Thursday, 2 June 2005

East Germany in East Auckland

Back in the twenties when the villas and bungalows that many Aucklanders love so much were being flung up across Auckland, and town planning and zoning regulations were still just a twinkle in a busybody's eye, about that time a young Swiss poseur called Le Corbusier began promoting something he called the Radiant City. Here it is below.

If you find 'radiant' the thought of row upon row of grey, unappealing concrete boxes full of bourgeois-proofed worker housing hovering above a barren and hostile landscape, then you'll find Corbusier's city is just the thing -- and perhaps you should move to the former Soviet bloc where whole radiant bourgeois-proofed cities of this kind of wall-to-wall worker housing were thrown together, and into which people from Leipzig to Vladivostok were thrown. East Germany’s Halle-Neustadt shown below is an example of this appallingly inhospitable place -- ‘Hanoi’ as its residents
on came to call it.

Corbusier's 'radiant city' was also very popular with western planners after the war when zoning regulations and town planning took hold with a vengeance. The plans were never popular with the people who had to live in them however. The Pruitt Igoe housing complex in St Louis (below) was eventually blown up when it became apparent that like many 'brave-new-world' housing projects blowing up was actually the only solution for it.

As the schemes for worker housing became increasingly uninhabitable, the plans for radiant cities drawn up by planners quietly began to be shelved, but the town planners themselves were harder to get rid of, and they began to look around for other pastures to pollute.

Jane Jacobs pointed out in ‘The Death and Life of American Cities’ that some of the places so hated by Corbu and the planning fraternity actually worked very well. The ‘mixed use’ of streets of terraced housing and brownstones in places like Manhattan she pointed out are very good places to live, with private houses often cheek by jowl with shops, cafes, and the like all an easy walk away. People choose to live in such places because they like them.

So too with the explosion of the suburbs – people everywhere including NZ like living in their own house in the suburbs. But planners hate suburbs. Too bourgeois! And they never really understood Jane Jacobs. They drew up plans that zoned the hell out of everything, ensuring that ‘mixed-use’ became a dirty word, and restricted the density of suburban subdivisions, thus ensuring more of the sprawl they are so against.

Planners hated suburbs all the more for the sprawl they themselves created. American suburbs are “a chaotic and depressing agglomeration of building covering enormous stretches of land,’ said, not a planner, but a book titled ‘The New Communist City’ produced by Moscow State University, whose graduates has designed Halle-Neustadt. Western planners agreed with those graduates, and bought into their “search for a future kind of residential building leading logically to high-density, mixed-use housing.”

Thus was born a new movement called ‘Smart Growth’ that eager young planners have subscribed to in droves. Portland, Oregon is the home of this drivel, and as an eager young Portland planner told a reporter in the late sixties, "We got tired of protesting the Vietnam War, read Jane Jacobs, and decided to take over Portland." They did, and the city is only now beginning to recover.

With the zeal of those for which there is only ‘one true way,’ smart-growth advocates gloss over Jacobs’s’ key point that choice is the key to what makes some places work and other places just suck, and they declared that everyone must live in the one true way prescribed by the planning profession. In Auckland we now have a document to ensure that everyone will.

Plan Change 6’ from the Auckland Regional Council sounds like it could have been written by that same team of Moscow State University graduates who built Halle-Neustadt, and it reads the same way. The document has been written with one eye on the Radiant City and the other on the public transport network that exists only in the heads of city planners.

Under ‘Plan Change 6’ no growth or activities will be allowed outside the Metropolitan Urban Limits, or outside existing town centres without the express permission of ARC planners. None. Countryside living according to this document is “unsustainable” and “undermines public transport.” How they must hate people making choices for themselves! This provision is in essence a plan to end countryside living and to make rural New Zealand a National Park.

Meanwhile, inside the Metropolitan Urban Limits plans are taking shape to force developers to build the slums of tomorrow. All development must take cognisance of the ARC’s plans for the public transport that doesn’t really exist and that few care to use. Minimum densities and minimum heights are prescribed for developments near transport ‘hubs.’ ‘Sprawl’ and private cars are the enemy, and gross intensification is the answer prescribed by the ARC planners.

If you felt yourself wanting to Sieg Heil as you read all this then go right ahead – you’re on the right track with where it’s all heading.

Under ‘Plan Change 6’ from the ARC, as the old joke goes, whatever is not illegal has become compulsory. Countryside living is to become banned; new suburbs discouraged; high density intensification the wave of the future. And the very villas and bungalows that are loved so much and were thrown up back before planning was born are now to be protected in heritage zones, even as council plans strive to ensure that such swathes of ‘unsustainable’ suburbia are never built again.

And the choice of people to live where they want in the manner of their own choosing will once again be taken from them by the zealots of central planning.

O brave new world! O worker housing! "Oh," as many Aucklanders might now be thinking, "My God!"


  1. What do you call Otara then? I don't think it's much better, do you? Racial Segregation Kiwi style. Or Albany now!! China town.

  2. Writing for Professional Publication in National Refereed Journals A Session for Faculty and Doctoral Students

    Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge
    College of Education

    August 14th 2008

    William Allan Kritsonis, PhD
    PhD Program in Educational Leadership
    Prairie View A&M University/The Texas A&M University System

    1. Professional reasons for writing for publication
    2. Personal reasons for writing for publication
    3. How real writers behave
    4. Writer’s write for the following reasons
    5. How to get started
    6. What will “sell” the editor on your work?
    7. Formula: Brilliant Ideas + Good Luck + Knowing the Right People = Publication
    8. On scholarly work
    9. Reasons to write and publish journal articles
    10. Writing and publishing journal articles enables you to…
    11. Three basic types of articles: practical – review or theoretical – research
    12. Quantitative Studies
    13. Qualitative Research
    14. On writing books
    15. Four phases of book publishing (Fun – Drudgery – Torture – Waiting)
    16. Some reasons to write a book
    17. Where does the dollar go after a book is published?
    18. What do editors and reviewers really want?
    19. Earning approval from editors and reviewers
    20. What to remember about bad writing
    21. How to get fired as a reviewer
    22. Publish or perish or teach or impeach
    23. I’ve been rejected many times – should I give up?
    24. In writing, how you read is important
    25. How teachable is writing?
    26. “I can’t seem to tell how my writing is going while I am doing it. Can you help?
    27. Remember your purpose in writing
    28. What differentiates ordinary writing from writing with style
    29. It must get somewhat easier to write, otherwise, how would some authors become so prolific?
    30. If writing for publication does not prove to be lucrative, why bother?
    31. Why creative work is worthwhile
    32. Show respect for your writing. It is about what the readers should know. If this puts a strain on a professional relationship, then so be it.
    33. “Why I Write” (Orwell) Sheer egoism, aesthetic enthusiasm, historical impulse, and political purpose.
    34. What really makes an academic write?
    35. The Writer’s Essential Tools – words and the power to face unpleasant facts.
    36. No human activity can sap the strength from body and life from spirit as much as writing in which one doesn’t believe.
    37. “Because it was there.” Edmund Hillary. And with this comment he supplied generations with a ready-made and unanswerable defense for any new undertaking even writing.
    38. Why we write.
    39. Climbing Your Own Mountain
    40. Be yourself. Have fun writing.

    Please list any other topics you want Dr. Kritsonis to discuss.
    281-550-5700 Home; Cell: 832-483-7889 –

    Copyright © 2008 William Allan Kritsonis, PhD – ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

  3. Dr. William Allan Kritsonis Inducted into the William H. Parker Leadership Academy Hall of Honor (HBCU)

    Remarks by Angela Stevens McNeil
    July 26th 2008

    Good Morning. My name is Angela Stevens McNeil and I have the privilege of introducing the next Hall of Honor Inductee, Dr. William Allan Kritsonis. Dr. Kritsonis was chosen because of his dedication to the educational advancement of Prairie View A&M University students. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in 1969 from Central Washington University in Ellensburg, Washington. In 1971, he earned his Master’s in Education from Seattle Pacific University. In 1976, he earned his PhD from the University of Iowa.
    Dr. Kritsonis has served and blessed the field of education as a teacher, principal, superintendent of schools, director of student teaching and field experiences, invited guest professor, author, consultant, editor-in-chief, and publisher. He has also earned tenure as a professor at the highest academic rank at two major universities.
    In 2005, Dr. Kritsonis was an Invited Visiting Lecturer at the Oxford Round Table at Oriel College in the University of Oxford, Oxford, England. His lecture was entitled the Ways of Knowing through the Realms of Meaning.
    In 2004, Dr. William Allan Kritsonis was recognized as the Central Washington University Alumni Association Distinguished Alumnus for the College of Education and Professional Studies.
    Dr. William Kritsonis is a well respected author of more than 500 articles in professional journals and several books. In 1983, Dr. Kritsonis founded the NATIONAL FORUM JOURNALS. These publications represent a group of highly respected scholarly academic periodicals. In 2004, he established the DOCTORAL FORUM – National Journal for Publishing and Mentoring Doctoral Student Research. The DOCTORAL FORUM is the only refereed journal in America committed to publishing doctoral students while they are enrolled in course work in their doctoral programs. Over 300 articles have been published by doctorate and master’s degree students and most are indexed in ERIC.
    Currently, Dr. Kritsonis is a Professor in the PhD Program in Educational Leadership here at Prairie View A&M University.
    Dr. William Kritsonis has dedicated himself to the advancement of educational leadership and to the education of students at all levels. It is my honor to bring him to the stage at this time as a William H. Parker Leadership Academy Hall of Honor Inductee.

  4. Houston Chronicle – Press Release

    August 1, 2008

    Dr. William Allan Kritsonis Helps Doctoral Students and Faculty Members Publish

    In 2007 and 2008, Dr. William Allan Kritsonis, a professor teaching in the PhD Program in Educational Leadership at PVAMU/Member of the Texas A&M University System mentored doctoral students to publish over 125 national refereed, peer-reviewed articles in professional journals; he helped faculty members publish over 98 articles.
    During this time, Dr. Kritsonis had a book published by members of the Oxford Round Table in the University of Oxford, Oxford, England. He was also invited to write a history and philosophy of education for the ABC-CIO Encyclopedia of World History.
    Dr. Kritsonis published two articles in the Encyclopedia of Educational Leadership and Administration published by SAGE Publications, Thousand Oaks, California.
    In summary, Dr. Kritsonis helped doctoral and faculty members in the PhD Program in Educational Leadership at PV publish over 200 national refereed articles in professional periodicals. Over 80 of these articles are indexed in the national data base system ERIC (Education Resources Information Center).
    In 2008, Dr. Kritsonis was inducted into the William H. Parker Leadership Academy Hall of Honor, Graduate School, Prairie View A&M University – The Texas A&M University System. He was nominated by doctoral and master’s degree students.

  5. National FORUM of Applied Education Research Journal (AERJ)
    22 (3) 2009

    Leadership Strategies for Closing the Achievement Gap

    Steven Norfleet
    PhD Student in Educational Leadership
    The Whitlowe R. Green College of Education
    Prairie View A&M University
    Prairie View, Texas

    William Allan Kritsonis, PhD
    Professor and Faculty Mentor
    PhD Program in Educational Leadership
    The Whitlowe R. Green College of Education
    Prairie View A&M University
    Member of the Texas A&M University System
    Visiting Lecturer (2005)
    Oxford Round Table
    University of Oxford, Oxford, England
    Distinguished Alumnus (2004)
    College of Education and Professional Studies
    Central Washington University



    If there was any challenge in education that needs to be looked at on several levels, it is closing the achievement gap for African American students. African Americans continue to trail white and Asians on standardized achievement tests. There are those that say that the cause of the disparities is poverty. Others say that the disparities are due to policymakers, parents, poor quality of instruction, lack of good teachers, reading levels, low expectations, and a host of other reasons. The authors emphasize that educational leaders must refocus their visions to include a multi-level approach to reducing the achievement gap, as the federal government has with the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and the “Title” programs.

  6. Nice blogg...really.

    However this article confuses me. It ignores the necessity to deal with the rampant growth this countries agglomerations are facing in order to retain its image as a clean and green destination.

    Change and new solutions are necessary. Rural living for the masses? How`s that gonna work? The blind pursuit of the good old Kiwi-dream in a Supercity of 1.5 million would transform this region into Supersuburbia. Oh and by the way: The Nazis you are referring to have promoted individual mobility for the masses (automobiles and motorways) not smart public transport solutions.

    It`s such concrete-heads to blame most of our "modern" cities problems on. Building motorways in all directions for its own sake without consideration of alternatives does not solve a city's transport issues. It adds onto them.

    Smart growth does not prescribe any concrete solution of a housing or transport issue. It is merely the philosophy to understand local communities and their needs and to provide them with choices.


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