Australia express, musings on urbanism 2: Surfaces hard, softer, soft

Coordinating Goldhagens

FROM all the building going on in Sydney and Melbourne, one gets the clear impression as far as real estate development is concerned, good money is being made. Yet unlike what too often happens in the States, private profit appears not to come at the expense of an investment in the shared social spaces that are somewhat loftily (and too inchoately) called a city’s public realm. (For an instructive and dispiriting contrast to what we found in Australia, read this, on the ongoing disintegration of New York City’s subway system.) Here, it seems, it’s not one or the other, but both. Public and private. Everybody wins.

The plenitude and variety of welcoming open spaces in Sydney and Melbourne’s newer (or newish) developments suggest that those in charge of urbanism operate with both a robust commitment and sufficient resources to ensure that cities offer pedestrian amblers-around many opportunities to choose from…

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