Daily Archives: March 21, 2013

Growth fetish ? Urban sprawl v Higher density living ?

### onenesspublishing.com March 20, 2013
Urban sprawl isn’t to blame: unsustainable cities are the product of growth fetish
By Brendan Gleeson
In a recent article on The Conversation Robert Nelson argues we are all morally culpable for unsustainable urban sprawl. He goes on to suggest we fix this by taking advantage of opportunities for higher density development in sparsely populated inner suburbs. But his argument is based on a false opposition: mounting evidence shows that high density development in inner areas performs very poorly in terms of resource consumption and greenhouse emissions. The idea that outer suburbs are inherently less sustainable than inner ones doesn’t bear scrutiny. The key question is not where we accommodate growth; it’s our slavish pursuit of growth itself.
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● Brendan Gleeson is Professor in Urban Policy Studies at University of Melbourne.

The Conversation hosts in-depth analysis, research, news and ideas from leading academics and researchers.

Urban Expansion shutterstock.com

Read two articles by Robert Nelson at The Conversation:

The grass isn’t greener in the outer ‘burbs (7 March 2013, 6.43am AEST)
“For a long a time real estate close to the palace was socially desirable, and anyone with aspirations didn’t want to know about the rest. Today in Melbourne inner-city people are embarrassed to reveal knowledge of the outer suburbs such as South Morang, like 17th century Parisians who would mispronounce the street-names of poorer areas or affect not to know them at all. Throughout history, the distribution of wealth has had a geographical expression. Snobbery, however, is only part of the challenge of urban geography. Power and privilege are concentrated within 10kms of the city centre.”

The devaluing dream; why Australian suburbia is an economic disaster (11 January 2012, 6.22am AEST)
“In spite of what everyone believes through natural pride and vanity, the family house is an asset that depreciates. Don’t be deceived that the value of property goes up and up, which of course it does. The rising prices are caused by the land becoming more expensive, not the house itself.”

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

*Image: shutterstock.com – urban expansion

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Public service causing “paralysis of democracy” with OIA requests

The following article is reproduced here in full, in the public interest.

### NZ Herald Online 5:30 AM Thursday Mar 21, 2013
Ombudsman to investigate OIA response
By David Fisher
The agency charged with reining in the power of government is to investigate the way public bodies are releasing information as citizens complain of being shut out. The Office of the Ombudsman is to begin its own investigation into the way the public service is responding to the Official Information Act as allegations are made of a “paralysis of democracy”.

The office is struggling to cope with a large increase in complaints from the public who have sought help. Deputy Ombudsman Leo Donnelly has begun writing to those who have complained saying it doesn’t have enough staff to handle the work load.

In response to a complaint from The Herald, Mr Donnelly said the office had 450 complaints it had been unable to assign to investigators because of the volume of work. He said staff were dealing with 2800 complaints.

In contrast, the Ombudsman’s office told a parliamentary select committee it finished the 2011 year with 1359 complaints and the 2012 year with 1746 complaints. Mr Donnelly said this will be a factor in an investigation into the way the act was handled across the public service.

He said the inquiry would aim to discover if the delay was caused by the way public agencies responded to requests.
He said the law stated information should be released unless there was good reason to withhold it.

A recent investigation into the Ministry of Education’s handling of requests to do with Christchurch schools raised questions about the processes used by government agencies to deal with requests.

Constitutional lawyer Mai Chen said the problems raised questions about how well public servants understood a law intended to give balance to the “David and Goliath” inequality between citizen and government. “I am concerned that officials sometimes reflect their ministers. I’m concerned some of the reticence may reflect the priorities that ministers give to compliance with legislation.” She said the government expected citizens to comply with laws and it should do so with the act. “If they don’t mean to do it, they should repeal it.”

Both the Green Party and Labour Party have spokeswomen for open government – with Labour’s Clare Curran, saying it would become a ministerial responsibility when the party was next in office. “There is an emerging crisis with our watchdog agencies,” she said. “It is a paralysis of democracy.”
NZH Link

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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DCC: Opportunity created by Stephens’ departure

### ODT Online Thu, 21 Mar 2013
Shake-up at top for DCC
By Debbie Porteous
Senior jobs could be under threat at the Dunedin City Council as chief executive Paul Orders uses the sudden departure of a general manager to begin a wholesale review of the organisation’s senior management structure.

Paul Orders“As circumstances change, so we should restructure,” Mr Orders told the Otago Daily Times yesterday.

An interim management structure has been put in place to reallocate the work of former general manager of finance and resources Athol Stephens, who quit abruptly last Thursday. Mr Orders says his attention will now turn to the wider organisation. Under the new arrangements, which are effective immediately, Mr Stephens’ portfolios have been allocated to other staff.

General manager city strategy and development Dr Sue Bidrose takes responsibility for finance and general manager operations, Tony Avery takes responsibility for the customer services agency, while the city property, business information services and human resources teams will report directly to Mr Orders.
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Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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Dunedin Heritage Re-use Awards

The winners of Dunedin’s annual Heritage Re-use Awards were announced last night at a ceremony at Wall Street.

Dunedin City Council – Media Release
20 Mar 2013

Dunedin Heritage Re-use Award Winners Announced

The overall winner this year was the NMA building in Water Street, Dunedin, which also won the interiors section for the Psychology Associates Offices.

This is the third year of the awards, which celebrate excellence, innovation and sensitivity in the re-use of heritage buildings in Dunedin and include categories for earthquake strengthening, interiors and overall re-use. A student design competition is also held during the year, which challenges students to develop innovative solutions to the re-use of Dunedin’s older buildings. The awards and competition are an initiative of the Dunedin Heritage Buildings Re-use Steering Group.

The awards are judged by a panel including Dunedin City Councillors, representatives from the New Zealand Historic Places Trust, the local branch of the New Zealand Institute of Architects and the Institute of Professional Engineers of New Zealand, and building owners.

Mayor of Dunedin Dave Cull sees the awards “as acknowledging the efforts of those who strive to maintain and enhance the unique heritage character of Dunedin”.

Cr Lee Vandervis, who headed the building judging panel, says both of the two main winners – the NMA Building and Knox College – “showed remarkably imaginative and cost-effective solutions to earthquake strengthening while retaining all practicable heritage features.

“The NMA building has been turned from a unused liability into a delightfully revealed cornerstone of Dunedin history with superb creation of character spaces ideal for its new tenants. Knox College has been a large extraordinary earthquake strengthening project shoe-horned into the tightest of time frames without compromising heritage features and still managing to maintain a very sensitive level of attention to detail.”

Cr Jinty MacTavish says the two winning entries in the student design competition “demonstrated a clear commitment to retaining and showcasing key heritage features, while at the same time addressing the practical needs of well-defined anchor tenants.”

Judges in this category were for a second year running impressed with the work of Peter Rozecki-Lewis, who also took out the top honours in this category in 2012.

Nominations for next year’s awards can be made any time before 20 December. Further details are available at www.dunedin.govt.nz/heritage

WINNERS

Oakwood Properties Earthquake Strengthening Award
Sean O’Neill – Hanlon and Partners for Knox College

Barlow Justice/New Zealand Historic Places Trust Heritage Interiors Award
Psychology Associates Offices, NMA Building

Dunedin Heritage Re-use Award
NMA Building, Water Street

Dunedin Heritage Re-use Design Competition
Individual winner: Peter Rozecki-Lewis
Team winner: Laura Hughes and Campbell McNeill

Highly Commended:
Dunedin Heritage Re-use Award
Otago Settlers Museum

Contact Policy Planner (Heritage) on 477 4000.

DCC Link

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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