Sunday, July 01, 2018

more student assessments from ten years ago. thrillin'

An interesting, thoughtful and well-written paper. This is typical of your work as is your rather unusual stubborn insistent ignoring of the four original references rule. The use of your own experience is great and I would have liked to know more about the rationale for this Brimbank approach. 7

… some minor expression elements are problematic but on the whole this is well argued and complex. A few examples, rather than keeping it in the abstract, would have been good. Well done. 8

…I enjoyed this paper and found it challenging and informative. There are some minor expression problems and I am not entirely sure that spending so much space on Houston – which is, if not unplanned, certainly an example of a city that neglects what we often consider to be a core element of planning practice – was wise. The figure of just over two million population for Houston seems very small for the fourth largest city in the US and this I imagine might be the population for just the core city and suburbs with other governmental areas taking up the ‘overspill’ population. This said, your description of Houston might be a description of the wider conurbation, not just the City of Houston itself. This needed to be clarified. Your great allegiance to and affection for planning is marvellous and to be applauded! Well done. 7

…firstly I would like to take this opportunity to once again emphasise how much I’ve enjoyed PTH this year and your contributions in class have been a part of that. Your engagement with the course materials and the ideas within have been – if not above and beyond – the certainly disproportionate to many of your fellow students’. That out of the way, this is not your best work!! You don’t credit the Baum reference properly (it’s a compiled article in a book, not a book by Baum; ditto Planning Australia); you use too much quote from Sanne, and you launch into an argument that grabs at a number of possibilities but doesn’t really coalesce. I feel like you’re shooting for the moon somewhat! Definitions in the first instance would have helped a lot. 5.5

…this is good – I particularly like your choice of example – but there are issues. Some rather excruciating sentence structure (‘reorganisation of dwellers they fostered’?!) and the final sentence, which would be a bit obtuse even without the spelling errors (‘left to there own devises’) and much more. You need to revise and fix up your non sequiturs, etc; you’ve lost marks because of this. I am a little perturbed by your suggestion that Australia’s population is growing at ‘unprecedented rates’. This is not true; the population is larger than it’s ever been, but the rate of growth is quite low. 6.5

…good paper well-structured and argued. I bet you mean ‘tenets’ not ‘tenants’. Some slapdash writing eg ‘includes opposed to Melbourne 2030 includes’. However ‘other interests at hand other than what is deemed as beneficial for the whole community’ is firstly worrying as a piece of writing, it’s also a bit strangely passive – who is doing the deeming? This is perhaps the problem with the whole argument, I am not quite sure how you gauge the interests of the whole in this regard, particularly if you disregard any group acting in its own interest. Few today would argue the residents action groups of the 1960s were arguing for very a very valid cause from which all Melbournians now benefit. I am unsure whether you have really proved your point, however worthwhile it might be. 7/10

…I enjoyed this paper and while there are definitely some English expression issues you draw some good parallels. I think the assessment of Chile as going through ‘political changes’ in the latter part of the 20th century is being a little too mild – but that’s OK. On the whole, I liked this 8/10

… re: your second paragraph, I was of course tempted to try and think of a planned environment that was in fact not intended to be a better place for people to live in. I did consider a prison or something similar. I guess you could have improved this by saying ‘better than…’ what? In your third paragraph you say social attitudes and preferences change ‘especially in modern times’. I am not sure why now is different to the past; is the second sentence (complexity of cultures) related to this? Maybe. You then appear to slip into the past tense, for reasons unclear. ‘Planning for broadness well mean…’? These are not petty quibbles, they are important to overall understanding of your work. The second page, which moves into clearer generalities, is better. I do think your work in general needs more time spent on it to iron out the lack of clarity. 6/10

…on the whole this is a very good piece of work. Some quibbles: saying ‘Car dependency has been recognised as a problem for many years’ is both passive and too vague (ten years? Ninety years?). You talk about Australian public transport as ‘the system’ but of course Australia has many systems of public transport – do you mean Melbourne? Your assertion that train stations are ‘notorious for deviant behaviour’ should have had a source to back it up; I’m not being disingenuous when I say this isn’t the first thing I think of when I think of train stations, here or anywhere else. 9/10

…I am a little confused about your central argument. You say firstly that social attitudes are normally short-term. Yet your first example is of countries like Austria (I suppose you mean Australia) and America preferring low-density suburbia – you’d have to admit this is a preference of over a century. Your second paragraph on p. 2 is confusing and the final citation in that paragraph is not presented properly. I am also unsure about the argument that plans and attitudes are incompatible because people tend not to understand, or to have unrealistic ideas about, plans. I think some more attention to case studies and/or examples would have served this paper well. 5/10


…I have never heard the 20th century described as the century that destroyed the city and I would have liked to know who said that. You need to put in page numbers in your citations. Otherwise this is well done.  8.5/10

Saturday, June 30, 2018

student assessments from a decade ago. would i be quite so strident and heartless now? hope so

 …there is some good material in this paper but there are also a lot of problems. I suspect many of these are related to a lack of revision. For instance, the sentence in line 6: ‘When the Melbourne train network was begun in the late 1850s’. This is not a real grammatical sentence and means nothing on its own. It gets worse soon after: you claim that ‘the latter stages of the 20th century saw the introduction, and availability, of the car’. You and I lived through the latter stages of the 20th century and I think you will agree the car had been well and truly introduced long before we came along. There are other issues with the first page but I’ll go on to the second. You say the land boom continued from the 1850s ‘well into the 1900’s’ which is awkwardly and vaguely expressed but also, importantly, untrue: there was a major catastrophic depression in the 1890s. On this page also, somehow, your graphic (which is very useful and worthwhile) has slipped down a few lines, or your caption has slipped up: either way, they’ve become detached from each other. If you checked your pages when they were printed, you might have noticed this and not handed in something scrappy like that. I’m not saying there isn’t a lot of good work and research in here (obviously I’m not saying that, as per my first line of comment) but it could have been a lot better with some attention to detail.  18/20

… this paper is very poorly written and I note that you lacked sufficient interest in its content to even check that all the pictures had printed (they hadn’t). Also, I believe you essentially contradict yourself in the opening statement ‘slums are always can be found at the edge of cities’ and then in the final statement, ‘I think the “slums” in Australia do not exist anymore.’ You are also very imprecise with your chronology. You say for instance ‘In the early 17 century, the gold rush was broke out during 1851…’ Firstly, 1851 is in the 19th century, not the 17th, and secondly even if we are talking about the 19th, we are certainly not talking about early in that century, but half-way into it. Essentially, to my mind, the problem here is not with your research abilities per se but with your English expression and your overall English skills. I suggest you enlist the help of LLSU as soon as you can, to assist you. DN 5/30

… there is a lot of good work in here but a few problems as well. I don’t know where you got the term ‘empty housing blocks’; are these houses no-one lives in? The phrase ‘today’s busy society’ is a cliché and a furphy at the same time; what evidence do you have that today is busier than a century ago? We certainly have many more labour-saving devices. I notice you also describe society as ‘ever-changing’ on the last page, too, and I think if you are going to make claims for society you should define exactly what you think ‘our’ society is. Are you suggesting on page three that syringes in the sandpit are an example of vandalism, or do you mean to indicate a wide palette of antisocial behaviour? It’s not clear. Additionally on page three, you include three examples of terrible punctuation in three consecutive lines (it’s, who’s, it’s). On page five, you discuss ‘an open space and playground in the UK’; it’s a big place, you need to be more specific. These are problems, but on the whole, the essay works. 18/30

…a few points: when you say ‘a slum is considered a run-down area’, you are using a passive tone; you need to say who is making this assessment. (Barnett et al? It’s unclear). If you are sure that a great influx of people came into Australia after World War I (I would have thought this was a better description of the scenario after WW2), you need to say how many people, etc. To say something is ‘determined and agreed upon’ is very close to tautology, and certainly one of these descriptions would do (it’s also a bit passive). Your switch to Riis at the bottom of page 1 is a complete change of source of evidence. Riis cannot tell us what was happening in Melbourne in the 1940s. In the second paragraph of page 2, you say that the majority of people of the West End  found themselves somewhere else to live which was similar to the West End, but that ‘Overall this method of slum clearance is an effective means of clearing slums’, which is both in itself a tautology and also a contradiction of your earlier statement. ‘Overtime’ in the context you use it is two words, not one. In the third paragraph on page 2 you talk about Windy Ridge and Franklin Reserve. For a second I thought you were citing some authors but in fact you are talking about some specific suburban areas (?) – this needs to be clarified and made more specific. You say that slums have a high crime rate but then that crime is rising fastest in non-metropolitan, that is, rural areas. These statements make no sense in relation to each other, and you do not talk about a meaning of ‘non-metropolitan’ in this context, apparently being under the impression it means ‘suburban’. I would be very surprised if this is what was meant by the AIC. I was also somewhat perturbed by your casual equation of ‘slum dwellers’ – do they still exist in the inner city? – with ‘lower class’ and criminality. This is a fairly contentious idea. Your final paragraph has some interesting ideas which unfortunately are not tied well to the rest of the essay. 15/30

…I don’t know what you mean by ‘social housing apartments’ created in Broadmeadows and Geelong; do you mean high-rise apartments? There are none of these in either of those places; or do you mean houses? If so, they are not apartments. Why is inducement of private developers to build social housing, ‘interference’? I wouldn’t use this word. The phrase ‘very slow and far between’ is strange and, in fact, meaningless. You can’t just be ‘far between’, you have to be far between something. I would advise you not to use terms like ‘et cetera’ in an essay; why bother, at the end of a list that begins with the word ‘including’? You have overused the Millar article in your section on social mix (p. 2) to the degree that it seems like a paraphrase of his writing. Your heading ‘Can Melbourne Remain Socially Sustainable…’ is a question, and needs a question mark at the end of it. If you are going to claim that social mix is a brand of communism you need to be clear what kind of communism you are talking about and make this a feature of your argument, rather than just throw it in haphazardly. Your final line about freedoms also needed to be recast in the light of this idea. 16/20

…this is a well-written overview which however lacks appropriate references and is also somewhat lacking in structure (i.e. why is there no conclusion!?) It also needed a little more historical perspective: Melbourne as a city is older than the state of Victoria, so its ‘central’ location is no coincidence. I am also a little confused by your statement that freeways in Melbourne connect or intersect with each other: I feel that, once again, this is probably only a fairly recent situation with the building of Citylink and Eastlink (which isn’t finished yet). Before the West Gate Freeway was built, cars would take a ferry across the river, or they would use not small roads that ‘wound through the inner suburbs’ but large roads through Footscray; you extrapolate a little too easily towards explanations in your account. Overall, though, I enjoyed this paper. 21/30


…it always amazes me when I come across students who I have to assume have gone through well over a decade and a half of education who still don’t know how to use its/it’s properly. It would be particularly useful to your lecturers/tutors over the next few years of university, to you in your working life and elsewhere, if you could work out this very simple difference. I don’t wish to be a pedantic crank but it’s a central element of the English language and you need to know it. I see you have other language issues as well: ‘the stark realisation to build’ presumably means ‘the stark realisation that it was necessary to build’ (but why is this stark?). Similarly, what do you mean when you say ‘time has begged to question’? I think the saying is ‘begged the question’ but either way it’s a cliché and not relevant here. The turn of the 19th century was 1799-1800, and there was no Melbourne then; you replicate this mistake by talking about Melbourne ‘over 200 years ago’. Local government is a tier of government that controls municipalities eg City of Bayside, City of Hume. True, local government has had a minor input into the shape of public transport but you can’t talk about ‘the local government’; you presumably mean the State government. In terms of writing a chronological account, it’s a bit strange to talk about the 1940s, 1880s and then the 1850s. Similarly, you make an extremely odd statement on page 2 that 1969 is ‘almost a century later’ after ‘the 1960s’. I don’t know whether you have mistakenly written ‘the 1960s’ when you meant ‘the 1860s’, though that wouldn’t make sense considering you are talking about car affordability. So, I guess the bottom line is that because of your curious lack of interest in revision, etc, you have left me uncertain of your overall meaning. You go on to talk about a diminutive budget of $335 million; perhaps it would have been more constructive to discover what that means in today’s terms; I suspect it wouldn’t have been quite so tiny in 1969. In discussion of the present day public transport system you say: ‘residents from a particular suburb on the outskirt of the city had no other option but to bypass the loop if needed to head to another suburb that would have otherwise required less time and distance by car’. This sentence is full of obtuse fluff (why ‘residents from a particular suburb’? why ‘needed to head to another suburb’? why doesn’t the last part of the sentence make sense – ‘otherwise required’??!) You have also left out one word (at least!) between ‘if’ and ‘needed’. I don’t even understand what you’re saying overall – are you saying they do or don’t need to bypass the loop? How would they do this? On a train or in a car? Why is it in this past tense, rather than the present, when I am sure you mean to talk about the present? You then go on to say ‘The reliance of public transport… ceased its fame…’ I can’t understand this, either. Nor can I understand why you are talking about ‘the 1970s post-war era’. The post-war era is the late 1940s-50s. When did Victoria’s population double? Are you intending to suggest this happened in a short period of time? And things like ‘The transportation systems in Atlanta is somewhat mirrored…’ are either an indication you do not know grammar at all, or that you have rushed this paper and not bothered to read through it (yet you expect us to). The essay is also far too long. 8/30

Sunday, June 17, 2018

sands and mcdougall 65


When I was born I lived at 66a Carlisle St St Kilda, an address apparently shared with the Village Bell Press Pty Ltd. Must look into that. Will.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Vale Nation Review on wings sir

I am greatly enjoying Moss Cass and the Greening of the Australian Labor Party but this little skerrick on page 187 is an example of something that gets my goat quite often. It’s in the field of ‘then-premier’, ‘then-wife’ etc but in a way, worse.

Nation Review went out of business in the early 1980s. I know people who are sentient adults approaching middle age who would never have known it. I see so little point in adding ‘now defunct’ as a descriptor. It was a very influential magazine in its time (not really a newspaper, by the way – a weekly (?) tabloid, in its later years an actual small-format publication, maybe a monthly? With a colour cover).


I guess I feel that the ‘now defunct’ pinpoints not a failing in the authors of the Moss Cass book per se, but the weird world of people’s extreme disengagement with history in the present century whereby all things may or may not exist simultaneously, so we had better be careful. ‘Then-Prime Minister Billy Hughes’ just in case you suspect that Hughes, who died in the 1940s I think, is still Prime Minister Billy Hughes. Is this a gripe worth expressing? Whatever, as I’ve said before, my blog my rules.

Friday, March 30, 2018

hard to get here

About six years ago I changed my gmail main address, from one that gmail had randomly assigned me when I signed up for gmail in November 2005 to one closer to my own actual name, and like a lot of things in life it has been a nuisance and I regret it. Apart from anything else, this blog is attached to my old email address, which is still nominally active, and I have to log out of that to get into this. It's not simple, and less so in the last few weeks when one gmail account seems actively resistant to logging out, so I have to do it three or four times to get into this one.
It shouldn't make me less keen to post but it does take more time so for that reason alone I tend not to come here as much. Sorry.
Easter (particularly Good Friday) bores me almost literally to tears but I know i need the time to recover from the first five weeks of teaching which have been really gruelling. Today for instance has been an amazingly chill (ha ha) day. Mainly on the couch.

I actually want to raise my eyebrow at every one of these, but I should probably get on to more serious matters...

This joke is called 'backpack', and it's here
There were three passengers in a plane that was about to crash. One was the smartest man in the world, one was the President of the United States, and one was a little girl. However, there were only two parachutes. 
The first man, the smartest man in the world, stood up and said, “The people who would benefit the world the most should be the ones who get the parachutes. I, being the smartest man, am one of those.” With that he grabbed one and jumped out. 
The president looked at the little girl and said, “I’ve led a good long life, and you’re just starting yours. You take the last parachute.” 
And the little girl replies, “Don’t worry; there is one for both of us. The smartest man in the world just took my backpack!”

(1) This has got to be pre-Trump. In Trump era, it's so confusing, with the 'smartest man' thing, and the President being in the plane alone with the little girl etc, not that anyone's ever actually said that Trump is a pedophile but if I was writing jokes I wouldn't go there
(2) I was really hoping this would be the joke that ended with 'me not dumb, me not silly, me hold onto daddy's willy' but I guess that was a different plane
(3) where's the pilot
(4) fuck this shit

Thursday, March 29, 2018

sorry but the idiocy of these do kind of obsess me

Read the real thing here until commonsense makes them delete the link and destroy any record of its lame existence
After having dug to a depth of 10 feet last year, British scientists found traces of copper wire dating back 200 years and came to the conclusion that their ancestors already had a telephone network more than 150 years ago. *
Not to be outdone by the Brit’s, in the weeks that followed, an American archaeologist dug to a depth of 20 feet, and shortly after, a story published in the New York bulletin: “American archaeologists, finding traces of 250-year-old copper wire, have concluded that their ancestors already had an advanced high-tech communications network 50 years earlier than the British”.**
One week later, the Punch Newspaper, in Ibadan, Nigerian, reported the following: 
“After digging as deep as 30 feet in his backyard Lucky Ade, a self-taught archaeologist, reported that he found absolutely nothing. Lucky has therefore concluded that more 250 years ago, Africa had already gone wireless.”***
* AG Bell patented the telephone in 1876, which is just over 140 years ago, so OK... checks out in a manner of speaking, though the correlation between '200 years' and 'more than 150 years' is a bit peculiar. Also, we don't need archaeology really for these things, we already know how technology progressed 200 years ago because there was a written record. 
** What is the 'New York bulletin'? If it's a newspaper, why do we trust this newspaper and not the newspapers of 250 years ago? More importantly, I guess, since the present day US was an array of British colonies 250 years ago, the British could easily claim this as their innovation as well.

*** blah
The real question is why am I even asking these stupid questions, it's all so stupid.