Posted by Chuq
Tasmanians have somewhat of an inferiority complex ... like the youngest child in a large family, you tend to get forgotten about. A quick look through my (and my friend's) Facebook groups about Tasmania reveal groups begging for teams in the AFL and A-League. There are groups begging for the Big Day Out, Foo Fighters and AC/DC to include us on their schedule. There are those who want Krispy Kreme and Ikea to set up shop here, who want digital radio available here, paintball to be legalised, a Tasmanian venue as part of our World Cup bid .. even to complain that Tassie was omitted from My Kitchen Rules!
Sometimes there have been successes - the Basslink fibre optic cable is now going, bringing us cheaper broadband. Bellerive Oval got their lights and hosted a sold-out international Twenty20 match last month. Tasmanians got One HD eventually - a few months after the rest of the country.
In short, we want to be treated as an equal as the other five states! Our population may be smaller but there are some services that need to remain in the state - we can't just hop in the car and drive to Melbourne whenever we want!
It was rather interesting news this week to hear that Professor Jan Gehl, an architect and urban planner from Denmark, has been hired by the Hobart City Council to design a new vision for the CBD. He has previously done similar things very successfully for Copenhagen, London, New York, Melbourne and Sydney. What a fantastic coup for little ol' Hobart to score his services!
Hobart certainly needs a bit of help - for those who aren't familiar with the area, central Hobart is kind of split in half - the CBD area and the waterfront area are separated from each other by Davey and Macquarie Streets - two one-way streets, four lanes each, which are pretty much the only route between the north and south of the city.
So, what is the local response to Professor Gehl's plans - all these people who want Hobart to have the services and facilities of cities four or ten times their size must surely be supportive of him, right?
The comments from the Mercury articles (1) (2) (3) tell the story. Many are extremely supportive, but sadly there are some that are typical of the other half of Tasmanians. Paraphrasing: "We don't want to be another clone of Melbourne or Sydney" Hmm, if you look at the cities that Gehl has previously worked with, they are all quite unique - not clones of each other! "What do all the elderly people do if no cars are allowed?" Whoever said cars were not allowed? Gehl's designs generally encourage walking/cycling and discourage cars in the city centre - but 'discourage' is different from banning them!
This one really gets to me: "We are a small city, and we like it this way, leave us alone" - ah, no. The reason so many of our young people leave for the mainland as soon as they are able is because Hobart (and Tasmania in general) is not big enough to be able to provide all the services that they are after. Hobart is a capital city, not a rural village, and should be treated that way. If you want to live in a rural area, perhaps you would like it more at Richmond, Huonville, Seven Mile Beach or New Norfolk. Meanwhile, let's grow our cities - so one day we might get that Foo Fighters concert!
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