Category Archives: planning

Reviving Newcastle

It can take a heroic effort to bring an ailing city district back to life but often all it takes to spark it off is one person or one small group. Marcus Westbury‘s efforts to revive Hunter Street, the ailing main street of the Australian industrial city of Newcastle (think rustbelt if you are not […]

Don’t be brutal to Robin Hood Gardens

Some suggest that Alison and Peter Smithson were the first examples of starchitecture, as Norman Blogster calls the “more PR than architecture” careers of stylists like Hadid and Liebeskind. But when our reader Kristian Seier challenged us to find something bad to say about the Upper Lawn Pavilion (later known as the Solar Pavilion), their […]

The return of the dispossessed

(Photo Sean Hemmerle) You will have noticed that we’ve been updating our links since new year. While trawling our bookmarks we noticed a thread of links about apocalypse that we discussed in our last post but also about attempts to adapt to catastrophes/war/dystopias, providing visions of a future that is all too possible. Beirut seems […]

The joy of apocalypse

Recent announcements by Exxon-Mobil and George Bush indicate that we are now moving out of the climate change denial phase and into the sabotage-and-delay-by-spurious-solution phase (with a good dash of solutions-that-are-worse-than-the-problem like nuclear power and sunlight blocking). It all means that serious catastrophe looks increasingly likely. We don’t really believe it will end in apocalypse […]

Going batty

The world was does not belong only to humans, notwithstanding the deluded ravings of right wing religious extremists. We share it with a still unknown number of other species and most of them can be pretty awe inspiring once you get to know them better. What better way to spend your life than trying to […]

Floating world

All this dutch design brilliance may soon amount to nought. Approximately 60% of the Netherlands are lower than sea level, not a good place to be in a century where sea levels may well rise 5 metres or more. Many studies are pessimistic about the country’s survival while others are already planning for a floating […]

Big things

We live midway between a number of huge abandoned industrial sites. Ten kilometres in one direction is Portland with its cement works closed since 1991, and ten kilometres in another is Lithgow blast furnace, site of the first steel production in Australia, abandoned since 1928. About thirty kilometres away as the crow flies is Glen […]

The hungry mile

The current redevelopment of East Darling Harbour to create some of the most expensively mediocre real estate in Sydney also produced an attempted piece of culture history whitewashing, the renaming of Hickson Road. This roadway surrounded by cliffs and warehouses has always been colloquially known as The Hungry Mile in memory of the day labourers […]

Unnatural gardening

The sad saga of the Thomas Street, Box Hill garden that was posted on Lucazoid’s site got us looking at urban agriculture. The residents had turned the entire backyard into an organic vegetable garden only to discover their landlord was a lawn lover who considered they had damaged the property. The whole garden had to […]

We’ll take the high road

The crazy proliferation of highways has left a century or more of rail infrastructure redundant. As it languishes it often turns into the only nature reserve in highly urbanised areas. The High Line in New York is a typical example. If you’ve ever been to Chelsea you’ve probably seen it. It’s a mile and a […]