Courtney Humphries, “The city is an ecosystem, pipes and all”

Courtney Humphries, “The city is an ecosystem, pipes and all” — “Cities may strike us as the opposite of “the environment”: As we pave streets and erect buildings, nature comes to feel like the thing you find somewhere else. But scientists working in the growing field of urban ecology argue that we’re missing something. A city’s soil collects pollutants, but it also supports a vast system of microscopic life. Water courses beneath roads and buildings, often in long-buried streams and constructed pipes. And city ecosystems aren’t static; they change over time as populations grow, infrastructure ages, and different political structures and social values shape them. Seen this way, the city is a distinct form of “environment,” and an important one.”

East-West Connections Submission

I just made a submission to NZTA on the East West Connections project. There are six proposals for improving traffic (particularly freight) movements between State Highway 20 and State Highway 1. The connection route passes to the north of the Mangere Inlet. The best options are A, B, and if we’re feeling spendy, C. D is a version of C that proposes the Te Hopua crater be finally obliterated in favour of easier on- and off-ramps for SH20. Options E and F are appalling and iredeemably bad proposals to run a motorway along the entire foreshore. They would obliterate Te Hopua, desecrate the Waikaraka Park Cemetery (currently quietly tucked alongside the water under mature pohutukawas, it would become an island between two noisy, smelly freight corridors), and sever forever any possibility of a connection to the water or the foreshore. The Council’s page linked above says the Options were developed out of a process that considered:

transport performance, cost and constructability, urban design, social, natural environment, human health, cultural and heritage.

It’s very hard to believe that anything but the first of these was considered in Options E and F. It doesn’t instil confidence in the process that these two options even reached the table.

There’s still a day to get a submission in.