Dec 14, 2016 - News    Comments Off on A conversation worth having

A conversation worth having

my friend Ron

my friend Ron

I was a teenager when the Mabo and Wik decisions were handed down in the 1990s. There was a growing movement aimed at achieving land rights and reconciliation for Aboriginal Australians. There was finally recognition that the land, now known as Australia, was already inhabited when the first fleet arrived and claimed it for the British Commonwealth.

I know I am in no way responsible for what occurred in 1788, or the generations of trauma, discrimination and disadvantage that followed. But I also know I want to be a part of trying to heal the wounds and finding a more equitable and united way forward.

I always felt uneasy on Australia Day. It was a day I felt signified the beginning of intergenerational trauma and dispossession of one of the oldest cultures on earth. Was it really appropriate to have a party?

To me it was a bit like celebrating Krystal Naucht or Nagasaki.

Certainly it is a day to be remembered, but with reflection rather than celebration.

The Fremantle Council felt that same unease about celebrating Australia Day as I did. But we are not alone. There is a growing national debate about these issues. It is a conversation our nation can have in a thoughtful and respectful manner. Read more »

Dec 9, 2016 - News    Comments Off on Waterfront renewal

Waterfront renewal

cop-waterfrontA recent visit to Copenhagen led me to unexpected lessons in urban redevelopment of an inner city Port.
A friendly local told me about how 15 years ago the City of Copenhagen decided it wanted to make the waterfront the ‘living room of the city’.
The day I was there, thousands of people flooded to the precinct to enjoy markets, entertainment, water activities and food.
 
 

Read more »

Oct 28, 2016 - News    Comments Off on Lessons from Europe and feedback on Perth’s Transport Plan

Lessons from Europe and feedback on Perth’s Transport Plan

A beautiful bike path in central Barcelona

A beautiful bike path in central Barcelona

I recently had the pleasure of cycling through some of Europes most marvellous cities including Barcelona, Berlin and Copenhagen. There were many innovations that could be useful here in Perth and Fremantle.

I have drawn from this experience to offer feedback on the cycling component of the Perth Transport Plan at 3.5m and Beyond, which is attached.

a-submisison-on-cycling-in-the-perth-transport-plan-by-rachel-pemberton

Oct 19, 2016 - News    6 Comments

A safer Hampton Road is a step closer

A container truck on Hampton Road at rush hour

A container truck on Hampton Road at rush hour

The City of Fremantle has made significant progress towards reducing truck traffic and speed on Hampton Road and Ord Street, but we need your help!

The classification of Hampton Road and Ord Street has been changed meaning traffic calming measures can now be implemented.

We have had approval for traffic calming platforms to be constructed at key pedestrian crossing points on Ord Street towards the end of the year.

We have also sought approval for the speed limit to be reduced to 50km an hour on Hampton Road and Ord Street from South Street to Queen Victoria Street, however this should be extended to include South Fremantle.

We have learned that public pressure helps achieve results.

PLEASE EMAIL THE TRANSPORT MINISTER to lend your support for a safer Hampton Road Minister.Marmion@dpc.wa.gov.au  Read more »

Aug 26, 2016 - News    3 Comments

Baugruppen in Berlin

While in Berlin I met with Berthold Pesch, an architect and project manager for UTB – a company that delivers Baugruppen housing across Berlin and Germany. A reminder, Baugrupen means ‘group housing’ and is the term used to describe owner built multiple dwelling developments.

Berthold Pesch from UTB

Berthold Pesch from UTB

As mentioned in my post on Freiburg, this tends to create much more attractive developments, but is also more likely to include sustainability initiatives and tends to cost about 10% less than developer built housing (no developer profits to factor in).

I was keen to learn more about how this works in practice when the ‘developer’ is removed and a collective of owner occupiers work together to design and construct the housing they want to live in.

UTB have become a specialists in the field and I was shown around one of their largest and most recent projects in the trendy Berlin suburb of Templehoff. Read more »

Aug 23, 2016 - News    Comments Off on A lesson in national healing

A lesson in national healing

Berlin wall memorial

Berlin wall memorial

There are a lot of useful lessons that can be learned from Germany about healing and reconciliation after terrible national trauma.

It has been fascinating and deeply moving to visit the sites where terrible atrocities occurred under the Nazis and in the aftermath of WWII, to see them remembered, explained and memorialized.

Many memorials are only in German, because they are not designed for tourists, but for Germans to acknowledge understand. With the help of my local guide who translated, I watched as a mother explained to her young son what Berlin’s book burning memorial was all about.

Jewish memorial, Berlin

Jewish memorial, Berlin

German students learn about the atrocities of WWII, not to feel ashamed and guilty, but to understand and ensure they are never repeated.

I have been watching with interest as Fremantle debates how it should celebrate Australia Day, and I am deeply disappointed I am not there to participate. Read more »

Aug 20, 2016 - News    Comments Off on Reflections from Vauban: utopia or ‘tofu ghetto’?

Reflections from Vauban: utopia or ‘tofu ghetto’?

the infamous light rail

the infamous light rail

When I arrived at my Airbnb in the heart of Vauban, I asked my host what it was like to live there. He called it a ‘tofu ghetto’ – a monoculture of wealthy, white middle class academics – not what I expected at all!

He knew it was a great place to raise a family, but he was concerned his kids would not be raised surrounded be different languages, experiences and points of view (he is from Venezuela).

quality design and sustainability go hand in hand in vauban

quality design and sustainability go hand in hand in vauban

Vauban does a lot of things right. Most famous is the implementation of alternative transport options from the commencement of the development, with light rail was built through the centre of the district as the first of its 5500 residents moved in.

My tour guide Steffan described the history of citizen activism that made Vauban the exemplar community it is today. Through a series of protests and interventions, the community successfully made the case to use the government owned land to create a community they wanted to live in, rather than what developers wanted to build. And the result is outstanding. Read more »

Aug 13, 2016 - Development, News    1 Comment

Is Tiny Sprawl possible? Lessons from BedZED and the UK

One thing that concerns me about the growing popularity of Tiny Houses is the potential for Tiny Sprawl.

Like me, many people love the idea of a quaint little cottage surrounded by garden that would be both affordable and sustainable. However that means we continue to develop outwards, using land in an inefficient manner at the expense of our wetlands, green spaces and urban bush. We need to make better use of the existing urban footprint.

UK from the sky2

Typical urban development in the UK

As I travelled through the United Kingdom last week, it struck me how much green space, fields, woods, farms and even castles there are between each of the towns and cities.

The UK has a population of 64 million people, two and a half times that of Australia, and it’s land mass is just 243,610 km². Meanwhile, just 9- 15% of the land area is classified as urban or is built on. This reflects my observation about the vast amount of green space in the densely populated country. To compare, Australia’s population is 24 million and land area is 7.68 million km².

So how do they do it? House a mammoth population on a tiny island and keep the local character and green belt in tact? Read more »

Jun 14, 2016 - News    Comments Off on Diverse housing discussion – coming soon

Diverse housing discussion – coming soon

innovative housingDiverse and innovative housing continue to be a hot topic.

This week I was on ABC radio to talk about what the City of Fremantle is doing on diverse and innovative housing.

You can listen to the interview here

In September we will be undertaking extensive consultation with the community on these issues.

The Council is currently conducting a survey on the topic – tell us what you think.

Read more »

Mar 23, 2016 - News    Comments Off on South Beach swimming zone – success!

South Beach swimming zone – success!

south beach 2The Department has supported the overwhelming Community feedback in favour of a swimming zone the entire length of both beaches at South Beach.

It was the most number of submissions they have ever received on an Aquatic Use Review with 2533 submissions received. There were 750 in support of the DoT proposal (with the boat channel at the north of little dog beach) and 1650 opposed (120 were neutral)

“This is a great outcome for the whole community. The Department of Transport is to be commended for supporting the community and the Council’s wishes to make South Beach a safe swimming zone,” said Cr Rachel Pemberton.

“Fremantle Council designated South Beach a swimming zone in 2015, but we are limited in how we can inform boat users and enforce the safe swimming zone. This decision means that the DoT will now do that.”

“The community is to be congratulated for the tremendous campaign to make all of South Beach a safe swimming zone, as was shown in the overwhelming number of submissions made.”

The Fremantle Sailing Club has also welcomed the decision.

“Fremantle Sailing Club is aligned with the Fremantle City Council in supporting the Department of Transport to ensure a safer environment for both the boating public and beach goers. The proposed speed restrictions and the introduction of restricted access to the beach for powered vessels at South Beach will go a long way to achieve the Aquatic Use Review objectives for a safe, equitable and sustainable use of our important waterways,” Fremantle Sailing Club Commodore Terry Baker stated.

“In conceding access to the beach by powered vessels, the club’s preferred position was to retain a narrow access corridor, but recognise and accept the strong feedback from the local community. We have long stated whatever the outcome, the impact of club members is minimal and going forward believe we can work with the community to build our relationship to our mutual benefit” he added.

The decision has been made but it wont take affect until May when it is gazetted through an act of Parliament.

The Department of Transport’s statement is here.

Read more »

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