#73 Poetry – Disparate

Man, meri, pikinini
waite man, black man, olgeta lain.

Passerby’s pass on by
in quick strides,
shunned, avert eyes,
seeing what can’t be unseen

– Lukim em,
em sanap na lukim

She squints to look.
There, beyond the glass of safety
laid barren hope, dreams, ruined.

Despair, etched deep into frail wrinkles
like the cracked path they led,

leading them down here to where the crumbling mortar, hanging from moss ridden bricks was their clothes in tethers, pealing from their damp skins.

Pasim ai, karamapim nus, sakim het.

The putrid stench of failure,
hopelessness seeks desperation,
rising from the viscous substance
crawling to makeshift drains
tunnelling beneath her feet,

moving.

Saitim ai, inap lo’ luk luk,
wokabaut igo.

Her pace harkens for quick strides,
her squint disappears behind dark shades.
Her phone had seen enough.

-Hans Lee

#69: Poem – Stories In Planning

Stories In Planning

Today when planners tell stories,
We do so remembering history.

What would histories be without stories,
When words connect memories to space, and time
Embedding themselves onto space, remembering times –

Like dirt tracks that become raging roads,
Like cargo wharves hosting art shows,
And acreage that become quarter acre blocks.

We tell stories,
to fill the gaps in our memories
of space through time.

But some histories are too young.
Some memories too short.

Remembering is not possible.

So we borrow time,
Embedding our space with another story,
Living another planners history.

-Hans Lee

Can planners really use stories to help us understand the city?

Continue reading “#69: Poem – Stories In Planning”

#63: Walking the Tropics is not at all pleasant.

If you haven’t already, you should follow the Guardian’s Cities’ series talking about all things cities – a fantastic resource for spreading thoughtful insights about our urban built environment.

A recent article from the series that caught my attention featured a compilation of stories about people walking their neighbourhoods in their respective cities. As a self confessed urbanist, I revelled in these stories, reminiscing about the days I used to walk all the time.

Continue reading “#63: Walking the Tropics is not at all pleasant.”

Feature Article: When the walls falls.

The relentless, unstoppable force that spooked Murdoch and Lowy


  • By John McDuling

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It is hard to think of a more fitting conclusion to 2017 for corporate Australia than the two seismic deals involving Rupert Murdoch and Frank Lowy that sent shockwaves around the world [in Dec 2017].

Fox-Disney
Fox Entertainment sold to Disney

 

Murdoch has made little secret of the fact he was concerned that his Fox entertainment businesses didn’t have the necessary scale to compete with the likes of Netflix and Amazon, so he sold them to Disney.As you almost certainly know by now, the two iconic, octogenarian billionaires decided to sell assets they had spent decades building up, at least in part due to concerns about threats posed to their businesses by internet led rivals.

Westfield
Westfield is being sold to Unibail-Ramenco

Even Murdoch is buying into it.“I read this week about my Australian friends at Westfield. They can see what Amazon is doing to bricks and mortar retail,” he told the Financial Times over the weekend.

As one of the next generation of globally significant Australian executives, Mike-Cannon Brookes, pointed out last week, every industry is being threatened by some form of digital insurrection at the moment.

The advent of Amazon, which terrified retail executives and investors in the sector; Elon Musk and Cannon-Brookes’ intervention into the national energy debate in South Australia, and the rise of crypto-currencies upending the established order in finance were just a few of the big stories that played into this theme.

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Elon Musk is ready to deliver in South Australia’s energy crisis.

There is a belief the Murdoch and Lowy mega-deals could merely represent a taste of things to come, with the theme of technology motivated mergers and acquisitions set to continue next year.

Senior investment bankers this column has spoken to say rapid technological change remains a top concern among directors on the boards of our biggest companies.

This is forcing them to invest more in innovation and technology. Selling assets (including infrastructure and property, but also non-core businesses) that aren’t central to their business is one way to fund that.

One such example could be Telstra’s decision to take steps to reduce its stake in pay TV company Foxtel.

A recent survey of companies and private equity firms by consulting giant Deloitte found that companies in the US expect to do more acquisitions next year.

They are sitting on more cash than they were a year ago – potential changes to America’s tax regime could provide them with even more firepower – and they expect to use that cash to buy other companies.

The biggest motivating factors for acquisitions, according to the Deloitte survey, were a desire to acquire technology, and the need to build out a digital strategy.

The Deloitte survey dovetails with a forecast by Goldman Sachs, which expects M&A spending in the world’s largest economy to rise 6 per cent to $US355 billion next year.

Almost every company these days is trying to position itself as a tech firm. This includes our big banks, Telstra, and in a global context, century old industrial giant General Electric.

The distinction between business and technology is becoming increasingly blurred, the firms with the best tech over the long run will win.

For people exposed to the technology industry, it can be nauseating to hear old school executives rattle off terms like digital disruption, the blockchain and artificial intelligence.

But in fairness to them, in an era of rapid technological change, fighting progress will be futile, so they have little choice but to embrace it.

Unless, like Lowy and Murdoch, you can find a way out.

 

Originally published in the Sydney Morning Herald (online) on 18 December, 2017

Part2/2: Ptsh. F*#% Off mate. “Parking might not be as important to restaurants.”

In a recent piece, I spelled out that I had grown accustomed to owning a vehicle in Cairns. Not a lot has changed. I still need a car, maybe more so now since I sold my car and live a fair way out of the CBD.

It was with a tad bit of bitterness then when I chanced upon a piece in the The Conversation written by Professor Barbara T. H. Yen reporting on her research with a team of scholars from Griffith University.

Continue reading “Part2/2: Ptsh. F*#% Off mate. “Parking might not be as important to restaurants.””