Category Archives: urban development

The Outer West of Sydney: The Great Dividing Range

The Outer West of Sydney: Where is the Great Divide?

Date: 18 May 2015 ( archival re-publication)

By Dr Jonathan Drane

At a university seminar last week, a recognised city strategist ended his talk with the words” what is Sydney going to do with Parramatta?”. The question may be “ What is Parramatta going to do with Sydney”.  The new Plan for Growing Sydney DOP&E Dec 2014) features a revisionist view of the Sydney metro right out west  to the mountains (see attached). The emphasis has been influenced greatly by the considerable voting power of the ‘wild west’ and the strong and sophisticated advocacy machines of such regional centres as Parramatta and Penrith and others. Their position on the map as strategic centres highlights that this is pulling the ‘great divide’ between east and west toward the Blue Mountains. So where is the great divide between east and west of Sydney?

If you asked someone from Rose Bay where the west of Sydney starts, they might say Strathfield? If you ask a Penrith or Parramatta person they would see some humour in this. The perception of the great divide between east and west has been the subject of regional irritation by those cities in the west who are forging a new direction for the face and complexion of Sydney to the Blue Mountains. Part of the realisation of a new vision and identity for the west, should surely  start with the question “where exactly is the west of Sydney?.

Dr Jonathan Drane

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ow1-the-outer-west-dividing-range

 

 

The Palmer Street Story

Case Study- The Palmer St Precinct 2012

Date: 1 June 2015

By:    Dr Jonathan Drane

A study of the proliferation of buildings in the Palmer Street and Railway Precincts Townsville, Far North Queensland Australia.

raggatt-dining-mecca

“The Evolution of our Dining Mecca’ Townsville Bulletin, 2008, June 28, Page 7   raggatt-2008-evolution-of-dining-mecca

Townsville is a regional city in Far North Queensland, Australia. It is often described by Queenslanders as ‘the capital of the north’, and enjoys a mult- sector economy which includes, government, defence, tertiary education, resources and tourism, together with one of the major ports in Australia.

In 2003 to 2007 two cityscape precincts in Townsville were subject to intense development stimulation. The Palmer St precinct on one hand was transformed into an active eat street and hotel precinct, whilst the Railway Precinct saw patchy development in the same period, although both precincts were the subject of city visions and stimulus by local authorities.

In this case study, the ensuing phenomenon of ‘prolific building growth’ in these dilapidated cityscapes is explored and explained, by what is proposed as the central force of change – ‘the property development mechanism’.

An explanatory model of the ‘property development mechanism’ is created in the setting of dilapidated cityscapes which are seen as a ‘field of activation’ for the mechanism and its actor ‘the property developer’. The reasons for the different levels of activation are explored, and the findings both support and strengthen the model, and form a basis for future exploration and development of the model.To read about the project in more detail please see Jon’s research page “The Seed in the Cityscape” on www.jondrane.net   Link to Summary Of Doctorate

Dr Jonathan Drane

www.jondrane.net

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cw2-the-palmer-st-old-port-townsville

The Cinderella City

The Cinderella City: Newcastle and Honeysuckle, NSW

Date: 1 July 2015

By Dr Jonathan Drane

For regional cities with dormant cityscapes, the Honeysuckle story is an amazing reminder of the transformation of what was a disused port goods yard into a modern accommodation and restaurant precinct.

But for those who believe this fairy tale story was without its problems, one should be reminded of the fact that Newcastle was once called the ‘Cinderella City’.

Snapshot 1991 Newcastle, NSW
“In a feature article for the local daily broadsheet newspaper The Newcastle Herald, journalist Terry Smyth (1991, p16) uses the phrase ‘The Cinderella City’ to describe the plight or at least the perceived plight of Newcastle at this time. “Newcastle has a chip on its shoulder … a legacy of decades of hard knocks and of being labelled a dirty coal town.This despondent city”, he suggests “desperately wants to be noticed. Not as a mill town … and certainly not as a quaint backwater, but as a city with distinct lifestyles, problems, resources, advantages and dreams … A city with a soul.” (Stevenson 1999).

A young phd student at the time (Deborah Stevenson)  captured the political power that was  focused on the old port good yard area of Newcastle harbour and was one of the first to track its amazing transformation and the agendas at work at the time. In her later seminal paper ‘Reflections of a Great Port City’ (1999, p108) she brings to life the power of state led manifestation brought to bear in the new vision for the old port on the Honeysuckle lands. The Building Better Cities nation building programme at the time included a $100m seed fund to activate the precinct.

But money wasn’t enough as it turns out, for the precinct to actually be activated, required an understanding of not only property markets but the political and other forces at work.

Snapshot 2015 Newcastle’s Honeysuckle Precinct

Honeysuckle is a world recognised example of gentrification of a prior port historical area into a mixed use precinct which houses harbourside restaurants, where one can eat around the world whilst gargantuan vessels ply the harbour almost within reach. It houses both commercial and government uses and has a burgeoning modern apartment based population.

To reveal the most recent history of the precinct and to bring the story to life since Deborah Stevenson surveyed the shorelines of Honeysuckle, Dr Jonathan Drane completed a four year research project on dormant cityscapes across Australia with a case study on Honeysuckle.

The case study is included in his doctoral publication see publications page and includes a detailed chronology and timeline of the catalysts and forces at work to create the exciting new precinct.

Jonathan reveals that there is more to revitalising a public land release than understanding of property markets, economics and politics, but how these forces move in what he calls ‘windows of alignment’ where new buildings are proliferated in ‘spasms’.

Read Jonathan’s Case Study on Honeysuckle by going to the following link, opening the doctorate publication and going to chapter 10 ( a summary is below)

Link to UNSW Library for Published Doctorate

Honeysuckle Newcastle Cinderella City

PRD article.

Case Study Newcastle- Honeysuckle Precinct 2013

Extract from Jonathan Drane’s thesis ‘The Seed in the Cityscape”:

A study of the proliferation of buildings in the Honeysuckle Precinct Newcastle,  Australia

Newcastle is a regional city 160km north of Sydney, which has enjoyed a rich history as a major Australian port, providing outlet for coal and its processing into steel, from the Hunter Valley region. Leading up to the early 1990’s, Newcastle suffered from slow economic growth and the decline of some of its key port functions. The result was the obsolescence of large tracts of the former port foreshore area called the Honeysuckle Precinct. With the advent of the federal Building Better Cities Programme in the early 1990’s, the precinct was awarded funding support to stimulate urban renewal and development . The Honeysuckle Development Corporation was formed (and later subsumed by the Hunter Development Corporation) and acted as a catalyst agent of change through the conceptualisation of the precinct, and its implementation by land release to private parties.

The result of this ongoing stimulation over 20 years until today has seen the foreshore change and grow into a popular mixed entertainment and tourist precinct, with related hotels, apartments and restaurants. The method of stimulation of these numerous developments was predominantly by the release of obsolete land parcels to private developers, the proponents of which would be chosen based on conceptual and commercial criteria.

As with the Townsville case studies, the focus of the case study is the proliferation of buildings from obsolete settings, through development stimulation both public and private. The study aims to reveal the catalytic nature of what is termed the ‘property development mechanism’, which works in waves and at alignments of certain  forces and factors.

Dr Jonathan Drane

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cw1-cinderella-city

 

 

Hello world!!

Jon Drane-5999

Welcome to my new blog and web site. It has been refined to focus on my independent research and advisory profile.

This site is designed to allow prospective clients to understand how I combine my research profile with the analysis of complex construction problems in different situations including legal cases and project situations.

My previous blog which included articles on the city dormancy and property development has been archived and key articles will be revisited here. Please contact us on info@jondrane.net if you need a particular article.

This site also caters and focuses on my research into city dormancy and urban renewal so that students are able to tap into my works. I encourage students of the built environment to continue my work in this area of city dormancy and development.

My non-fiction book collection including my books on the Camino de Santiago are briefly referred to on this web site and will be expanded in another independent web site.

Thank you for your interest in my work.

Dr Jonathan Drane