Posts

Street Trees Obscure Sydney's Architectural Gems

Image
Sydney Town Hall: northern aspect In streetscaping a tree-line is generally thought be an absolute good, and the more trees the better. To a large extent trees do complement streets and buildings, enhancing their aesthetic and environmental amenity. They can also shade pedestrians from heat and the elements while absorbing gaseous pollutants. City of Sydney Council’s Street Tree Master Plan 2011 sets out the benefits of street trees in more detail. But sometimes there are competing interests. Trees that threaten the safety of people, structures or vehicles should of course be scaled back or uprooted. And sometimes they detract from the built environment. Appreciating fine architecture takes a sweeping glance at a building’s whole symmetry, balance, geometry and sense of proportion, which isn’t possible through a screen of dense foliage. There are numerous cases of this in Sydney CBD.     Despite some regrettable demolitions over the decades, Sydney still boasts some classic buildings

On the Death of Australia's Jane Jacobs

Image
Jack Mundey with megaphone The life of trade union leader Jack Mundey , who died this week, is being celebrated across the Australian media. He undoubtedly had a long lasting impact on Sydney, but perhaps in ways most commentators fail to acknowledge. As secretary of the communist controlled NSW Builders Labourers’ Federation from 1968 to 1975, Mundey pioneered a boycott tactic which came to be known as ‘the green ban’. In short, if the union disapproved of a property development on heritage or environmental grounds, BLF members would be withheld from the site. The BLF’s share of the construction workforce was such that this type of strike effectively killed the project.   Mundey came on the scene at a crucial time in Sydney’s post-war history. Cost-efficient developments in transportation technology like motorisation, particularly trucking, and containerization ended the industrial sector’s need for proximity to maritime facilities, which had been the case since settlement,