Bird’s iView: Streaming Falcons in the City
Peregrine falcons living in a Melbourne office tower are famous thanks to a webcam allowing human viewers to watch the birds feeding, nesting and snoozing live. But what, asks Harry Saddler, do the falcons make of us?
The Wheeler Centre
In 1961, autodidact urbanologist Jane Jacobs forever changed how we understood our cities. ‘Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody,’ she wrote in The Death and Life of Great American Cities, ‘only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.’
More than half a century later, her then-contentious argument – that the real life of a city emerges from the ground up – is a widely accepted wisdom.
Even so, in Melbourne and elsewhere, top-heavy developments are struggling to address urban planning problems like long-term homelessness, under-utilisation of public space and the socioeconomic fracturing of inner-city communities.
However, there are citizens, architects, artists and planners are working to change that. Whether it’s ‘tiny houses’, radically accessible public art spaces or ‘tactical urbanism’, there’s a growing movement devoted to exploring how low-cost, playful, and often impermanent forms of living can improve the lives of city-dwellers in meaningful ways.
RRR broadcaster and former editor of small footprint living bible Assemble Papers Sara Savage is joined by a panel of guests, including Mimi Zeiger, Millie Cattlin and Jessica Christiansen-Franks, for a discussion of engaged, practical city-making with a sense of play.
(Self-Made City is part of the Open House Melbourne program: What Would Jane Do?, and presented in partnership with Open House Melbourne.)
The Wheeler Centre
Boundaries: Mapping Melbourne
'There is always another history or a more private story underneath the public face of any city, of any suburb,' wrote Sophie Cunningham in her acclaimed 2011 book, Melbourne. In Cunningham’s latest project, she continues to excavate these histories, and Melbourne’s shifting boundaries.
What is the history and logic of the current boundaries of the City of Melbourne, and what do we discover when we walk them? Where were the borders, limits and landmarks of the area pre-colonisation, and do they relate in any way to the boundary lines we have today? How do we manage resources, like water, that don’t care about boundaries at all?
Writer Sophie Cunningham and photographer Dianna Wells have been walking and documenting the defining boundaries of the City of Melbourne as part of the city’s Arts Grants program. Join them for a fascinating discussion with historian Gary Presland and water engineer Professor Tony Wong.
Sophie Cunningham, Tony Wong, Dianna Wells and Gary Presland
The Wheeler Centre
The Battle For Our Buildings
The overwhelming majority of Australians say they care deeply about our built heritage, but recent battles over heritage listed Melbourne properties reveal that the protection and preservation of our buildings is fraught.
Grass-roots campaigns to preserve local landmarks – like Bourke Street’s Palace Theatre or Carlton’s Corkman Irish Pub – have tended to focus overwhelmingly on the social significance of our favourite sites, but such battles are often prone to failure. As it stands, it’s highly unlikely that a community’s emotional investment alone is enough to save a building from the march of progress.
Emma Telfer, Stuart Macintyre, Chris Johnston and Marcus Westbury
Is the bar for ‘heritage protection’ – which must include proof of the historic, aesthetic, social or scientific significance of a site – set too high? Should some buildings be saved simply because of what they mean to us … and how do we measure the strength of a community’s emotional attachment to a building, anyway? What happens to perfectly preserved buildings that sit dormant due to rigid heritage controls? When a site is protected, what happens next?
Open House Melbourne’s Emma Telfer joins panelists including Stuart Macintyre, Chris Johnston and Marcus Westbury for a discussion of what’s worth saving.
The Festival of Questions
The Festival of Questions: Day Pass
Festival day passes are now fully booked – but single session tickets are still available. Browse individual sessions below.
Treat yourself to The Festival of Questions – a series of thoughtful, quick-witted and exhilarating discussions that will change how you see the world. It’s one whole day of querying, questioning, wondering and asking why.
In four sessions across one day…
The Fifth Estate
Dealing with Drugs
The Australia21 report, ‘Can Australia respond to drugs more effectively and safely?’, released in March of this year, argues that it’s time to bring an end to the costly, unavailing campaign of criminalising drug users – and to instead adopt a wide approach to harm reduction.
Sally Warhaft and Bob Carr — Photo: Jon Tjhia
The report’s 13 key recommendations are groundbreaking, and drawn from conversations between people with legal, law enforcement, prison, public health and policy backgrounds. Drug users and their families have endorsed it. So, how have the recommendations been received? And what hope is there for true policy reform?
Alongside former Victorian premier Jeff Kennett, Australia21’s report was launched by former Australian foreign minister and former NSW premier Bob Carr. Carr joins Fifth Estate host Sally Warhaft for a discussion of the so-called war on drugs, and the push for decriminalisation in Australia today.
More broadly, Carr also offers his thoughts on political developments around the globe – including the US, China, Syria and Pakistan.
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