Kill Joy

On May 11, 2011 by Eye on Auckland

No bright lights for Auckland … no. no !

I am still laughing, not sure if it is from disbelief and/or the stupidity of it all. Who would have thought that it would be so difficult to install one big-screen at Aotea Square – the drama, the in-fighting, the intrigue – it is an embarrassment to say the least. Of course the usual cut-my-wrist-the-end-of-the-world-is-nigh Auckland brigade got involved (you guessed it – Brian Rudman, The New Zealand Herald, The Aucklander etc.) and would like nothing more to see auckland remain as dull as it currently is. I would have thought that we got rid of the rusty and crusty fraternity but it would seem that they are still alive and well in the media. Clawing their way back for one last stand, fighting to kill joy !

Looking back at photographs of Auckland during the 1940′s/1950′s, one can’t help think that we have regressed and lost our sense of vibrancy and most importantly – fun. The Auckland Council likes to throw the word “vibrant” around as if it will eventually brainwash us and that we would begin thinking that our downtown streets are in actual fact vibrant, well they are not. The Auckland Council’s version of vibrant is very worrying and we are left with no option but to think that they are so narrow-minded and conservative that they have forgotten the true meaning of joy, light and colour.   Their version of vibrant is a one-fits all pattern of paving – vibrant grey of course, black or brown public seating with a touch of vibrancy, no flower beds/boxes – Nikau Palms are vibrant enough, dull Lanes that only get dressed up for special occasions due to the fact that the other days are vibrant enough and now we shall have a soulless square with no additional dressings – why do you ask ? …. silly boys and girls,  Aotea Square is bursting with vibrancy !

To add to our woes, the residents in the area don’t want a big-screen near them because of the noise levels – what ? If you are so against noise levels, why oh why are you living in the city centre and not on some lifestyle block out in the countryside ? It is like walking into a bar, sitting down and telling the barman that you hate alcohol and all those who consume it. Are we the city of sails or are we the city of village idiots ? The latter would seem to be more appropriate. Why are we even entertaining this notion ? If you want to live in the city centre then best be prepared for noise, welcome to the 21st Century. It is idiots like these (who are in the minority I might add) who hold us and this city to ransom. Politicians and/or councillors who support them are just as stupid – if not even dumber. This is the 21st Century  and cities all across the planet are filling voids with big-screen televisions which help create vibrant squares and streets. The question is not whether or not we should have one, the question is why are we still waiting ?

P.S. Eye on Auckland proposes that the area at the intersection of Queen, Rutland and Wakefield Streets should become Auckland’s version of Time’s Square – a throbbing heart full of light, moving images and colour. Watch this space.

26 Responses to “Kill Joy”

  • BusFan

    :lol: Brilliant. Well said. Why are we still waiting. Aotea Square has got to be the most boring square in the World and if that is the heart of Auckland we are in big, big trouble.

    I look forward to your Time’s Square proposal :)

  • HotPixel

    Bravo ! I couldn’t have said it any better myself. We need big screens all over Auckland and they should be permanent; Gateway Plaza, Queen’s Wharf and especially Aotea Square, it is so damn soulless it feels creepy :(

  • EyeonaucklandFan

    A friend of mine referred me to this blog and I LOVE it. This is my first post and I really enjoyed the article. It is true what you say and many people living in cities all over the World would laugh at these people who don’t want big screens because of noise :) I love the big screens and many Asian Cities are installing bigger and better screens because they do make for a vibrant city and people love them. I think that the city councillors are too old and have old fashioned ideas. Yes, why are we waiting ?

  • Nicco

    Well said, Aotea Square is a poor man’s version of a public space.

    I reckon Auckland’s biggest mistake in urban planning was the development of this ugly soulless hole. They should have never closed down Greys Avenue. The Town Hall looked much more prominent that way. They bulldozed all sorts of heritage buildings to build the soviet style Bledisloe building.

    It’s ugly and will stay that way forever.

  • Kettlewatch

    Auckland does seem to be anti colour, anti curves, and anti anything that is out of the ordinary for that matter. Does leave it a bit soul-less. Thank the stars for the vibrant Asian population that keeps downtown abuzz at night.

  • Matt

    This is more like it :lol: Well said and I fully agree. Such thinking does not belong in the century that we find ourselves, who would have thought that noise will be an issue in downtown Auckland :lol:

    I would also love to see big screens all over the city centre and ads will generate revenue for the city. There are also some ugly buildings that should be covered up by huge electronic billboards, an example is that horrible building next door to the St James Theatre and will tie in nicely with your Time’s Square proposal :)

  • Gotham

    What can I say ? pure genius.You should become a politician and fight for Mayor one day :) Needless to say that I agree 100%.

  • Shayno Ieradicognou

    Loving the “times square” style idea Syd.

    Sometimes I want to go and bang my head on a wall because of some people’s thinking. A city should be full of colour and different shapes and styles. It’s not me that decided to move here :D.

  • James

    Why haven’t we seen this before ? That area is just crying out for electronic billboards, it could become our very own little Shibuya :) Fantastic idea, you should be Mayor :)

  • Sportslave

    Amen ! Why are we waiting ?

  • Karumba

    City of village idiots, I like that ;) I think that of all New Zealand’s cities we are the most conservative and it should be the other way around. We should be at the forefront of design etc. It may be that we keep voting for the wrong people ? In saying that I do think that Len Brown is progressive but he needs to take the nimby’s by the throat and show them who is boss. Then he should whip all those lazy architects and urban designers until they produce some cutting edge design :)

  • sister ray

    Amen, brother! Let there be light!

    This was the feature of the Aotea Square upgrade I was looking forward to most and I’ve been most disheartened to see all the negative commentary surrounding it.

  • Simone

    Why should everything be colourful, bright and cheery ? I quite understand where these people are coming from and it all boils down to money.

  • AbelTasman

    I have also noticed that they love using the word vibrant but they obviously have no idea. I don’t bother reading what Brian Rudman has to say, he is very old fashioned and extremely conservative. He represents old New Zealand :(

  • TrainHugger

    You tell them Syd :) The powers that be need to stop listening to these idiotic nimby’s. It is very frustrating indeed and I would love for that junction to become our version of Time’s Square :)

  • Michael L

    There is also apparently issues with the Events Cinema building where they want to hang the screen and the surrounding theatres are concerned that the noise form the screen will interfere with the shows. Then there is the cost issue. It isn’t worth the effort.

  • James B

    Like a lot of things this is not the end of the world. The big problem I think is that one of the first events that Aotea Square hosted was Laneways. This was at the extreme end of the noise level and I think residents think this will be typical of the type of events that the big screen will be used for. Of course it will mostly be used for much quieter events. My old flatmate stayed at his girlfriend’s place up by Myer’s Park and they said they could hear it perfectly up there and being a school night it kept them up. 85 decibels shouldn’t be a problem to mitigate after all you are legally allowed to have your car exhaust louder. I also would propose that they sell the development rights to that two carparks on either side of the Greys Ave. If you had two buildings there it would really block the noise from travelling up to Myer’s Park and also make that park of town look like less of a dump.

    • James

      Great idea regarding the buildings on either side of Greys Ave. I have heard that the land belongs to the Council and that they have plans to develop offices there. Anybody else know about this ?

  • James

    Things are very quiet over at the ivory tower. I hope that I am wrong but it may just be shelved :(

  • Eddie Cordo

    I have just found your website and cant believe i didn’t know about it sooner. I love it.
    I have developed a keen interest on
    Auckland’s development since i came here more than 9 years ago and far too regularly shake my head in disbelief at the inaction and procrastination i read about which prevents this (super?) city being everything it could be.
    I have some strong beliefs about what Auckland needs and after reading many of your articles i must say i tend to agree with the opinions expressed in them.
    I think i’ll favourite this site and check in regularly.
    Thanks guys!

    • The Eye

      Hi Eddie, thanks for the kind words, your comments are most welcome and please let us know about any of the ideas that you may have. I arrived 6 years ago and have watched this city change drastically but it isn’t drastic enough. I am pleased to see that the old conservative mindset is slowly being drowned out by the more proactive crowd who have traveled and have seen what the possibilities are for Auckland. I am excited and know that things are going to change for the better :)

  • chris

    I agree with Syd….get them!!!

  • Geoff Houtman

    I think the real reason the screen didn’t go up was good old fashioned BAP (Bad Auckland Planning).

    The Aotea Square “upgrade” killed it.

    The horrific light poles and the trees on the northern side block the potential view of the potential screen.

    Agree with your noise comments- “double glaze or move to somewhere quieter”. Is that reverse reverse sensitivity?

  • John

    I think you need to re think this – Large floodlight advertisments or other messages inevitably dominate their surroundings, they need to do this to do their job. I think this creates the antithesis of a humane and truly beautiful environment, when you talk about this beingh “vibrant” it is only so in the sense of a gee wiz momentary rush for the easily bored, not in any lasting sense. Real beauty and vibrance is brought about by great architecture and urban planning first an foremost; things which are just overwhelmed by the kind of ‘bright lights’ you seem to be promoting. the bright lights should be accessories at best, not the dominant feature. Why would we want our city scapes to resemble our computer screens anyway?.

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