Category Archives: URBANITY

all things urban

Canberra greens spaces used a land banks

ACT Government and green spaces

When a politician says something such as: “Recreational areas in a suburb create a vital meeting point for the community”, then people should celebrate having such a person in government. Continue reading Canberra greens spaces used a land banks

What now for the Canberra Olympic Pool?

Greenslabor planning in Canberra is a mess

With the August 30 announcement by the chief minister that the building of a new sports stadium in Civic is not feasible, what followed was the media-generated screams about this backflip – let down – bad decision. Continue reading What now for the Canberra Olympic Pool?

Winning design lost to bigger development plan

The mess that is planning in Canberra

The decline of architectural design solutions and the loss of political will to deliver good urban design in Canberra was clearly illustrated through the presentation to the North Canberra Community Council committee.

Continue reading Winning design lost to bigger development plan

The Greenslabor planning minister really said that?

The mess that is planning in Canberra

Residents had good reasons to be puzzled by the 16th August decision by the ACT Greenslabor Planning Minister to use his precious ‘call-in’ powers to refuse a development at the McKellar shops. The reasons given caused readers to wonder – did he really say that?

Continue reading The Greenslabor planning minister really said that?

Bewildering world of development applications

the mess that is planning in Canberra

Residents shudder when they contemplate how much of their lives has had to be allocated to dealing with development applications that, according to the government’s own rules, should not have been approved.

Continue reading Bewildering world of development applications

Developers blame selfish residents

The lies told too often

Most mainstream media articles about developments in RZ1 residential zones regularly include developers or their loyal followers who will criticise Canberra’s elite NIMBYs. Continue reading Developers blame selfish residents

Housing ACT as the rogue developer

The ACT Greenslabor government regularly makes re-announcements about commitments to sometime soon provide homes that are sustainable. Continue reading Housing ACT as the rogue developer

ACT Government fails on architecture and design

Infill would be more embraced if it was well designed

There were several announcements by the ACT government at the end of July with most by the chief minister, Andrew Barr.

Continue reading ACT Government fails on architecture and design

The vexed question of social housing in Canberra

As a consequence of the Greenslabor Ministers Vassarotti and Berry’s cruel eviction program, attention turned to their social housing programs. Continue reading The vexed question of social housing in Canberra

ACT Government fails governance

Back in 2019 during a discussion about the preliminaries for the city’s coming planning reforms, it was suggested to the chief planner that governance needs to be central to any reforms. Continue reading ACT Government fails governance

ACT Government planning failure

You need to see this for yourself

There’s a residential development at 18 Darke Street, Torrens, that is beyond belief. This is happening because the city’s planning system is broken and totally corrupted.

Continue reading ACT Government planning failure

Dreaming of having a real environment minister

ACT Government not so environmental

In February, 2012, the then-ACT Labor Environment and Sustainable Development Minister, Simon Corbell, officially opened the Dickson Wetlands (completed in 2011). This marvellous water feature changed the neighbourhood.

Continue reading Dreaming of having a real environment minister

ACT Greens a neoliberal Labor faction

the ACT Greens moved away from core values

More than a decade ago the ACT Greens had priority on issues such as climate, the environment, and equity. How things have changed.

Continue reading ACT Greens a neoliberal Labor faction

How to say goodbye to the ‘Greenslabor’ cult

Time up for the ACT Greens

Given the successes of independent candidates in the federal election, conversations are underway about how voters could be offered better candidates for the 2024 ACT election.

Continue reading How to say goodbye to the ‘Greenslabor’ cult

Democracy muted as Mick calls in YWCA project

ACT Government endorses bad planning

The ACT’s planning directorate is a rogue bureaucracy doing the bidding of anyone but the residents of Canberra. Few residents would be confident that the directorate has the expertise to do anything except to continuously mess stuff up.

Continue reading Democracy muted as Mick calls in YWCA project

Planning mess: where the hell are the pollies?

planning in Canberra gets worse

People were shocked to hear the realities of the behaviour of the ACT government as set out clearly by two speakers at the June meeting of the Tuggeranong Community Council.

Continue reading Planning mess: where the hell are the pollies?

Canberra Libs keep missing the opportunities

The ACT’s “Greenslabor” government has provided multiple opportunities this year for the Canberra Liberals to step up and demonstrate that maybe in 2024 they could be ready to form government if the voters were to be convinced.

Continue reading Canberra Libs keep missing the opportunities

Deaf Greens do nothing as trees come down

ACT Government reduces greenery

The worst behaviour of any politician or bureaucrat is when a mistake has been brought to their attention, that they double down, pretend there’s nothing wrong, produce alternative facts and discredit those who have identified the error.

Continue reading Deaf Greens do nothing as trees come down

ACT Government evicts housing tenants

mean and nasty government just got meaner and nastier

Just when the Housing ACT relocation (eviction) program was looking mean and nasty, the ministers involved, Yvette Berry and Rebecca Vassarotti, upped the ante by introducing something even more dodgy to make lives difficult for some of the Housing ACT tenants.

Continue reading ACT Government evicts housing tenants

The cruelty of ACT Government politicians

There are discussions within the community sector puzzling over the motives of the ACT government’s politicians and bureaucrats when it comes to their managing planning, development and housing. Continue reading The cruelty of ACT Government politicians

Pretending to care about the fate of mature trees

Towards the end of the Inner South Canberra Community Council’s forum last month, a question was asked about whether the chief planner could override decisions on urban trees. Continue reading Pretending to care about the fate of mature trees

Would the Canberra Liberals be any better

It has been said many times that if people were to vote for the Canberra Liberals in the 2024 ACT elections, it could not be any worse than the developer-focused, neo-liberal approach to planning and development being delivered by the conservative-leaning ACT Greens and Labor.

Continue reading Would the Canberra Liberals be any better

ACT Government fails on backyard greenery

While voters were occupied with the federal election, the ACT Planning Directorate slipped through a variation to Variation 369 – the one that was to deliver greenery to the city’s backyards.

Continue reading ACT Government fails on backyard greenery

The ACT Government’s planning reforms fail the basics

Last Tuesday 9th May, the inner south community met to hear presentations on the ACT Government’s efforts at planning reform.

Continue reading The ACT Government’s planning reforms fail the basics

Marion Mahony Griffin – What A Life!

Particular major urban developments in Canberra have been promoted to be in line with the plans of Marion Mahony Griffin and Walter Burley Griffin or somehow in the spirit of the Griffins.

Continue reading Marion Mahony Griffin – What A Life!

Federal candidates take the tram to nowhere

When the Kingston Barton residents brought together a bunch of candidates last Tuesday evening, it was an opportunity to observe who among them had that extra spark to be a great representative for the voters of Canberra.

Continue reading Federal candidates take the tram to nowhere

YWCA disrespects local community

YWCA behaves as questionable developer

The ACT government’s planning system and processes are no longer fit for purpose. They have been corrupted by ad hoc, ill-informed and illogical decisions.

Continue reading YWCA disrespects local community

Woden town cramming continues

There are architecture tours of the city of Chicago conducted (when it is not frozen over in winter) to admire the wonders of design incorporated into the city towers. It would be doubtful that there would ever be architecture tours of Woden’s town-centre towers. Continue reading Woden town cramming continues

ACT Government evictions

Housing clearances in Canberra in 2022

It is beyond belief that in the 21st century a self-nominated progressive Labor/Greens coalition government sanctioned the eviction of its own social housing tenants.

Continue reading ACT Government evictions

ACT Government has morning tea

while more trees come down!

Last week, the ACT Environment Minister, Rebecca Vassarotti, announced her draft action plan about the loss of mature trees.

Continue reading ACT Government has morning tea

ACT Politicians need to talk to Watson residents

Once ACT Greens and Labor politicians become very important ministers in the ACT government, their contact with real people diminishes.

Continue reading ACT Politicians need to talk to Watson residents

Owls, old trees and the ACT Government

There used to be the sound of owls in the inner north of Canberra at night time. I didn’t really appreciate the beauty of their call until, one day, I realised it was no more.

Continue reading Owls, old trees and the ACT Government

The good and bad of Consultation

During a recent Inner South Canberra Community Council meeting, a topic mentioned by several speakers was one of the fundamental problems with the ACT planning system.

Continue reading The good and bad of Consultation

Yvette Berry for Chief Minister

something to make you shudder!

The Chief Minister, Andrew Barr, has reluctantly entered his older years. He has cleverly handed the more in-your-face, complex portfolios to his Labor colleagues, a couple of whom obviously aspire to occupy the chief minister’s chair as soon as he looks to make an exit.

Continue reading Yvette Berry for Chief Minister

the ACT tram light rail hoax

Government delivers for developers, again

Throughout history, the growth in government propaganda is linked to increasing authoritarianism. The more they lie, the more they concoct alternative facts to justify dubious actions and to distract from real intentions.

Continue reading the ACT tram light rail hoax

woden Valley Community Council issues

ACT Government fails on planning, again

When it comes to infrastructure and planning issues, the Woden Valley Community Council continues to have difficulties having real discussions with this ACT Labor/Greens government.

Continue reading woden Valley Community Council issues

ACT Variation on greenery goes missing in action

Several conversations of late have centered on the question – what has happened to the much-touted Draft Variation 369?

Continue reading ACT Variation on greenery goes missing in action

Tram spin to defeat the NCA

A compliant NCA to be fooled again

The ACT government’s proposal to “Raise London Circuit” for the tram was submitted for approval to the National Capital Authority (NCA) in October.

Continue reading Tram spin to defeat the NCA

A Tower too far by Geocon

NCA called on to be sensible!

In this city with the ever-increasing towers, as encouraged by the developer-friendly chief minister, the major issue is not just the towers themselves, but the lack of planning guiding the appropriateness and logic of their size and the location.

Continue reading A Tower too far by Geocon

Marion Mahony Griffin’s vision for Canberra

and how it is being lost

When Marion Mahony Griffin provided those glorious drawings for the submission to design Canberra, she included a distant view of the mountains.

Continue reading Marion Mahony Griffin’s vision for Canberra

Local politicians fail residents on trees

Downer residents confronted with 25 metre pines

The trees along Bradfield Street, Downer, have been the subject of debates in Downer for at least a decade.

Continue reading Local politicians fail residents on trees

ACT Government fails homeless

Politicians chose vanity over housing homeless

The majority of candidates going to ACT elections talk about how they will be progressive on issues that matter. But once elected, the reality is something else.

Continue reading ACT Government fails homeless

the trees of Ainslie don’t cast shadows!

ACT Government planning up to old tricks

This tale points to how bad planning has been corrupted by the ACT Labour Greens coalition government.

Continue reading the trees of Ainslie don’t cast shadows!

The NCA can stop the tram going south

The National Capital Authority (NCA) finished 2021 on a low note. Not that would surprise those who have recently dealt with the NCA.

Continue reading The NCA can stop the tram going south

ACT Government too busy for community issues

In November Liberal MLA Jeremy Hanson proposed the ACT Legislative Assembly meet for longer than the allocated 35 days for 2022.

Continue reading ACT Government too busy for community issues

Biodiversity begins in the garden

Welcome to 2022. While there are many things not yet addressed in planning and development by the elder Andrew Barr and his government, there are some tangible programs to do with biodiversity that are waiting to happen.

Continue reading Biodiversity begins in the garden

Inner South Canberra District Planning Strategy

Residents  take the lead in  planning for their suburbs

First, a shout out to the hard-working community council volunteers who bring together views of residents and then present these to the government. The latest has just been published by the Inner South Canberra Community Council (ISCCC).

Continue reading Inner South Canberra District Planning Strategy

ACT Government fails on landscape design

Design leadership missing in action

The south side of Franklin Street, Manuka, was shut off during November for several clusters of seats and tables on fake grass. It was apparently another of this government’s pop-up experiments.

Continue reading ACT Government fails on landscape design

Something nasty is stirring in planning reforms

ACT hides its real intentions on planning reforms

This year’s planning reform announcement was accompanied by the usual spin (sorry, media release) and another misleading online document (sorry, progress report).

Continue reading Something nasty is stirring in planning reforms

Christmas, trees and biodiversity

ACT Government does not get biodiversity

Wandering through Civic, there loomed ahead a shape.

Continue reading Christmas, trees and biodiversity

The Chris Steel boy band plays Woden

ACT Government fails on equity and empathy

For almost half a decade, the Woden Valley Community Council (WVCC) has been careful not to oppose development. The WCCC has focused on the quality of the developments and to have the redevelopments include social and sporting facilities.

Continue reading The Chris Steel boy band plays Woden

innovative architecture versus boringly normal

NCA challenged on suburban design

When you think of planning and development and who is making a mess of this city, attention usually turns to the dark arts as practised by the ACT Planning Directorate.

Continue reading innovative architecture versus boringly normal

ACT world-class heat island in the making

ACT Housing fails on biodiversity

One constant theme of residents is the ad hoc planning regimes that enable knock-down rebuilds in established suburbs resulting in a loss of trees, greenery and biodiversity.

Continue reading ACT world-class heat island in the making

Sports club as developer

the need to make money leads to development

There are three major development issues within Canberra’s inner north that are going to make things interesting in 2022.

Continue reading Sports club as developer

Boxes ticked, it’s time for morning tea

ACT Government reports how they do not much

A good strategic or corporate plan outlines what is being done and proves timelines.

Continue reading Boxes ticked, it’s time for morning tea

the nightmare of the ACT’s Better Normal

This was to be the year the ACT government was to deliver the much-vaunted reforms to make planning simpler and more accessible.

Continue reading the nightmare of the ACT’s Better Normal

Spin and ACT Demonstration House

More spin from the ACT Government

Last week ACT Planning Minister Mick Gentleman announced the approval for the draft variation for the first of the “Demonstration House” projects.

Continue reading Spin and ACT Demonstration House

Mick Gentleman passed used-by date

What if the ACT minister for planning was replaced?

About a month ago community organisations floated the idea that the ACT Planning Minister Mick Gentleman, should be replaced.  What a great idea!

Continue reading Mick Gentleman passed used-by date

ACT Public Art and inequality

It was stunning to see the images of Premier Dominic Perrottet after NSW opened up on October 11; he welcomed people back to his version of normal – that of blokes, pubs, beers and more blokes. Women were absent.

Continue reading ACT Public Art and inequality

Kingston Arts Space reboot – maybe

Inner-south community groups received a curious, but welcomed, phone call on Thursday (November 4) from the communications officer of the ACT Suburban Land Agency (SLA).

Continue reading Kingston Arts Space reboot – maybe

Who benefits from the Trojan Tram going south?

Here’s some news the ACT Labor/Greens coalition government may not appreciate. The model they use to enable for development and for getting the tram done, builds on the way trains and trams were introduced in and around Sydney in the late 19th century.

Continue reading Who benefits from the Trojan Tram going south?

When planning permission is beyond the pale

For most people, what happens with planning regulations tends to be of little interest, until the day arrives when it becomes the issue requiring their utmost concentration to work out what the hell is going on.

Continue reading When planning permission is beyond the pale

Urban infill on a human scale

In response to my September 8 column on how the ACT Greens have turned their backs on biodiversity, a question popped up asking: “You’re a consistent opponent of higher-density development. Do you not think that urban sprawl is bad for the climate?”

Continue reading Urban infill on a human scale

ACT Government stuffs up Woden Town Centre

On May 12, I finished a column on the shocking state of Woden developments with this statement: “This government’s expertise in town cramming is worthy of an award.

Continue reading ACT Government stuffs up Woden Town Centre

It’s been a year, what do we think of this mob?

The ACT political parties have had enough time since the October, 2020, elections for voters to see what they are about.

Continue reading It’s been a year, what do we think of this mob?

Move ACT Racing

Time to duplicate the Urambi Village model

A lot has been said about the folly of the ACT government’s Demonstration Housing Projects. The bureaucratic spin has been frequent and blatant.

Continue reading Move ACT Racing

ACT government planning gets personal and stupid

On Wednesday, September 15, the ACT’s planning bureaucrats issued their decisions on an application for re-consideration for the second stage of the development of the Manuka hotel-residential cinema complex by Liangis Investments Pty Ltd.

Continue reading ACT government planning gets personal and stupid

Fact checking ACT planning

With the Planning Directorate having lost the debate and all credibility about reforming ACT’s planning systems, its communications sections have been seeding articles to both distract from the real issues or to shift the debate on to safer topics.

Continue reading Fact checking ACT planning

ACT Government northside planning mess

When it comes to the future travel for southside residents coming north across the lake, things are looking grim thanks to the tram follies about to be played out by the ACT government.

Continue reading ACT Government northside planning mess

Public Art in Canberra

When “Seven Days” columnist Ian Meikle remarked in “CityNews” on July 19 that the ACT Legislative Assembly’s Standing Committee on Economy and Gender and Economic Equality is seeking submissions to its inquiry into memorialisation through public commemoration, it did raise an issue or two.

Continue reading Public Art in Canberra

The good, the bad and too much ugly!

This city is fairly ordinary when it comes to public architecture. There are a few exceptions, often Federal buildings and those on the ANU, but not many.

Continue reading The good, the bad and too much ugly!

ACT Government destroys Northbourne Ave

and now heads south to mess up more suburbs

In the late 1980s, if you happened to be in the office of the National Capital Development Commission, at 220 Northbourne Avenue, it was hard to concentrate on the discussions because of the view looking south along Northbourne to the far mountains.

Continue reading ACT Government destroys Northbourne Ave

ACT Government planning a lost cause

bunkum, untruths and ACT planning

Two ACT government statements surfaced recently relating to planning issues in different parts of the city.

Continue reading ACT Government planning a lost cause

ACT Government misplaced spending priorities

As the West Basin foreshore fills with expensive rubble, and a huge chunk of money is being spent taking the tram west around London Circuit to the Commonwealth Avenue Bridge, how does anyone justify such excessive expenditures given so many other priorities are being neglected?

Continue reading ACT Government misplaced spending priorities

National Capital Authority specializes in being patronising

residents should avoid contact with NCA

I begin this opinion piece about the National Capital Authority (NCA) by going back about 20 years to comments made during a parliamentary committee looking at the NCA.

Continue reading National Capital Authority specializes in being patronising