Skip to content Skip to main navigation

Community

Experts in Wills, Trusts
& Estate Planning

Canberra the F*** Off city?

By johnboy - 29 July 2011 25

Andrew Leigh’s reading list has lead me to an epic Canberra whinge in the SMH by Elizabeth Farrelly.

But it’s particularly annoying because she’s probably right in her criticisms.

And her solutions:

But what Canberra desperately needs, and what it should have before Garnaut delivers his next Climate Change bromide from there, is the dramatic densification that would achieve three things at once: congruence with Griffin’s vision, a genuine urban grandeur, and sustainability. Now there’s a triangular plan for you.

What’s Your opinion?


Post a comment
Please login to post your comments, or connect with
25 Responses to
Canberra the F*** Off city?
Sleaz274 4:36 pm 29 Jul 11

I liked the article, I didn’t see any bashing, hate dripping, sydney is the best of everything that everyone else seems to have read.

Hobart is better than canberra for “culture” and social life so there’s your example rightup ya.

It wasn’t a whinge it is an opinion piece with a carefully constructed argument drawing from historical fact linked to a suggested solution. I have also not seen any counter argument coming from these responses other than some foot stamping that “we aren’t like them!!!” referring to Sydney siders. Projecting much?

Additionally the British government is often referred to as Downing Street. The US media oftens says Washington that or the White house this. Get over yourselves trying to be separate from the government of the day, if there wasn’t a need to house the government somewhere Canberra would be a sheep station in the middle of no where on the way to the snow. It was a very Australia solution, instead of picking one of two options (Sydney or Melbourne) and making a grand historical decision and be damned to the haters who are going to hate anyway just pick something in between a little 50/50 then cock it up along the way pleasing no one particularly much.

Recent example – the last election

yellowsnow 3:24 pm 29 Jul 11

Mologloid – Lyon metropolitan area = 1.7 million; Nice metro area = 955,000. Montpellier is admittedly smaller than 300k but you can’t seriously compare a 1000+ year old provincial city on the French riviera with Canberra. And at any rate try living in one of the hideous high rise estates on the outskirts of Montpellier, rampant with crime and poverty and tell me life there is better there than here.

Anyway, density eurostyle is very different from density oz style. If you let developers loose and build up canberra the way you suggest you’d just get something that looks more like Gungahlin or the southwest suburbs of Sydney than Nice.

Swaggie 3:21 pm 29 Jul 11

There must be a few Media types who read Riotact so will they please consider referring to Federal Parliamant as just that and not ‘Canberra’. No one refers to the British Parliament as ‘London’. Don’t associate us all with that bunch of overpaid under worked representatives we are forced to elect every 4 years and immediately Canberra’s ‘image’ will improve

chewy14 2:47 pm 29 Jul 11

What a massive dribble.
She may have been able to get a cogent point together if she hadn’t let her obvious hatred of Canberra get in the way.
Far too many out of towners come from their 1mill + population cities and then whinge that we’re not like them. Uh maybe because we only have 350K people living here?
Densification will happen as the city grows but it shouldn’t be forced overnight.

molongloid 2:32 pm 29 Jul 11

yellowsnow said :

Many people complain about canberra’s lack of life etc but at the end of the day it’s a city of 300,000 not 3 million, so you can’t compare it to syd or melb. I challenge critics to find another city of 300k that the critics would prefer to live in and/or fits their criteria of not being, ahem, ‘boring’.

If you had the 300,000 people living in inner Canberra you’d reach critical density. Splitting the population out in 50,000 clusters makes Canberra less than the sum of its parts. Densification dude!
Lyon, Nice, Montpellier.

yellowsnow 1:47 pm 29 Jul 11

Agree with Mysteryman and Stevou — Canberra is a great city, only thing stopping it being awesome is its amateur-hour government/local council (and also lack of decent public transport, and transport planning in general in my opinion).

Many people complain about canberra’s lack of life etc but at the end of the day it’s a city of 300,000 not 3 million, so you can’t compare it to syd or melb. I challenge critics to find another city of 300k that the critics would prefer to live in and/or fits their criteria of not being, ahem, ‘boring’.

Amanda Hugankis 1:28 pm 29 Jul 11

Sigh. Does this woman like the sound of her own voice (er, um … like the look of her own words?). Who decided what a capital city should be? She gave no indication of what she thought it should contain to appease the people that would still never visit or give it more than a moments thought – because its only pollies that live there, right?! And we all hate them! So it makes sense to hate the city they live in!! Doesn’t it? Oh, and lets trot out the usual ‘circular roads’ argument, like no other city in this country has a roundabout.

For the most part, it works as a capital city. The issues with traffic, cabs, transport … well, we ‘non-tourist’ types live with that crap everyday … fancy! the hide of us subjecting the aussie battler tax paying weekend sight-seers to that. This critical, uninformed, op piece garbage saps my strength.

trevar 1:25 pm 29 Jul 11

Thumper said :

The articel is a classic “I’ve got nothing better to write about so I’ll do an anti Canberra rant.”

I don’t think it’s that classical rant at all; it is well-considered, and very targeted in its criticism. She doesn’t dismiss the entire city as worthless by citing a few design or implementation flaws, as most of them do. She also doesn’t judge Canberra in relation to unplanned or unimaginatively-planned cities like Sydney and Melbourne; she compares it to Washington and Versailles, which is much more sensible (I didn’t miss the irony, BTW, of her whining about Canberra’s carbon footprint from Sydney, of all places!).

I think it’s a very well-considered response to Canberra, and an especially astute assessment of the relationship between design, construction, and operation, all of which are virtually impossible to unite. That said, I do think her assessment is wrong. For instance, she laments the lack of public transport as a design flaw, despite the plans for a recessed light rail network in Griffin’s plans (as revised after the 1912 competition).

What I would like to know, though, is why the plans are crated up in Telstrayama instead of in the National Archive?

Mysteryman 12:03 pm 29 Jul 11

steveu said :

Canberra will always be the place Australian blame when they dont like the decisions of the government they elected. Most dont understand we are a territory not a state, and as a result have a much under-represented presence in parliament. They also dont understand that the public servants simply do what they have been told to do by the people they elected. When things go wrong, they blame the public servants. When things go right they step up and accept the praise. Just the way the world works I guess. Personally I think Canberra is a great place marred only by the local council that we voted not to have but got it anyway.

That pretty accurately describes the way I see it, too.

steveu 11:38 am 29 Jul 11

Canberra will always be the place Australian blame when they dont like the decisions of the government they elected. Most dont understand we are a territory not a state, and as a result have a much under-represented presence in parliament. They also dont understand that the public servants simply do what they have been told to do by the people they elected. When things go wrong, they blame the public servants. When things go right they step up and accept the praise. Just the way the world works I guess. Personally I think Canberra is a great place marred only by the local council that we voted not to have but got it anyway.

Jethro 11:19 am 29 Jul 11

I think she actually has a point. You will note in the article that she wrote the people who live there love it. She acknowledges that there is a lot to like about Canberra, but you have to know it first. That is true. I always say that it’s a great place to live, but a terrible place to visit. To the casual visitor Canberra does seem empty and devoid of life or activity and once you have run through the tourist hot spots you can be left thinking, ‘what else is there to do in this town?’

Thumper 11:00 am 29 Jul 11

Elizabeth Farrelly is just Germaine Greer without the insight, intelligence, passion, fame and notoriety.

The articel is a classic “I’ve got nothing better to write about so I’ll do an anti Canberra rant.”

Always works and gets lapped up by the oh so cosmopolitan Sydneysiders and Melbournites.

c` 10:48 am 29 Jul 11

BlondieACT said :

I think she’s going to the wrong Parliament House if she see’s the Tent Embassy out the front.

An apostrophe doesn’t mean “Look out! Here’s comes an s!”.

However, I do agree with the premise of the article.

BlondieACT 10:16 am 29 Jul 11

I think she’s going to the wrong Parliament House if she see’s the Tent Embassy out the front.

intaba 10:00 am 29 Jul 11

She nearly lost me at the Dan Brown references, but I think this is the first “out-of-towner hates Canberra” article I have seen that blames the city, not the people.

Related Articles

CBR Tweets

Sign up to our newsletter

Top
Copyright © 2017 Riot ACT Holdings Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.
www.the-riotact.com | www.b2bmagazine.com.au | www.thisiscanberra.com

Search across the site