You all will remember "Little boxes" written by Malvina Reynolds in the early 60s that started
Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes all the same.
There's a green one and a pink one
And a blue one and a yellow one,
It was originally written about a new development in Daly City just south of San Francisco (where that big gas explosion was last year) .... now days in the US they mostly have developments where all the houses are painted the same base colour and the same trim colours with covenants that stop you painting .... leading us to a rewrite ....
There's a brown one and a brown one
And a brown one and a brow-en one
And given the leaky homes saga
And they're all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same
One of my worries about Christchurch and its inhabitants (and I apologise to Emma right now for not remembering to think of her and the rest of the inhabitants feelings) is the effect of the on-going stress from to whole experience
Two big shakes, 1000s aftershakes the death and destruction, people are just frazzled beyond belief and that is not going to change soon
When it comes to rebuilding as long as the risks are spelled out clearly and that includes the chances from flooding with the thought of future sea rise, build where you like (within the bounds of good taste, as defined by the owner)
There's one up near Upper Hutt, but I forget the name. I drove around it one day, and really did feel like I was in Stepford. There's no cars parked on the streets, there's hardly any traffic on the roads. There's no trees, only carefully pruned shrubs.
Kelson in the western Lower Hutt also comes to mind. It's tidy & safe - to the point of Orwellian sterility.
It is Riverstone Terraces I was thinking of.
So, our kids now go to school out next to the Aidanfield subdivision. And it’s fucking Stepfordy.
It's horrible. Great, big, soulless houses plunked in the middle of teeny-tiny sections and, apart from a preschool, nowhere within walking distance for people to go - not a cafe or a dairy or even a postbox. I've been trying to go for walks there while the kids are in school and it's pretty grim.
Perhaps Auckland differs from Chch in that way? Here, some of the older suburbs are costly to live in, and some (like where I am) are really cheap. Character villas for everybody who wants them! Tumbledown turrets and tangled gardens optional!
30 years ago, drafty villas in inner suburbs could be had for a song. Ponsonby and Grey Lynn weren't exactly slums, but their demographics were very, very different. (Amazingly, Parnell had affordable homes near the job for the Pacific Islanders who came here to work the waterfront in the 50s.)
12 years ago, when we were in a position to buy, we were living in Grey Lynn (in a shitty weatherboard property attached to a shop) but couldn't afford to buy there -- the horse had bolted. But we were able to afford an ex-state house in Pt Chev, the other site of Western Springs. We certainly couldn't if we were in the same position today.
Onehunga was the other cluster of older villas, but I suspect there are very few bargains there now. There's still 50s and 60s houses in West Auckland -- including the likes of Cheryl's house in Outrageous Fortune and Mt Albert, but after that it's the sprawling Auckland outer suburbs.
OTOH, I mostly grew up in Christchurch's expanding northwestern suburbs, and that really wasn't a bad life.
It’s horrible. Great, big, soulless houses plunked in the middle of teeny-tiny sections
Te Atatu Peninsula these is an odd mix of cheaper 50-60s houses to the west and blank 90s-00s McMansions looking back toward the harbour bridge. Quite a lot of soullessness there.
the sprawling Auckland outer suburbs
I have a relative who's just moved to Torbay. Hitherto I'd had no reason to go futher up the North Shore than Birkenhead, and I was *staggered* at how it goes on and on and on and on! Not that it's not nice, leafy and with pretty beaches and all...but so much of it!
I have a relative who’s just moved to Torbay. Hitherto I’d had no reason to go futher up the North Shore than Birkenhead, and I was *staggered* at how it goes on and on and on and on! Not that it’s not nice, leafy and with pretty beaches and all…but so much of it!
The southeast is the same, but without the benefit of leaves and beaches.
I like Birkenhead though. It's where all the gays who couldn't afford to buy in Ponsonby seem to have decamped. So to speak.
It's also worth remembering they're not (to get back slightly on topic) all that much safer. Cousins of mine lived in a subdivision in Brooklands (north of chch). Most of the infrastructure out there is screwed - roads, sewerage, etc - and they lost their house in September. Just down the road from them, on a brand new part of the neighbourhood, was a house that the owners had been living in for a week. It was red-stickered.
Human landscapes in SW Florida
(26 photos total)
Some of the satellite townships/suburbs seem to have suffered more from the September quake than February's (sort of makes sense when you think about the locations of the faults). One friend in Brooklands talks about a particular sound the drains make every few weeks - it means they're full of silt & need to be sucked clear again.
Great, big, soulless houses plunked in the middle of teeny-tiny sections and, apart from a preschool, nowhere within walking distance for people to go – not a cafe or a dairy or even a postbox. I’ve been trying to go for walks there while the kids are in school and it’s pretty grim.
I recall reading a survey of residents of Churton Park in Wellington. The main result was that the residents really wanted local amenities - shops, cafes, a library, that sort of thing. I summarised this to my wife as "they want to live somewhere that isn't Churton Park."
In all seriousness, the homogeneity of the architecture doesn't bother me so much - it's pretty much an effect of all the houses being built in a very similar timeframe (and often by the same builder); as the houses age and people live in them, differences sprout. What gets me is, why the hell would you want to live somewhere that's ten minutes drive to get to anything you'd need - shops, a library, a fish and chip shop?
That said, I often go for walks around Churts of an evening, and can confirm that the eponymous park is quite a nice place to go for a wander. But I doubt that many people know about it... because you can only access it on foot.
Jack, one of my colleagues moved to Churton Park and only then discovered the lack of shops. She wrote to Peter Dunne (dunno what she thought he could do) and Dunne replied explaining that residents had previously got planning regs set up that way because it was felt that shops would encourage undesirable elements to loiter.
One of Jack's new colleagues has complained of a two-hour bus commute from Churton Park, so it doesn't sound as well served on the non-car transport front as other Welli suburbs either.
why the hell would you want to live somewhere that’s ten minutes drive to get to anything you’d need – shops, a library, a fish and chip shop?
I get the feeling that a lot of these places are “dormitory suburbs”: – you’re not expected to do anything there but sleep, and at the weekend mow the lawn and varnish your driveway. Every other activity you get in your car (or preferably, giant SUV) and drive to.
shops would encourage undesirable elements to loiter
IIRC there have been rows about getting bus routes through some of CHCH's new subdivisions (Northwood and Regents Park?) because some residents thought buses would bring undesirables into the neighbourhood. It is true that when I bus to visit my friend in Regent's Park the bus is often full of school kids but I'm usually travelling just after 3pm and they usually seem pretty well behaved.
As a frequent user of buses I'm finding the two-depots-plus-shuttle arrangement problematic. With a central exchange and a couple of suburban ring-routes I was almost always able to get wherever I wanted in a fairly timely manner. Now most trips (and anything time sensitive) are in the too hard basket. I get a bit fired up at swirly rumours about moving public transport to the outskirts of the city.
I would like to think at the very least with a Chch rebuild they future proof the place so you don't have to get in a car
We spent a month in provincial France, basic shopping everywhere (5 minutes walk) and the tram system to take you anywhere else
There is a heap of money available, it would be nice to get it right
But knowing Christchurch and the way it dealt with Ecan it will be squabble, squabble and very little progress
bring undesirables into the neighbourhood
don't get me started on subdivision covenants
swirly rumours about moving public transport to the outskirts of the city
seriously? that's ridiculous
But knowing Christchurch and the way it dealt with Ecan
Whoa! That wasn't Chch, that was central government! ECan was doing its job pretty well, I think. We all voted for the councillors democratically, they did fine, but they didn't just rubber-stamp the wishes of big business. Due process, pish, who needs it?
One of Jack’s new colleagues has complained of a two-hour bus commute from Churton Park, so it doesn’t sound as well served on the non-car transport front as other Welli suburbs either
Actually, it's pretty reasonably served (it's not far to the J'ville transport hub). I believe that her problem is that she's going from one side of Wellington to the other, which means that you have to change in the middle ... which is a huge stuff around. I think I took the bus maybe twice when I started this job; life's too short. Now I just cycle - much faster. Even counting the Ngauranga gorge on the way home.
On cookie cutter houses, QV recently released some stats on average house size by area. Selwyn district (home of Rolleston), ties with Queenstown-Lakes for the largest average house size (181m2) in the country. This is extra amusing, as Selwyn also has the locality with the smallest (71m2, Arthur's Pass). Rolleston doesn't make it to the list of top localities, but must be a massive driver of this, along with the all the lifestyle blocks.
The North Shore comes in 3rd, and a lot of the areas around Albany (Schnapper Rock, Fairview Heights, and Albany Heights) are key whoppers.
But yeah, Chch had a public-transport system second-to-none in NZ, I can't imagine why anyone would mess with it now, except to make it bigger with more services. Having a non-central exchange would be lunacy! Not that you can't have non-central ones as well (The Palms, Merivale, Eastgate, Riccarton Mall, etc., all had converging services where it was easy to switch to go in a different direction).