This is an image of the proposed development on the iconic Old Mill site in South Perth, see more here .
Check out how sophisticated the graphics are in the artist’s impression! If you look closely you can see the Old Mill in the back ground looking like a novel garden feature. This is a great example of an urban heat sink. Surely, they could at least retain the trees and the little farm like setting around it, which would no doubt be much more pleasant for locals and tourists than lots of hard hot concrete surfaces? What are they thinking? It looks like a concrete company designed it to maximise the square meterage of paving?
It seems nothing is sacred in our quest for ever more “vibrant” and exciting” cement venues and water features. Is this a symptom of an over stimulated society?
Cultural history seems to be rapidly diminishing in significance in this resource cursed state. Education is now far less focused on the past wisdoms of the arts, culture and history etc. and increasingly on highly specialised areas of expertise in things like commerce, geology and engineering. Knowing how to increase a company’s returns or dig a big hole in the ground, does not, it turns out, make for a happier or healthier society. The reality is that our boom has actually brought a rising surge in social ills, like divorce, mental illness, alcoholism, youth suicide, increased crime and violence and so on.
But the public seem to be blissfully intoxicated by the media propaganda, the real-estate/home sections and marketing spin of the big Construction and Development Complex (CDC). They have armies of PR and advertising professionals, who paint glossy images of the utopian life styles that their developments are supposed to provide. As with hamburger ads, the reality is often quite different.
Notice in the City of South Perth’s promotion of the Old Mill development in the link above, it shows this unflattering old picture of the Mill, supposedly as it is today, with just one old grandma pushing a pram. But the flashy new images of the proposed development below show lots of sexy young people.
Who needs open space, trees and natural environments? Such advertising propaganda often touts those words with lashings of “sustainability”, but nothing could be further from the truth. How did we ever get so dumb as to accept the use of the words like ‘sustainability’ to promote canals, artificial lakes and inlets or other clearly destructive developments? This quote from a Junta Tuitiva proclamation (La Paz) in 1809 comes to mind, “We have maintained a silence closely resembling stupidity”.
So keep those immigrants coming, go forth and multiply, keep smiling and be positive, don’t worry about our diminishing water supplies, because if you believe the CDC hype, we won’t be living “ sustainably” until we have doubled our population and have packed everyone into high-rise apartment buildings with a few solar panels on the roof and some lettuce in a pots on the balcony.
Where this vibrant Utopian dream becomes unstuck is in the planning and building laws. The government is not forcing the latest green technologies. Some improvements have been made recently, but they are token gestures and hardly 10 stars on a modern green building scale. Despite all of the green banter, we still have a car dependent government agenda (roads not rail ask Tony Abbott), tree less streets and air conditioning dependent buildings and houses. Think how much public land could be saved if we could reduce car dependence just in car park space . Other cities have done it, why can’t we? Could it be the CDC?
Rather than making stricter regulations our state government is busy deregulating planning laws to favour developers and their profit margins, as we have seen with the new MRA and DAPs and coming up the Local Government Reforms. The whole purpose of town planning laws are in essence to control greedy developers and make sure the future and the common good are taken into account.
Many big cities around the world have realized that they have not retained enough green spaces, trees, natural areas and heritage sites. Rather than learning from past mistakes, our planners seems hell bent of making the same mistakes themselves.
The clear message is that we must keep smiling, be positive about the future, welcome the coming tsunami of high-rise and densification and above all do not listen to those NIMBYs, Naysayers or long haired unemployed Greenies, they only want to destroy the economy and send us all back to the caves.
So much for the once touted “world’s best kept secret”. Dubai and LA here we come, ready or not!