Category Archives: CBD

Hamilton River plan 1980s

In the 1980s Hamilton city leaders had a vision:

“The closure of Victoria St would allow the formation of an un-fragmented pedestrian core to the central city, and of course this in turn, would provide unhindered access across to the important Riverbank Development … An open space in this situation demonstrates two important points. Firstly, [bring] the riverbank into the central core. Secondly, road space setback and low rise historic buildings are used to avoid excessive sunlight ordinances on surrounding sites.”

“A riverside promenade provides the opportunity of creating a series of outstanding central city open spaces with river views. Low rise shops and offices facing onto the promenade would screen the backs of tail building, service courts and service lane.”

Over the last 3 decades the Novotel respected the ‘setback’. Ibis and Sky city have built their parts of the ‘promenade’and the ‘low rise shops and offices’. Both Ibis and Sky city built potential shop fronts along the promenade, BNZ supplies the ‘offices’ and there is a good mix of restaurant/bars over-looking the promenade/river.

But after decades, and new promenades being built, there is a 4m long missing connecting link at end of Alma St, the existing connecting path is less than 1m wide, and the city leaders vision has moved south, with many more millions of dollars being spent.It should be possible to bridge this gap and the cost is not millions, it’s staying power. The 1980s utopian idea of “A riverside promenade … river views … Low rise shops … facing onto the promenade” hasn’t left the minds of the city leaders. They just need a nudge to look at how close we are to have a Victoria on the River to Claudelands Bridge real-world promenade, and its huge untapped potential for visitor and tourism opportunities.

To finish my concepts drawings below show how permeable the cities link along the river could be.



Category: CBD, News, Projects, River

Ward St – CBD Future 2020 Vision

City news Oct/Nov 2005 headline: ‘Vibrant metro CBD upgrade will reflect local character’. In this plan Ward St is in ‘The retail precinct, bordered by London, Anglesea, Bryce, Nisbet, Collingwood and Victoria streets, [which] will include boutique stores, retail and inner city living (24/7 population presence – see text in image), with the education precinct the block home to Wintec’. This education precinct is odd, since the 1,700 Girls’ High students are not included in the future vision.

The focus of this post is the statement that promises ‘Enhancement of the pedestrian environment with a focus on accessible linkage between key areas includes the redevelopment of Garden Place, Civic Square … enhancement of link between the Wintec campus and CBD along Ward Street west, and the creation of a pedestrian friendly piazza along Anglesea Street’ (from City News 2005).

Firstly, the future envisioned by the Future 2020 Vision team also shows trees on south side of Ward St, as in the Stark Concept and ViaStrada’s idea. I’d suggest the Edward White Architect should just go and plant a tree on Ward St, where it suits his/her plan.

I like the way the Stark concept allows Ward St to have a gateway to/from Tristram St; it nicely reinforces that inside, Ward St is a place, where you can take your time and relax. Where the CBD Future 2020 Vision (2020) and ViaStrada ideas are ahead of the Stark Concept is we can see detailed link from Girls’ High to/from Ward Park of the needed better pedestrian priority, which should have happened as part of the Western Rail Trail (WRT) project (the Girls’ High bike parking stand is a WRT destination). The 2020 plan goes furthest by giving people walking and biking right of way across Ward St west of Tristram St. ViaStrada gives a refuge island.

The 2020 vision intention was that a ‘dramatically revitalised CBD will see it transformed into a buzzing people-friendly area that’s easy to get around, good for business, is well planned and reflects local character’. Now think about the decision makers’ primary default mode of transport: will it be ‘easy to get around’ with more of that, and if the ‘local character’ maintains existing rights on how roads are used now, will they allow change that gives more rights to vulnerable road users? What does a ‘buzzing people-friendly area’ feel like

Here are the three pages as published in City news Oct/Nov 2005


Category: CBD, News, Projects, Safety, Walking