“Mega Melbourne plan for skyscrapers in suburbs”, H-S (also at The Age). The latest idiotic proposal from so-called Planning Minister Matthew Guy and others is, in response to Melbourne’s unwanted and unnecessary growth, to massively expand the central business district and encourage the construction high-rise towers (developers must be rubbing their hands in glee). Of course this will destroy what character the city has left and turn it into yet another ugly megalopolis like so many other cities. Melbourne was nicer before the building of concrete-glass-steel skyscrapers, when its main buildings were the comparatively modest brick or stone structures of only a few storeys.
Letters in response to the planning criticism in my previous entry, H-S, 17/2:
Planners need to listen
ANDREW MacLeod, of the Committee for Melbourne, thinks Barry Humphries shouldn’t comment on planning because he’s not qualified in the area (“Stars should butt out”, February 16).
Mr MacLeod has no qualifications in planning either. Nor do most members of his committee.
Regardless, qualified planners have made many mistakes: think of the inner-city “slum clearance” programs of the 1960s or the old Gas and Fuel buildings.
Planners tend to make worse mistakes when they stop listening to the community. As well as being more democratic, genuine public participation produces better planning because it forces planners to justify their proposals.
This reduces the likelihood that they will make mistakes.
Melbourne needs more people like Geoffrey Rush, Barry Humphries and Mary Drost, and more planners who are prepared to share power with the public.
– Dr Paul Mees, senior lecturer in urban planning, RMIT
Possums, Barry should be heard
BARRY Humphries is a celebrity because of his keen observation and ability to show people and places in a humorous light.
He is eminently qualified to have a view on planning matters in his suburb of origin. Humphries is not just a dilettante, as implied by Andrew MacLeod. Furthermore, civic-minded residents such as Mary Drost are an essential force in mitigating adverse changes in established suburbs.
Andrew Macleod seems to have forgotten the concept of democracy and actually contradicts himself in saying that Mrs Drost is selfish to attempt to preserve gardens for people other than herself!
– Jill Quirk, East Malvern