The Underside of Ugly

English Writer H G Wells once wrote ” There is nothing in machinery, there is nothing in embankments and railways and iron bridges and engineering devices to oblige them to be ugly. Ugliness is the measure of imperfection”. If ugliness is the measure of imperfection then the areas adjacent to the overbridges on Cumberland and Jetty Streets are perfect examples. The structural components of the bridges have created a wasteland of dead vegetation and litter that fail any stern test of aesthetics.  These areas are simply forgotten blocks of “lost space” that provide no landsdcape or biodiversity opportunities in our city. Areas like these need sympathetic and appropriate planting to soften the hard edges of the built aspects of the environment. Importantly too, such planting also requires the remediation of the adjacent soil for plants to thrive. There needs to be greater significance and planning given to the creation of biological linkages for invertebrate and avian populations living within the urban environment. Small as these things are, their significance cannot be discounted by planners, engineers and councillors who collectively fashion how our city looks and functions on many levels.

The Dunedin City Council is currently wrestling in the Annual Plan jelly pit with a proposal for a bridge to the wharf. The Society suggests that some serious consideration needs to be given to the way the space needed for such a construction can be integrated sympathetically within the environment to avoid the views that we have created in these examples.

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