“Somebody in Footscray wants to deter the skate-board riders and graffiti artists who hang around the station. The deterrent – Eine Kleine Nachtmusik and The Four Seasons on the station’s PA system. It doesn’t work: the kids just turn up their i-pods.”
“According to G B Arrington, a visiting planner from Portland, Oregon, railway stations are the place from which to kick-start urban regeneration. They are the focus of what he terms TOD – Transit Oriented Development. Quoting a dozen recent US examples to support his case, he says stations can be dynamic social and economic hubs, surrounded by high-density commercially viable accommodation.”
“Rod Sheard, of stadium designers HOK Sport takes a different tack. “A stadium, more than any other building type in history, has the ability to shape a town or city.” Quoting a dozen overseas examples to support his case, he argues that stadia are being transformed from unfriendly, bad neighbour eyesores into ‘dynamic cells’ full of commercial and social activity, linked to high-density accommodation and providing a ‘total event experience.’ A new generation of sports stadia, he argues, will kick-start urban regeneration.”
“If either theory is to contribute to Melbourne 2030 [the metropolitan strategy],then we could need some corresponding reforms of the regime governing public land. Railway land is controlled by VicTrack, either as freehold which they own in fee simple, or Crown land vested in them. The form of tenure results entirely from the accidents of history, but it determines VicTrack’s attitude to the land’s development: if it’s freehold, they’re happy to sell, because they retain the proceeds; if it’s vested they’re reluctant to sell, because the proceeds would disappear into Treasury.”
“A similar problem distorts plans to rationalize road networks: when some roads are closed and sold, councils retain the proceeds; with others, the beneficiary is State Treasury. Most of Melbourne’s major sports grounds are on Crown land. They are governed by an assortment of legislation including the Crown Land (Reserves) Act – which works well enough for village-green recreation reserves, but not really suited for Rod Sheard’s megastadia.”
“The MCG, Princes Park, and Whitten Oval Footscray each has a history of ad-hoc site-specific Acts of Parliament to simultaneously allow and constrain patterns of use, development and control. Will Footscray be transformed through G B Arrington’s Transit Oriented Development or Rod Sheard’s Stadium-led recovery? Under Melbourne 2030 the station is the focus of a designated Transit City, with its own purple PDZ1 zone in the Maribyrnong Planning Scheme. Further along Barkly Street, the Western Bulldogs are the beneficiary of $17.5 million in grants from Commonwealth and State governments, each committed to deliver benefits to the Western suburbs through a make-over of the Whitten Oval.
Who knows – both strategies may succeed. Station and stadium could each end up as places where (to use Arrington’s phrase) people could fall in love. Perhaps to the strains of Mozart and Vivaldi.