Thursday, 1 February 2007

What annoys me most in my city

Bad, low-quality development that is designed to make a fast buck for the developers, and does nothing to enhance the quality of life of the residents. And the councils and governments that allow it to take place.
At the bottom of this entry is a pic I have published before (on October 15th 2006), which typifies this. Sometimes it is called the "meritonisation" of Sydney, after the chief culprit, a company called Meriton. Link.

But I am not opposed to change and development, and acknowledge it is necessary to build high rise in places where once there were single family houses. This development, in the suburb of Kogarah, is an example of an attempt to do the right thing - and to enhance ecological sustainability.

Kogarah is a southern Sydney suburb dominated by a few large organisations - a large public and private hospital, the corporate headquarters of the St George Bank and a large technical college. This area was recently re-developed using passive design principles to maximise the use of natural flows of light, energy and heat.

85% of rain and storm water is collected and re-used on site, including in town house gardens, toilet flushing, car washing and the water feature seen below.

Most of the living spaces are north-facing (the ideal in the southern hemisphere) , and most of the apartments are cross-ventilated, eliminating the need for air conditioning. As well, solar cells are built into the fabric of the building. Apartments include screened clothes drying balconies and areas, aimed at reucing the use of clothes dryers by apartment dwellers.

In this dry country, in the grip of the effects of El Nino, in a city running out of water, where global warming means energy use is going to have to be cut, but where huge downpours of rainwater run straight into the oceans, and airconditioning is fast becoming a "fact of life", this kind of development is going to have to become more prevalent.

A reminder of a meriton travesty: ugly buildings built without adequate infrastructure (like narrow, already traffic clogged-roads, lack of electrical capacity, no recycling or water saving measures...)
There's lots of stuff to love about Sydney, and there's other things that annoy me: like police sniffer dogs, racism, dodgy public transport, people who chuck rubbish around, sewerage being pumped into our beautiful ocean...but development without aesthetic quality or environmental concern tops my list!

Have a look at what other Daily Photo Bloggers around the world say annoys them in their cities. Due to world time differences, the theme photo may not be displayed until later in the day:
1 (Porto (Portugal) ) -2 (Stayton, OR (USA) ) -3 (Albuquerque, NM (USA) ) -4 (Tenerife (Spain) ) -5 (Greenville, SC (USA) ) -6 (Dubai (U.A.E.) ) -7 (Evry (France) ) -8 (Jakarta (Indonesia) ) -9 (London (UK) ) -10 (Sequim, WA (USA) ) -11 (Buenos Aires, (Argentina) ) -12 (Seattle, WA (USA) ) -13 (Minneapolis, MN (USA) ) -14 (Stavanger (Norway) ) -15 (Joplin , MO (USA) ) -16 (Nelson, New Zealand ) -17 (Milano, Italy ) -18 (Singapore (KeropokMan) ) -19 (La Antigua Guatemala (Guatemala) ) -20 (Nottingham UK ) -21 (Singapore by Zannnie (Singapore) ) -22 (Budapest (Hungary) ) -23 (Not Strictly Seattle, ) -24 (Bandung (Indonesia) ) -25 (Vantaa (Finland) ) -26 (Hyde (UK) ) -27 (Madrid by Dsole (Spain) ) -28 (Oulu (Finland) ) -29 (Saarbr?cken (Germany) ) -30 (St. Paul [Carol] ) -31 (Sydney (Australia) ) -32 (Tokyo (Japan) ) -33 (Kyoto (Japan) ) -34 (Trujillo (Peru) ) -35 (Shanghai (China) ) -36 (Rotterdam (NL) ) -37 (Chicago, IL (USA) ) -38 (Nice, (France) ) -39 (Naples, Florida (USA) ) -40 (Hong Kong ) -41 (Santa Clara, CA (USA) ) -42 (Quito, Ecuador (South America) ) -43 (Cottage Grove, MN (USA) ) -44 (Paris, (France) ) -45 (Manila (Philippines) ) -46 (Brussels (Belgium) ) -47 (Auckland (New Zealand) ) -48 (Newcastle upon Tyne(England) ) -


  1. You are really annoyed with Meriton? I see the word Meriton all over Sydney when I was there.

  2. Ugh, I hate developers. They come into a place with no idea of the local culture and history and put up their cookie cutter monstrosities...I feel your annoyance on this one!

  3. I am with you on this Sally. The Kogarah development is certainly the right way to go and I would certainly live in a place like this and eschew the other blots on the landscape.

  4. Couldn't agree with you more. Not so much on the look of Meriton properties but on the general lack of concern for the 'green' quality of what is being built. In this day and age, it is not only criminal, it's also plain stupid. What would make a difference would be to see buyers attitudes change.

  5. Well said. The problem is complex, but at the end of it all as you show it is possible to build responsibly.

  6. Progress huh.

    Although i'm not showing on the list (i was too late - eek!), i am participating in Theme Day.

  7. We have son going development for overpriced apartment complex at waterfront property. I do not know who can afford that small unit but obviously it's coming more. And old character home will be disappearing.

  8. Hear, hear! May I vote for you, Sally? Great post for our theme day and super photos to illustrate your well-taken point.
    Here in Seattle there are condos going up everywhere, some well done, and some on the cheap (at least from an exterior point of view--I know nothing of the city's regulations on the infrastructure of these developments, but hope this progressive city backs up its bent for green buildings and conservation with firm building and zoning regulations. We're so new here, I just am not informed yet.

  9. Great post. Here we have arch criminals like Eli Broad putting up instant slums in the desert, despoiling its beauty and ensuring future squalor. They then turn around and use their profits as benefactors to put their names on museums, which of course hold their donated (tax write off) collections. And for this we should all be grateful.

  10. Hi, Sally,
    The Kogarah apartment building is certainly an improvement on the previous types. It looks to have a nice attempt at primary shading and a bit more sculpture in the facade than those older ones. Somewhere to dry the washing and to have that little balcony with its fresh air. If "form follows function", it has taken society a long time to get the message. Here, in Adelaide we have mediocre urban sprawl, where, if one yawns with outstretched arms, one can accidently bring-in the neighbour's washing! You also have my vote, Sally.