Wellington’s Urban Design

At the Architecture Centre we feel it is time to ask some questions. The rumblings from our city have been going on for some time – the big question is : what IS going on at the Wellington City Council with regards to the Urban Design and Planning of the capital city?

Arch Centre has a long history in this respect. In fact, Arch Centre has been commenting on Wellington’s Urban Design even before Wellington had a Town Planning department. We still have active members who remember what used to happen, or not happen, and the Town Planning and Urban Design of Wellington was one of the prime reasons that Arch Centre even came into existence on. Sixty to seventy years ago, Wellington had a slum problem. Te Aro flat in particular was a suburb of drink, drugs, destitution, and prostitution, in a mix of bad buildings. Nowadays, of course, nothing much has changed…. except new buildings for old. But our concern for Urban Design continues. We campaigned on it back then, we have even run Council candidates in the past, so we feel that we have an absolute right to ask as highly concerned Wellingtonians, about just what is happening to the Urban Design Team at Wellington City Council.

We’ve been watching and waiting in the sidelines for some explanations of what the ‘Team’ is doing. Wellington used to have a very strong Urban Design Team, up until about 10 years ago. Rumour has it, our Urban unit was even the envy of Auckland. We had strong urban reviewing capabilities, with architects and urban designers working in the team and all extremely knowledgeable about the history of Wellington. But things have been changing a lot since then, and there has been a gradual and steady loss of institutional and intellectual knowledge. There are still some fantastic dedicated souls there. But many others have left, or been forced to leave.

Although we don’t have figures to hand, there have been a number of restructurings at WCC’s Urban Group over the last few years, reaching way back before the current lot of managers. Is it five restructurings Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on 23rd November 2010
Under: Comment, RANTING | 3 Comments »

Invercargill leads the way.

Quite alot happens at the edges of our roads. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on 30th August 2010
Under: Comment, Exhibition, News, RANTING, urban design | 4 Comments »

Looking out for us … all

Sitting in Mojo’s in Dunedin last weekend, sheltering from wind and rain, a chance glance at the ceiling revealed the ominous black perspex globe hiding a security camera.

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Posted on 26th May 2010
Under: Comment, News | 4 Comments »

On the Prowl

In recent weeks (something about tragic airline promotions), the notion of the cougar has been roaming the airwaves (probably more than our streets).  Rather than Baudelaire’s notion of a flaneur (the more placid experience of the city through walking), a more aggressive and sexually-charged urban exploration is gaining currency in our city’s lexicon. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on 26th February 2010
Under: Comment | 6 Comments »

Fashion offensives

Architecture has historically had a difficult relationship with fashion, and, despite the challenges of the Urbis generation, it continues to perpetrate an image of consistent fundamentals, along with its younger siblings: Urban Design and Town Planning. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on 11th November 2009
Under: RANTING, urban design | 9 Comments »

The Elephant in the Room

Phil Jones‘ talk on last Wednesday (9 Sept 09) presented the idea of shared spaces (also known as naked streets) in the context of the council’s proposal to convert lower Cuba St into a shared space.

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Posted on 12th September 2009
Under: Comment, RANTING, urban design | 10 Comments »

A Place to Stay : film

What: A Place to Stay – a film about Salisbury Garden Court
When: Saturday July 11, 11.30am
Where: Paramount Cinema, Courtney Place

This film by Marie Russell and Shane Loader presents the history of Salisbury Court in Wadestown, and asks, what is the relationship between people, their community, and the architecture that surrounds and houses them?

flyer-for-a-place-to-stay-june-2009

Posted on 7th July 2009
Under: AC EVENTS, Film | No Comments »