Northbourne Ave

Fears for the redevelopment of Northbourne

NrthBourne-P1020079It was well before self-government that a bureaucracy of experts delivered our inner Canberra urban landscapes. While there are many aspects of Canberra’s landscapes to be celebrated, there are questionable decisions by former planners and bureaucrats that we now have to deal with and correct.

It was they that delivered a city of cars rather than an effective public transport system. Some of the street trees they planted are not appropriate. They were also responsible for constantly trying to control nature by having trees, especially native ones, in regimented lines, maybe as a nod to old England. Then there are all those lawns of green grass that require watering and maintenance. Didn’t they notice that Canberra was not in Europe?

Many of these former bureaucrats now form Canberra’s heritage league and are constantly defending their legacies. They have taken to writing letters of praise about themselves while criticizing proposals for Northbourne Ave. I do not have much confidence in the present planning and development processes for inner Canberra, but I fear for any developments if they are being influenced by these defenders of the ‘golden days’ of earlier planning bureaucracies.

Someone needs to ask the emeritus bureaucrats to enjoy their retirement quietly. Then the city may be able to have creative and intelligent conversations to generate innovative, relevant and imaginative ideas to deliver 21st Century urban landscape designs for Canberra.

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Paul Costigan

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