Freo's View

INTERNATIONAL CITIES CONFERENCE FOR FREMANTLE

Posted in city of fremantle, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on October 30, 2017

 

Fremantle Deputy Mayor Ingrid Waltham returned with good news from the ICTC 2017 conference in Melbourne.

It was announced that next year Fremantle will host the International Cities Town Centres and Communities Conference, which attracts 300 delegates and other visitors.

 

Roel Loopers

 

STUDENT ASKS WHAT SHOULD HAPPEN AT BATHERS BEACH?

Posted in education, fremantle, universities by freoview on April 6, 2016

One of the most rewarding things about publishing my blog and being very involved with Fremantle issues is that I have a lot of contact with university students. Young people are the future so it is important for me to know what they think and that they engage with local government and the community.

I received this message from Curtin University student Samia Scott via Facebook and am happy to support her here.

Hi Roel, I’d like to introduce myself as a student of architecture studying online through Curtin University and during this semester our design brief is for a “market place” at Bathers Beach. After early research, this seems an absurd design idea and I would like your help if you can post on your Facebook page to the community of Fremantle…”what would they like to see most as an addition to Bathers Beach”.. I’m aware the Sunset Markets moved to South Beach and Sunset Sounds although a “nice idea” is detrimental to the environment. I’m also aware of a pre proposed idea of a Public Baths. 

My initial idea is to connect the boardwalk from Bathers Beach House to the area located at the end of Fleet St with a series of interventions along the way enabling cyclists and the disabled the opportunity to access the water.

The reason I’d like to get a quick poll from the community is to better convince my tutors of my decision. As you can appreciate, the realm of tertiary education may not always align with the ‘real world’ needs and as an advocate of Amanda Burdens’ style of designing, I believe the most successful designs are those which consider the people. https://www.ted.com/talks/amanda_burden_how_public_spaces_make_cities_work?language=en

If you can help me in this matter, I would be most appreciative.WHAT

Kind regards,

Samia Scott

POPULATION GROWTH A BIG CHALLENGE FOR US ALL

Posted in fremantle, housing, planning by freoview on October 8, 2015

A new report by the Australian Council of Learned Academies-ACOLA tells us a lot what we already know but is important to remind us all about it time and time again.

The ACOLA reports says that by the middle of next century the population will be double in Perth, Sydney and Melbourne and that the cost of urban congestion will increase four-fold in the next 20 years to $ 53 billion by 2031.

We all know and understand that urban sprawl is the major factor in this, so ACOLA recommends to reduce and avoid the need to travel through creating economic hubs so people live close near where they work, and to shift to environmentally friendly transport; public, bikes, walking, and improve energy efficiency; electric cars.

The recommendation I like best, and wonder why it is not happening already, is to get all three levels of government, Federal, State and Local to actually coordinate planning.

ACOLA also suggest to establish a planning philosophy where the need for mobility is reduced and the aim of good health and sustainability advanced.

It all makes sense but how do we get the Great Australian Dream of a big house and garden out of the Australian culture?

The W.A. State Government is not exactly rushing to create so called satellite cities around the Perth metro area and move large departments to places like Fremantle, and neither are big businesses keen to move away from their highrise palaces in Perth and West Perth.

One option would be for Landcorp to release less land for single housing and insist on higher density new suburbs, and urban infill needs to increase faster than at the present rate and that is a challenge for local governments as residents are reluctant to embrace it.

Roel Loopers

ROEL FOR FREO! Beaconsfield Ward. Truly Independent.

Written and authorised by Roel Loopers of 5 Maxwell Street, Beaconsfield 6162.

TREE PRESERVATION ESSENTIAL FOR GOOD CITIES

Posted in fremantle, trees by freoview on September 16, 2015

There is an interesting article on WA Today on-line by reporter Emma Young on the tree canopies of our cities and what they mean to keep temperatures down in our suburbs.

WA Today reports that five Perth Councils engaged Dr Paul Barber of Arbor Carbon, who is also an adjunct professor at Murdoch University, to do a study.

It shows we are not doing very well in the planning department with the modern trend toward smaller blocks with bigger houses and often granny flats, where in the past we had bigger blocks with smaller houses and more green and trees in our gardens.

It is also a worry we cut down mature trees when developing and replace them with younger ones, but that is not the same according to Dr Barber. He said that a mature large tree has a canopy cover of 100 square metres but replacing it with three small trees would provide only 3 metres of cover.

In 2014 evidence collected by the Sydney University of Technology, that ranked Australia’s Councils’ tree canopy, found that the Fremantle, Belmont and Canning areas scored the lowest in Perth for tree cover with around only 10 per cent each.

With Councils failing to take heat islands and the preservation and management of our green spaces serious, and not planning substantially more small green public open spaces, it is no wonder that URBAN TREE NETWORKS are being formed by communities all over Perth.

We just have to become smarter about our urban design and the City of Fremantle need to make the retention of mature trees in new development part of their planning policy.

Roel Loopers

ROEL FOR FREO! Beaconsfield Ward. Truly Independent.

Written and authorised by Roel Loopers. 5 Maxwell Street. Beaconsfield 6162.

GREEN SPACES MAKE CITIES LIVEABLE

Posted in city of fremantle, green space by freoview on September 16, 2015

I was made aware by one of the many readers of my blog of this TED Talk by Amanda Burton, the former Planning Director of New York City, on public open and green spaces. You can either view the talk or read the manuscript of it on the link here:

I am passionate about the creation of many small creative green public spaces spread all over Fremantle and would love to see the introduction of a percentage for green public space in our planning policies. If elected on Council I would initiate discussions with planning staff on how practical such a scheme might be and if it could be implemented within Local and State Laws.

There are many interesting observations in this TED Talk and many apply to Fremantle and Perth, so it is well worth reading it. I just copy the last paragraph as a little teaser.

“So you see, no matter how popular and successful a public space may be, it can never be taken for granted. Public spaces always — this is it saved — public spaces always need vigilant champions, not only to claim them at the outset for public use, but to design them for the people that use them, then to maintain them to ensure that they are for everyone, that they are not violated, invaded, abandoned or ignored. If there is any one lesson that I have learned in my life as a city planner, it is that public spaces have power. It’s not just the number of people using them, it’s the even greater number of people who feel better about their city just knowing that they are there. Public space can change how you live in a city, how you feel about a city, whether you choose one city over another, and public space is one of the most important reasons why you stay in a city.”

Roel Loopers

ROEL FOR FREO! Beaconsfield Ward. Truly Independent.

Written and authorised by Roel Loopers. 5 Maxwell Street. Beaconsfield 6162

DOES DEVELOPMENT RUSH HARM ORGANIC GROWTH OF CITIES?

Posted in city of fremantle, committee for perth by freoview on September 10, 2015

There was an interesting Future Freo public forum by the Committee for Perth at Notre Dame University today with speakers UWA Professor Matthew Tonts, city development expert and author of Urbanism without Effort Chuck Wolfe of Seattle, COP chair Marion Fulker and Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt.

It is about the “diversity of thought” Fulker said and that is a good base to start from I believe.

Chuck Wolfe is an international speaker but I thought in some ways quite David Engwicht-like, although he did not use the words place making once in his presentation.

City building is acupuncture with lots of little pricks, small achievable projects and goals and the rediscovery of simplicity we were told, and that we need to create places of comfort and scale. That is very much what the Freo community would like to see happen. Even more Freo was Wolfe’s suggestion that we need to recall the historic patterns of our cities and that the fundamental relationships between humans and cities need to be addressed in our planning.

Brad Pettitt presented his thought on the Liveable Cities tour he did a few months ago and observed that they were about density done well, cities of short distances, and that cities should not be designed around cars. In the German city of Freiburg for example car use is only 35 cars per 100 inhabitants while in Perth it is 60/100 so substantially more.

Brad said that higher density is best done when accompanied by green spaces and that the new European suburbs had a diverse range of affordable housing for all ages. It was important to “Building on your uniqueness.”

Marion Fulker compared facts and perceptions and said that crime in Fremantle was about the same as everywhere else in the metro area. The problem with parking was not insufficient parking bays but the accessibility to them, she said. There was also no clear evidence that Fremantle’s environmental role was any more significant than that of other regions.

The education sector is a major employer in Fremantle she told us, and that young people and renters were more satisfied to live in Fremantle than people over 40 and property owners, but that 86% of residents are satisfied to live here.

UWA Professor Matthew Tonts told us there is a steady population growth in Fremantle but it is well below that of the Perth metro. We have a slowly ageing population, are a critical hub for import and export, and have a higher rising unemployment rate than Perth. Freo people are stayers Professor Tonts said with half of the population staying in the same location between 2006-11.

I came out of the forum wondering if over-planning cities harms the natural organic growth of them because we are in such a rush for change, and if we should not let progress evolve and let it simply happen because of inevitable change.

Fremantle is only 187 years old while European cities have often grown organically for centuries, and most have a real connection to the past and past culture. Freo’s latest building have little reference to our heritage and don’t connect with the past. They fill up spaces with density but not with culture and don’t look at all like “density done well’ the Freo Mayor talked about.

Roel Loopers

Facebook: ROEL FOR FREO! Beaconsfield Ward. Truly Independent.

Authorised and written by Roel Loopers. 5 Maxwell Street. Beaconsfield 6162.

REALITY CHECK NEEDED WITH CITY PLANNING

Posted in city of fremantle, planning, state government by freoview on July 29, 2015

The City of Fremantle full Council meeting tonight has many interesting items, such as the Cantonment Hill and Princess May Park masterplans on the agenda, and also the City’s submission to the State Government on the Perth and Peel @ 3.5 Million directions.

There are many people who questioned the need for the Perth and Peel @ 3.5 Million document when the government only launched its Directions 2031 four years ago. That document directed local councils to increase infill-higher density- development near train stations and along transit corridors, without guidance or support on how to do it, so it has achieved very little.

In 2014 the residential development fill in stood at 28% and the Directions 2031 wanted an increase to 47%, but we are not even close to that target in the metropolitan area where it stands at only 30%. Fremantle is one of the highest achievers with a 36% infill rate.

Part of the problem has been that the State Government has simply demanded a fill in increase without  showing local governments how to achieve it and there has been lack of support for integrated planning with State agencies unwilling to increase public transport services to potential infill locations. It’s the chicken and egg thing where local governments want the State to introduce the services before they start infill development while the State expects the development to go ahead without committing to increasing old or implementing new services such as lightrail and or rapid bus transport.

What amazes me about all these plans, ideas and directions is a severe lack of reality at all levels of government and by so called planning experts. On TV yesterday opposition against the extension of a large northern suburb shopping centre was vocal, with overflow parking in residential streets being a problem, so yet another ‘expert’ voiced her opinion that shopping centres should be built near train stations. Ooops! I though State Government wanted mainly residential infill near train stations, so not sure how very large-scale shopping precincts would be incorporated within those plans.

There is also naivety about suggesting shopping centres near train stations as it would be near impossible to do so along the Fremantle to Perth and Armadale line where shopping centres would destroy the older residential suburbs to an unrecognisable mess and severely impact on the character and lifestyle.

Let us look at the practicality of shopping centres near railway stations. Why is it IKEA, BIG W, The GOOD GUYS, HARVEY NORMAN, etc. are not near railway stations but next to large parking areas? Because people will not buy a huge flatscreen TV, new computer, washing machine, etc. and take it home on the train. They want to put it in their car or on the back of the ute and that is why shopping centres near railway stations only could be what we already have; highstreets. Sadly highstreets have lost popularity and people flock to sterile shopping centres instead.

Long and short term city planning needs to receive a severe injection of reality. The naive dreamers and unrealistic placemakers should take a cold shower or direct their creativity toward making surreal art, because city planning needs to be about achievable outcomes.

Roel Loopers

FUTURE TRAFFIC NIGHTMARE AHEAD

Posted in freight, fremantle, transport by freoview on July 9, 2015

The lecture PERTH FREIGH LINK: making the right investment in Perth’s freight task, by transport and sustainability expert Professor Peter Newman at the Fremantle Townhall on July 14, 6-7 pm becomes even more interesting in context to the just released report by the Federal Infrastructure Department.

The report confirms a “substantial growth” of Fremantle Port of up to 5.5 per cent over the past decade, and it states that the biggest issue is transport around our cities.

The number of passenger vehicle kilometres travelled on Perth roads grew five times over the past ten years to 16.2 billion kilometres, and Perth has the biggest increase in traffic delays of all Australian cities. It took 31 seconds longer to drive one kilometre over the last decade.

With the population of Perth estimated to grow to up to 5,5 million residents transport and congestion issues will only get worse with the Federal Infrastructure Department reports saying that investment will need to be made to improve road, rail, bike paths, public transport, ports and airports, but that funding to build all the necessary infrastructure won’t be available. That will create a huge headache for future generations and governments, so prioritising funding for essential infrastructure should be demanded by voters at the next state and federal elections.

Roel Loopers

EUROPEAN COMMON SENSE HOUSING APPLIES TO FREMANTLE

Posted in city of fremantle, development by freoview on July 5, 2015

Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt has been publishing interesting articles on his blog about his fact-finding trip to some of the European most liveable cities. His latest article can be read in full here: https://cofremantle.wordpress.com/2015/07/04/lessons-learned-from-europe-part-two/

I commented on Brad’s blog a few weeks ago that some of the things he is very impressed about are things we in Fremantle have long indicated as being desirable for our city and a lot of it was mentioned during the Fremantle 2029 community sessions, but largely ignored when the report on it was published.

Brad writes in his latest blog post that his observations in Europe showed that new development needs to be accompanied by a major provision of high quality green spaces at a total of 30% of the land size of the development, not the 10% that is standard in W.A. Increase in public open spaces and making it compulsory for new developments is something others in the Freo community and I personally have called for on this blog for years. It shows that there are visionaries with sensible and practical ideas in our own suburbs and they should be listened to better and taken seriously..

Brad also writes that new development needs to have a diverse range of housing that brings the community together of all ages and incomes, ideally in the same building. This is again something I an others have been pushing for for a long time, because there is a risk that especially the Fremantle CBD could become a yuppy town that is only affordable to those on high incomes, while those who need affordable housing are pushed away to the suburbs where anti-social behaviour often becomes a problem, as recent reports about Hilton and the one on the Iceworks development show.

I would love to see Brad initiate a public forum session on how we can plan and develop Fremantle better, because it is essential to get it right and it should not be left to a few ideology driven who have a big public profile and get all the media attention.

People have been critical of the Fremantle Mayor going on this trip and calling it a junket, but I really enjoy Brad Pettitt’s first-hand reporting on those European cities, because we can make them relevant to what we are doing wrong here and improve faster that way.

Roel Loopers

NO REAL LABOR VISION FOR OUR CITIES

Posted in anthony albanese, federal governmet, fremantle, local government by freoview on January 6, 2015

The West Australian today published an opinion piece by Anthony Albanese, the federal shadow minister for cities, infrastructure and transport on the future of our cities, but it leaves more questions than it provides answers.

I can’t believe Albanese got sucked in by the sustainability propaganda crap that was reported last year that US academic John Renne refused a job in Perth because he and his family could not afford to live near a transport hub on a $ 170,000-a-year salary. That is just rich boy crying poor stuff.

Urban growth and traffic congestions are a serious concern for the Perth metro area and Albanese is correct that the Federal and State governments should be spending less on roads and more on public transport. Lightrail connecting the north of Perth, and Fremantle, Rockingham, with the universities and hospitals would be a great investment and a much better one than building a truck toll road to get containers to Fremantle port.

Decentralisation is all the go in my humble opinion. Decentralise workplaces so people do not have to commute for hours each day and, as Albanese suggests, decentralise CBDs and create second and third ones in our capital city. No doubt Fremantle should be the second Perth CBD but it gets no support from the Barnett government. To be fair though, previous Labor governments have not exactly been more generous to Freo and invested little in the port city either, but for new infrastructure at Fremantle Ports.

High-density living near busy roads and rail lines create their own problems with noise and air pollution, and mental health and social issues, so one needs to be careful where and how one creates high-density residential apartments.

I am getting pretty cynical about what constitutes so-called affordable housing, when one has to pay nearly $ 200 a week in Fremantle to just get a room in a share house. Is ‘affordable’ for a small apartment $ 400+ a week and how many low-income earners would be able to pay for that?

What Australia needs are real visionaries who are not trying to promote their own agenda. There are as many narrow-minded anti-change people as there are one-eyed sustainability ‘experts’ and we should be careful not to get sucked in by those whose only ‘vision’ is highrise near train stations.

Albanese’s article is disappointing because it lacks substance and vision and it does not state what the Labor party would do for Western Australia should they win the next federal and state elections.

Roel Loopers

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