Last year I moved to Melbourne from London (via Perth, Karratha...etc). Melbourne captivated me from the first moment, it took me 5 years to get here, but I did. It has a creative, innovative quirky approach to grandeur and liveability.... I loved the coffee, the spaces, the buildings (old and new) and the way the new accommodated the old.
I moved my family here secure in the knowledge that I would experience innovative approaches to high density living - surely there would be Jeb Brugmanns in Melbourne.... I was excited to be moving to a city that famously transformed the City of Melbourne headquarters into a 6 star energy rated building (CH2), surely here I'd see new paradigms of City living, a vibrant place for my kids to grow up...to live healthily, engaged with their surroundings.
CRASH and BURN.... wherever this thinking lies, it is not within the planning department of the City of Melbourne. This weeks' Age High Rise Push to Halt Urban Sprawl took me full circle from innovation to repeating the mistakes of the past. From the destruction of the tight communities of Carlton and to the sterile wasteland of Docklands the pattern is repeated globally across the UK, Canada, the US. After several hours of research I could not find one report lauding the type of high rise development suggested, other than by developers.
I can't bear the thought of this approach winning out. Why would such an innovative city take such a half hearted, lazy approach to its' community... We know how to do this:
This focus on collaboration was critical to the achievement of an integrated design concept for CH2. The CH2 design and development process was documented to enable others to learn from the experiences.
I don't give up, I'm an optimist, but I am deeply puzled and deeply concerned. I want to be proud of my beloved new city, not ashamed of an old-fashioned paradigm, and old-fashioned view and a deep disregard for those that love it. Give me new ways of looking, not old ways recycled.