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

Monday, December 04, 2006

Yay for sprawl!

Billboard advertising the Hutt Valley - The term 'off-street parking' hardly seems adequateSpotted in Willis St: a new billboard for the Hutt Valley, with the slogan "The term 'off-street parking' hardly seems adequate". Really? Well, how about "Pig-ugly, land-hungry, obscenely unsustainable, architecturally ludicrous McMansion for ignorant petrolheads": would that be adequate?

I know they're supposed to be "celebrating the Hutt stereotype", but really! There's also the article on page A3 of today's Dominion Post, saying that the Hutt City Council has bought the rights to the 2Hot2 Handle boy racer extravanganza for $5000. Not only that, but they're considering making it part of a motoring festival to "showcase Hutt City's relationship with the car". Oh joy. No wonder it's hard to get the Wellington Regional Strategy to commit to any meaningful actions towards sustainable urban form, when some of the component councils are acting as if we're in 1950's Midwest America.


At 9:33 pm, December 04, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In poking fun at themselves, the Hutt has reinforced negative perceptions of themselves, intentionally or not.

I'm all for Eastbourne & Petone's plan to break away and join with Wellington City. Then that would mean Lower Hutt & Upper Hutt have little choice but to merge, given the rogue localities' ratepayer muscle. Apart from some minor geographical distance, I don't really understand why the two Hutts were separate to begin with.

I flatted in the Hutt Valley not too long ago when I attended WelTec, and needless to say, who needs euthanasia? Sometimes I'm tempted to think that the Hutt would be, or have been, a better site for an international airport than Rongotai.

At 11:18 pm, December 04, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not all of them hit the mark, but one has to admit that "People in Roseneath pay a lot of money for a good view of the Hutt" and "Petone: Hip since 1840" are pretty bloody funny. And they are quick on their feet - there is one on Wakefield St remarking "So I hear Wellington has a bowling alley now".

At 12:03 pm, December 05, 2006, Blogger Dion Howard said...

Good point. Maybe. The Hutt have put in 'hitching posts' on Dowse drvie, down from Maungaraki, one for trips to Wellington, one into the Hutt CBD. But yeah, you do have a point. I am not sure why I pay my rates.

At 9:23 am, December 07, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's easy to Hutt-bash isn't it. But the ads will only be effective if there are people in Wellington who will respond to the message.

At 11:47 am, December 07, 2006, Blogger Tom said...

> It's easy to Hutt-bash isn't it.

Yes. Yes it is.

There are McMansions, sprawl and car dependency in Wellington too, but we don't advertise it as an ideal way of life. Given that this is a blog about compact, sustainable urbanism, and the Hutt holds itself up as the poster-boy for 1950's-style suburbia and boy racerdom (they've even put a Holden in the driveway, for god's sake!) it deserves all the bashing it gets. If Petone & Eastbourne do secede, then apart from the Dowse and a couple of decent early modernist buildings, the Hutt really doesn't have many redeeming features.

At 3:03 pm, December 07, 2006, Blogger Tom said...

Raffe: Yes, I noticed the bowling alley one, and admired their cheek for it. Of course, Wellington could have had a bowling alley sooner, but we waited until there was one that served cocktails. :-)

Some of them are indeed funny, and a few even seem like the advertising agency is intentionally taking the piss. Surely, any ad execs worth their Bolivian marching powder would have contempt for anyone who takes "Don't dream it, live it" seriously!

Behind all the irony, there's surely a lot of desperation. While Wellington City grew by about 10% over the last five years, and the inner city grew by 45%, Hutt City's population grew by a measly 2.3%, way below the national average. The masked marvel says "the ads will only be effective if there are people in Wellington who will respond to the message", but it seems like the message doesn't appeal as much as they hoped. Perhaps most of us agree that the quarter-acre section really is hopelessly outmoded!

At 3:28 pm, December 07, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just to clarify, I do think the Hutt City ads are funny, but not in the way Hutt City intended.

Today's DomPost editorial rightly says that Wgtn economic & population growth has been below the national average, but the figures are skewed by the gap between Wgtn City and the satellite local body areas.

At 9:50 am, December 08, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well they... no, nup, couldn't think of anything to say on the defense of Hutt "City".

Shame that even though Wellington is growing and the satellites aren't doing so well they still get so much say on the future of Wellington at the Regional Council (in fact lets just be honest, they're holding Wellington back).

Perhaps WCC should set up a clandestine operation to covertly provide funding and ammunition to the Harbour Ward separatists.


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