Horticulture agh 106



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Horticulture agh 106 Strictly speaking there is a green belt around the Gold Coast. But the mind-numbing clutter of an overcrowded Southport has its own hyperbolic equivalent: the "fringe belt" of empty apartments that surround it.

Yogurt Mountain 107 The new residential cluster that was earmarked for the Village apartments was a bizzare, earthen mountain range. The apartments and the park were created as part of a development programme that quickly became a nightmare.

A new suburb: 1955 286 The time for the Queensland Horticulture Act was drawing close. It was based on the new Post-War urban renewal policy.

Expressions of interest in the Flinders and Moorooduc proposals were requested. "Old Cold Harbour", a site just to the north of the Currumbin Development, was selected for a national experiment to test the viability of wetlands-based housing.

Boom times 286 Hundreds of thousands of acres of national parks and forests and many towns and cities are added to the land in Queensland today. This file shows the impact of one: the Sunshine Coast, which is a testament to the logic of interventionist planning that stimulated residential expansion.

Operation Escapade began in 1948 287 The Mitchell plan to develop the Cooroy swamps won over most of the state's environmental groups at the time, but the broader public quickly turned against the project, judging it too costly, too isolated and environmentally illogical.

A commercial city without a heart 288 This editorial in the Townsville Bulletin in 1957 called for a new way of thinking about "the creation of cities as a living, growing entity with no fixed boundaries".

Two-way tracks: more than just cricket 290

The problem of undrained land had been appreciated by public health and sanitation authorities since the 1850s, but the more general concept that local land had multiple uses had barely crossed the mind of planners.

Then an unlikely source produced a solution. The historian A.J. Orford's otherwise forgettable book, The Merthyr Story, first argued that the Welsh town was built on industrial land.

Put aside the pedestrian railway and its hill.

The first wave of immigrants in the 1850s, who wanted a house in the valley and not in the face of the hills, had to settle on land along a few ridges. For many decades, little of the marshy valley had been developed or drained and, far from improving health, it had deteriorated with new silting-up of the bog.

However, Orford was to provide a perfect illustration of the unintended consequences of well-meaning development. The opening of the (unsuccessful) campaign of public education had led to the interest of a foreign syndicate, the Honco Tanso Group, in building houses on the flood-prone plain.

Put aside the impractical canal.

Even before the new development was fully built, speculators were selling houses on the plains of Merthyr, and the drain remained half a mile further back, with the working-class residents of the new development also using the polluted sewer water.

The suburbs of Merthyr had a lifetime of respiratory illness as a result, and through the Twentieth Century the slum life of the town had emulated the health problems of the slum towns of the United States.

Finally, the provincialist thought pattern won out, and the loss of Merthyr to Newport began. If they had read a good deal of social theory, or come to the town in the 1950s, one of its new residents, the writer Len Fox, could have told them that it had happened before.

Not this kind of pre-emptive forethought, but the mind-numbing clumsiness of Australia's shonky suburbs, "expansions" on an old line, where an industrial town, shored up by public housing, becomes self-sustaining and permanent.

Now, at the turn of the century, the same mistakes have been made a second time, in the margins of Townsville.

But in this instance, if there was a town, it was not unthinking, and it was not formed in a vacuum. It was part of a plan that had been in play for three decades, called South Townsville, aimed at the destruction of Cooroy, a sand island in the Coral Sea.

Surrounded by national parks, there was no question that the peninsula had huge environmental, archaeological and Aboriginal cultural values. It was a backward, struggling community that was not destined for much.

Its aspirations were seen as squalid and sordid, its aspirations would be ignored, its needs dismissed, and the land would be developed.

In 1941, the Queensland Government had sent south an official, David Kelly, who surveyed the option of building a series of large residential areas connected by a civic centre and a new dock.

He mapped the most


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