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Gordon St. - March 31st
Citizen #381277

Gordon St, East Melbourne. Looking towards Hoddle St...

Melbourne 31st March, 2004 19:46:50   [#] [0 comments] 

News from the beyond the UGB!
Citizen #381277

IN recent news, the owners of the discount ‘hardware’ store, Bunnings, have announced that they are placing one of their mall style Warehouses on the outskirts of Warragul. This sorts of development is concerning for several reasons;
Firstly, Warragul’s shopping precinct is accessible without needing to use a car. Most shops and such can be accessed by foot. By placing the Bunnings Warehouse on the outskirts, this will force Warragul residents to use the car. From an environmental point of view, this is quite bad. From a transport planning point of view, unless the developers of the Warehouse decide that the single lane road into Warragul needs to be widened, there will be considerable traffic problems caused by the patrons of the Warehouse.

Secondly, the development sets a precedent for more development outside the generally agreed Warragul city limits. If Bunnings can put in a big warehouse, why can’t Delfin whack down some cookie cutter houses around it? And so on and so forth. Warragul has always been a town has grown around two main areas; the main transportation hubs (the station and main road) and the schools. With this Bunnings Warehouse, this breaks the pattern of Warragul’s previous development and is more akin to development around the dreaded Fountain Gate, of Kath and Kim fame (this is a serious is-soo). But I digress, the main point I’m trying to make is that the out-of-centre development that this Bunnings Warehouse represents breaks the historical pattern of growth in Warragul, and sets a precedent for more aggressive development further out.

Finally, and this could just be rumour (LIES! ALL LIES! Ahem…), but word on the proverbial grapevine is that the Westfield group, the people responsible for Chadstone, Fountain Gate et al are planning to build something along the lines of the aforementioned shopping centres around the Warragul Bunnings Warehouse. Of course, this would have dire consequences for the retailers in Warragul’s CBD. Well, if not dire, than marginally disruptive…of course, this could all be damned hearsay. Good old gossip.

Anyhoo, there’s just some thoughts on what’s happening in the country!

Oh, some links too:
Baw Baw Planning Scheme Online
The Baw Baw Planning Scheme map.: The area in question is at the middle of the Rural Zone.

Planning 31st March, 2004 00:04:55   [#] [6 comments] 

The public face of CvP
Citizen #381277

Well, it has come to our attention that Civil Pandemonium is in need of a logo of some sort. IN order to 'find' this logo, so to speak, we are running a competition. If you feel that you are up to the task, then submit a piece to either myself, or Jason and it will be forwarded to the committee. Basically, we are looking for a logo that is sharp, easy on the eye and includes our name (Civil Pandemonium) and a RMIT. Please keep the file sizes fairly small, and if possible, just use one or two colours. Simple is always better.

I've posted this in the general area so that everyone can have a crack at it, and who knows, if the uni gives us some more funding, then there may be a nice prize for the winner!

Please submit your enteries by the 29th of April.

Tom Anderson (afxsiamese at hotmail.com)
Jason Bucklands (jason_buckland at hotmail.com)

General 30th March, 2004 21:42:44   [#] [0 comments] 

Monday Melbourne: XXII, Mar 2004
Russell Degnan

The cold has arrived, just in time for the footy season. This is the Yarra, looking towards the MCG. August 2003

Melbourne 29th March, 2004 22:40:00   [#] [0 comments] 

The fine art of deluding oneself
Russell Degnan

There is something compelling about attempts by marketers to brand a product as something it is not - and never could be. Are they aware how forced it looks? Do they even care? Or is the brand itself the important feature, and the product merely adequate?

When it comes to tapping into local culture, governments are more guilty of this little charade than anyone; and local government is the worst of all. Take Melbourne City Council's plan for a Lygon Piazza.

Good idea you'd think. Reinforce the Italian links, create a central focal point for the area. Maybe reduce traffic and give more scope for pedestrians to 'just hang'.

Well, no.

The Lygon Piazza is a park - not a piazza. It is away from Lygon St., isolated from it by the strange - though not surprising - decision to retain the existing flower bed and bluestone wall. On three of it's sides it has warehouses and residential buildings; on the other, it faces perhaps the quietest part of Lygon St. itself where an empty carpark dominates, and some of the few remaining non-restaurants are located.

The place itself is surrounded by trees - most un-Italian - further isolating it visually. While it does have a paved surface; the dominating feature of piazzas in Italy, that ability to sit, or stand and watch other people isn't there. Instead the council proposes that: "at night, visitors will be drawn into the piazza to admire the dramatically lit fountain."

Like moths!

Not that the MCC doesn't recognise this problem, it is right there in their document:

Changes to pedestrian access and circulation are also needed to encourage social interaction and more effective links with surrounding residential, retail and commercial activities.


Ultimately the success of Argyle Square piazza will depend on its sense of vitality and its ability to attract and draw people to spend time there throughout the year. Its future will be linked to the way it can inspire spontaneous acts of enjoyment and accommodate major public events.

But their method of addressing it is, well, lacking?

connection    Argyle Square Piazza will be an essential part of the life of the Carlton community. The new piazza will have strong links to Carlton’s other parks and reserves and to the area’s commercial, retail and cultural places. Likewise the established southern half of Argyle Square will be integrated with the piazza and cultural connections will be expressed through programming of events and activities by the local Italian community.

No, the Piazza should have strong links to its surrounding area. The designed square does not - except in that special world they inhabit, where what is stated becomes true. In the future, when the area around the square has become cafes and shops, instead of housing, when the car traffic isn't an impediment to pedestrians, when people must go through the square to conduct their daily activities, and when other people stop in the square to watch the maddening crowds. Then it will be a piazza.

For now, it is a park, a nice looking park, to be sure, but just a park.

Urban Design 27th March, 2004 14:49:18   [#] [2 comments] 

PIA Young Planners

Hi all, the PIA Young Planner's 2004 calendar of events is now out. If you didn't receive an e-mail please check with any 2nd yrs so they can foward all the social and networking information that you need. Lisa.

Career/Education 25th March, 2004 14:49:33   [#] [0 comments] 

Monday Melbourne: XXI, Mar 2004
Russell Degnan

Parliament House. From the walk home last Wednesday, March 17th 2004.

Melbourne 23rd March, 2004 00:43:32   [#] [2 comments] 

A few quick articles
Russell Degnan

A plan to deepen the shipping channel into Port Phillip Bay was never going to pass the Precautionary Principle. The government, unions and business are all for it; the opposition - strangely - have sniffed a few votes by going the other way. But, this will be a big issue in the next few years or so.

Michael Veitch remembers:

the St Kilda before it became this hysterical, screaming, commercially voracious slut, this nauseating youth-obsessed outpost of Sydney, crammed with gift shops and hairdressers and ice creameries and food franchises, before its dubious elevation to a "tourist precinct".

Also being promoted are Port Phillip's forums on gentrification. Wednesday March 24th at St. Kilda Town Hall.

Finally Guy Rundle complains about development over heritage buildings. Particularly those not heritage listed individually. Given that a lot of campaigning has already been done to create heritage precints, and maintain neighbourhood character - particularly by groups such as Save Our Suburbs. Guy is either behind the times, or as confused as his placement of the College of Surgeons building (It is on Spring, not Exhibition St.) Either way, he would be better off contributing to exactly what neighbourhood character is: by saying how to define it, and how changing it affects the surrounding properties.

General 16th March, 2004 00:07:36   [#] [0 comments] 

Monday Melbourne: XX, Mar 2004
Russell Degnan

Summer slips by so quickly. It seemed like only yesterday a friend and I were discussing how slow these trees had been to sprout leaves. Taken in University Square, March 12th 2004.

Melbourne 15th March, 2004 23:11:59   [#] [0 comments] 

A win for the rural gentry
Russell Degnan

Although the proportions vary, around all cities, there are normally three ways of living. The 'know-your-neighbour' of the inner city, the 'englishman's home is his castle' of the suburbs, and the one I've never really understood - opulent though it may be: that of the rural gentry.

Melbourne has always had these houses. Set in large gardens, or semi- native forest, they sit on the edge of town until the suburbs come and surround them. The most opulent - at say Como House, or the Werribee Mansion - retain some of their gardens and their grandeur. Others - and there are many scattered around - seem to be merely older houses, on slightly larger (or slightly too small) blocks amongst a sub-division.

However, they were to become no more. Under a proposal to change rural zoning, lots under 40 hectares*, second dwellings on farms, and excisions of lots from farms would have been banned. This was to stop prime farmland being subdivided into large 'lifestyle' lots outside the urban growth boundary.

Well, last Saturday, Stateline on the ABC had a program on the confusion, and anger that this has wrought in the farming community. Yesterday the government backed down on those changes while still (as always) trying to claim they were in control:

Ms Delahunty said the re-worked farming zones "acknowledged the benefits of protecting farmers' rights to farm" and prevented ad hoc subdivision of Victoria's agricultural land.


Ms Delahunty said yesterday's concessions would not undermine the broad thrust of the reforms, but that "existing rights" would continue under the new zoning arrangements, meaning property owners would be able to seek a permit for a dwelling on lots less that 40 hectares, for a second dwelling, and to excise one lot with a dwelling.

Ms. Delahunty loves using the word "ad hoc"+. Have you noticed?

But I digress. The key point here is that people will always want to use the land for what is most profitable. Farmers with less than 40 hectares are not going to be profitable - unless they are growing something sinful, like, grapes, or opium. They need to either consolidate the land or sell to someone from the city. By not disallowing the latter, the practise of changing land on the outskirts of Melbourne to semi-rural landlots will continue.

On the plus side, as this article discusses in relation to the United States. Kilometer after kilometer of semi-suburban/semi-native landlots may be great for smaller wildlife - which Australia has in abundance.

* For those wondering, 40 hectares is 400,000m2, or roughly the size of the Botanic Gardens.

+ It is a fascinating word actually, two (complementary) definitions:

Adj. 1. ad hoc - often improvised or impromptu; "an ad hoc committee meeting"
2. ad hoc - for or concerned with one specific purpose; "a coordinated policy instead of ad hoc decisions"

Of course, because we have a planning framework, the only person with the power to make an ad hoc decision, is Mary Delahunty. Unless, as is possible, she believes that the zones allow too much freedom to use your land as you see fit, or, as is also possible, the planning system is hopelessly inadequate to implement a strategic policy.

Every planning decision that goes to VCAT has to be ad hoc to someone - otherwise, why is it being arbitrated. Perhaps Ms Delahunty defines it as "any decision I disagree with", in which case, I direct her to this famous movie quote:

Inigo: [looking confused] You keep using that word? I do not think it means what you think it means...

Planning 11th March, 2004 12:38:26   [#] [2 comments] 

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