I'm happy to see that at least a few other people share my outrage at Coney's high-handed meddling and insulting attempts to acquire a 'public open space' at the expense of Mr Ah Chee, the ratepayers of Greater Auckland, and the property rights some New Zealanders still think they enjoy.
The Employers and Manufacturers Association declared in response to Coney:
"Ms Coney's attitude to Mr Ah Chee is anti-success and anti-development. "Her derogatory description of the plan as a 'trophy house' shows she is unable to think of a serious environmental objection to it.Good for them. And Owen McShane -- who suggests "the history of central planning is almost entirely a history of an elite standing in the way of change," which in the present context means "the planners are anti countryside living and want to crowd the people into cities even at the expense of increased congestion and pollution"-- suggests that Mr Ah Chee is perhaps the "victim" of a new kind of "class prejudice" in which class and the architectural taste of that class has beome a surrogate for race, and "intrusive trophy houses" [intrusive to whom, by the way?] become "the local surrogate for McMansions." As Owen notes in an offline post, this attitude has been encapsulated by author Robert Bruegmann as "the attack of the snobs" -- of which Coney is clearly one:
There is an obvious class bias in these judgments. The indictments against sprawl almost never target architecture or landscapes acceptable to upper-middle-class taste, no matter how scattered or consuming of land. One doesn't hear complaints about the spectacular British villas, the private gardens of the French Riviera created in the 1920s, or the great country houses built by American industrialists at the turn of the century on northern Long Island or in the Brandywine Valley in Delaware. "Sprawl" means subdivisions and shopping centers for middle-and lower-middle-class families. Today it is notoriously "McMansions"--houses judged by some observer to be excessive in size or stylistic pretension...I can recommend the entire article to get a handle on why Sandra Coney's 'taste' is used to justify the violation of Mr Ah Chee's property rights.LINKS: Dreams killed north of Auckland - Not PC (Peter Cresswell)
Comments of ARC parks chairman out of line - EMA, Scoop
Planners are grinding our cities to a halt - Owen McShane, Scoop
How sprawl got a bad name - Robert Bruegmann, American Enterprise Online, 'Attack of the Snobs' issue
TAGS: Property_Rights, RMA, Auckland, Urban_Design, Environment