Friday, October 21, 2016

'North Road Reserve', Avondale Heights, Victoria

See yesterday's post. We visited this one a few minutes later; as you can see, it was somewhat waterlogged. 

Below: I have no idea what this is. One thing I can tell you is, it is not a box on a pole - it's solid wood.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Reserve bounded by Ridge Drive, Glamis Drive, The Crossway, Avondale Heights, Victoria

In preparation for a journal article we are writing with Robert Freestone about the Milleara Estate, Victoria Kolankiewicz (who is getting pretty ubiquitous in this blog, frankly) and I visited a few of the southern Milleara reserves on 7 October 2016. What we found was not massively impressive in terms of use or value, no offence intended towards anyone concerned. More to follow. You can see this particular space here.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Kitimat, British Columbia, Canada

Thank you to Victoria Kolankiewicz for drawing this to my attention. See it on google maps here. Its Wikipedia page, which barely touches on its design, is here.

‘The Kitimat development entails a water reservoir of 350 square miles, a power station of over two million horsepower, an aluminium smelter with the planned production capacity of 500,000 tons a year, and a new town with the ultimate population of 50,000. This gigantic development, undertaken by the Aluminium Company of Canada, is located in a wild, fjord-like, mountainous region about 400 miles north of Vancouver.

‘Kitimat is not a company town. Its plan, designed by Meyer, Whittlesey and Stein, shows approximately 12 residential neighboroods surrounding a clearly defined Town Center. The authors have defined the neighborhood as “an intergrated residential area having its own local facilities for daily shopping, leisure time activities and health, and having at least one elementary school.”

‘The designers used their experience with the American Green Belt Towns and, particularly, with Radburn, as evidenced by their use of the superblock. The superblock they describe as an area surrounded but not crossed by auto-mobile traffic arteries, having an internal park “core” or “greenway” with a system of pedestrian paths. In this green core are located the schools and the recreational areas. Paved paths and road underpasses connect the houses through green spaces to the focal Neighbourhood Centre.’

V. Joseph Kostka, Neighbourhood Planning Author published (Sponsored by the Appraisal Institute of Canada) Winnipeg 1957 p. 35

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Pyykkikallio, Käpyllä, Tampere

I visited this space twice, a few weeks apart. Read about my unfruitful visit here. Fortunately the following week (on 19 September 2016) I was given the details of a local, Pasi, who was willing to show me around the neighbourhood with the eyes and insight of a resident. 
Pasi had a copy of this book which sadly I cannot find on either eBay or Abebooks. I'm going to mention it in the text here - Käpylä by Matti Wacklin - just in case anyone wants to sell me a copy (for not much money, if that's OK). What I'd do with it is another question, particularly since obviously it's in Finnish, a language I am not that au fait with.
What it does have, however, is this plan from I think 1911 which shows the origin of the space I'm interested in:
'Lapinesikaupunki' means 'Lapin suburb' (so says Google maps). There seems to be a handwritten text on the plan with a word which is either 'Heloninen' or (more likely) 'Helminen', but google translate doesn't have anything to contribute on either of these possibilities. What interests me more is that both this space and the Lapinpuisto (Lapin park) are kind of vague 'open spaces' without real borders.
Entering the space, we encounter one of Pasi's neighbours, Tallu, who tells us that the park is known locally as 'Pyykkikallio' or 'laundry rock'. The derivation of this is that the rock used to be (well, arguably still is) a great place to dry one's laundry, being a high point on the estate and useful on a windy day. 

Tallu and her husband preside over the entry to the space (not, I should add, either of the entry points designated on the 1911 plan) and she, Pasi and others in the area have informally maintained it (Tallu: 'it was a jungle when we moved here twenty years ago'). For instance, when Pasi did some building on his land (over the road) the dirt was used to (for want of a better word) soften the space around the rock and make it more child-friendly. This small structure was a remainder from neighbours who were downsizing once their children had left home, and they installed it on the rock as a playhouse.

Both Pasi and Tallu are adamant that the space, used almost exclusively by children, is a safe and secure environment, overlooked as it is by surrounding houses. Pasi was also very keen, in discussions about Käpyllä generally, to reinforce its community and neighbourhood qualities.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Annikinkatu, Tampere, Finland

Another Finnish posts which I concede is out of sequence with the French ones (this visit took place on 21 September 2016) for irrelevant technical reasons (I had to clear some space on my computer to download the pictures). These are of a block in Annikinkatu, Tampere which has many formal similarities to the Museum of Worker Housing, around two and a half kilometres west, the difference being these homes are lived in and apparently highly valued.

The story I gather is that while almost all of these block courts were demolished and replaced with high-rise in the 1960s-70s, this one block remained longer than all others (aside from the Worker Housing museum) and while the owners of adjoining apartments expected this building would be demolished for parkland, its retention became a cause celebre locally and the block valued by bohemians. The block maintains a cultural presence in Tampere today not least through a locally famous poetry festival. The pictures below give a good indication of what the site is like today.