The concept of having a model of the city centre, as suggested by Auckland City councillor Vern Walsh on his return from a study tour, is an excellent one.
In the 1970s at least one world-class city had such a model. It was possible to insert any proposed development, such as a stadium, into the model and to quickly assess the visual impact, sun angles or shadows, and the relationship of the proposal to the harbour or Albert Park.
The only problem with the model was that it was very large and needed a big space in which it could be displayed. A suggestion was made that it should become the centrepiece of a "city museum", but sadly the idea of a city knowing its own urban design history did not proceed. The wonderful city centre model was last seen in the Auckland Town Hall, entrusted to the care of the city council.
First published in the New Zealand Herald 4 November 2006
The original title was "A role model for ourselves."
The published title was "Model's role"
Two comments were edited out...
1) That was in the days before computer modelling but even today a real model has many advantages as an urban design tool over computer modelling.
2) We travel not so that we might see other places, but rather so that we might see ourselves more clearly.
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