Wednesday, 13 October 2010


The Occupational Health, Safety and Welfare Regulations require employers to provide a dining area to their employees. In some offices, employees have a large room with tables and chairs, kitchen facilities and a flat screen tv.

Alternatively, you might want to go outside to a cafe and buy your lunch. Some of us bring their own lunchboxes though and might want to go outside and sit in the sunshine to eat their lunch. It is fairly tragic how few pleasant places there are around town. If you are close to the river, there are some quiet benches near the convention centre. Usually at lunchtime you can see a few people eating their packed lunches.

If you right in the middle of the CBD your options are more limited. Near where I work, there is a space with some benches next to the tall black building on Grenfell Street, just down a bit from Simply Devine. It's pleasant because it's a distance away from Grenfell Street so you can talk with your friends without having to shout. The drawback is that you have to be prepared to breath in second hand smoke from the smokers coming out of neighbouring buildings. That seems to be the only place for miles that has an ashtray.

There are also a couple of benches behind the townhall but beyond that, not a lot. You would think that Victoria Square would be set up as a proper welcoming public space. I have lost count of all of the different plans there have been for it. Until they four lanes of traffic cutting through diagonally and across it are cut down a bit, it will remain an uninviting desert in the middle of the city.

Jan Gehl is pretty much a rock star among architects. He has dealt with this issue across the world, including in Adelaide. When he analysed Sydney, these were some of his findings:

Pedestrian walking routes are unconnected

Most public spaces are used to walk through, rather than to sit and enjoy

Pedestrians wait too long at traffic crossings

Streets are dominated by cars

Young children and the elderly are poorly represented among pedestrians.

They apply equally to Adelaide's CBD despite the report that Jan Gehl produced. We know all of this.

Council elections are coming soon. I wish the very best to those candidates who have identified these issues and have the vision and energy to make the changes that we need.

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