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Sweet Home Ala Canberra

By Sass Anne Swagger 10 August 2010 33

Like many small towns, Canberra sometimes seems unashamedly hell-bent on opening its floodgates to rampant and irretrievable development.  The number of commercial and residential projects currently underway and expected developments to come, are all signs of this progress… something of the sweet smell of bitumen and the melodious sounds of a nearby construction site must surely sound as sweet as the ‘ka-ching!’ of money tumbling into the ACT government’s coffers.  

Mindless comparisons with other national capitals have been made to boost the notion that bigger has to be better, if only to compete with all our bigger brothers.  As unrealistic as these comparisons have been, the echo of that eternal question keeps reverberating:  “Is bigger, better?”  I hear the whispered affirmation by what seems to be an acquiesent majority, “yes it probably is”, but more importantly it should be asked to whom?

Canberra’s growth has certainly done us all proud, we have many more sources of entertainment, more international artists actually pay us a visit, and some of them are not yet in the retirement phase of their careers, although it is interesting to note that many international, hot artists still prefer to hold a concert in Bowral rather than perform for us here. More choices as to what to see, do and eat for the weekend makes us all rather complacent about the amount of concrete being poured over what was just another vacant kangaroo-infested paddock.

But despite all this wonderful concrete, tarmac and steel buildings, will Canberra be anything but a very adolescent city desperate to pave over its appearance of immaturity and its obviously drab perspectives on architecture and design.  Where is Canberra’s modern day contribution to proper urban planning and design, or its architectural answer to Paris’s Eiffel Tower, Rome’s Coliseum or D.C.’s Congress?  Where is Canberra’s heart and planned ‘garden-city’ soul?   Perhaps the city has sold both off to the highest bidder over a vacant kangaroo-infested paddock and is not looking back.

What’s Your opinion?


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33 Responses to
Sweet Home Ala Canberra
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JC 4:25 pm 11 Aug 10

p1 said :

JC said :

AG Canberra said :

Have we ever had a proper discussion on sprawl or infill?

Unfortunately you need one or the other. My preference has always been for sprawl, as it really narks me that we live in such a massive country but in ALL new area’s are forced to live in each others pockets. Give me the good old 1/4 acre block anyway day.

Personally I am for both. The reason I bought a 35+ year old house is that it comes on a nice sized block. I couldn’t stand the thought of spending the same money, for the same sized house, on a block under half the size. But I also think the the town centres are the places where more dense housing should go. New suburbs close in should get the crap sub 450sqm blocks, and rows of town houses. And developments/redevelopments in the town centres should get the apartment buildings. Any increase in density on the outskirts of of the city just increases the overall travel of the population.

Agree, but that isn’t urban infill, that is simply having higher density housing where it belongs.

p1 11:37 am 11 Aug 10

JC said :

AG Canberra said :

Have we ever had a proper discussion on sprawl or infill?

Unfortunately you need one or the other. My preference has always been for sprawl, as it really narks me that we live in such a massive country but in ALL new area’s are forced to live in each others pockets. Give me the good old 1/4 acre block anyway day.

Personally I am for both. The reason I bought a 35+ year old house is that it comes on a nice sized block. I couldn’t stand the thought of spending the same money, for the same sized house, on a block under half the size. But I also think the the town centres are the places where more dense housing should go. New suburbs close in should get the crap sub 450sqm blocks, and rows of town houses. And developments/redevelopments in the town centres should get the apartment buildings. Any increase in density on the outskirts of of the city just increases the overall travel of the population.

bd84 said :

Is there actually a point to this post or is it just the random musing of a drug effected individual?

I wish I was drug effected.

Hells_Bells74 11:13 am 11 Aug 10

I thought they’d worked a bit of a miracle with the exterior of the mall, it’s looking much better than a few years ago.

Thumper 8:29 am 11 Aug 10

There are some nice cultural gems hidden around the city if you look.

All Saints Church, North Ainslie Primary School, the old Coggins bakery building, Blundell’s cottage, St John’s school house and church, and many others including plenty of deco places in the inner south.

Okay, it’s not London, but we’ve only been here for a hundred years.

However, belconnen mall is a revolting concrete slab and the sooner the Russian nuke the place the better.

hax 8:07 am 11 Aug 10

We should build the worlds tallest building to one-up every other city.

JC 6:42 am 11 Aug 10

AG Canberra said :

Have we ever had a proper discussion on sprawl or infill?

Unfortunately you need one or the other. My preference has always been for sprawl, as it really narks me that we live in such a massive country but in ALL new area’s are forced to live in each others pockets. Give me the good old 1/4 acre block anyway day.

sexynotsmart 11:05 pm 10 Aug 10

bd84 said :

Is there actually a point to this post or is it just the random musing of a drug effected individual?

+1
I don’t know which is a bigger waste of my time. This thread or watching Sopranos repeats.

Does Passy have another pseudonym now?

astrojax 10:34 pm 10 Aug 10

luther_bendross said :

Whilst as pointed out, the parliamentary triangle and civic have a lot of really nice buildings, that’s where it stops. A drive through Belconnen reminds me of Soviet Russia circa 1979, whereas Crace reminds me of my perineum. However, comparing Canberran architecture to that of Paris and Rome is a bit of a stretch, as one of those three cities was not present during the Renaissance. The same two that were present were built around naturally beautiful rivers and landscapes, the other was placed on a sheep farm as a result of a stalemate between two larger cities and was given a fake lake and free carp.

rome has free carp? i’m there!

bd84 10:10 pm 10 Aug 10

Is there actually a point to this post or is it just the random musing of a drug effected individual?

peterepete 8:07 pm 10 Aug 10

Give us a few hundred years….I reckon for a new city we’ve got a lot to be grateful for – but that doesn’t excuse mindless development.

Pork Hunt 6:47 pm 10 Aug 10

luther_bendross said :

Whilst as pointed out, the parliamentary triangle and civic have a lot of really nice buildings, that’s where it stops. A drive through Belconnen reminds me of Soviet Russia circa 1979, whereas Crace reminds me of my perineum. However, comparing Canberran architecture to that of Paris and Rome is a bit of a stretch, as one of those three cities was not present during the Renaissance. The same two that were present were built around naturally beautiful rivers and landscapes, the other was placed on a sheep farm as a result of a stalemate between two larger cities and was given a fake lake and free carp.

After looking up “perineum” I laughed so hard my mirkin fell off…

SolarPowered 5:32 pm 10 Aug 10

“Have we ever had a proper discussion on sprawl or infill?”

In summary, this is how it would go….

Sprawl gives inner city types more to feel superior about.

Infill gives inner city types more to complain about.

Next.

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