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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

urban planning: Sydney style « Previous | |Next »
March 30, 2011

One of the core issues of urban like is the way that developers appear to control the process of urban planning. They mostly get their way over local governments because the state governments have legislation that over rides the normal planning rules and procedures.

Sometimes this is necessary--for crucial major projects-- but, more often that not, this exception has been white anted by the bags of cash developers donate to political parties in the states. So we end up with bad development, poorly designed and built suburbs and an impoverished urban life.

At the National Times Elizabeth Farrelly gives a good example of this by showing how urban planning in Sydney has worked. She says:

In truth, planning in NSW has never been about planning. I doubt that a single decision has ever been made, since Pat Hills dudded the Cumberland County green belt in the 1950s, that genuinely had the city's overall future at heart. Planning here has always been principally an exchange of favours; long lunches, special pleadings, spot rezonings, windfall gains.

The key in NSW is Part 3A, the horse-and-cart amendment to the 1976 Environmental Planning and Assessment Act.

This gives the minister:

near-limitless discretion it concentrated in the minister's hands. It mandated no criteria either for the calling-in or for the decision itself; required no written rationale or judgment, even after the event; and suspended almost all associated environmental protection legislation, as well as requirements for consultation, that would otherwise apply. The developer only had to inflate his claim outrageously and he was pretty much home and hosed.

She gives exampes: Catherine Hill Bay, Gwandalan, Sandon Point, marinas up and down the coast, high-rise apartments, Redfern-Waterloo, Luna Park, the Caritas redevelopment, Barangaroo, Wallarah Peninsula, Vincentia Village, spot-zoned shopping centres and the entire rash of Hunter Valley coalmines approved by minister Keneally.

What seems to have great difficulty in getting off the ground in Adelaide is the promotion of a pedestrian culture in the city: eg., completing a city tram loop, providing more facilities for cyclists, closing some streets to cars and making others a public transport-only street; providing more trees for summer shade, widening footpaths allowing for outdoor cafes, etc.

The car lobby, of course, is outraged by these kind of suggestions by the various thinkers in residence, such as Fred Hansen. Public transport is for the poor; lefty (socialist left) minority groups are imposing their idealistic green vision on the hard working common sense majority; there are too many bike lanes; more freeways are needed;thinkers in residence are too academic and impractical etc . Adelaide is a motor city period.

It's the cultural wars all over again.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 10:23 PM | | Comments (2)
Comments

Comments

the dystopian view of our cities is a city ruled by surveillance, social division and civil unrest: a dangerous place if you're broke and homeless, where commerce rules and undocumented people ('undocs') face constant danger.

who actually designs out cities these days? It isn't architects that is for sure.

The coordinator/manager role, bringing all the parts of the team together, is a role typically taken by the engineer. The engineers of the future would be leading the production of buildings.