We’re incredibly lucky to have with us today a veritable goddess of global city design, Skye Duncan. She’s talking today (Friday) at 1.30 at OPUS in the Majestic Centre and then at 3pm at the School of Architecture. You need to book – but Wow – she is totally worth it. If there is someone that Wellington needs right now, it is a visionary urban designer with a focus on safer streets for people, and multi-modal traffic solutions, and Skye is that person – it is a pity that she is only here so briefly. Wellington seems to have lost its way recently under our current City Council / Regional Council stand-off, with many projects delayed or stalling, and the shadow of NZTA’s failed flyover prospect still blighting the entire public transport spine past the Basin Reserve. Combined with the ludicrous south coast rebellion from the imbecilic Fiona Cockerill-Ghanem and petulant child councillor Paul Eagle, and Wellington is the laughing stock of the south Pacific when it comes to sorting its shit out. It is a relief then to have a speaker like Skye who can cut through the crap and speak clearly on what needs to be done. It is pretty telling that IPENZ and Auckland Council asked her to speak, rather than Wellington. Let’s hope the local Council is out in force and prepared to listen.

Skye Duncan has a kiwi background. She was born here, raised here, even went to university here with a degree in Architecture from Victoria, but since then has gone on to complete a Masters degree at Cornell, become an Associate Professor in the US at Columbia University, and now is the Director of a Bloomberg initiative called the Global Designing Cities Initiative – look – enough from us here at the Fish, just watch this video.

Changing Streets

You may want to fast forward through the first part, where Ludo Campbell-Reid twitters on about fire exits etc, but Skye has some basic points for making safer streets:
1. Speed kills: so – Lower Speeds.
2. Design streets that put people first.

There is lots more, obviously, but that is the crux of the matter. Stop designing streets that cater solely for cars, and start designing streets for actual walking, taking, sitting, eating, human beings. That way a better human city lies…

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