29 April 2008

Lets Get Serious

Let's Get Serious
Council's battle plan to clean up city
(Express Advocate 25th April)

Now that I have got your attention, if you want an interesting (but long) read pertinent to future development options for Gosford, have a look at the UN report on Creative Economies released this month.

I quote extracts from their publicity release, but the full document is worth looking at, particularly the reference to Charles Landry and his concept of Creative Cities.

The application of his ideas to an Australian city, Perth, are even more useful.

First the quote, then a letter sent to the Express Advocate in an attempt to get people to read about, and consider, positive approaches to change.

"A new development paradigm is emerging that links the economy and culture, embracing economic, cultural, technological and social aspects of development at both the macro and micro levels. Central to the new paradigm is the fact that creativity, knowledge and access to information are increasingly recognized as powerful engines driving economic growth and promoting development in a globalizing world.

The Creative Economy Report is the first to present the perspectives of the United Nations as a whole on this exciting new topic. It provides empirical evidence that the creative industries are among the most dynamic emerging sectors in world trade. It also shows that the interface among creativity, culture, economics and technology, as expressed in the ability to create and circulate intellectual capital, has the potential to generate income, jobs and export earnings while at the same time contributing to social inclusion, cultural diversity and human development.

This Report addresses the challenge of assessing the creative economy with a view to informed policy-making by outlining the conceptual, institutional and policy framework in which this economy can flourish."

Now the letter to the editor, with apologies for the intemperate tone. Past letters that were reasonable and polite were not published, so a different tactic is being tried to get useful ideas out there. There is little evidence that local decision makers are aware of the strategies for urban renewal being successfully implemented in many cities around the world.

If you missed the alarming newspaper account of the Council meeting, you can check out what happened in the minutes on the Council website.

Keystone Council

"Judging from newspaper reports of the Law and Order debate at last weeks Council meeting, it would seem that Vicki Scott’s was the only voice of sanity when she called for inclusiveness and social responsibility, against a chorus baying for the blood of scapegoats – groups politically vulnerable and already victims of various social exclusions. One gets the impression too many are singing only from the Chamber of Commerce song book.
If Council wants to ‘run-out-of-town’ any people deemed to be creating unacceptable problems, an uncharitable person would think some of our civic leaders might not be eligible, as residents, for re-election.
But to be charitable, I’m sure they want the problems solved, and I suspect that the answers lie in a different way of thinking; “A new development paradigm (that) is emerging that links the economy and culture, embracing economic, cultural, technological and social aspects of development at both the macro and micro levels.” (UN Creative Economy Report, April 2008)

21 April 2008

The more things change

Nothing of great note has been passing my eyes or ears in the past few weeks, so postings have been sluggish.
In relation to planning for rejuvenation, since the Town For Sale notice and punitive reaction; the Advocates Nightmare on Mann Street and Knock Them Down campaign which followed, to apply some pressure to get things moving from a recurrent roundabout of planning followed by inaction, Gosford Council has acted:
To move responsibility to the State Government to take control of development and to introduce legislation to punish delinquent property owners, to establish a new group, the Gosford BID (Business Improvement District Association) to replace the CBD Promotions committee which replaced the CBD committee, and Bill Kerr has been appointed to manage development of the CBD by brokering relationships between the Council and the corporate sector (putting on permanent hold the development of the waterfront until this is accomplished)

So responsibility has been deflected, and new arrangements put in place with the intention of progressing matters. One hopes this will happen, and those of us who care for the future of Gosford wish them well, but there is nothing new in the model to takes into account the new economy and a broader conceptual understanding of 21st century urban theory. Its like trying to inject some extra horsepower into a 30 Series Nissan Cedric.

The ideas which could be useful are out there, but you can lead a horse to water …etc.
It seems difficult even to get the ‘horses’ interested in the trough in Gosford these days, let alone get getting them to drink.

Not so in the past.
From the Gosford Times, 9th December 1898.

“The horse trough recently erected at the town pump in Mann Street should prove a great convenience to the traveling public during the hot weather.”

05 April 2008

Gosford People

Past attempts to develop the Gosford region.

From the Gosford Times
4th March 1898
It is said that the meeting to be held at Ourimbah on Monday night next re the proposed park promises to be a rather “stormy” one. Much bitterness, uncalled for no doubt, has been engendered against certain members of the Progress Association for their alleged ‘shady’ actions in influencing the selection of a certain site. It is a great pity that local petty jealousies should intrude themselves at this early stage of the proceedings, for if perpetuated it will assuredly be the deathblow to the Park – a public boon that wellwishers have striven hard to secure. Let us hope that wiser council will prevail in future.
25th march 1898
Ald. Kibble produced a photograph of an improved night cart, which was offered for sale at 35 pounds, and in accordance with his notice at last meeting, moved that cess pit closets be abolished and the pan system adopted throughout the borough. Ald. Mason seconded. On the advice of other Aldermen, however, the motion was withdrawn pending the receipt of further information from boroughs where the pan system is in vogue.

[Alderman Kibble realized that cess pit toilets had disadvantages, particularly in the low lying, swampy, areas at the bottom of the Gosford ‘bowl’, and the potential value of his land holdings in this area could only be improved by a change to the sanitation system.]

Of course such self-interest might seem strange to us today.
But then, people have changed. Do we see people on the Central Coast resembling Australians from the 1880s?

Poster from 1885