Saturday, June 22, 2013

Only an illustration but proves concept works. Really?

Same photo illustrates plans for old Vic Hospital site and Forks of the Thames.

The City of London planning department is creating the city's new 25 year plan and encouraging public participation under the catchy label of ReThink London. The last figure I read said the enterprise is costing at least $300,000 and has attracted the interest of more than 10,000 city residents. It is not a lot of money for a city the size of London. Still one has to wonder what exactly Londoners are getting for their ReThink money.

The recently released report entitled DowntownLDN/Our Move Forward is a case in point. According to The London Free Press, director of planning John Fleming has said a "concrete beach" is in the cards for The Forks of the Thames. To give Londoners an idea what the concrete beach might look like the planning department included an illustration — an illustration showing Streets Beach in the South Bank development in Brisbane, Australia.

The Australian development features one of the largest man-made lagoons in the world complete with a large man-made beach. It took some 4000 cubic meters of sand to create the beach and requires another 70 tonnes of sand annually. Despite Fleming's description reported in the local paper, the beach is not concrete.

When I tweeted my criticism — "Photo NOT proposed Thames beach. It's AU. Mega buck project. Costly upkeep." — I received a quick reply from Citizen Corps saying, "That's correct. stated that it was a photo from AU and proof that this concept can/does work."

Following this line of thought, how well is the concept working out for Brisbane. Actually very well but there is the little matter of the 2011 flood. It caused more than $7 million in damages, necessitating repairs to both the pool liner and the beach.

I once owned a small sailboat. Using the John Fleming, Citizen Corps supported, approach here's a photo showing what my boat was like.

Admittedly it is not actually a photo of  my boat but it does show that the concept of a privately owned sailboat can and does work.

Addendum: Not only does the picture from South Beach in Brisbane work for giving Londoners an idea what The Forks of The Thames will look like in the future. If you can believe The London Free Press, the same picture was used to illustrate the plans for the old Victoria Hospital site upriver from the forks.

Wow! Surely the city planners are not proposing two big pools complete with large, man-made beaches, and so close together. But hey, if one pool works in Brisbane, two will work in London. The planning department is confident the concept can and does work. They've got a picture.

If by chance you don't like either use of the picture from Australia, the city planners will not to be caught off balance. They have another illustration. This time the photo is from Portland, Oregon, and shows the well known Jamison Square interactive fountain. This photo is also proof that a concept can and does work.

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