Monthly Archives: December 2009

Rebuilding Baghdad’s Rasheed Street

### nytimes.com December 29, 2009
In Iraq, a Plan to Revive the Pulse of an Artery
By Riyadh Mohammed and John Leland
BAGHDAD —Some city planners here do not want to leave to chance what Iraq will look like after American forces leave. Working with the Baghdad municipal government and the provincial council, engineers here have drawn up the largest Iraqi reconstruction project since the American-led invasion of 2003, a $5 billion plan to rebuild the city’s economic and cultural main street.

Rasheed Street, designed by the Ottomans in 1916 and modeled on Paris, has figured in much of Baghdad’s history: Sunnis and Shiites planned the overthrow of British rule in 1920 at Hayder Khana Mosque. The new plans show nine wide plazas and a streetcar passing through a low-slung strip of shops with ironwork balconies that would not be out of place in a small city in Florida. The engineers identified 254 buildings as historical or heritage sites to be preserved where possible; in 1984, there were 526.

Muwafaq al-Taei, an architectural planning engineer, said the reconstruction plans were shortsighted, in part because the car-free zone was unworkable, and in part because Baghdad today lacked the infrastructure — municipal or cultural — to regenerate the life that made Rasheed Street. “You don’t jump to the end product,” he said. “Rasheed is an end product.”
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Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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Rugby: remaining hopeful

### ODT Wed 30 Dec 2009 (page 21)
Pivotal year ahead for rugby in the South
By Brent Edwards
So the sporting year is almost done and it’s time to turn attention to what 2010 might bring players and supporters. It’s an especially pivotal year for Otago and Highlanders rugby. Another year of results similar to the past season might have those who made the decision to build the Forsyth Barr Stadium pondering anxiously on the wisdom of their investment.
Here in no particular order, is a wish list for the first year of the new decade:
• Someone, anyone, to sort out the mess that is Otago rugby, to instil some passion, pride (and humour) in a team which we once supported with such fervour.
• Otago rugby to avoid relegation to the championship (the second division) even though the backdrop to the season will be a community divided over the appointment of an Australian coach.
• The Highlanders to win more games. I’m not big on the Super 14, especially in February and March, but they simply have to start winning more matches and attracting bigger crowds. Let’s face it, they can’t do a lot worse on the scoreboard than they have in the past six or seven years.
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Available in print and digital editions of the Otago Daily Times.

Post by Elizabeth Kerr

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Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium now on fast-track

### http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com 30 December 2009, 02:13am IST
Nehru stadium will be ready by May
By Mahendra Kumar Singh, TNN
NEW DELHI: The main venue for Commonwealth Games 2010, Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, will be ready by May next year with the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) deciding to deploy more engineers and workers to complete the project before the revised deadline.

“I told the Rajya Sabha that the stadium will be ready in June. But I am going to increase the number of engineers and hope it will be ready by May,” sports minister MS Gill said after a meeting of the group of ministers (GoM).
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The Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium (JNS), named after the first prime minister of India, was built by the Government of India to host the 9th Asian Games in 1982.

The massive facility is an all-purpose sports arena hosting football (soccer) and other sporting events, as well as large-scale entertainment events, such as concerts by India’s leading musical acts and entertainers. The facility seats 78,000 spectators, and up to 130,000 for concerts. In terms of sitting capacity, it is the third biggest stadium in India and the 57th largest in the world. The stadium also houses the headquarters of the Indian Olympic Association.

In preparation for hosting the Commonwealth Games the stadium is undergoing a refurbishment that will reduce the capacity to 75,000 spectators. The facelift includes a new roof, improved seating, a tunnel and other facilities to meet international standards when the stadium hosts the opening and closing ceremonies as well as the Athletics Events.

The nineteenth edition Commonwealth Games (3-14 October 2010) will be the largest multi-sport event conducted to date in Delhi and India generally.

Post by Elizabeth Kerr

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RWC 2011: Travel packages

### TVNZ News 6:28PM Wednesday December 30, 2009
Roll out of Rugby World Cup tickets begins
Source: ONE News
Rugby fans worldwide are gearing up for the first release of tickets for the 2011 Rugby World Cup. The initial offering, to be launched on January 1, will be in the form of official travel packages, which mean accommodation, travel and rugby tickets.

Two agencies in New Zealand have the franchise – House of Travel and Seasonz Travel.

Check out which centres are hosting which teams during the Rugby World Cup.
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Stadium nightmares, US

Many of the stadium deals included “revenue bombs”…

In many cases, the architects of the deals are long gone by the time the bill comes due.

### http://www.nytimes.com December 24, 2009
Stadium Boom Deepens Municipal Woes
By Ken Belson
CINCINNATI — Years after a wave of construction brought publicly financed stadiums costing billions of dollars to cities across the country, taxpayers are once again being asked to reach into their pockets.

“It’s like the movie where the blob keeps growing and eating away at other elements of county government… We’re beginning to cross a line in the sand by taking money from the general fund to pay for the stadiums. Once you put that money in jeopardy, you put the whole county at risk.”
-David Pepper, commissioner

From New Jersey to Ohio to Arizona, the stadiums were sold as a key to redevelopment and as the only way to retain sports franchises. But the deals that were used to persuade taxpayers to finance their construction have in many cases backfired, the result of overly optimistic revenue assumptions and the recession.
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Dunedin cruise ship seasons

UPDATED

Otago produced calm seas, warm summer temperatures and just a little rain for the busiest cruise weekend of the season.
29.12.09 ODT Cruise ships visit Dunedin
28.12.09 ODT Cruise-ship passengers feel at home in Dunedin

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Has the RWC 2011 hosting campaign registered this…

### ODT Online Mon, 28 Dec 2009
Tourists want Maori welcomes, hot chips
By Hamish McNeilly
Cruise ship visits injected an estimated $19 million into the Dunedin economy last year, but there was room to improve the tourist experience, according to a cruise industry report prepared by the University of Otago marketing department for Tourism Dunedin. The 64-page report was funded by a $14,000 grant from the Dunedin City Council.
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A salting of fish and chips on the (port)side, done well (make that casually perfectly) in Dunedin-designer settings can’t be too hard.

Let’s face it, most local cafes and restaurants look pretty tame and lame – there are a few notable exceptions. Time for some serious fun promoting the excellence and freshness of our regional food.

This takes culinary talent, an understanding of quintessimal customer service, and a super-large dash of contemporary architecture and design savvy – applied to all types and levels of retail presentation.

I’m not talking ‘over-design’. I’m not referring to the curtain-hanging-cushion-making people who mischievously claim to be interior designers and ‘image consultants’. The kind that leave their business cards (hah!) on the few remaining cafe pinboards in town. Save us from their tedium. Most of what they can do is hauled out of a Made in China shipping container.

And hey, Dunedin eateries: if you can’t keep your main street shop fronts clean, dusted and well designed – don’t bother.

We don’t accept you think it’s cool to sport a bad paint job over cheap wall board on the shopfront, with tacky stuck-on A4 menus and specials* in the windows. We don’t accept your patchy, rotting, filthy floorboards that harbour years of fetid cooking smells. Don’t even try to excuse or extol these as Dunedin ‘atmosphere’ and stylistic ‘grunge’. Get real. Lift your game.

And make sure your coffee cups keep the heat, for god’s sake, if you feel overly impelled to charge $3 to $4 for your somewhat sinking forgettable flat whites.

Good eating in the right place is good urban design. We need more of it, a short sharp shift.

New Year charity post —by Elizabeth Kerr

*When was the last time you shelled out on a consult with a good graphic designer? Just asking.

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An offer DCC can’t refuse

In the spirit of Christmas and citizen duty…

### ODT Monday Dec 28, 2009 (page 10)
Letters to the editor
The Waitati Militia commends the efforts of the Dunedin City Council to raise money to fund its projects by collecting parking fees off offending parkers. We have noticed a huge potential revenue to be collected from around the various funeral parlours.
Our logistics team estimates about $1000 per week can be retrieved from funeral parkers. The Waitati Militia would like to offer its support by supplying parking meters and trained policing staff at competitive rates. We are sure this will help reduce the rates burden of the good citizens of Dunedin.
-Peter Smith, Waitati

Available in print and digital editions of the Otago Daily Times.

Post by Elizabeth Kerr

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