Monthly Archives: August 2011

Fifty Years of Ugliness

The Australian Ugliness (Robin Boyd, Text, 1960/2010)

Como Street

In 1960 Robin Boyd’s The Australian Ugliness became the classic treatise on the malaise of this country’s architecture and planning, offering a withering critique of all that Boyd found wanting in the Australian built form of the late 1950s. The book has now been re-issued in a handsome fiftieth-anniversary edition, with Boyd’s text bracketed between an introduction by Christos Tsiolkas and an afterword by John Denton, Phillip Goad and Geoffrey London, and its reappearance provides an interesting prompt for reflection. In the subsequent half century our cities have expanded astronomically, and no doubt there is plenty of ugliness out there in the built environment. But what kind of ugliness? Have we moved on from those trends that so bothered Boyd? And if so, have we just found newer, more effective ways to blight our landscape?

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How to Not Read Everything I Write

I occasionally feel self-conscious about the weird mix of content on this site, with film reviews sitting alongside detailed discussions of urban planning issues. While I think some of my planning stuff (like my essays about the town of Seaside, or the urban design and planning of Disneyland) might be of interest to a broader readership, some of my posts are pretty technical and I appreciate must be annoying to the readers that followed me over here from my old film-related site, Cinephobia.

For this reason, I’ve now made it slightly easier to skip to just the content you’re after by creating subdomains you can bookmark for each of the two main threads of content. The two new addresses, which should be self-explanatory, are:

www.sterow.com/film

www.sterow.com/urbanplanning

You can also get an RSS feed that just delivers the film or planning articles. Here’s the film feed, and here’s the planning feed.

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Posted in Film, Miscellany, Urban Planning | 1 Comment

The Victorian Car Parking Review: Why it Matters and What Should Happen Now

God's Abacus

There was movement on one of the most long-awaited planning reviews going around last week, with the announcement that a new Advisory Committee will examine draft car parking controls and prepare a further report.

The car parking controls have become the bad joke of Victorian planning. The current review recently passed its seven year anniversary, having been initiated in May of 2004. The original terms of reference for that review made it clear it was building on earlier work conducted by Hansen Partnership in 1999, and then-Planning Minister Robert Maclellan was telling Planning News that a review was imminent back in the mid 1990s. The draft Advisory Committee report was released in 2007, but a long silence followed: we were already making fun of the former government’s inaction on the topic in Planning News back in May of 2008. The change of government had only deepened the suspicion that we might never see action on this front.

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