The ACT Greens/Labor coalition government has a host of ministers who are making a mess of the planning and development of Canberra’s urban environments. The question asked by the community sectors is where do the ACT Liberals stand on these planning issues. Click here for my piece in City News on this topic.
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.
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.
The ACT government’s decisions on trees are often contradictory and not in the context of long-term strategies for the bush capital. It continues to make a mess of the legacy it inherited.
There are so many stories around how the ACT Government handles significant trees and so many people who have had bad experiences because of the bureaucratic stupidity.
Click here for my piece in City News on this – these are just a few of those stories.
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.
The Conversation on urban biodiversity
The Conversation has an article recommending a change to planning to deal realistically with urban biodiversity.
Things some people should not say
It came as a shock to hear a community leader class a community site as a wasteland.
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.
I have just spent three weeks in Singapore.
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.
Surprising things can happen when you are involved in advocacy with the ACT Government on urban environment issues.
Dr Elizabeth Farrelly is outraged
a note to the ACT Chief Minister
About the architecture along Northbourne Avenue
Two things to consider: One is that heritage is about to be celebrated here in Canberra with a festival from 18 April till 7 May 2017.
Braddon is cool – well not quite yet
Braddon should be cool. I said something similar two years ago.
There’s a call by the ACT Government for residents to go online and to offer thoughts on the future of Haig Park.
2017 in Canberra began with announcements that so many new buildings are about to change the city’s landscape.
I believe in good government. I believe that many of our public sector employees do a great job. Occasionally, I even witness a politician who has values and fights for them (rarely).
Local governments rarely get the opportunity to completely makeover and enhance the main entry to the city – and the city centre itself.
Here’s a few links on current research and commentary on green spaces, our cities and health.
Review: Roma Street Parkland, Brisbane
Part Two: The Urban Development Atrocities
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
Review: Roma Street Parkland, Brisbane
Part One: It is about creative Garden Design
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)
The Art of Trees and a new twist to the tale
Braidwood Kings Highway Trees
I refer to a former post (click here) in which I provided commentary about trees in several local location.
One key story was, and remains, the special lines of trees on the eastern and western entrances to Braidwood, in southern New South Wales.
A brief concept proposal:
The North Canberra Greenway and Artwalk.
This is a proposal to enhance some present green infrastructure within inner north Canberra.
The North Canberra Greenway could be formed by linking and then enhancing the present green infrastructure elements throughout inner north Canberra.
Comment: Wetlands and Climate Change Adaptation
Australia has a very mixed understanding and relationship with wetlands. I happen to be fortunate to live close to one. This came into existence just a couple of years ago when the local government transformed a disused and degraded parkland into a wetland attached to an old style concrete drain.
and yes, we should be looking after them.
During times of heat, drought, and extreme temperatures, it really demonstrates how the planning of Canberra, ‘the garden city’, was based on serious misunderstandings.
click on any photograph to enlarge it
Opinion: the Lawns of Kingston return
Beware politicians and designers: We love our Lawns
In a previous post I had spoken of Australia’s love of the lawn. (click here)
In particular I mentioned a local battle over Green Square at the Kingston Shops in Canberra whereby the local government had replaced a green square of lawn with a designed space, complete with brick walls and seating and drought friendly, low maintenance plants.
Review: A Memorial Arboretum
Lindsay Prior Arboretum, Canberra
If you have not already read it elsewhere on this blog, I love trees. Our home is now immersed in shrubbery. Ever morning we awake to sounds of all the bird life that enjoy our the biodiversity in the garden in our street. The front has been planted and designed in such a way that when we sit on the front verandah and look in a northerly direction, all we see are trees and shrubs. There homes and cars in that direction, but they a blocked out so that it looks as though we look out on a private parkland. But despite our private parkland and that a wetland is five minutes away, we do venture out occasionally to see what others are doing with trees. Occasionally!
Opinion: A Community Engagement Case Study
The community engagement on proposals to shift the Kings Highway Trees near Braidwood NSW
A Case Study where full Community Engagement was required but not employed.
The following opinion piece discusses an overlooked opportunity for real Community Engagement in dealing with the issues around the memorial avenue of trees leading into Braidwood on the Kings Highway from both sides of the township.
with photographs by Gael Newton
Opinion: The Realities of Urban Green Infrastructure
It has been while watching the episodes of that wonderful program (on DVD), Montalbano, that the beauty of the Sicilian cities has been revealed. They are just fabulously charming. (see footnotes)
These are very Mediterranean city scenes with off white buildings, tight streets and plenty of lanes and hill-side stairs.
What is missing are the trees. There are the few decorative ones and those on the surrounding hills. But for one brought up with the luxury of lush street trees, green front yards (lawns) and sidewalks, these streets and lanes are very devoid of greenery.
Beautiful – but bare.
Climate Change adaptation falters in the suburbs
Dealing with the complex issues of climate change adaptation should by now have become a priority and part of the everyday for any local government in their oversight of design, planning, development and the re-development of our settlements.
Here in Canberra we have been the subject of a decade or two of pronouncements from newly appointed chief planners on how they are to oversee development that is sustainable and .. lots of other spin that always sounds so sensible!
Opening of the Red Centre
National Botanic Gardens , Canberra
The recently opened Red Centre at the National Botanic Gardens is an ‘interesting’ addition to this very popular and valuable national asset.
The next Northbourne Avenue
The basics of a proposal for rethinking this important piece of Green Infrastructure
The main road into Canberra from the north has been the topic of much debate following the ACT Government’s announcement that it is build a light rail with the route being from Civic to the newer suburbs of Gungahlin. In the wings sits the developer lobby as this transport initiative would provide the final green light for the major intensification of the commercial and residential buildings along the full length of Northbourne Ave
Anzac Parade: A mixed tale of Trees and Lights
Trees are important in our urban environments. They are part of our urban green infrastructure and perform important roles assisting in health and well-being as well as climate change adaptation.
And they are just beautiful. I like trees.
The New Northbourne Avenue
There has been a bit of noise of late around the proposals that the ACT Government is to introduce a light rail system into Canberra. In the first instance the rail will connect the inner north and the newer northern suburbs through to Civic, the main CBD area.
The light rail should have been there at least 20 years ago. It will be an interesting problem to make it viable now. Some form of transit system is required but so much of the infrastructure around it will need to be also altered. The city was built for cars. Many issues to be worked through. For instance ….
Review: Visual Arts
City of Trees, National Library of Australia, Canberra, 5 July – 7 October 2013
This review originally published August 2013
One lazy Saturday afternoon I took myself over to the National Library of Australia. I had read all the advertising and was very much looking forward to an exhibition on the trees of Canberra.
Any exhibition that focused on the trees of Canberra has to be something to see, something to talk about, and something that would be most embraced.
In short, this one did none of those things for this reviewer. This exhibition in this prestigious national library exhibition space just left me wondering just what happened. Did the exhibition curators sign up a feel good Centenary Exhibition about one of the core features of the national capital; its fabulous trees. And then the pieces arrived and there was nothing to do but to make a good show of it. In this case it has been well laid out with all the usual fine aesthetics of good curatorship. But the content is just not there.
originally published May 2013
If you had not heard, Canberra is celebrating 100 years. Right now the city is in the advance stages of winter, with all signs being that it will arrive seriously on our leafy door steps this time next week.
This is one of the pleasures of being up here on this hinterland and in the middle of the countryside where someone about 100 years ago thought it wise the plonk the national capital. Because of the location, we get to experience the full gamut of the changing seasons. And right now it is getting cold. Continue reading The Art of Trees