Sunday, 30 August 2009

Not far from here

there is a suburb of Adelaide called "Colonel Light Gardens". It is named after Colonel William Light, a surveyor, who laid out the two square mile grids that make up the Adelaide CBD and North Adelaide. When he did that the grid pattern was probably appropriate for the transport needs of the day.
Colonel Light Gardens is not laid out on a grid pattern. It is a confusing mix of curving and straight lines. There are Strands, Ways, Crescents, Streets and Roads all flung together. The houses were all built during the 1930's. There are a limited number of designs, deliberately so. It was supposed to add to the cohesiveness of the suburb. A fiercely protective Resident's Association, in reality a small group, is intent on preserving the suburb just as it always has been.
Many of the problems are due to the layout. There are large patches which were presumably meant to be the 'gardens' but they are bare of anything except dusty grass in summer and, sometimes, green grass in winter. They get mown occasionally by the council. In one or two places there are seats that nobody uses.
Indeed, nobody uses these spaces. I think they were intended to be used. Why else have the seats? I think they were intended to bring people together but they have had the opposite effect. The spaces are a little too large. They do not allow for neighbourly contact. Houses already have front garden spaces and backyard spaces. Between the backyards are the 'night service' alleys along which the other utilities run.
They are spaces that would be perfect for children to play on and in but children do not play there. You are not supposed to ride bicycles or kick balls - or play outside unsupervised.
Adelaide is extending further and further to the north. It has reached far into the south. The hills to the east have more housing each year.
Colonel Light Gardens sits five or six kilometres from the CBD. Compared with the cramped suburbs around it the housing seems sparse and sterile. It is a desert in suburbia.
It would be good if they could build an adventure playground or two in the spaces, provide some of the "rubbish" needed to build cubby houses, and toss the kids in during the school holidays I think the Colonel would approve.


Rachel Fenton said...

You mean, like a real community?

But then, if you had a playground there, you'd have young people congregating in an open space - a euphamism for crime...think how many knees will get grazed in the name of fun...anarchy!

catdownunder said...

All cats are anarchists at heart. We purr and purr...