Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Botanic Gardens

Lunchtime jogger
Ibis and flying foxes

Cactus garden


bandit said...

Some crazy colors, man, like a chantix dream.
Keep the green (and multi-colored) spaces, and who needs murals and such?
Do you work for Sydney, then? Nice job.
Frankly, I heard a young graduate planner espouse how she would make a difference here in Minnesota, and I just laughed in her face. May have been rather mean-spirited of me, but she may understand, now. This was a few years ago, but I'd seen the writing on the wall. This town is just a ghetto still portrayed as a polished gem.
All that's left as viable business and employers are convenience marts, big box chains and liquor stores. There's no draw to this state except for the history of generous dole payouts and sanctuary status for illegals, of which neither group pays taxes.
Am I right to assume a vital economy is vital to a dynamic city?

Emma Dalloway said...

Ah I love a good mural, Bandit. Very big on street art - you should see the stuff they do in Melbourne - might make a good blog.

Id say yes and no on that last point. I can name a stack of prosperous towns that have no soul - so a thumping economy doesnt necessarily make a dynamic town.

But more to your point, a decent economy can certainly help make a dynamic city - but a number of exceptions spring immediately to mind. Rio de Janeiro has a very uneven wealth distribution but its some of the poorer areas that have the most life. Just thinking out loud here. I'll give it some thought.

Actually youve inspired another blog. North of Sydney is Newcastle. They are trying to bring life back into the town after the steelworks shut down in the 90's. Artists have been invited to showcase their work in vacant shops. Its given Newcastle quite a twist. I saw something similar happening in Dumbo, NY.

Anyways, great to see you here. I enjoy reading your thoughts.

bandit said...

Thank you, dear,

It's best I wait 'til later in the morning to comment, let the testosterone disperse from the pooling effect of sleep's repose...

I agree about wealth distribution and vitality:

My wife and I were in this declining neighborhood of ours and we both commented about how people were more outgoing, ready to communicate with one another, even if it meant just to panhandle. Conversly, the well to do neighborhoods have people moving about as though they are in bubbles, some even becoming disturbed if you talk to them or come within their sphere of personal "space".

On a different note: We had an art installation city-wide based on statues of the Peanuts comic strip characters. The blank fiberglass shapes were disbursed through the city and painted by a variety of artists. Sponsors would buy the statues and display them prominently in front of their place of business. The practice became rather lop-sided, with economically desireous neighborhoods taking the lion's share of the art-cum-status symbol.
The city administration really got behind this "tourist" draw.
Finally, it got to the point where a story of another 'installation' took precedence over the murder of old man Wes, the can man. Everybody on the East Side knew Wes, who was killed for the price of a can of snoose while collecting aluminum cans to supplement his social security.
At that point I wanted to go and smash everyone of the Peanuts sculptures with a pick axe. Another like minded soul stole the head of one them from a site down on Rice St, another area in decline. I gave a rousing cheer at hearing the news (front page, again).
What's the point here? Don't try to sell a city as something it's not.
Yeah, Charles Schulz lived here for a time as a child, but left at the first opportunity and never looked back.
The truth of this town are its people, its history repeating itself a hundred years later (albeit, the draw now federal dollars and policies emplacing entire cultures).
There are some good murals:
Frenchie's " you're in West 7th country now", an entire building in lowertown, up on Selby Ave. at Victoria St., the West Side, some of the Latino renderings down by the old Swede Hollow, and a cacophony of colors rendered on freight cars in this town built on the backs of railroad magnates and laborers.
They're not about status or an ambitious Mayor's dream of glory and power-it's about history, it's people, and it's real.