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Rongotai Revived – a fisheyed view…

By RANTING, Uncategorized

I have come to this a little late, as it has already been the subject of about 30 or so comments over on Eye of the Fish, and I did think that perhaps I wouldn’t bother posting anything on it given the stirling job they usually do over there.

Then I read the post.

Disappointingly, it is ┬áknee-jerk culturally-elitist pompous rubbish that alienates the people who are going to be affected by the Rongotai Revived (RR) proposal, and does the cause of good urban design (and more generally, thoughtful socialism), no amount of good in the process. Looking down your nose at the culture of others is called all sorts of terrible things if the cultures are of another creed/race/sexual orientation/etc – so why is it ok to diss the activities of the majority of the lower and middle classes with so much blathering arrogance?? Read More

Urban petitions (or the things we care about)…

By RANTING

Yay for participatory democracy…

Obviously, the demise of our green recycling bins matter, with almost 10 000 signatures already on the Council hosted ePetition┬á(how ick is that particular moniker?), which doesn’t close until May 13. This was one issue that spread like a virus through the pc’s of most Wellingtonians some weeks ago. I am unsure if there is a hard version of the petition as well…?

But, seeing as the Council┬ámagnanimously┬áprovides such a forum, we really should endeavour to make ourselves aware of the issues that are burning for our fellow citizens, and, in this very spirit, here are, along with the recycling bin issue, the current most significant matters… Read More

Building with a zero height: Great idea or Waterfront Ridiculous-ness?

By RANTING, SUBMISSIONS

Early December 2008 the Wellington City Council examined draft documents for Variation 11 (the long title being: District Plan Variation 11: Amendments to Proposed District Plan Change 48 (Central Area Review) – Wellington Waterfront.)

The relevant documents are: Report 1, Appendix 1, The Section 32 Report, and Attachment 1

At the time of the meeting Lindsay Shelton wrote an article available on Scoop suggesting inappropriate council behaviour such as: council officers approving buildings, the public being un-notified, and the outlawing of coffee (just joking about the coffee!).

Anyway, some day soon this should all become official for public consultation, and theoretically we’ll have 2 months or so to think about what the Arch Centre position is on all this. The documents are in part a reaction to the Hilton decision. As the council notes “the Environment Court did not question the existing waterfront Framework … but questioned the method of incorporation and reference in the District Plan.”

The Variation also includes changing the “strict regime … requiring all new building development and the development of open space to be assessed as Discretionary Activities (Unrestricted). This was to ensure that no development would occur on the waterfront without the opportunity for public involvement.” Currently, the main mechanism to ensure all projects are notified is the imposition of a zero height limit. The new proposal is “a new Discretionary (Restricted) rule with associated development standards and a design guide.”

Another key issue is the use of the idea of “design excellence,” borrowed from the existing Central Area under Plan Change 48 to allow over-height buildings. Wellington isn’t over-burdened with “design excellence” oozing from its built environment so you’d think on the surface that this was a good idea.

Oozing with Design Excellence?

Oozing with Design Excellence?

But what is “design excellence” and who decides? and are these people appropriately qualified in these matters? A nice idea but a dangerous one? And isn’t it an oxymoron (I love that word) to have a Maximum Height Limit plus 15% – what was that definition of “maximum”?

What are your opinions re: this? As usual the sub-committee drafting the submission won’t include anyone involved in related (i.e. Waterfront in this case) projects, nor those working in any firms involved in such work. But we will consider ideas discussed on this blog, which no doubt will be varied and possibly contradictory. Any members keen on being involved please email Kate or Christine.