The Legacy of Dan Urban Kiley, Landscape Architect

One of my most treasured heroes – Dan Urban Kiley, Landscape Architect.  The Millar House is one of my favourite projects of all time.  It is timeless, classic, and climatic.  Well worth a read and exploration of this great Landscape Architect’s work. Thanks to the American Society of Landscape Architects for this amazing resource.

We need more recognition of our historic landscape architects in Australia!  Miller_slide3_crop

Charting Australian Sprawl…

Data and metrics are wonderful things.  They allow us to bend and warp stats to create profiles and trends.

Of particular interest to me is how our cities are changing.  There is a lot of noise about inner, middle and outer ‘density’ (which in this context is the number of people who inhabit a square hectare) in all our major cities.

This excellent piece of data analysis demonstrates some trends in an upward fashion for most of our cities.

Adelaide: static and sprawling?

Picking on Adelaide, it shows that using weighted averages (and I’m no statitician…) we have not moved much since 1981.  Ironically that is over 30 years ago, so what does that mean for the recently launched 30 Year Plan for Greater Adelaide, and by implication, the recent 30 Year Transport Plan?  Both are well crafted, well intentioned documents, wondering if these trends were assessed and analysed on why? I assume yes, but it makes for sober reading. Turning density around is a slow process, so perhaps more intensity in density is required to change the graph and make a real difference to our cities?

Whilst the average is across the entire metropolitan area, it shows an average Adelaidian density of just 12 persons per hectare.  Compare this with Sydney which is double, still low on world standards. The trends show the curves dropping to their lowest densities in the 1980s – which probably reflects one of the many sprawling housing booms Australian Cities have had over the decades. 

graph density Australian Capital cities

However measuring this on an international scale is a bit more difficult, according to ‘Charting Transport’, as the stats and comparable data dont match.  A very interesting read.

Image: Doug Barton

The Guardian, UK: ‘Adelaide grows up…to build the creative city’

Interesting article from The Guardian in the UK – trams making news and how they will shape this fair city.


“Adelaide’s tram line runs from Glenelg beach to the Adelaide Entertainment Centre. It is Adelaide’s only remaining tram line after a far-reaching network was ripped up in the 1950s. Photograph: South Australian government

Something is happening in Adelaide. Australia’s fifth largest city is growing up.

Biannual arts festivals have become annual events, new legislation has backed small bars, a government-endorsed laneway culture has emerged and a $565m upgrade of Adelaide Oval is nearing completion that will attract up to 50,000 Australian Football League supporters into the central business district regularly.

Now the South Australian premier, Jay Weatherill, wants to fortify Adelaide’s fledgling vibrancy with an ambitious plan to install a major tram network.

His government has released its 30-year integrated transport and land use plan, which proposes five new tram lines to link Adelaide’s suburbs and beaches to the CBD, along with a city circuit to connect its entertainment and eating/shopping precincts.

The centrepiece of this plan is a tram network Weatherill wants constructed within the next decade as a crucial step towards his vision of a “creative city” and a doubled CBD population of 50,000 people.

“We want to really unlock people’s creativity, so they can express themselves and be successful in what they want to do,” Weatherill says.

“They can choose to be part of an inner-city experience, a new urban experience, or in the outer suburbs or the country – we want them to have every option available to them to suit the different stages of their life.”

When the trams went to Mitcham

All the old stories of trams in Adelaide are beginning to surface…some great tales of the former tram network (and now perhaps tinted somewhat by time and memory?!)

Everything old is new again, with a modern twist if we get the system right.

Big ticks to the State Govt for putting this on the agenda.  Designed correctly, light rail has far more benefits ‘beyond the tracks’. 

Mitcham Tram former

Former tram near the Temperance Hotel, date unspecified (surce:

Mitcham Tram 2013

And the same view in 2013 (source: Google Streetview)