Personal reflections on urbanism, urban life and sustainable urban design in Wellington, New Zealand.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Waitangi Park: Pinot people and park people

Waitangi park - graving dock under constructionHere's a photo of construction under way at Waitangi Park. The watery area between the cranes is in the historic graving dock that is being excavated, and will become of the wetlands that will be exactly the sort of functional natural system that Catherin Bull wants incorporated into cities.

The crane in the foreground is close to what will be the northern end of the raised Chinese Garden and the northeast corner of the "Transition Building" (see my UrbanEye review for a very unofficial mockup of where these are likely to go). The Transition Building is intended to provide a step down from Te Papa while housing gallery space, dining and functions venues, and possibly a hostel or low-cost hotel.

My previous rant about Waitangi Park was published in the Capital times on the 17th, and various Waterfront Watchers replied on the 24th. Here's my reply:
Pauline Swann (August 24) needn't correct me: I've never claimed that Waterfront Watch opposed the Chinese Garden, though they evidently object to a raised one. Personally, I'd prefer no carparking at all on the waterfront, but as the Waitangi Park brief required some, I'm glad that the designers combined the two. Cars block views; so do Chinese Gardens with their walls, rock features and trees. Building such a garden beside a carpark instead of on top of it would actually block more views!

Peter Brooks seems surprised that city people eat out at least twice a week, but people don't move into the city just to sit at home every night. If we wanted that, we'd live somewhere like Wadestown or Khandallah where views are more important than vitality. It does explain why Waterfront Watch are happy for the waterfront to be deserted after dark: they evidently don't get out much, and don't see what a wasted opportunity their so-called "public's choice" would have been.

With the proposed plans, they'll still get their gardens, playgrounds and great big lawn; we'll also get shops, galleries, restaurants and outstanding new architecture. There's room for everyone: Pinot people as well as park people.
Update: this letter was published today, thought slightly abridged (without the sections that I've greyed out above).


At 9:15 pm, August 31, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tom, interesting that they censored out those comments - they'll obviously keep a sharp knife ready to cut out any potentially rude bits about the reverred Ms Swann of Wadestown....


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