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

Monday, March 27, 2006

The world headquarters of the verb

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I need your help, WellUrbanites. As I mentioned earlier, Gridskipper is looking to cover new cities, and I'm having a go at getting Wellington included. So I took the central themes from my five weekends post and used them to structure a short pitch based upon a quote from a Lauris Edmond poem about Wellington:
In the words of one of the poems displayed as typographic installations along Wellington's famous waterfront , this is "the city of action, the world headquarters of the verb". As further evidence, even our sculptures can't sit still: they whirl and sway and glow. Futher from the public eye, underground galleries rock with experimental music nights and the alleys are full of street art.

Energetic people love the ability to go mountain biking or kayaking in the middle of the city, and nature lovers adore the Wildlife Sanctuary and the fact that our brand new urban park includes native wetlands designed to treat stormwater while providing a habitat for birds. Urban dwellers prefer a shopping safari, hunting for elegant (Zambesi, Andrea Moore, Mandatory), street (Area 51, Rex Royale) or vintage (Ziggurat, Hunters & Collectors) fashion.

The music scene is based around the so-called "Wellington sound", a seductive Pacific blend of dub, jazz and soul exemplified by Fat Freddy's Drop, but genres as diverse as ironic hair metal and low-fi electro are making inroads. The gastronomic scene is just as lively and eclectic, with restaurants offering game, avant-garde seafood, Polynesian antipasto and Māori delicacies. We're so passionate about wine that even the chocolate shops make truffles from local Pinot Noir. Cafés, whether bohemian or posh, are an indispensible part of life, and cocktail bars offer you a choice of ambience from Cuban shack to opium den to what's been described as "a ski lodge designed for James Bond by Frank Lloyd Wright".

It all sounds exhausting, and it's true that you can have a non-stop weekend whatever your tastes. But Wellington's secret is the compactness that makes it possible to do all this within walking distance: it's a metropolis pretending to be a village.

I sent this to Gridskipper, and they like it, so they will be putting Wellington head-to-head with another (as yet unnamed) city for inclusion. I included the montage of four photos from my Pimp my burg post, but they want a single image rather than a montage. Given that I'm trying to emphasise the multi-facetedness of Wellington, it's quite a challenge to summarise all that in one photo. So I trawled through my photos and dragged out several candidates, but I want your help to select the one that best represents the "world headquarters of the verb" aspect of Wellington.

(1) The city from Chaffers Marina

(2) Hula Laguna panorama

(3) Cuba Mall

(4) Hula Laguna from the Albatross

(5) Snowboarding in Civic Square

Post a comment to let me know which you prefer, or if you have a better image (more than likely given my dodgy camera) that you're willing to lend to the cause, send me a link to that.


At 12:24 pm, March 27, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like the Lagoona one - nice cityscape with water, people, great event. it's got the big-city village thing going on.

At 1:04 pm, March 27, 2006, Blogger Hadyn said...

Hula Laguna for two reasons
1. It bright and colourful and shows off how Wellingtonians will gather together as a single unit to...um...watch synchronised swimming and free music (and Freddies best performance of the summer!)

2. My head is visible in the foreground. And I'm really vain.

At 1:14 pm, March 27, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I vote for (2) as well. Although you can just see the top of the head of some guy in a green hat in the foreground. It's a little bit distracting. Maybe some cropping might be in order.

At 1:50 pm, March 27, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm with Jo, in that I think the Hula Laguna or Cuba Mall pics are the way to go. If you can bring up the saturation on the Laguna pic, that might help (since the Cuba Mall pic is bright, colourful and saturated, it tends to stand out a lot better).

At 2:19 pm, March 27, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd go for Hula Laguna or Snowboarding. Picture (1) looks like it could be Auckland, picture (3) has that weird shadowy figure in the foreground, and (4) looks grubby.

At 3:59 pm, March 27, 2006, Blogger Tom said...

I agree with the Laguna comments. I've come up with a brighter, more saturated version, though I don't think it can match the Cuba Mall pic for colour since the latter was taken in direct sunlight with a real camera.

At 7:15 am, March 28, 2006, Blogger Kikishua said...

2, 3 or 5 because they depict 3 areas of Wellington I remember with great fondness.


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