Friday, November 18, 2011

Hanging garden

The banner picture for this blog is the vertical garden I love on the ANZ Bank Building at Docklands, Melbourne. Recently when visiting the 12 Apostles I was struck by the similarities between this dripping cliff hugging cascading vegetation and its urban counterpart. My own attempts are neither cascading nor beautiful - yet.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Urban Realities at Docklands 4

Urban maze or urban passage way? The strongest sensation associated with this piece was the rustling sound of the tissuey material as you passed through. I saw people walking through it head down - perhaps not even realising it was an installation.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Urban Realities at Docklands 3

Making a wind tunnel fully visible - these wind socks fully inflated in the space between two buildings.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Urban Realities at Docklands 2

There was no text associated with this insallation so I have to tell you what I made of it. This piece evoked ships, nets, sea sounds, mystery, treasure, veils and the river. The silver and gold discs are all bottle tops. The gold on the upstanding triangle is all bottle tops. It was set in a landscape of gravel and potted plants.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Urban Realities at Docklands

As part of Melbourne's State of Design Festival, design teams were invited to a 3 day design challenge at Docklands, Urban Realities. Quite by chance I happened upon these surprising and intriguing interventions - all thoughtful responses to the Docklands challenge. This is the one I bumped into which led me to the others. Rather than a petrol station, here was a bike tyre pumping station emerging from a green bench on the bike path. And a very helpful person to assist with bike tyre inflation.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Transforming cities into places for people

Here are some notes from this Melbourne Conversation with Jan Gehl (2 May 2011)

In response to a question about Melbournians dread of density, Jan Gehl said that we need 'sensitive and sensible' rather than 'insensitive' approaches to density - always having an eye on the detail of the human scale and what the eye can see.

High buildings should be located and planned with the greatest care and regard for the impact on the street experience. He was critical of architects, landscape architects, traffic planners and planners who have failed - in the main - to create places for people. Instead, these professionals have got the scale all wrong and lost the sensitivity to the street level.

He sees providing for walking and cycling as a critical step in bringing life and vigour back to streets - 'be sweet to cycling, be sweet to walking'. Dividing multi lane streets into space for trees, bike lanes, medians transforms streets from primarily about transportation to places for people.

He sees excellent public spaces as essential for democracy for people to come face to face with the range of people who make up our society. This takes the fear out of people's interaction. A frequently used word throughout his talk was 'care' - 'care' for the public realm, 'care' for the small things. A good public realm and a good public transportation system are 'like bother and sister'. He exuded confidence that cities can and have been transformed by adopting the approaches he suggests. Perhaps my favourite words from the talk were 'exuberance through the bicycle'.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Greening where there may be no space for a tree

Balaclava, City of Port Phillip

Richmond, City of Yarra

Lane in Middle Park

The Port Phillip Council has been exploring how to 'green' narrow streets and lanes where it is difficult to plant trees. These are a few examples I have seen in inner Melbourne recently.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Raingardens in Docklands

Every visit to Melbourne's changing Docklands reveals something new.
Today I saw these raingardens in front of Mirvac's new townhouse development on the south side of the Yarra River. I liked them because they sit very easily in the landscape right on the Yarra River and for the high quality materials used for the borders and pavers. The raingardens are planted with Ficinia nodosa, or Knobby Club-rush - a coastal plant well suited to the filtering task.
Melbourne Water is encouraging householders to introduce raingardens into their gardens to clean and filter stormwater before it reaches waterways. For more information, click here.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Visit of Queen Elizabeth: arrival and departure

From dawn to dusk, people gathered along the Port Melbourne waterfront to watch the ships on Friday 25 February. The Queen Elizabeth attracted most attention, even though the other ship in Port was considerably larger. My interest was in watching people watching the ships, and how they used the place. All eyes were directed outwards to the water, and every person had a camera in hand. Balconies were theatre boxes to the show, monuments provides points of elevation, and the bumpy seawall provided seating. Even riders, usually too busy to stop, paused to take a picture.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Bike parking

In response to the previous post about shared bike and car parking, I was sent this photo from Amsterdam. Now this is bike parking!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Green Wall: ANZ building in Docklands

I absolutely love the green wall on the ANZ building in Docklands which is featured in the banner of Ideas for cities from cities.
I particiulary like the use of ficinia nodosa, or knobby club sedge. This plant is found on the dunes at Port Melbourne and also looks good as a landscape plant in front of the Beacon Cove towers where it has just had a tidy trim.
detail photo: Lyn Allison

Bike parking

I thought the bike parking at the Australian Open was better this year.