My book The Victorian Planning System: Practice, Problems and Prospects is now available for pre-order.
My book Movie Towns and Sitcom Suburbs is out now through Palgrave Macmillan.
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RCI Planning is my consultancy providing expert advice, VCAT advocacy and statutory planning services in the Victorian planning system.
Monthly Archives: December 2010
Eighteen months ago I posted about Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus, the latest opus from the folk at Asylum, the studio noted (until now) for basing its whole business model on getting people confused about which DVD they’re renting. Incredibly, it’s turned up here in Melbourne at the Nova.
What’s even more impressive, however, is now they’ve made a sequel: Mega Shark vs Crocosaurus. While there’s nothing in this trailer quite as hilarious as the final shot of the previous trailer, overall it actually looks a lot more fun.
At some point, quietly, VCAT have slipped out their “three year strategic plan,” which appears to be the final output of the review started by former President Justice Kevin Bell. It’s not immediately clear when they did so: it’s not dated, and has simply been posted as a news update on the VCAT website. If there was wider coverage of this release, I missed it. As I write, the page for the review itself (www.transformingvcat.com.au) still hasn’t been updated with the final report; there’s also an older, lonelier page for the review as it was started by Justice Bell at www.vcatreview.com.au that also currently fails to reflect any of the final outcomes. The latter page doesn’t even refer to the re-branded discussion paper released by Justice Iain Ross.
(For those having trouble keeping up, Justice Bell released a “consultation paper” called The Role of VCAT in a Changing World in March 2009, followed by a “President’s review” called One VCAT in February 2010; and then Justice Ross released a “discussion paper” called Transforming VCAT in May 2010, followed by this undated three year strategic plan with the same name).
It’s a shame the release of the document has been so lackadaisical, because it is generally a positive document that I think Victorian planners, as regular users of the system, should welcome. I wrote two editorials for Planning News covering the review process (here and here) and it should be obvious from those that I have some issues with the way VCAT currently operate. This review won’t magically resolve those issues, and one of the biggest issues facing currently facing the Tribunal and its users – the long wait times for hearings – is a resourcing issue that can only be resolved by the new government allocating funding appropriately. Yet there are some really good things in here that if followed through should definitely improve the operation of the Tribunal.
I was googling myself the other day – I know, I know – and stumbled across this page squirreled away on the Age website, where Jason Hill had blogged about my Planning News article on SimCity (which is reproduced in full here).
What made my day was this comment underneath by “RealityCheck:”
Stephen Rowley is quite obviously a drooling, mouth-breathing moron.
“OMGZ, no MS Flight Simulatorz, who willz flies all de planes!?” … retard.
On a sidenote, this article does explain the absolutely horrendous state of australia’s capital cities.
Love ya work Rowley.
Today saw the delivery of the last issue of Planning News for which I was co-editor, and my last post to the magazine’s facebook page. So I guess we really are done. I hope you can excuse a few self-indulgent thoughts.
It has been a privilege to work on the magazine. No other Australian state has a monthly planning magazine; Victoria is very lucky to have one, particularly since it also sustains the three-times a year VPELA newsletter as well. It is a tribute to the establishing editors of the magazine that they had not only the vision to see how important monthly publication was, but also the persistence to ensure that it happened. All the subsequent editors owe them a lot, as they proved the monthly turnaround could be done and established Planning News as the key channel for debate in the Victorian planning industry.
As an urban planner and a filmy watchy guy, I’m particularly fascinated by the way our ideas about cities and towns are shaped by the environments we see in film and television. You can get a giant size chunk of my research on this by reading the essay here, but as another little snippet, consider Hill Valley in Back to the Future.