Freo's View

LIGHTER NEW LOOK KINGS SQUARE

 

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I know I’ll get kicked in the bum, slapped around the face and abused on social media, but I quite like the much lighter look of Kings Square with the London plane trees.

The Jean Hobson playground is now all demolished in a heap and the public toilets closed, but replaced with large portable loos that are accessible for disabled people.

Freo is on the move and a lot of good things are happening, but patience is required as it will take considerable time for the retail and hospitality economy to turn around in our little city.

Roel Loopers

 

BOOYEEMBARA PARK DEMANDS CARE

Posted in city of fremantle, local government, nature, neglect, Uncategorized by freoview on July 9, 2018

 

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It is such a wonderful day in Fremantle today that I went for a walk in the lovely Booyeembara Park in White Gum Valley.

It is a delight to wander around in this under utilised public green space, but it is sad to see the awful neglect by the City of Fremantle of the amphi theatre. That area has been closed off for a very long time because of asbestos, but nothing is being done to remedy the problem and use the amphi theatre for performances, community events, concerts, NAIDOC week, etc.

It is not good enough to just put ugly fences around it and let it rot and being vandalised, especially since the golf course might take up some of the Booyeembara Park because it has to make way for the widening of High Street.

Roel Loopers

 

FREO SHOULD DARE TO BE DIFFERENT

Posted in art, city of fremantle, city planning, local government, placemaking, Uncategorized by freoview on May 19, 2018

 

Creative bollards

 

An arty city like Fremantle should be far more creative when it comes to public seating, bollards, etc.

Look at these great bollards in Gothenburg!

Roel Loopers

CREATIVE PUBLIC FURNITURE IDEA FOR FREO

 

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How cool would this kind of street furniture be for Fremantle’s beaches or for Notre Dame University. Seating and shade all in one unit.

I’d love to see something like this on the grass in Phillimore Street where many students gather in front of the NDA buildings there, and Bathers Beach and South Beach could do with something creative as well.

Roel Loopers

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WHERE ARE FREO’S NEW PUBLIC SPACES?

With so many new residential and commercial development going on and planned for the future in Fremantle, it is essential for the City to look at the creation of new and exciting public open spaces. In yesterday’s West Australian Perth architect Steve Postmus of Carrier and Postmus Architects wrote that “Landscape can shape a community and can be shaped by a community.” 

Postmus also wrote we need to create diverse and creative public spaces with integrated amenities, but to do that local government needs social, urban, ecological and landscape experience. He also addresses something that often riles me, that “streetscape planning is often generic or absent.” and that there is a need to revitalise streetscapes.

The lack of respect for established streetscapes is something city planners don’t seem to care about much, so inappropriate buildings are allowed to be built, destroying amenity and character.

The Town of Vincent has recently created new public spaces including gardens, a piazza and Vincent Mayor John Carey is keen to find land to create a town square. That sounds like a good idea for Fremantle to adopt, especially with increasing apartments dwellers and office workers.

Vincent Mayor John Carey wrote “Great liveable cities are based around people: making streets more friendly for people to walk, enjoy and relax. As the Mayor of Vincent, I have actively pursued new public spaces: the new Oxford Street Reserve & playground in Leederville, Carr St pedestrian area & Mary Street Piazza in Mt Lawley. Here’s a simple but great addition, an unused area on Angove St, North Perth turned into a green space to relax in the sun and enjoy lunch! We are also looking at other areas in North Perth to create a public square!”

So where are the plans for civic spaces at Beach and Queen Victoria streets in Fremantle where extensive development is happening? Will all these people who live in apartments just have to go to Princess May Park or the Fremantle Arts Centre to enjoy a place of relaxation, or will COF actively create new public open spaces? Cantonment Hill is still many years away from becoming a major new green space in Freo, so we need to create other areas.

Fremantle City has never really tried to make Pioneer Park look stunning and inviting to dwell in, or properly landscape that lovely ocean view corner at Bathers Beach in front of J Shed. Just planting a whole lot of new trees, of which the majority will die and  not mature, is not good enough, so let’s see some innovation in public space planning!

Roel Loopers

ART ABOUT PROTEST AND DEMOCRACY AT PS ART SPACE

Posted in art, fremantle by freoview on April 15, 2016

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…BETWEEN YOU AND I by RIC SPENCER opens tonight at 6.30pm at PS Art Space in Pakenham Street

Fremantle Arts Centre curator Ric Spencer’s exhibition is a painting and drawing based installation instigated by recent surges in demonstration, protest and the democratic use of public space.

Generated by Ric’s walks around Fremantle the show is a tactile response to the politics of public through-ways and our fluid material use of them.

Exhibition runs until 30 April 2016 (Tue-Fri, 10am-4pm, Sat 10am-2pm)

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EQUITY CITIES EQUAL FOR ALL

Posted in development, fremantle by freoview on April 5, 2016

The US based Urban Land Institute reports that developers and cities are creating communities tailored to those who prefer bikes over cars in so-called trail oriented development.

The non for profit organisation which was established in 1936 says these developments benefit people of all incomes as riding, buying and maintaining a bicycle is less expensive that driving a car.

New residential developments in the USA have bike storage, extra wide hallways, bike elevators, repair and cleaning stations, showers and locker rooms and on-site bike rental or bike share.

The proximity to bike trails has raised property values in the USA the institute claims.

There is no doubt that there are health benefits not only for those who cycle but for the entire community, as more cyclists and fewer cars means less air pollution.

I also read a report by Barcelona’s  Pietro Garau about ‘Equity Cities” that is worth considering when we plan our cities. It urges local governments to see public space as a public service and provide access to safe, inclusive and accessible urban green space especially for women, children, older people and the disabled.

Garau says that public space is where everyone can feel equal without showing their social status and ability to consume and he suggests that councils should adopt a public space centered urban strategy. “Public space is important if we want to achieve the equitable city.”

The report also supports learning and networking activities in our public spaces and encourages temporary public space use of vacant land, as I have suggested should happen at the ugly Hilton Hotel development site at Queen Adelaide Street here in Fremantle.

Both reports make a lot of sense to me and are not about enforcing someone else’s lifestyle upon others. It is about offering alternatives and choice to the community and at the end market demand will direct which direction the public wants to go.

Roel Loopers

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DEVELOP FREMANTLE CHILDREN FRIENDLY

Posted in city of fremantle, development, housing by freoview on March 26, 2016

An article on Twitter by Canadian Sightline Institute talks about one of my passions for diverse housing in inner city Fremantle and tells the story of how downtown Vancouver BC has 5 times more kids than Seattle and 9 times more than Portland.

Town planners in Vancouver BC made a conscious decision some 20 years ago to not leave the inner city to singles, couples, aged and low income earners, but to also encourage families.

Apartments and townhouses in big developments have to have dining rooms with easy to clean floors, accessible stroller storage, lockable bicycle storage, and outdoor play spaces, ideally where parents can look out on from windows to supervise the children.

At least 25 percent of the development needs to be suitable for families and 20 percent for low-income people.

High density development needs to incorporate parks, open space, daycares, libraries, community centres and elementary schools, and there needs to be soundproofing between the apartments and between the sleeping and living areas.

This is the kind of development that I would like to see in the Knutsford/Blinco/Montreal street area, and not just a small housing scheme only suitable for singles. I would also encourage developers to build more family apartments with a minimum of two bedrooms in the CBD, so that we get real diversity and not just childless couples and singles buying apartments in new Fremantle development.

Roel Loopers

LET’S JOIN THE URBAN FOREST STRATEGY

Posted in city of fremantle, environment, trees by freoview on March 8, 2016

The City of Stirling, one of Perth’s largest councils, is in the process of implementing an Urban Forest Strategy to ensure the tree canopy in Stirling will significantly increase over the next years, as the benefits to the community are considered to be high.

I believe there are some very good suggestions that the City of Fremantle should also consider. One of them is that developers would have to replace the trees they remove from sites by planting new ones on public land and verges adjacent to the development sites.

Other suggestions are that developers would have to plant one tree per 500 square metres on development sites, and that Council should give incentives to retain existing trees and also start an education program.

A disturbing fact is that two third of trees removed are removed from residential land.

I don’t believe the word tree alone is good enough and that trees planted by developers have to be mature trees of a minimum age, not just tiny saplings.

On a different note, the City of Stirling has joined the City of Vincent, City of Bayswater and the Town of Mosman Park to lobby State Government to abolish the undemocratic DAPs, or significantly change the process that ignores the wishes of the community. Why has the City of Fremantle not spoken out against the Development Assessment Panels? Might it be because it is convenient to blame the DAPs for inappropriate buildings in Fremantle and Council can wash its hands off it that way?

Roel Loopers

POP UP PARK FOR HILTON HOTEL SITE?

Posted in city of fremantle, development, fremantle by freoview on February 24, 2016

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Freo’s View reader David sent me some email last night about the now derelict Hilton Double Tree hotel development site on the corner of Point and Queen Adelaide streets. The developers have announced a delay of two years and David suggested the City of Fremantle could do what some eastern state councils do and beautify the area and make it into a park for the time being.

I think the idea is good but the land is no longer owned by the City and insurance issues might also be a consideration.

Does anyone have ideas how we could make a positive out of a negative and make the land near Princess May Park and the old Boys School more attractive?

Roel Looper

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