Last week, the Mercury published an article entitled "Space-age Bass Strait bridge". "Hobart will be linked to Melbourne by a bridge -- in the next 50 to 100 years." it reports. It is part of a proposal by Room 11 (who, in the interest of full disclosure, I should point out are designing our new house!)

Of course, it sounds like a pretty extreme proposal - and didn't the rabid hordes let everyone know! Complaints about "taxpayers are funding these nutters!" (even though they aren't) and "who's gonna pay for this little dream-up?". One particular comment amused me "oil will be of such dwindling availability and so expensive that only the super-rich will be able to afford to drive over it. " Apparently someone thinks we will still be driving petrol-powered cars in 50 years time?

One person seemed to be rather displeased with the suggestion when he suggested that "These people will destroy Tasmania!"

It's quite obvious that no-one looked at the design in context. It is an entrant in the 2010 Venice Architecture Biennale - an international architecture exhibition. Entrants have been asked to explore possibilities for urban developments 50-100 years in the future. Room 11's entry, Island Proposition 2100, sets out a design which answers the question - "If, in the face of climate change, Tasmania had to accept 5 million eco-refugees, how would they do it?"

The bridge is only one part of this proposal - obviously the Mercury used it as a headline grabber - but it doesn't give credit to the rest of the design. The basis of it is a high-density, urbanised spine running from Hobart, through the Midlands, Launceston, Devonport, Burnie, through to Smithton - and then continuing on in the form of a bridge to King Island and Victoria. This "spine" would contain infrastructure such as high speed (maglev) rail as well as energy generation (wind and solar) and grey water processing.

All these details are available by simply reading the website - obviously many of the comment writers are incapable of doing so!

Tasmania's small, decentralised population and physical separation are the root of so many issues in the state - here is a concept which would solve all of them in one go! And it is just that, a concept. It is designed to make us open our eyes and look at things from a different perspective. But we could never have that in Tasmania - the "can't do" state - could we?