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

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Inside the tent

Most of you will have noticed that I haven't been blogging with my usual frequency, and while some of that can be put down to the usual holiday break and humidity-induced torpor, there's another reason why: I've been winding down in preparation for the end of WellUrban, which will happen at the end of this week.

That's because I've accepted a job as an urban designer at Wellington City Council, and it will be inappropriate for me to continue commenting on related matters. I've thought long and hard about this, since this blog and related activities have been a big part of my life over the past two and a half years, but I decided that this was a potentially once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make a career change into a field that has clearly been my passion.

Anyway, I'd like to thank you all for your lively and (usually) civil comments, and for your engagement with the future of this fascinating little city. I hope to post a few more times this week, and I'll leave the comments open on existing posts, but after Monday there will be no new posts on here from me.

It's been a pleasure.


At 2:11 pm, January 22, 2008, Blogger Mike Riversdale said...

A sad sad day for us Wellingtonians but I'm sure we all totally understand.

Mate, it's been an absolute pleasure being informed by this blog and, as you say, it leaves a gaping hole. I hope someone else can fill the space (larger though it is).

Here's to a ramp up of Wellingtonista posts (not connected with Council Policy, of course) ...

At 2:40 pm, January 22, 2008, Blogger stephen said...

OH NO!!!

But hooray for you. I hope that the job is all that you hope for and more.

At 3:00 pm, January 22, 2008, Blogger Robyn said...

Sad news! But it sounds like your new job will allow you to take the stuff that's been theorised about here and put at least some of it into practice.

And I hope that the stuff discussed here can continue on in some form.

At 3:22 pm, January 22, 2008, Blogger Aron said...

A hearty congratulations on your new post; it's great to know that you'll be more directly influencing the future of Wellington, if, sadly, invisibly to us plebes.

Perhaps you can convince the Council to let you blog a bit--officially--about what you're working on day-to-day?

At 3:32 pm, January 22, 2008, Blogger Baz said...

The end of an all-too-short era, but a man has to eat (and drink). Hopefully the council aren't buying your silence and won't be putting you in some menial position, although I suspect you'd be rather good at litter gathering :-)

Perhaps you can publish a final post with links to sympathetic advocacy groups, blogs, and e-mail addresses?

At 3:36 pm, January 22, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

pity to see wellurban have to go!

this was perhaps the very first wellington blog i read.

doubtless your experience will bureaucracy will push you out into the wilderness to decry the state of the city once again, in time.

At 3:58 pm, January 22, 2008, Blogger Nikolai H said...

Thanks for the time you've spent on the blog, Tom. I've always checked in a few times a week, and find it fascinating to notice urban idiosyncrasies around the place that you've initially pointed out with particular wit and attention to detail.

Must send you some images of the final turbine sometime too!

Congratulations on the new job, all the best.

At 4:20 pm, January 22, 2008, Blogger John said...

I'd just like to say THANKS Tom, I've really enjoyed following the blog, even if I haven't been able to sample each and every one of the *many* cocktails you've discussed. Your passion has been an inspiration, and I congratulate you for your future career; WCC has gained a valuable advocate for all things urban, which I'm positive will lead to great developments in our wonderful city.


At 4:28 pm, January 22, 2008, Blogger Gareth said...

Bugger. Thanks for the sterling efforts, hopefully "inside the tent" will give you as much influence. Good luck.

At 4:35 pm, January 22, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...


But really, I'm going to miss this. Good luck with the job; I hope you're successful there.

If you do find a way to keep posting in some capacity, even just bar reviews on Wellingtonista, it'll be very welcomed.

At 5:30 pm, January 22, 2008, Blogger Matthew Bartlett said...

Thanks Tom! Best of luck at the WCC.

At 5:39 pm, January 22, 2008, Blogger Gordon Paynter said...

Thanks for running Wellingtonista for as long as you have. I hope we'll continue to see you around.

I assume you'll still be attending the UP prediction event (http://up.org.nz/predictions-2008/)?

Thanks again,

At 5:52 pm, January 22, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations Tom, well done on the job, and sad to see you leave the blogosphere.

You have been a well respected and reasoned voice in an otherwise gaping void of intelligent commentary - and, judging by the web-traffic stats from other countries, you've been read by many others, not just by Wellingtonians.

A hard act to follow indeed, and i hope some one steps up to the challenge.

At 6:23 pm, January 22, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's such great news, I hope you really enjoy it. You will make a really positive contribution. Thanks for all your hard work over the past couple of years... now I'll have to spend more of my working hours working.

At 7:04 pm, January 22, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our loss is WCC's gain - at least you'll be raising their collective IQ.
Now where are we going to get info on the latest building projects?

Good luck


At 10:33 pm, January 22, 2008, Blogger Seamonkey Madness said...

Good on you Tom.
Hopefully your addition to the WCC ranks will stop some of the monstrosities that developers are dreaming up these days, and also play a hand in the bigger picture for the city we all love. If your attitude your new job is anything like WellUrban (which I'm sure it will be; and which I've read for a few years now), than we can rest easy.

Keep up the happy, positive demeanour and nothing will stand in your way.

At 11:02 pm, January 22, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Echoing what everyone's said already - as a one-time Wellington visitor and since fan, I've thoroughly enjoyed your updates about this great city.

Not only was the urban design/transport/retail content great, but the erudite food and drink reviews were spot on also.

I was actually going to ask you for an updated version of your Wellington city break itinerary as I hope to be going back. Wallpaper do an Auckland guide now, and even though Wellington is probably more 'them', I haven't seen signs of one!

Best bars, eateries, galleries (inc. 'launches'!) and the rest - if you could squeeze in a post like that - or generally about the best of Wellington and your favourite things which would always be accessible, that would be another great legacy.



At 11:03 pm, January 22, 2008, Blogger lovebites said...

I am not a happy camper However: goodluck, go well and all of that...

At 11:08 pm, January 22, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My sadness at the passing of WellUrban is tempered by knowing that your enthusiasm for all things urban will be put to good use at the council...

Congrats on the new job and I hope you can still blog occasionally on "non-work-related" topiscs over on the Welligntonista.


At 11:50 pm, January 22, 2008, Blogger Chris D said...

How exciting for you! Your voice and opinion will hopefully be put to great work in making this great city even better. Congratulations!

I will certainly miss this site though. The development news is always top notch.

Thanks so much for all your work!

At 12:02 am, January 23, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps you should start a new blog: WellMartini ... ?

and surely the quest for the perfect [insert refreshing beverage] is worth continuing?

At 12:11 am, January 23, 2008, Blogger Camped Crusader said...

Can't really add much to what anyone else has said. I've been an avid reader of your blog for several months, although I'm not one to really one to comment.

Thanks for such an interesting read and I'm absolutely thrilled that you're going to be in the position to be able to influence those who make decisions!

Good luck, Tom!

At 12:48 am, January 23, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear the end of WellUrban - but glad you've moved into a position of even bigger influence. May the good times continue.

At 1:51 am, January 23, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

WellMartini gets my vote too.

At 3:38 am, January 23, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah it is sad to see Wellurban go. It's been on my daily internet 'to do' list for quite some time now and I don't think there is anything out there currently that can replace it.

Nevertheless I hope you enjoy your new job. I'm sure your input will be of great value to the development of Wellington.


At 8:58 am, January 23, 2008, Blogger poneke said...

Congratulations on the new job, Tom, and I look forward to you perhaps becoming the council's 21st Century Stephen Rainbow.

However I will sorely miss your blog, which has been essential reading for me since I first discovered it.

At 9:03 am, January 23, 2008, Blogger tvdisko said...

Shame to see you go. Really one of Wellington's best bits of writing. Thoughtful, articulate and insightful (and sometimes inciteful), it was always a great read and certainly helped to make Wellington a new home for me.

Will no doubt see you 'round the usual haunts.


At 9:43 am, January 23, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Damn. But yay! But damn.

I'd just come back to Wellington from Australia & was working for WCC (not in Urban Design) when I started reading WellUrban. First thing I'd do every morning would be visit your website. I'd get so excited by your posts that I'd find an excuse to go down to see the Urban Designers to discuss your latest views. I've sent a WellUrban link to just about everyone I know, at one time or another - there's been a topic of interest to everyone, including directors of architecture firms, public art consultants, debonair chaps, booze hags, and the like.

I think you will enjoy working with the other Urban Designers, they're good chaps and chap-esses. And they're more subversive than you might first imagine. I hope that the WCC environment works for you. Some enjoy working for the City and others find it difficult, but I hope you stick at it because you've got a great deal to offer us.

All the best for the future, and thank you.

At 10:02 am, January 23, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Tom and congratulations.

At 11:12 am, January 23, 2008, Blogger Erentz said...

Thanks for your blog Tom. And also as a Wellingtonian: serious thanks for taking the job at WCC too! :)

Good luck in the role, I'm sure once you get bedded in we'll start to see the influence of your ideas.

There has been a lot of debate take place on this blog. It would be nice to see that involvement continue. Perhaps you can set up a series of ongoing public urban design updates/meetings with the urban design team. Keep the public involved, only even more directly.

At 12:51 pm, January 23, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I has a sad :-(

Yours is one of the few blogs I always read first when they show up in my feed reader, and I'll miss your insights and eloquent writing.

Congratulations and all the best for the new gig, they are lucky to have you on board.

At 1:02 pm, January 23, 2008, Blogger Gemma said...

I'm not sure quite what to say here, but thought I should leave a final post. Needless to say, many things have come from this blog, and for that it should be saluted! I can only dream of how much richer and more sober I'd be if I'd just never started reading WellUrban... x g

At 2:12 pm, January 23, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's a good time to womble on to something new :)

I think it's inspiring that you've put your money where your mouth is - or should that be a pay cut where your mouth is?

Congrats :)

At 2:45 pm, January 23, 2008, Blogger Andrew Chilton said...

Good luck with your new role! Hope you can carry on with your passion and follow it up with some great ideas for Wellington.

At 7:29 pm, January 23, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

it is sad when your daily read disappears! here's to some great work for the wcc though.w

At 7:50 pm, January 23, 2008, Blogger Richard said...

Congratulations again on the new job.

This is bad news for blog readers but good news for Wellington City residents.

At 9:02 pm, January 23, 2008, Blogger Dylan Packman said...

Well, congratulations! It's brilliant that you are able to work in a field that you're so passionate about.

Through Wellurban you've raised my awareness of the environment that I live in, shown what is great about Wellington, and provided constructive ideas on how to make this city better. Thank you.

At 10:23 pm, January 23, 2008, Blogger Will de Cleene said...

Congratulations and bugger. WellUrban will be sorely missed. There is nothing quite like it.

At 10:03 am, January 24, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

WellUrban was one of the most informative reads on the web. Many thanks for the time and effort you put in - blogging is a definite fall-back career path should you get fed up with the bureaucratic redtape!



At 10:30 am, January 24, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As someone who met you (and via you many other lovely Wellingtonians) via your blog, this is sad indeed. Particularly that WCC aren't enlightened enough to let you blog about non-work issues on here.

I second Baz's request for a post that collects together links to useful and relevant sites. And I do hope that someone picks up the baton to continue the vital work. Nature abhors a vacuum, even if certain planning officers and property developers would prefer not to have a spotlight shone on them.

Congratulations on the job though, and as someone who once went 'inside the tent' I can assure you it's much more fun outside of it, but you can actually achieve quite a lot inside, particularly if you still use 'outside' as leverage with your colleagues.


At 3:49 pm, January 27, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's a WCC plot to silence dissent! ...but seriously I'll miss your unique mix of urban design, architecture and entertainment. Good luck and all the best for you at WCC.

At 4:48 pm, January 27, 2008, Blogger Grover20 said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 4:50 pm, January 27, 2008, Blogger Grover20 said...

Congrats on the job... I've really enjoyed the blog both when I was preparing to move here from my old life in Portland, Oregon and now that I live here. I never would have known about (let alone entered) the ABC contest without your post on it - it turned out to be an amazing way to learn the flow in and around the city.

Thanks again for everything. I hope you can bring some of what was dicussed here closer to reality.

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