There is an interesting opinion piece in today’s West Australian by UWA’s Dr Stephen Neille on how we need to design our cities. It is something I and others have written about on this blog as it is in my opinion absolutely essential for Fremantle to only erect new buildings in the inner city that are distinct in architectural design and high building quality.
Dr. Neille quotes US urbanist Michael Sorkin that “each city has the right to elaborate the basis of its own distinctness” and he argues that “in order to maintain urban vitality it is necessary to elaborate on the design of the city and its evolving form”
I don’t believe we do that well in Western Australia, and Fremantle does it even less than Perth. There is a sense of piecemeal haphazardness in the way our cities evolve with little respect or reference to existing streetscapes and buildings. Urban planning should be about the whole, not individual buildings, because a single inappropriate building can do infinite damage to the urban landscape and identity.
As Dr. Neille writes in the West, it needs careful curation to create consciously designed environments to explicitly connect the city to its settings, to help celebrate the city’s character.
For me that balance of old and new, heritage and modern, but always exceptional buildings, is vital to Fremantle’s growth and progress and to maintain the uniqueness of our city.
Only metres away from one another Fremantle shows all sides of life; the good, the bad, and the ugly.
The big pots with trees as part of the Streetscape Enhancement Trial are a great idea and an immediate improvement.
But the ugly banners hanging between the posts of the just renovated Fremantle Markets at Jus Burgers should be removed. How many signs does it take to sell burgers and chips?
To make it worse we also have the fenced off heritage listed Warders Cottages in Henderson Street. A really ugly sight that state government should address with urgency!