News & Discussion: Architecture, Planning & Urban Design

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Re: Urbanism and business

#76 Post by skyliner » Fri Jun 18, 2010 5:23 pm

Prince, to add your statements I know senior businessmen who chose their job here years ago and have now reached 'the ceiling' where no employment in Adelaide is worth reaching for - the jobs are elsewhere, leaving, in the long term, an absence of very high level careers here. very interesting field of thought you have opened up. what now keeps them here is family, relatives etc.


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Queen Anne
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Re: Urbanism and business

#77 Post by Queen Anne » Sat Jun 19, 2010 2:23 pm

I've never really completely bought the idea that people simply go where the jobs are. I think that if Adelaide had thought about this long ago - that jobs alone are not enough to attract people and keep them - we would be in a far better position than we are.

We could be decades into a transformative urban renewal by now. We could, by now, have a city that intrigues and attracts people. But here we are, instead, releasing more greenfield land for development cos that''s`easy. We seem to be letting our city persist in its coma while we pin our hopes for Adelaide's success on (pretty much) gifting a nice Ad Oval redevelopment to the AFL and cricket I misguided in my frustration?

EDIT: Just realised that "urban renewal" is totally the wrong term to use - I didn't mean to suggest that we should level Adelaide's CBD and start again..

What I mean is, we should be looking at how we can use design and policy to improve our fortunes. We should be getting basics like affordable city living (not only for students) right if we want a vibrant city centre. We should not be letting so many city buildings sit idle and derelict. Could we have development plans/policies that expect/reward developments that truly contribute to the life and beauty of the city? How can we make sharing the roads work a lot better, to build on our success with the Tour Down Under (Portland OR is building a huge future for itself as a biking friendly city)? How can we respect and celebrate our heritage AND meld it with an exciting future (we deserve to put our mark on the city too, don't we?). There must be dozens of things - in addition to building the job market - that we could do to help make our city attractive to potential residents.

Hmmm, had a bit of a rant there..

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Inspirational design could encourage us to develop Adelaide

#78 Post by Prince George » Fri Jul 02, 2010 10:24 am

Nice piece in the Advertiser today. Can I suggest that anyone that cares about the state of planning and design in Adelaide jump on the article and add some supportive comments?

Inspirational design could encourage us to develop Adelaide in a new light
ARE South Australians anti-development? Yes, I believe it is correct to say that, generally, citizens of this state are pretty negative about new development proposals - but then I would argue they have just cause for thinking this way. Because of weak and directionless government, the development industry has essentially taken over the running of urban planning in this state - if not in an official capacity then certainly behind the scenes.

This has recently been confirmed in the drawing up of new growth areas around the Mt Barker township, where the local council and the general public have been locked out of the process and a privileged consortium of developers has prepared the plan. The Government has now released the plan for public consultation, but it is obvious from the minister's comments that this is only a faux process and that there are unlikely to be major changes to the plan despite adverse public comment. The approach taken with the Mt Barker growth plan flies in the face of a promise made by the Premier after the past state election, that his Government would try to reconnect with the public.

Other examples of the development industry's behind-the-scenes stranglehold over planning are evident in: the major changes made to the planning legislation to fast-track development; the introduction of a residential tick box code to dumb down and accelerate planning assessments; and the development of a 30-year plan for Adelaide which allows unprecedented levels of growth (sprawl) on the urban fringe.

These were all "must have" initiatives of the development industry. With all of the new initiatives that have been pressed home by the development industry, there has little justification given and little or no attempt at genuine public consultation.

It is no wonder then there is always a great deal of suspicion and mistrust on the part of the public. The way the development industry operates is what might have been expected 30 years ago. Similar organisations overseas seem to have a much more progressive approach in dealing with the public and in selling new ideas and concepts.

Of course, the State Government is not without blame in all of this. It has to learn that responsible planning involves consideration of not only the input of a single vested interest group but the collective views and concerns of the whole community. Most, if not all, of the consultation processes it has set up with the public have been fake and its approach in selling new ideas and concepts - for example, the need for transit-oriented development - has been appalling.

HOW then can we get a more balanced approach to new development? Professor Brendan Gleeson, the director of Griffith University's Urban Research Program, recently claimed that all of our state governments had made such a mess of planning our cities that stand-alone independent commissions should be established "that would take the everyday management and long-term planning for cities off state governments".

Although I agree with Professor Gleeson's assessment of state governments' performance in the urban planning area (with South Australia perhaps being worst of all), I don't agree that the long-term planning should be handed over to bodies which would have little or no accountability for their actions to the public.

The so-called "independent" planning commissions or their equivalents that I am familiar with are far from independent of government. My experience is that governments will invariably ensure that the individuals they appoint to these bodies will deliver exactly the types of decisions they want.

The solution, I believe, lies in the way governments undertakes public consultation on new development plans or proposals. This includes the approach it uses in selling new ideas and the manner in which development industry and the public are brought together to thrash out contentious proposals.

As part of a new way forward, I would suggest the Government do the following:

1. Implement more genuine public consultation processes.

The Rann Government has to learn that consultation must take place through the whole planning process, not just at the end.

It is well known that governments like to prepare draft strategies or proposals behind closed doors and then release these to the general public for comment. This ensures that they maintain a high degree of control over the outcomes.

Unfortunately, this was the process used in drawing up the new Mt Barker township growth areas.

The process must be all-inclusive.

The approach taken by the SA Government in only contacting so-called key stakeholders in drafting its Vision 2039 Report is not acceptable.

The report was indeed released to the public for comment when it was finalised but it was obvious from the way it dealt with these comments that it was totally locked into the directions of its original report.

Various options for action should be fully evaluated.

Governments are normally loath to present a range of options for action, fearing that the public may not adopt the option that they have already selected.

However, the presentation of this such varied information is vital to the public's gaining a better understanding of the matters they are dealing with and securing higher levels of trust in government.

It appears to me that one of the main reasons the State Government has struck major problems with the new RAH and Adelaide Oval proposals is that it has not fully evaluated a range of options for action.

Full information justifying new policy directions is provided. Although the Government's 2039 Vision Report proposes unprecedented levels of urban sprawl, it fails to justify why this sprawl is necessary given its widely accepted negative impacts.

Similarly its plans for public transport, such as the development of a tram network, have not been justified even though other options are available.

2. Sell new concepts on urban planning, urban design and transport solutions in a more aggressive and innovative way

Unfortunately, this is an area where I believe none of the current responsible ministers is up to the task.

In taking a more positive approach to engaging the public, the Government needs to look at every means possible to provide information on new planning, transport, architectural and landscape design initiatives that are appearing interstate and overseas.

Some of the new developments that are occurring elsewhere are truly inspirational and could encourage the public to look at ways of developing this city in a totally new light.

3. Initiate public design charrettes.

These intensive, hands-on workshops are an innovative way of bringing developers and members of the public from different disciplines and backgrounds together to explore development proposals and design options that may be contentious.

They usually involve intense and possibly multi-day meetings, with state and/or local government officials, developers and residents.

They promote joint ownership of solutions and attempt to remove the typical conflict situations between residents and developers.

Residents who participate in design charrettes get early input into planning or urban design processes. This, in turn, improves the chances that they will become enthusiastic champions of what might otherwise have been a contentions or divisive developments.

* Kevin O'Leary is an Adelaide-based uban planning expert.

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Prince George
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Rod Hook - major project planning is "fundamentally flawed"

#79 Post by Prince George » Fri Apr 15, 2011 10:57 pm

It's a bit over a week old, but still very pertinent. Rod Hook tells a design conference that our planning is "fundamentally flawed", and announces a budget figure prior to the design. It reminds me of some of the things that Bent Flyberg has said about public works going wildly over-budget. ... ng-flawed/
GOVERNMENT infrastructure planning is fundamentally flawed, the State’s head of major projects and infrastructure Rod Hook says.

He has quoted blow-outs in the cost of the Bakewell Bridge, the Gallipoli underpass and the Northern expressway as examples of how and why government infrastructure processes are back-to-front.

“We are fundamentally flawed in government because we put forward a cost estimate on a project before we actually do the design,” Mr Hook told the Built Environment Meets Parliament (BEMP) forum at the Adelaide Convention centre yesterday.

“In the case of the Gallipoli underpass we had that project approved by Cabinet at $65 million, but that figure was exceeded by the cost of land acquisition alone,” he said.

“We had gone into the project without costing the land and houses acquisition or actually designing the underpass.

“In the case of the Bakewell Bridge we ended up building something quite different to the project we had approval for.

“That’s why the project went from $30 million to $41 million, but in the end I think we delivered what was needed.

“The reality here is that, yes, you can deliver a project on budget, but only if you know what you’re actually building.

“Our system doesn’t allow us to do that.”
He does mention later in the piece that he is confident that Adelaide Oval can be delivered for $535M.

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