Shops
A bad case study in community engagement
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.
Barangaroo Point to open in March 2015
Optimism for 2015 climate change actions
Australians have had to endure a load of stupidity thanks to current Australian national government. The worst insult to intelligence has been the constant dumb statements on climate change by their spokesperson, Tony Rabbott.
The widespread corruption within planning agencies
Over 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.
This Changes Everything: Capitalism Vs. The Climate,
Naomi Klein 2014
Yet 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.
Comment on good planning and sensitive development
Comment: those were the days!
Not that you need to read anymore – but here’s a 2007 link that has the heading: Australia now stands ready to assume its responsibility in responding to the challenge of climate change, according to the Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd. click here. Continue reading climate change
Comment: Action being taken on climate action
With 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.
Comment: Locals often do not get it right
In 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.
Photo-Essay: Inner Sydney and the Heat Island Effect
Re-Posted from ThisBigCity blog
Seven 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.
The high line just keeps on being a wonderful concept – click here for the latest developments.
There’s no better way to say this:
But there are some warnings at the end of the article – click here.
Given the Australian government does not believe scientists, I wonder what they will make of this.
An Opinion Piece
The Future of Dickson Section 72 as a Community and Cultural Site
The Dickson Community Cultural Parklands.
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.
An Opinion Piece
Dickson Section 72 – Community Consultations – 20th Oct 2014
On 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.
Comment: Cities Planning and the locals
Locally the planning authority is notorious for carry out all forms of planning with no real interest in the present residents and no interest in the urban character. It is left to the developers to define how the suburbs of Canberra will look in the future.
Comment: Turkey destroys its own back-yard
Turkey is losing precious green areas and open spaces as the number and scope of construction projects continue to expand.
Recent construction projects launched all over Turkey have fueled public concern as they destroy not only habitat but also cultural heritage. click here
Comment: Architects realise something is wrong with cities
Wow! Now there’s a revelation from the profession largely responsible for the problem.
Comment: there’s hope yet on how to hinder big coal.
Many 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.
Comments: Climate Change in 2014
There’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.
Commentary: Architecture Basket Cases
I 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.
The need for change
“When you have all living systems in decline, just sustaining the decline is not going to solve the problem. We’ve got to have a u-turn here. We’ve got to start restoring ecological systems.” – Van Jones
Commentary: emails and corporate shenanigans and lies
Brickworks – Austral Bricks – Developers and political shenanigans
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
Paul Costigan, 10 September 2014
Guilfoyle’s Volcano at Melbourne Botanic Gardens
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.
Comment: Australia threw away the mining wealth.
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.
Commentary: on how the country is being trashed
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.
Notice: Urban Bikeway Design Guide, Second Edition
National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO)
The 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.
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.