Tag Archives: Canberra

Ageism and ACT politicians

planning-P1080437

Following weeks (or was that months) of questions over land dealings and major developments, and now audits being announced into departmental processes, the Chief Minister has  gone on the front foot and announced an idea to change his government’s methods of consulting on ‘Urban Redevelopment’.

Continue reading Ageism and ACT politicians

Dickson Shops

Planning and Development of the Dickson Shops

A bad case study in community engagement

dickson-shops2

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.

Continue reading Dickson Shops

Michael Moore of Canberra

Commentary: Articles by Michael Moore of Canberra

Michael-Moore-175x1751I have mentioned articles written by a local, Michael Moore. While he holds down a very busy job in health, he continues to devote serious time to punching out thoughtful articles in one of the local free newspapers. They are most welcomed.

Continue reading Michael Moore of Canberra

John Witzig at National Portrait Gallery

Review: Visual Arts/photography
Exhibition: John Witzig at National Portrait Gallery, Canberra

till 19th October 2014, then touring.

front-P1070002The National Portrait Gallery in Canberra has done itself proud with this special exhibition of photographs produced from the archive of the photographer John Witzig. Full marks to the historian curator, Sarah Engledow.

Continue reading John Witzig at National Portrait Gallery

Embassy Architecture – Solomon Islands

Review: Embassy Architecture in Canberra

The Solomon Islands High Commission1-solomonP1060929I spotted this example of successful embassy architecture as I was driving past to have lunch at the Beaver Gallery Cafe in Deakin. From the available online information (and there’s not much) I think these new buildings for the High Commission for the Solomon Islands were completed around 2011/2012.

Continue reading Embassy Architecture – Solomon Islands

National Capital Authority

The NCA is no longer relevant

An opportunity has presented itself with the Commonwealth Government’s announcement to allow the National Capital Authority (NCA) to open up the Parliamentary Triangle to more commercial opportunities. (CT 12 July, Page 1, Shopping in the triangle? It’s a private matter)

I have no problem at all with more commercial activity happening within the Parliamentary Triangle. The question is just how to intelligently implement such a change to this landscape that presently serves as a national monument.

Continue reading National Capital Authority

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

FX Harsono at the NGA

Review: Visual Arts
FX Harsono and Writing In The Rain

FXAt the seminar at the National Gallery of Australia, the Indonesian artist FX Harsono made a presentation as an Indonesian of Chinese decent who is now researching and making art about the treatment of the Chinese communities in the early days of the Indonesian republic.

There’s a fantastic video on exhibition in which FX Harsono deals with his Chinese name, in that he is writing it continuously while other forces are washing it away.

Continue reading FX Harsono at the NGA

Canberra Urbanity and Development

Recent Canberra Government development announcements

16RegentsCanal-1100774

In recent weeks and months there have been several significant development proposals announced by the territory (ACT) government in Canberra. If all the government’s ambitions come to fruition then residents about to witness some very serious alterations and additions to the make-up of several parts of the inner city urban fabric.

Continue reading Canberra Urbanity and Development

Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony Griffin

Comment: A memorial for Walter and Marion

Christopher-VernonSeveral months back there was an article by Christopher Vernon, of the University of Western Australia, putting forward the background and argument for a permanent memorial in Canberra for Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony Griffin. Click here for that article.

There are various things scattered around Canberra that tell their story.

Continue reading Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony Griffin

University Urbanity

Review: Campus Design
A review of new architecture and spaces within the ANU (Australian National University) Part One

P1050229

Across Australia there are stand out examples of campus design amongst many of our universities. In more recent years I have had reason to visit campuses in all the states and back here in Canberra and have been constantly impressed with some of the architectural and landscape work.  In most cases I have been positively impressed with the work and in others I have been taken aback.

Continue reading University Urbanity

New Acton Precinct, Canberra

Review: Urbanity
New Acton Precinct, Canberra

NA-P1040192

There was much ado about this whole precinct development when it was being built and this continues through to today. Having visited the site a few times now, to meander, to eat, to meet for coffee and the occasional business, I have to say that it is a very mixed result. It is worth a visit on a busy day to see for yourself. But it does not match some of the rhetoric that has been put about – click here for an example of some project-porn spin*.

Continue reading New Acton Precinct, Canberra

Australian War Memorial Landscapes

Review: Landscapes at the Australian War Memorial, Canberra

These comments not are about the exhibitions of the War Memorial. These are comments about the building and recent additions.

AWM-P1040313

Many times the expression is used when an architect is talking about a building, about how their architecture fits into the landscape. In most cases this proves to be just false architectural spin. However there is one building here in Canberra that does sit beautifully with the landscape. That building is the Australian War Memorial in Canberra

Continue reading Australian War Memorial Landscapes

Breakfast in Canberra

Urbanity: Breakfast in Canberra

A list of places to have breakfast

Visits to  suburban cafes during 2014 for weekend breakfast/ brunch; we live inner north, so it will be those within easy range. Watch this space as the list grows! all reviews – click here

—————————————

Hudson’s of Dickson, Dickson Shops

There are three cafes in this location, with Hudson’s being in the middle. I have been to Hudson’s too many times to recall. It is Hudson’s in name only – in that the original owner moved on years ago and the present owners retained the name.

Continue reading Breakfast in Canberra

North Canberra Greenway

A brief concept proposal:
The North Canberra Greenway and Artwalk.

This is a proposal to enhance some present green infrastructure within inner north Canberra.

Drain-Walk-01

The North Canberra Greenway could be formed by linking and then enhancing the present green infrastructure elements throughout inner north Canberra.

Continue reading North Canberra Greenway

Canberra Urbanity – Fast Track Developments

Opinion: Proposals on fast track development precincts
Introducing democracy into ACT planning and development

crowd-P1020498Feathers have been quietly ruffled locally as the ACT Government (local government for Canberra) has announced it is to introduce a new proposal that would see identified precincts developed using a fast-track development process. This change to planning has been reported on in the Canberra Times and should be read before reading my comments that follow below – click here

What follows was edited down as  a ‘letter to the editor’ on this subject.

Continue reading Canberra Urbanity – Fast Track Developments

Tent Embassy

A new future for the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in Canberra

tent-P1030620

The tent embassy has had a mixed history since the first one was established in January 1972 in Canberra right in front of the former Parliament House. There is a reasonably full history on wikipedia – click here. It is worth reading.

Presently the number of tents varies as does the level of activity. Over the years I am aware that the government as well as the National Capital Authority have had discussions about its future. Nothing has changed except for the comings and goings of the residents.

Continue reading Tent Embassy

Breakfast in Canberra

Urbanity: Breakfast in Breakfast
A list of places to have breakfast

Visits to  suburban cafes during 2014 for weekend breakfast/ brunch; we live inner north, so it will be those within easy range. Watch this space as the list grows! all reviews – click here

—————————————

Tosolini’s, Corner London Circuit, West Row, Civic

tosolinis

I have been to this cafe over the years far too many times to even ponder counting. Manly for coffee and the occasional meal. I used to eat their cakes, but with age, and dangers of putting on weight, the cakes etc are no longer for me.

Continue reading Breakfast in Canberra

Breakfast in Canberra

Urbanity: Breakfast in Canberra
A list of places to have breakfast

Visits to  suburban cafes during 2014 for weekend breakfast/ brunch; we live inner north, so it will be those within easy range. Watch this space as the list grows! all reviews – click here

—————————————
Pork Barrel, Near Old Parliament House

Arrived about 12.15 and the sun was shining. The place was quietly busy with plenty of options for seating inside or outside under the trees.

PorkBarrel-P1030603

Continue reading Breakfast in Canberra

climate’s dark art

dealing with climate’s dark art

The desperate need for frank, honest, timely and evidence based advice.

 

max-P1020481Remember how things were during the more optimistic days of living in Australia, when climate change was not a dirty word or two?I am referring to the times of the Kevin Rudd and then Julie Gillard governments.

Back then the country was known internationally as taking a whole raft of initiatives to deal with climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Continue reading climate’s dark art

Breakfast in Canberra

Urbanity: Breakfast in Canberra
A growing list of places to have breakfast

We intend to visit  suburban cafes during 2014 for weekend breakfast/ brunch; we live inner north, so it will be those within easy range. We intend here to visit  suburban cafes for weekend breakfast/ brunch; we live inner north, so it will be those within easy range. Here’s the latest. There’s more online – see link below this review.

Wilbur’s Cafe and Bar at Hackett

Continue reading Breakfast in Canberra

neglected trees

Opinion: Trees

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

Woden-P1030512

Continue reading neglected trees

Lawns of Kingston

Opinion: the Lawns of Kingston return

Beware politicians and designers: We love our Lawns

Kingston-GrnSq-P1010961

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.

Continue reading Lawns of Kingston

Cotter Dam Artwork

Review: Public Art

A review of the artwork at the Cotter Dam site.

Cotter-P1030042

There is just one lone piece of art at the new Cotter Dam site.  I am not sure of its placement on the fairly bare site in front of the very dominating new dam wall. Seems no creative landscape design was employed to enhance its placement.

Continue reading Cotter Dam Artwork

Cotter Dam

Review: The Cotter Dam Site

cotterP1030051

Late in 2013, there was much ado in Canberra about the completion of the new Cotter Dam. The new wall is a replacement and enlargement of the previous dam on the Cotter River. It was built as a result of the ten-year drought and the need for water security for Canberra.

The surrounding recreational areas had been devastated in the 2003 bush fires and the whole area has been rejuvenated to once again be a reaction area for locals and visitors on the outskirts of the capital.

Continue reading Cotter Dam

Angel of the North

Review: Visual Art
Angel of the North at the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra

Angel-P1030341

It was just this week that I managed to get myself down the wonderful National Gallery of Australia’s sculpture garden to have a look at the Angel of the North. The piece has been on location for several years. This was the fist time I have seen this piece. Of course, this is the life-size marquette of the original Angel of the North, being about one tenth the size of the original.

Continue reading Angel of the North

Urban Heat

Opinion: Urban Trees and Heat
A case study of neglect and willful blindness?

Ainslie-P1010108

There was a routine piece in the Canberra Times about the current heat wave, temperature around and above 40 Degrees Celsius, and backyard trees or in some case about the lack of them. The article pointed to the now well established reality, that during such times those residential properties that lacked shade were suffering higher temperatures.

Continue reading Urban Heat

Tale of two Arboretums, The National Arboretum, Canberra

Tale of two Arboretums
The National Arboretum, Canberra

Nat-Arb-P1030257

Once the devastating 2003 Canberra fires were over, the Canberra landscapes to the west of the Lake Burley Griffin were left denuded of the previous forest. The subsequent international design competition delivered a much celebrated design for a National Arboretum.

Continue reading Tale of two Arboretums, The National Arboretum, Canberra

Tale of two Arboretums, Lindsay Prior

Review: A Memorial  Arboretum

Lindsay Prior Arboretum, Canberra

prior-P1030209

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!

Continue reading Tale of two Arboretums, Lindsay Prior

Womens Centennial

Review: Public Art

Centenary of Women’s Suffrage

WmnCntnnl00

This is an unfortunate case of how things can get out of hand and go wrong in a huge way.

Sometimes the planets line up and all sorts of magic can happen. At other times, no matter what positive steps are taken, some things are just destined to go off the rails. It also does not help to have bureaucratic spin doctors, media loving a beat up, writers being over zealous in their responses and creative people being precious.

In this case the losers were the people of Australia, particularly women,  who deserved to have in 2003 a significant memorial public art piece to celebrate the centenary of women’s suffrage.

Continue reading Womens Centennial

Public Art

Review: Public Art

Sculpture of Ben Chifley and John Curtin, Canberra

chifley-curtin02

I have driven passed this sculptural piece, by Peter Corlett, many many times. The pair of sculptures look very natural on the corner to the extent that I dare say the casual observer and busy drivers may pass by and miss that they are bronze figures. There’s no plinth. They have been attached directly onto the footpath.

Continue reading Public Art

Inca Gold at the NGA

Review: Visual Arts

Inca Gold at the National Gallery of Australia.

This exhibition is an intriguing one. There is no doubt that the visitor gets a bang for their buck, in that there is lots of gold and many glittering objects in this exhibition.

This is not one of those where the marketing has talked about all that glitters, and you are disappointed to find the odd gold item and lots of other stuff. In this exhibition of 200 objects there are gold objects in abundance plus lots of other wonders.

Continue reading Inca Gold at the NGA

Photography in Canberra

Review: Photography at Canberra Museum and Gallery

Lens Love, The Tender Gaze of six Canberra Region Photographers.

lee-grant-P1020395

It is indeed wonderful for the Canberra Museum and Gallery to have an exhibition of photography. The exhibition brings together the works of six local photographers, most connected through the Canberra School of Art.

Continue reading Photography in Canberra

Botanic Gardens

Review: Australian National Botanic Gardens

botgrdn-P1020270

On the western edge of Canberra’s CBD, next to the Australian National University, on the side of Black Mountain, sits one of the National Capital’s often overlooked treasures, the Australian National Botanic Gardens. Although it figures in tourist brochures, I am not aware of large numbers of visitors. I am also not convinced that local Canberrans visit this site very often or that they think to take their visitors there.

Continue reading Botanic Gardens

Trent Parke Christmas Bucket

Review: Visual Arts / Photography

Trent Parke, The Christmas Tree Bucket, at the NGA

December 2013 — February 2014

The National Gallery of Australia has launched an exhibition of Trent Parke’s The Christmas Tree Bucket  in their dedicated photographic gallery.

This exhibition is for those of us who love a great photograph (or two), who love things quirky, who like to smile when looking at an exhibition, and maybe enjoy the occasional laugh out loud.

Continue reading Trent Parke Christmas Bucket

Canberra Urbanity

Opinion: Northbourne Avenue re-development

I quote from the Canberra Times 10 December 2013: “Strong commercial demand is expected for ACT government-owned properties along Northbourne Avenue that will be sold for redevelopment.”

northbourneavenuebraddon

Continue reading Canberra Urbanity

Sidney Nolan

Review: Visual Arts

The Nolan Collection at the Canberra Museum and Gallery

Canberra has been blessed with two major collections of Sidney Nolan. One is on permanent exhibition at the National Gallery of Australia. There is also the important special collection at the Canberra Museum and Gallery (CMAG)

nolan-P1020381

I recommend a visit to the Canberra Museum and Gallery to see this collection (and at times maybe the other exhibits). Although you may have to bring in your own chairs to spend any time in this exhibition. I am not sure who thought that to perch on those silly vinyl foot-stools in the middle of the room would enhance a visit.

Continue reading Sidney Nolan

Canberra Urbanity: Marsden Street

An Anniversary

About two years ago, during 2010 – 2011, this quiet residential area in the inner north of Canberra was the battle ground over a very silly proposed redevelopment of two blocks of land.

street-April2013-1

Once the residents had been through the tribunal process, and before the decisions were handed down, the complex chain of events was documented. It is called Do Onto Others.

It is a long read – click here.

Canberra Urbanity

Climate Change adaptation falters in the suburbs

climate-P1020350

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!

Continue reading Canberra Urbanity

Urbanity – Bicycle

Opinion Piece: cycling on our roads.

First an admission.  I used  to be a reasonably keen urban cyclist . However some time back, I had two serious near misses whereby I was run off the road by local buses. After the last bruising,  the bike sat in garage till one day I sold it on. Whenever I can , I now walk instead. But I do miss the experience of cycling through neighbourhoods.

Today there was a very good summary in the Guardian on the situation and changes to urban cycling across many cities internationally. Click on the image below.

There’s currently a crazy debate here in Canberra about cyclists and vehicles and pedestrians. Crazy because the debate has been dominated by no so cool people who are not accepting of any other point of view. So I wonder what the problem is?

Continue reading Urbanity – Bicycle

Canberra Urbanity: Jack Ross Park

Review: Landscape Architecture/Parks

Jack Ross Park, Kingston Foreshore, Canberra

Kngstn-Park-P1020140

This is a first venture into the new park within the slowly evolving foreshore development at Kingston , Canberra. First impressions are of lots of detail, very contemporary and any park besides the lake is to be a welcomed addition to local amenities.

Continue reading Canberra Urbanity: Jack Ross Park

Art in the Street

Review: Art in the front yard

Canberra 16-17 November 2013

Take a quiet little street in Downer. Local artist Stephen Harrison is a resident. Stephen asks the neighbours if he can take over the street and their front yards for the weekend. They say yes. Stephen then brings in the work of  about three dozen artists. And so a fun weekend arrived……

Continue reading Art in the Street

Canberra Urbanity

 Canberra’s Champs-Elysees? Get Real!

The redevelopment of Canberra’s Constitution Avenue has been long in coming and the ACT Government has today announced its plans for the next stage.

Unfortunately someone has bravely announced that it will be Canberra’s Avenue des Champs-Élysées. Does that mean there will be an equivalent of the Arc de triomphe, the avenue is to be lined with large international expensive shops, huge crowds day and night, massive amounts of traffic (four lanes each side) and a host of ever-present scammers and pick-pockets.

Continue reading Canberra Urbanity

Canberra Urbanity

The next Northbourne Avenue

The basics of a proposal for rethinking this important piece of Green Infrastructure

NrthBourne-P1020067The 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

Continue reading Canberra Urbanity

Canberra Urbanity

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.

Anzac-trees01 Continue reading Canberra Urbanity

Canberra Urbanity

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 ….

Continue reading Canberra Urbanity

those damn leaves!

Need to rake those damn leaves!

September 2013.

Casual roaming of the neighbourhood can reveal some of the oddities of local urbanity.

First a background story. Going back several decades, there used to be tradition in Canberra that each winter the residents would rake their leaves in the street gutter and then set fire to them. The neighbourhoods were full of smoke from these frequent local burnings. Eventually the local government put a stop to this local tradition.

Continue reading those damn leaves!

Sculpture at Lambrigg

Review: Visual Arts

Saturday 19 October 2013

The National Gallery of Australia (NGA) has a wonderful sculpture garden that very few people wander about in. Because of the architect’s design, in that the garden is not naturally connected to the spaces inside, it means that unless they know about the sculpture garden, most visitors to exhibitions do not even see the gardens, let alone the sculptures. A very similarly designed sculpture garden, with many of the same features, including gum trees, in Pasadena is very much part of the museum visit as it allows people to wander in and out of the garden from various galleries.

The ANU has a campus that has a fantastic collection of sculpture throughout the whole campus. Very few people take the time to enjoy the huge range of artworks. The campus is a great place to take long walks, to take in the artworks as well as to enjoy the very pleasant ambience of the well looked after campus gardens and landscaped works.

Today hundreds of people drove out of Canberra to a property near Tharwa to take in a temporary exhibition of Sculpture in the Park. So yes, people are interested in wandering amongst sculpture in a park. And these were local artists/sculptors, so there was that very added attraction. It was a beautiful spring day – being about 25C.

Continue reading Sculpture at Lambrigg

Urbanity: Those Usual Suspects

Development: Lake Burley Griffin Debates

Canberra has a population around 370,000 and consists of a seven residential districts with a total of over 110 suburbs. As with any other city, there are constant tensions about development and planning issues.

However the most publicised debates usually involve proposals to alter any part of the character of  the central districts in and around the Parliamentary Triangle and Lake Burley Griffin. As soon any agency brings forth a proposal concerning these central areas, they are greeted by the usual suspects lining up to voice their opinions. Unfortunately these voices tend to be in opposition and the local press knows exactly who to ring to gather comments for articles that dump on such proposals often before they go out to consultations.

Continue reading Urbanity: Those Usual Suspects

National Portrait Gallery

Review: Urbanity

A work in progress – reviewing the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra

The National Portrait Gallery of Australia opened in 2009 to much acclaim. This national cultural institution has become a very popular tourist destination. The gallery sits in amongst trees in the National Parliamentary Triangle alongside the National Gallery of Australia and the High Court of Australia.

While I have seen nothing but praise for the building, I beg to differ.  Particularly when talking about the outside of the building and how it ‘sits in the landscape’. More on that later.

Continue reading National Portrait Gallery

CITY of Trees

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.

P1010530the entrance with two light boxes   

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.

Continue reading CITY of Trees

Canberra Urbanity

Thinking outside that box

originally published Monday, 16 September 2013

Civic was established to be the main metropolitan centre of Canberra. Back in the 1970s and into the 1980s this was the heart of Canberra and had developed its own culture. People would go there to be seen, to meet and to shop. The outer centres were yet to offer the same level of amenity.

The Canberra Centre was a small mall. So most of action was out in the open areas, Petrie Plaza and Garema Place and the spaces along City Walk.

Continue reading Canberra Urbanity

Canberra Urbanity

Are we to be served?

originally published Monday, 9 September 2013

I was having a quiet moment with friends at the Dickson shops last Friday, when we noticed that we were being circled by three senior ACT Planning officials. We recognised two of them as senior planners, the other was the legal combatant from the famous Marsden Steer battle (link to follow).

shops-P1010597We remembered well this guy’s vicious treatment of the residents who were appealing the planning decisions. His way of dealing with the case was best summed up by another resident (a mother) who said, ” now I know where those playground bullies end up!”

Continue reading Canberra Urbanity

Canberra Urbanity

original published November 2010

DESIGNS ON THE FUTURE FOR CANBERRA RESIDENTS

The debate in Canberra, particularly around my own suburb of Dickson, of the future of infill and the need to redevelop our suburbs has now focussed on the dire need to change the way this territory does the business of planning and development. The Canberra community is not fighting to halt development, but is wishing to influence the planning and development decisions to ensure that development delivers on the needs of present and future generations, the young and the elderly, and need to address the full range of human and environmental issues – being housing, health, ecology, transport – and you know the rest. Continue reading Canberra Urbanity

The Art of Trees

Trees

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

Canberra Urbanity

Are we being served?

Originally published January 2011

Christmas meanderings through Canberra inner north suburbs was a very pleasant way of exercising. The streets were very quiet and the weather very accommodating for these excursions. It was also a timely chance to observe the local levels of commitment to dealing with climate change. It seems every other street in inner Canberra has some form of house being rebuilt or refurbished. But the real attention within the local communities has been on proposals for knocking down adjoining homes and their replacement with multiple units. Continue reading Canberra Urbanity

Canberra Urbanity

The Dangers of being Malled

originally published December 2010

In late 2010 I took a photo of a Christmas tree in the main street of Geelong. The structure was all lit up and stood a proud three stories high. What is striking about this image, taken around 5pm one evening, is that there are so few people in the photograph. Elsewhere at this time of the year the streets and plazas are busy with Christmas shoppers and those out for a very warm evening’s promenade. Continue reading Canberra Urbanity

Canberra Urbanity

Views from the front veranda

originally published December 2010

There’s something very peaceful about returning to this suburban street after working interstate for too long and too often. Here we sit amongst the intense greenery of Dickson, the rush of breezes amongst the lush trees with the occasional squawk or chirping of birds. Layered on this filters in the voices and music of the three young renters next door, the sounds of the baby from the newly arrived couple across to the left, the chatter of the seven-year old with her parents heading out on bikes, the sound of students coming and going down the road, and of course, a dog or two (as there always seems to be around here). Maybe soon this will be joined by the sound of one of the immediate neighbours and their teenage children enjoying dinner outside tonight. A diverse mixture in such a small part of Dickson. And this is what the ACT Planning Minister sees as a threat! Continue reading Canberra Urbanity

Canberra Urbanity

ROAMING your backyard

originality published 2010

I took a call recently from a local newspaper. I was being asked to comment on the future my own neighbourhood and a recent meeting between residents and ACT Government officials. What the journalist did not appreciate is that I was sitting on the side of my vege garden having been interrupted planting the summer crop of vegetables (it was Sunday). However the situation of talking politics from my own backyard was very appropriate. Continue reading Canberra Urbanity