Melbourne suffers from terrible urban sprawl. Public transport has not kept up with inexorable pressure from developers. Now a new report sensibly recommends denser population growth along existing public transportation routes. Community groups like Save Our Suburbs oppose this development, but it seems to me that change is inevitable. Instead of opposing it, we need to focus on integrating the natural world with urban and suburban environments.
Melbourne does this well with a system of bike and walking tracks along the city's river, the Yarra, and its tributary creeks, Merri Creek north of the city, and Gardiner Creek, in the city's south east. Community groups and local government combine to maintain the trails and vegetate and re-vegetate the areas as needed. Some parts of the tracks are bushland, other parts present urban views.
The High Line in New York City is a park that is still being developed on the site of a derelict railway line. It is thirty feet above street level and over a mile long. It's not a park in the traditional sense, i.e. a natural space within a city. It is, rather,an inspiring example of combining the natural and the built environments.
Parts of the line are secluded natural spaces, other parts run between buildings. The designer, Piet Oudolf, specializes in wild gardens, and has planted natural looking drifts of perennials, mostly indigenous species. These are supposed to echo the weeds which grew alongside the line when it was a functioning railway line.
Walking the High Line must be a wonderful way to see Manhattan... sigh ...
... but in the meantime, I'll just wonder down to Gardiners Creek, and see if I can see any of the rakali (native water rats) that live there.
(photos from Wikipedia)
Wednesday, 16 September 2009
Sunday, 13 September 2009
Friday, 11 September 2009
A dear friend of mine, a refugee, spent her entire life in South East Asia where the weather does not divide into four seasons as it does in other regions. Now she is living in New Zealand. She is full of joy and wonder as she experiences her first Spring. Here are some photos she has taken.
Thursday, 10 September 2009
It's been 2 months and 9 days since I last did any blogging.
I took a break because I was feeling pressured to post often and regularly. I could also feel myself succumbing to the seductiveness of the competitive numbers that measure a blog's success: followers, comments, ranking.
My blog is created in the image of my garden. The garden doesn't depend on my constant efforts. I only garden if I want to, choose to. That is why I don't grow anything that needs a regular supply of water or TLC. If I don't garden for a while it just gets overgrown and weedy - nothing that can't be fixed in a few energetic hours.
I wanted to see what would happen if I didn't blog for a while.
Nothing happened, except that I feel refreshed and renewed in my identity as a Slow Blogger.
I want my blogging, like my gardening, to be meditative, calm, evolving, reflective.
I have written about this before, but I think I need regular revision to remember this lesson.
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