Monday, May 30, 2011

Leafy Charnwood

This is Charnwood Shops, one of the local shopping centres, but perhaps a little larger than most. Charnwood is named after a property established in the area in 1833, which in turn was named for the Forest of Charnwood in England. The suburb was gazetted in 1973.

The following information about the suburb is taken from Wikipedia:
Charnwood's design was based on the Radburn town planning principle. Under this design, houses were to face common parkland, with the suburb's streets servicing garages situated at the rear of the houses. The design failed in its application, however, as home owners built fences around the "park side" of their blocks, effectively screening the houses away from the common parkland. This created long, narrow, fenced walkways, with poor lighting and no neighbourhood surveillance. The network of pathways ensures that it is possible to walk from any point in the suburb to any other without directly crossing a road; pedestrian bridges can be used to cross the few major streets within the suburb.

Interestingly, the planning design wasn't very successful in Radburn (New Jersey), which was established in 1929. Nor did it work well in other places where it was copied, and those places have developed a reputation as less-than-desirable places to live. Yet 40-odd years later it was tried in Canberra, and - surprise surprise - it hasn't worked here either. It's a shame, because the theory is lovely - houses facing onto common parks, while cars, garages and other utilities are confined to the back near the streets.


Jim said...

Charming, I'm sure.
Sydney - City and Suburbs

karen said...

Unfortunately the suburb's reputation hasn't been helped at all by the woman who stabbed a former friend to death at the shops a few years back, and it's been all over the media here again with the trial this year. The shops are ok during the day, but I wouldn't hang round there at night.

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