Monthly Archives: March 2012

Melbourne Too Does Not Lack the Big Things

This send-up of poor quality tourist infomercials is superficially disparaging of Melbourne, but actually manages to affectionately capture a sense of the everyday, humdrum life of the city.

It would be an interesting exhibit in a discussion of whether Melbourne (or any city) has its own distinctive ethos, an issue discussed by Alan Davies here.

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Let’s Start Building

Maxis have announced that SimCity 5 will be released in 2013, marking their return to the franchise they invented, and making it official that the awful (non-Maxis developed) SimCity Societies should not be thought of as the fifth instalment in the series. The trailer is below, and there’s some good information at the official website. A good article on the underlying game engine is here.

I’ve said my piece on the qualities of SimCity, and its importance to the urban planning profession, here. I genuinely feel its important that one or more good city builder games are out there, although I should add that this view has in the past had me labelled a “drooling, mouth-breathing moron.”

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RIP Ralph McQuarrie

I usually leave Star Wars stuff alone on this page lately, having overdosed on it during the prequel era, but I can’t help but note the sad passing of Ralph McQuarrie. While notable as an accomplished artist in his own right, he will always be remembered as the conceptual artist on Star Wars who more than anyone other than George Lucas helped crystallise the Star Wars “look.” He was crucial to shaping the quasi-mythical, lived-in, timeless aesthetic of the series; there’s also little doubt that his early paintings were pivotal in helping Lucas to sell the scope of the Star Wars vision and hence getting the movie made.

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Build Up or Beat Up? Some Belated Thoughts on Melbourne’s Mega CBD

Both Rupert Dance over at Plantastic and Designerific and Alan Davies at The Urbanist weighed in with good posts on Matthew Guy’s mooted mega-CBD. This got a big run in the Herald Sun first thing on the Friday before last, followed by a catch-up story later the same day by The Age. (The Herald Sun were obviously fed the scoop: perhaps The Age is being punished for its vigorous pursuit of Guy over the Ventnor rezoning).

Guy’s press release is here, and the map is reproduced below (click to see the original PDF). Oddly, there’s no explanation that I can find for the yellow blobs, though we can infer from their location that they’re industrial precincts. The DPCD website carried an almost comically non-committal story essentially just saying “Matthew Guy said some stuff: here’s a link,” so we can’t look to them for clarification.

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