Daily Archives: March 26, 2010

Dunedin City moves to three-ward system

LOCAL GOVERNMENT COMMISSION
MANA KĀWANATANGA Ā ROHE

Determination of representation arrangements to apply for the election of the Dunedin City Council to be held on 9 October 2010

Download:
1980346DA – Doc1 (Word document, dated 26 March 2010; 12 pages)

Go to item 40. for the Commission’s Determination.

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THINK HARD

Does the determination lead to Dunedin residents having their democratic rights eroded as the Dunedin City Council adopts — or is forced by central government to adopt — council-controlled organisations (CCOs) for governance of council activities and finance, including the stewardship of council-held community assets?

As mentioned at What if? recently, there will be a vicious substantial loss of democracy for residents in the Auckland super-city. Dunedin City is not immune. The bulldozing through of the Otago stadium project gives us a strong basis for suspicion.

The October elections may land us in a heap of worse trouble. Starry-eyed idealists baying for a clearance of all existing councillors have to open their minds a little more. The devil(s) we know…

Residents must do their research, nominate strong election candidates, exercise their voting rights, and avoid burying heads in sand thinking they have no critical interest or responsibility in the affairs of community and local government.

Look where the shifting sands got us. A quaint place of darkness and flipflops, awash with sharp shells and bloodied feet: non transparent corporate behaviour from Dunedin City Council.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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Filed under Business, DCC, Democracy, Design, Economics, Geography, New Zealand, Politics, Project management, Stadiums, What stadium

‘The scrum and fray of urban life’

Book Review

### thenation.com March 18, 2010
Living for the City: On Jane Jacobs
By Samuel Zipp

This article appeared in the April 5, 2010 edition of The Nation.

Cities, Jane Jacobs famously observed, offer “a problem in handling organised complexity”. In her first and still most famous book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, published in 1961, Jacobs argued that cities are not chaotic or irrational; they are essentially systems of interrelated variables collected in an organic whole. The challenge, she wrote, was to sense the patterns at work in the vast array of variables. Something similar could be said for writing about cities. How does one coax the thread of a narrative from the scrum and fray of urban life?

In Twenty Minutes in Manhattan, Michael Sorkin, an architect and critic, makes like Jacobs and immerses himself in the rhythms and patter of the street. He has shaped his book according to the contours of his daily stroll across a dozen or so blocks of Lower Manhattan, from the top floor of his five-storey Greenwich Village walk-up to his office in TriBeCa. Walking, Sorkin writes, is “a natural armature for thinking sequentially”, providing opportunities for heady musings on all manner of city life. Yet his peripatetic narrative is anything but linear. Proving there’s a raconteur in every flâneur, Sorkin unspools strands of free-floating observations about a scattered array of urban issues and gathers them into a loose weave along his path downtown. Any full accounting of his rambles would be impossible, but he manages to ruminate on landlord-tenant troubles, the 1811 Manhattan grid, historic preservation, the “ratio of tread to riser” on apartment stairs, elevator etiquette, zoning and housing codes, rent control, the theory of montage, green roofs, public art, crime, gentrification, traffic, urban renewal and public-private partnerships. He also takes diversions into the city thinking of Walter Benjamin, Michel de Certeau, Ebenezer Howard, Jacob Riis, Le Corbusier, Henri Lefebvre, the Walt Disney Company, the Situationists, the New Urbanists and, of course, Jane Jacobs. It’s a primer on what one might call the “New York school” of urbanism.

Sorkin is a congenial, sometimes irascible guide. Ever the Manhattanite, he lambastes oblivious SUV drivers, callous landlords and “Disneyfied” urban environments (an undying spark for his ire), but he is also aware of his own foibles, including his tendency to lapse into “high ethical mode”. Sorkin’s musings–outrages and enthusiasms alike–converge around his sensitivity to the restless yet productive tension between the city’s role as both public sphere and commercial marketplace, and the intermingled chances city life offers for making meaning and making money. For Sorkin, the city’s hum and buzz is the sound of an endless “dialogue of desire and demand” and the pitched voices of “poets” and “bandits” jostling for each and every advantage.

(via The Nation)

Other reviews:
metropolismag.com
reaktionbooks.co.uk
amazon.com

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In March 2002, the Masterclass! programme hosted two world leaders in architecture and urban design. The British Council, Montana Wines, Fullbright New Zealand and the New Zealand Institute of Architects (NZIA) jointly delivered a stimulating programme led by Kelvin Campbell from the United Kingdom and Michael Sorkin from New York.

The Dunedin Masterclass! and Urban Design Masterclass! Lunch were held with assistance from NZIA Southern, Dunedin City Council and Southern Urban Design Forum.

Post by Elizabeth Kerr

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Filed under Architecture, Construction, Design, Economics, Geography, Politics, Project management, Site, Town planning, Urban design