Imagine a city: Swanston Street party & the greening of Melbourne

In 1985, Melbourne’s main thoroughfare, Swanston Street, was closed to traffic, covered with grass and a massive street party thrown in the name of the city’s sesquicentennial celebrations. For the party’s architects however, there was a larger agenda: to bring people back into the city.

First published in Kill Your Darlings 9 September, 2016

Look Again: Tony Birch, Tom Nicholson and Royal Park, Melbourne

‘See, the thing you’ve got to know about Tom Nicholson is he looks like a puppy but he’s not. Once a Stalinist always a Stalinist. I mean the only thing missing from Royal Park for Tom is a gulag,’ teases Tony Birch, spreading his hands on his desk.”

Published in Meanjin, Vol 73 Issue 4

Dedicated to play: Mary Jeavons

If kids grow up surrounded by fake grass, in inadequately sized rooftop childcare centres [with no natural plantings], or on their screens, then they’re not going to give a toss about nature” – Mary Jeavons, founder and co-director, Jeavons Landscape Architects.

Published in Landscape Architecture Australia, May 2020 / Online 20 July 2020

Killing us softly: the perils of light pollution

Across the globe, the rapid spread of light pollution is having massive negative ramifications for humans and wildlife alike. Meanwhile, the disconnection from the night time sky may have far deeper consequences than many of us appreciate.

Published in Foreground, 21 February, 2019

image: Light pollution affects migrating birds. Photo: Barth Bailey

Heritage at risk: Can Australia’s heritage gardens survive climate change?

People ask ‘why are you growing that?’ There are these layers in plant history, which I find intriguing. I’m acutely aware of plant snobbery … [but] somewhere in the world those plants are possibly rare, endangered or extinct” – Simon Taylor, head gardener, Abbotsford Convent.

Published in Foreground, 5 March, 2018