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RANTINGurban design

Capital Precinct

By September 18, 2009September 19th, 2009No Comments

We’re pleased to note that Her Worship the Mayor Kerry Prendergast, and the Prime Minister, the Right Honourable John Key, have been getting together to launch Our Extraordinary Democracy – The Capital City Initiative. It seems that it is not often that architecture, design, and especially urban design get discussed at such high level – and so long may this trend continue.

The “10 differences by 2015” list is not just a shopping list or a wish list – as far as we understand it is a ‘To Do’ list of things that will get accomplished. We look forward to them all:
1. Completion of Government House upgrade
2. Completion of an upgraded, more inviting National Library of New Zealand
3. Completion of urban design upgrade of Molesworth Street area to better reflect its position as the ‘front door’ to Parliament
4. A recognised processional route along Taranaki Street to National War Memorial
5. Completion of National Memorial Park on Buckle Street
6. Establishment of a Capital City Interpretation Centre
7. Popular walking tours of the Capital Centre established
8. Coordinated signage of key attractions in Capital Centre
9. Annual open days of Parliament to include related national institutions such as National Library, National Archives, Courts buildings, Reserve Bank etc – and local cafes – in the Thorndon area
10. Pedestrian crossing lights at Aitken Street, near Parliament, to feature a ‘little green woman’, in reference to New Zealand being the first nation to give votes to women.

Well to be honest, some of them we look forward to more than others, and some of them we’re wondering why they’re not being done already. Why aren’t there already Open Days at the National Library etc? How much of a Prime Ministerial push does it take to co-ordinate the signage? And if there are to be walking tours, how will they manage to make them popular?

However, other of the inititiatives are well overdue. We’ve been wondering what happened to the National Memorial Park along Buckle St ever since we ran a Seminar and Competition for it back in 2007. It’s good to hear that it may be back on the agenda, despite rumours from others in Government that it may have been axed already.

It’s also good that we really might get a long overdue boulevard of trees along Taranaki St – one of our main streets in Wellington, at present as inviting as a avenue in Stalin’s Russia, and complete with Siberian cold blasts. It’s good for parading troops, or racing V8s, but not much else at present.

It is also fantastic that the long neglected Molesworth St area is to be upgraded to reflect the importance of the Parliamentary Precinct. But most of all, it’s great to hear that around Aitken St, the little green men crossing will be changed to women. If God is indeed in the details, then it is the details like that which will make all the difference.

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