London Underground - reimagined!

Alternates to the London Underground map

The Death and Life of...

Planning for our future (figuratively speaking)...

Urban greening in high density environments

Creating 'Vertical Forests' in high density residential developments

Kingston's Pop Up Bar Fun

Food trucks, pop up bars and live street music set ups are all too familiar in the hip inner city suburbs of Melbourne, particularly in the Fitzroy/Northcote/Brunswick area. However, the City of Kingston is doing their bit to offer this to residents and businesses in the south. The Council organised a pop-up bar, live music and of course, food trucks at the Kingston Town Hall on Nepean Highway for a month of fun-filled Friday nights throughout March. The last one is tonight (yes I know it's a Thursday, but no work tomorrow so it's even better than a Friday) - so check it out if you're out that way.
Photo courtesy of Nat Stockley

Photo courtesy of Nat Stockley

Photo courtesy of Nat Stockley

According to the City of Kingston website "The bar is an initiative inspired by businesses in the area that were keen to have a place to hang out with their workmates and meet other local businesses"

A co-working group was also set up on one of the nights as a pop up office in the afternoon.

I went to one of the Friday night sessions a few weeks ago, and it really was a hive of activity.  Shipping containers, trees in crates and a mini stage framed the space, and the music, beers and food had people happily getting on well into the evening.  So far, over 700 people have turned out for the events.

It was great to see this kind of initiative in an area that traditionally is not thought of as being a place to hang out on the street - Nepean Highway a fun place for a street bar?  Who would've thought? Yet, it absolutely was!  Hope to see this kind of thing supported again soon.

Read more here.  Thanks Aidan Mullen from Kingston for info, and Nat Stockley for photos.

Top Ten Happy Cities?

As we've seen, there are many indicators with which to judge a city. Melbourne often scores highly in liveability indicators, but how 'happy' is our city?



One market research team has conducted a 10,000 strong survey looking at places to go that make people happy.  Apparently, these places include cultural locations, outdoor activities, shopping centres, performances and amusement.  The cities are ranked based on these.  Interestingly, there's an extra marker in Amsterdam; 'coffee shops' that do not appear on the rankings for other cities.  Given that Melbourne (and most other cities on the list) also have great coffee, maybe it's the other kind of coffee shops (the special Amsterdam kind) that it refers to.

Anyway, according to the survey, the ten 'happiest' cities are:

10. Buenos Aires, Argentina
9. Paris, France
8. Rome, Italy
7. San Francisco, USA
6. Madrid, Spain
5. Melbourne, Australia
4. Amsterdam, The Netherlands
3. Barcelona, Spain
2. Sydney, Australia
1. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

So this is another kind of indicator that is quick to judge based on some surveys.  It is not clear how exactly the research was collected, and what was asked.  I'm also not sold on the link between the kinds of activities ranked and happiness.  Sure, it's fun to participate in outdoor activities, but not everyone will enjoy this.  Even more so for things like shopping centres (I mean the people that describe Chadstone as fun are few and far between), this could be a bit of a stretch. 

Interestingly, good old Oz has two cities is the top ten, apparently thanks to its "attractive weather conditions, inclusive local communities, Australia as a sought after travel destination, and the allure that the people Down Under exude to outsiders".  Why thank you. 

Read more here