The term “missing link” was originally applied to old fossils. It’s fitting that it is now being used to describe Melbourne’s East West Link. This little project has been floating about since the 1950s, but in it’s current form it can be traced back to a suggestion from Premier Jeff “the quiff” Kennett in 1999. It’s been looked into since, but has always been a political impossibility, and a waste of money… until now. The planets are aligning and Dr Napthine and Tony Abbott can see the project’s “electoral” potential. As long as it’s sold in the right way to the right voters. These voters live in Melbourne’s East, in some of the most marginal electorates in the country. They’re been tempted with a big carrot – a faster run down the Eastern Freeway in the morning rush. We’re told that this run has slowed down 20kph since 2001, which is true, but only because there was a short-lived speed spike in 2001 after the opening of City Link.
The question is what can design thinking do to contribute to averting homelessness, mitigating its effects and improving the daily life of those who are homeless and proposing different and longer term pathways to social inclusion, housing, and employment. [ Briefing for DRI 2011:Homelessness competition ]
08.09.11 in cities
I’ve just woke up two hours early today from a dream that may have turned into a nightmare. I was living in Christchurch. Looking around me, a sizeable chunk of Melbourne’s architects were living there too. A few trams had made the journey too. I went on one house visit. The place was a bit like one of Boyd’s tiered hillside houses, except that each tier had moved independently of the others in the earthquake. I think the experience of that was disturbing enough to wake me up. Or maybe it was the bevy of noisy architects sitting on the top level in tricky chairs. Obviously time to check out what has been happening in Christchurch since the February quake.
28.03.11 in cities
This Fairfax video link is promotion masquerading as information. Nonetheless it is worth a look if only for the theatrical performance of garden wall guru Patrick Blanc. The topic is the Central Park development in Sydney – the Atelier Jean Nouvel building in particular.
Taking an air-conditioned break from my traipsing about Singapore. It is relentlessly humid but hasn’t managed to rain once in the four days I’ve been here, even though there are meant to be monsoonal dumps in the late afternoon. Just as well as the umbrella is stuffed.
19.10.10 in cities
Some clever chaps at the University of Padua have mapped the ancient Roman harbour city, Altinum, lying under a paddock seven kms North of Venice. The city had sunk into a lagoon, but some infra-red aerial photography during the 2007 drought was enough to tease it out. Well, after the images were fiddled with to remove plant water stress variations. This article at Der Spiegel has more fascinating images in its photo galleries, including the town’s plan, and some beautiful infra-red aerial photos of crops and cities.
The Infrastructurist mentioned a study done recently by UCLA. All had thought that the pollution effect of a freeway extended to about 300 metres downwind. Not so, pollutants spread up to 2.6 kilometres downwind, that’s a vulnerable 5.2 km belt along all our freeways. This is what it looks like for Melbourne:
In a rather sprawling article The Oz tries to join the dots between the public architectural cultures of Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne. Expert witnesses include Howard Tanner, Richard Johnson, Philip Cox, and Kim Dovey. Upshot: Brisbane is the young upstart, Melbourne’s got tickets on itself, and Sydney is resting comatose on its laurels.
04.07.09 in cities