|World Summit on Social Development '95|
There is an old seafarer's saying that "the Atlantic is owned by the navigators".
Sailors know that you cannot buy the sea any more than you can control its power. The sea is more majestic than any economic theory. Seafarers who forgets for a moment to respect the mystery of the sea places their lives at risk. Only the navigators "possess" the sea, and they do this through their knowledge.
Perhaps it is because New Zealand is a seafaring nation that we too have a tradition of recognising that it is impossible to own either sea or land. Kaitiakitanga assumes that we become one with the environment, through our love, respect and understanding. The more deeply we understand the more intimately we "possess" the environment.
Kaitiakitanga is very different from guardianship or stewardship. These concepts assume a position of power. They assume that we have rights to control, and also that control is possible. They assume that knowledge enhances our ability to manipulate and change the natural environment.
Kaitiaki are not appointed in the way in which we might appoint a steward to look after and protect a park or a beach. Kaitiaki become one with place so that they feel the pain and the joy of place. When the environment is hurt they are hurt too, because they know what is happening and cannot escape. We become kaitiaki through losing ourselves in the awe and wonder of our world.
Architects and designers are navigators. Through their knowledge they guide us through the cultural oceans. It is their ability to see and feel what others cannot which commands respect.
It could be said that sailing has been reduced from an art to a science. Using power to force our way across the seas has taken the design of ships away from the artists and given it to the technicians. The environmental cost of the move has been high.
There has been a corresponding move in architecture away from the art of building so that we are drawn ever more deeply into the mystery of life, to a fascination with the technical issues of sheltering from an environment which we understand less and less as every day passes.
Kaitiakitanga is concerned with spiritual power rather than controlling power. The kaitiakitanga of the Resource Management Act envisages an architecture which "possesses" place only through expressing and exploring the knowledge of that place, rather than an architecture which seeks to "own" place.
When Kim Sung-Woo recently visited New Zealand he suggested that from looking at architecture it should be possible to know place, in the same way that looking at a tree makes it possible to tell where the winds have blown from during the lifetime of the tree. A tree responds every day to its own unique micro-climate, until finally it knows the place where it grows. The form of the tree is able to tell us about place.
When the tree is cut down all that knowledge is lost and it can never be recovered. Cutting down the pohutukawas of New Zealand is not an aesthetic issue. The natural landscape has much more to tell us than any book, if only we have eyes to see.
Those who cannot read burn books because they are of no use to them. They pass on a heritage of ignorance. Those who cannot read architecture demolish buildings which could have told them about culture and place if only they had stopped to listen. Dysfunction of this kind is unacceptable in a sustainable world.
Sustainability demands complete integration between social attitudes and architecture. We walk down the streets of Kyoto and as architects fall in love with the profusion of pot-plants tumbling gracefully out into the public space. Everyone walks around the plants. There is no aggression. It is the way we imagine our architecture will be. In contrast a New Zealand architect is likely to be asked for defensible architecture, asserting personal values and a style of personal ownership which has no basis in reality.
Much New Zealand architecture encourages social aggression. With having now achieved the highest differential between the rich and the poor in the Western world the future looks bleak indeed. Fortunately creativity generates optimism.
It seemed totally appropriate that architecture should be high on the agenda at the United Nations World Summit for Social Development held in Copenhagen during March 1995.
WSSD invited participation at many different levels. It was a meeting of Heads of State, each of whom had an opportunity to speak for seven minutes at the Plenary Assembly. It was a negotiating meeting at which delegations from every country of the world struggled to remove the remaining "square brackets" from the documents which were to be signed by the Heads of State. Over several years a series of Preparatory Committee Meetings had been negotiating the final documents. "Square brackets" in these documents indicates text which while indicative has yet to be agreed.
The WSSD Forum was also a gathering of Non Government Organisations. There were hundreds of lectures, countless exhibitions, endless meetings of every imaginable style, and of course an astonishing array of cultural events such as theatre, dance and music. An alternative declaration was prepared by the NGO Forum, but the link to the main Assembly was so strong that there was an atmosphere of co-operation rather than confrontation.
Participation by local people was encouraged by a very low admission price, and in turn delegates were hosted by the city of Copenhagen. A free transport pass and free admission to more than forty museums presents a challenge to even the most culture-hardened architect. The Tivoli Gardens were free for several nights with fireworks to announce the arrival of midnight and the possibility of a few hours sleep before the beginning of another day of meetings.
For architects the International Union of Architects offered almost continuous presentations for three days, and there were numerous business meetings. Arc-Peace, International Architects Designers and Planners for Social Responsibility, also held a series of public presentations as well as business meetings. In the city and at the University there were architectural exhibitions, architectural events, architectural lectures and daily site visits Only those who have been to two hundred films at a film festival would appreciate the potential for intellectual overload.
Although the focus was on social issues WSSD could be described as an architectural event. An architect, Jan Birkit-Smith, had masterminded the Global Forum and everywhere the hand of an architect was evident. The Forum was located in a de-commissioned naval base with magnificent old warehouses. The changes made were minimal. External stairs and lifts were added as though this was a construction site. At the steelworks delegates, food and exhibitions mingled freely with the untouched machinery.
WSSD was a brilliant demonstration that architectural skill is a critical element in creating spaces capable of generating the social interaction which everyone else was talking about.
Do gatherings such as WSSD justify the enormous expenditure of time and resources which is involved? My answer would be a definite yes, if they are able to change our way of seeing.
Lawyers and economists have led us down the unfortunate path of assuming that we can own "possessions" through buying them with money. This degrading concept has led to architecture being seen as nothing more than a commodity to be traded and thrown out like any other commodity of a consumer society. These theoretical ideas about personal power have led to unimaginable environmental degradation.
If we change our way of seeing, everything else changes, including our architecture.
The Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit was essentially about renegotiating our relationship with nature. It reasserted something which we had really known all along, but which had been forgotten. "The Atlantic belongs to the navigators." Architecture belongs in place.
WSSD Copenhagen was essentially about people becoming one with place, and living in creative harmony. It remembered something which had always been part of our New Zealand culture, but which we had forgotten. The spirit of kaitiakitanga. An architecture which both expresses and reinforces social cohesion.
At a global level there have been great changes, with the hopefulness of a design approach to an integrated environment.
The interpretation of these ideals into built form remains as the challenge facing those architects who are already preparing for the United Nations Habitat II Conference in Istanbul. Those architects on the "Road from Rio" have now passed Copenhagen, and Istanbul is in sight.
My diary notes let the story unfold.....
Thursday 2 March
Karaka Bay - Kobe
It is around 3am before I get to sleep and my alarm is set for 6am. There is a wisp of dawn as I dive into the tide for a final swim. It is exquisite "skinny-dipping" before the world is awake. A shower, a couple of cups of tea, and the compost to empty so that it wil rot happily while I am away.
I am just going out the door after saying goodbye to Helen when the phone rings. I assume it is Clive, pick it up and assure him "I'm on my way." "Tom here" the voice at the other end replies. He does not actually say he intends to stop me going, but neither does he give his permission. He is the bureacrat who avoids decisions by always asking for yet another form to be filled in. On yesterday's form I have answered "yes" to the question "Have you arranged for all your lecturing commitments to be cared for?" Tom feels "yes" is not a full enough answer.Details about how everything is organised are really called for All this in the three lines provided on the form? All this at 6.50am? No wonder the world is in a mess, and some of us have to make the effort to get to Copenhagen to sort it out.
The sun is rising as I crest the ridge at Sunhill. The orange orb hangs below a sky which is flooded with orange. I feel as though I could spend the rest of my life just watching sunrises. Off to Papatoetoe to leave Lisa. When I return Clive will not only have fitted an alarm, but also cleaned the whole car to leave it looking like a new pin. Posted my mail. Clive takes me on to the airport.
There is no queue, and I have a very quick check in. Perhaps everyone else has gone. A coffee with Clive. He goes off to fetch me around $20 in Dutch guilders, and around $20 in Danish Kroners. Enough for a bus or taxi fare to get me to somewhere to sleep. Off to gate 9. My 15A seat which Margaret had so carefully organised for me is occupied by a stewardess, and she refuses to shift. At first they try to give me the run around, so I dig my toes in. Finally they are very gracious and I end up with two empty seats and a great view. One passenger is missing so it is 9am before our Air New Zealand B676 is off the tarmac.
Exquisite views as we fly over Auckland. Unfortunately cloud shrouds the rest of the North Island as we follow up the coast. It is patchy, but there is an amazing amout of cloud up at 35,000 feet, which makes for a more bumpy flight than usual. We cruise at 39,000 feet at around 800km/hr ground speed. We see nothing of Honiara or the Solomons. Right over Guam, but again we see nothing. My plan is to get some sleep so I don't mind the blinds being put down for the film I do not see.
My steward is studying RMA at Massey and is very interested to find out all he can about options for further study. At every chance he comes to talk. I change my watch, setting it back four hours. Our expected arrival time in Japan is now 4.44pm.
We come in over water with excellent views of the coastline on the starboard side. Very intensive ugly coastal development and an astonishingly untouched interior. I guess that I am looking over to Ise.
Touch down at Kansai and I am the last off. We need however to board a train to travel up to the main terminal and the last on is the first off, so that leaves me at the head of the queue. Very Aeroflot. With no bags to collect I find myself suddenly thrust into the horrendously scaled "foyer". It is ugly, non-descript, and totally confusing. I cannot find any maps. I cannot find anyone who will sort out a hotel. For a "foreigner" it seems almost impossible. I try to get tourist information and am given a little map to go off and find another office which does not seem to exist.
Finally I find somewhere where I can leave baggage, so I pack what I will not need into my blue bag. He insists that leaving it for 16 hours constitutes 2 days, so I feel cheated. I try to confirm my on-going flight, but no one is at the KLM counter up on the top floor, so I finally need to do this by telephone. I feel I have achieved as much as I can, and I have certainly reached the limit of my tired mind's endurance.
Eventually I find the bus to the K-Cat. A day later it dawns on me that this is an abbreviation for the Kansai-Catermaran. The bus is 180 yen (around $3) for a five minute journey, which is a rip off, as the actual distance covered is only a few hundred yards but no one put in a walkway to get to the wharf, Then I find the boats only go every hour, so I have to sit and wait for 50 minutes at the wharf. Videos explaining that the boat will travel at 75km/hour do nothing to cheer me up.
The 30 nminute trip costs 2200 yen (around NZ$35) Darkness is falling and the smog haze envelopes the harbour, so that there is little to see. A Canadian family are on the boat, returning to their house after living in an Osaka hotel for the six weeks since the earthquake. I feel that they must know something about somewhere to stay and they advise me that the closest possiblity will be at least an hours journey away. I despair a little, but am rescued by the three friendly girls at the ticket office of what I eventually discover is known as the city air terminal rather than the ferry terminal. They ring a number of hotels with no luck, but then tell me a room is available at the Tor Road Hotel for 5000 yen, but it has no bathrooms which work, as a result of the earthquake. I book and they mark the hotel on a map which is so inadequate that I wonder if I will ever find it. I wait for what seems to be forever for a bus to take me to Sanomiya Station. Buses keep arriving, but then go to the depot to park for the night instead of going on to the city.
We travel through tall housing blocks before crossing a bridge to the mainland, and then we seem be constantly guided through intersections by policemen waving red illuminated batons. Tomorrow I will discover that these intersections are all places where motorways have collapsed. At the bus stop I am grateful to find large Lipton's tea advertising sign which will help me to find it again if I get totally lost. It now becomes clear as to why the girls advised me to walk "as a taxi would not get through". This is the centre of the worst hit area. The debris has been removed from all the streets and a few sites, but everything else is a complete shambles. I wander along the streets of collapsed buildings, and eventually find Tor Road, with the sign strangely written in English, and from the intersection the hotel is visible. It is more than I could have dreamed of.
It is only 8.30pm in Japan, but that is well past midnight in New Zealand, and with almost no sleep last night I decide to call it a day. Air New Zealand had generously given me 3 cans of Sapporo special beer to see me off to sleep so I consumed them, doned my new polypropylene underwear and although the bed may have been rather solid I was asleep in minutes, and I sleep like a log.
Friday 3 March
I am awake well before the dawn, somewhere around 5am. By 6am I am experimenting with the "throw away" razor, which is provided along with the "throw away" toothbrush, "throw away" toothpaste and "throw away" clothes brush. I eventually give the brush to Jim Morgan as a memento. An interesting time trying to ask if it is ok to flush the toilet. Sign language only adds to the confusion. I hope the answer was yes, but perhaps they are still trying to work what on earth the gringo was trying to do. Off to explore.
Steel failures. Reinforced concrete failures where the concrete had exploded right off the reinforcing which had then simply crushed under the weight of the building. Motorways in disarray all over the place. Buildings where whole floors had been crushed. Technically these are called soft-storey failures, and it seems that one of the causes was a method of construction in which the columns were "composite" steel clad in reinforced concrete on the lower levels, but then pure reinforced concrete on the upper levels. The concentration of stress at the termination of the steel composite caused entire floors to collapse at that point.
I head off in the direction of the bus stop to carefully check my exit. I am being extremely careful not to make a mistake as missing the plane will mean missing the opening of the EC Meeting. From being fearful about orientation it is a breeze. I find the station, the Liptons tea advertisement I had used as a marker, and then the bus stop. There are long queues for the other buses, but this proves to be only because of the early morning rush hour. Normal public transportation services have, of course, not yet been restored.
Motorways have had their box sections tossed sideways on their supports. It is an immense problem to know what to do with so much debris when the whole of the inner city is being demolished. It seems as though the army is taking everything away from a central gathering point. Sports stadiums have been commandered for storage, and city car parks are being used for equipment, cabling and machinery. Photgraphs. Back to the Tor Road Hotel, feeling as though I have been in Japan for weeks. A moment of confusion, but there is the hotel. I quickly gather my things, not wanting to take any chances.
By now the sun is out and the day is great. Photographs. Under the railway to explore a different route, and along to the bus stop. Panic. I cannot find it. Finally I see the bus I want, but the driver, being Japanese won't stop anywhere other than at a stop. At last I find the stop and to my great relief am on my way. Well, for a block at least. Red, green, red, green, red, green. The lights change but our position does not. After 20 minutes we have not moved a single block. Blind panic sets in There seems to be no way that we will make the 11am K-cat.
We don't. It goes whether the bus has arrived or not, and the next boat is not until 12 midday. Eventually I will discover that all the Kansai flights to Europe leave in the morning, and connecting schedules reflect this. In life we always know what we should have known after it is no longer of any use to us. I have an hour to wait, but there is nothing I can do.
I chat to the friendly girls who found the Tor for me. I try to ring KLM at Kansai, but can only get an ansaphone. Finally we leave at 75km/hr but the speed is of little use to me. I jump onto the shuttle and it takes me up to the top level of the airport, from which there is a magnificent view of a 747-400 emblazoned with KLM lifting off into the blue sky. A great sight, I have to admit. You imagine yourself sitting on it, ordering the chicken rather than the fish.
There is no one at the KLM counter, or the Northwest counter. I have to fly the friendly skies with United. The girl there is wonderful and tries to track someone down. Hopeless. No one is at the airport, no one is at the office, and no one is at the Osaka office. She gives me a number and suggests I call after 2pm, when they should be back from lunch. No such luck. Finally someone turns up at Northwest. They have me totally beaten, by suggesting that I could find the local airport, where it might be possible to get a connection to Narita, but then of course.... One good management strategy for gaining acceptance is to offer a worse alternative. I tell him to book me in for Sunday, and with immense difficulty convince him that he will need to change my ongoing flight. He simply cannot understand the difficulty of catching a flight in Amsterdam when you are still in Osaka.
Nara seems to be a softer option than Kyoto, and by now I have also worked out that although the journey to Kyoto is longer it has fewer potential problems. I find that a bus is going direct to Nara at 15.40 and it is now 15.30.. Found the bus stop. Some quick ticketing from a machine, but there is an attendant alongside to help those who have difficulty operating it. Y1800., I am on my way. Only six passengers and typical white-glove Japanese luxury. Along a toll highway, sweeping through the hills.Bridges and overhanging curved wind barriers.Ugly cuttings. Ugly Japan. I wonder why I am not on my way to Amsterdam. Rain. The Nara turn off but it only leads to more motorway. Then we suddenly turn left into a narrow country road and stop at a very local bus stop. A stop at Kintetsu Station, which would have been my closest stop, but I decided I did not want to get lost. JR Station.
Off up the main street to the City Information Centre, which fortunately is exactly where it used to be. I need not have rushed as they are open until 9pm, rather than the 5pm I expected. They telephone Ryokan Seikanso, and a room is available. I agree. Walked to the Ryokan, buying a cup of coffee for Y350 at a small bar along the way, and settled in.
For some reason which totally escapes me the Information Centre did not tell me about the Shuni-e or water drawing festival which was just up the road at Nigatsudo at 7pm. The rituals extend from the first to the fourteenth of March, with the culmination on the 12th, when water is drawn from the Wakasa well beneath the floor of the temple. Brush torches at the end of long bamboo poles are lit, but the religious rituals are almost rivalled by the rituals of Nikon wielding Japanese fanatics, who are herded into special enclosures at the best vantage points. I presume they all end up with photographs exactly like those on the publicity brochures. We treasure familiarity more than insight.
Walked back down the main street to get something to eat. Settled for a big Mac because no emotional energy was involved. Back for an early night. An open verandah walkway alongside the garden leads to the furo. It is tile rather than timber, but in Japan nothing is ever quite what you expect. My hostess moves me to another room when she thinks that the druken couple in the room next door will keep me awake with their noise. She need not have worried. I sleep like a log.
Saturday 4 March
Nara - Kyoto
Awake around 6.30am, with the first light. I enjoy my room and the view out to the garden.Down for breakfast at 7.30. An immense tatami room, with large tables, and one place is set for breakfast. It is for me. Seven dishes. Soup, a bowl full of rice. Dishes of delicacies and some very hot "horse-radish" sauce.
A shower, wondering how to dry myself with one towel of miniscule proportions. My "throw away" razor does another day. Packed and left my bag at reception.
Off to walk through the old town. More delightful than I remember. The scale, the texture, the intricacy. I am invited in to watch the repair of tatami. A bed like a hospital bed with all manner of adjustments. It is possible to bend the tatami to tension the new woven finish. The tatami is then skilfully trimmed to the precise measure with a double edged knife. Absolutely traditional craftsmanship.
Naoya Shiga's Old Residence. On up a rough track to Kasuga shrine. The number of lanterns seems to be even greater than I remember. Kasuga wakamiya-gu. Along the contour of the land to Nigatsudo.
It is almost mid-day and preparations are under way for the daily food ceremony, which is part of Shuni-e. Fires are lit, water is boiling, rice is cooking, monks are dressing in their robes. Then it is all action as monks is full regalia rush to their hall. They chant. Rice and other food is brought. Finally they eat. Then with great urgency they emerge to throw balls of rice onto the roof. It is over as suddenly as it began.
Down to Shosoin along my favourite route. The storehouse is all closed off and inaccesible. Todaiji. I cannot believe that there can be so few tourists. Nandaimon gate. Kofukuji. Back to Seikanso to collect my bag, and on to Kintetsu Station. The girl at the information centre where gringos get tickets is very apologetic because there is not a fast train for another hour. I eventually extract out of her the information that there is a slow train in four minutes, at a fraction of the cost. She could not comprehend why anyone should be silly enough to take a slow train when the only advantage is getting there half an hour earlier than the fast train.
This Kinki-Nippon Line is the one to use rather than the JR. I realise that having a JR rail pass takes your mind down a different track. At Kyoto my first move is to locate the Haruka train platform, and my second move is to check out ticketing. Then I attempt to find a hotel at the railway information centres, but they are hopeless. Across to the tourist centre, only to find it is closed because it is Saturday. In some ways Kyoto is a tourist centre, but in others it is not. You cannot make assumptions. I decide I will find my own Ryokan, so follow the map and in seven minutes I am at Murakamiya Ryokan. The rituals of waiting and checking duly performed I am shown my room. At last I am free to explore.
There is not time for heroic gestures so I walk north-east to Gojozaka along rather boring streets. It is a little tricky to find the entrance, but from here a wonderful path climbs all the way up to Kiyomizu Temple through a cemetery which has millions of tall sqyare granite obelisks. It is the high rise city of the dead.
The first plum blossoms are just breaking out, but with the trees otherwise bare the whole superstructure of Kiyomizu is revealed in all its brilliance. I suspect the monks really wanted me to go home, but then they seemed to mellow and understand that they may as well join me and watch the sunset over the city. The colours fade and the lights of the city sparkle.
On through my favourite and familiar streets, refreshing my memory. The understanding of "place" here is such a contrast to Karaka Bay. Instead of the Council and Boffa Miskell there is love and respect. Instead of bitterness and anger there is gentleness and kindness. It is possible to have pot plants and greenery tumbling out onto the street and everyone walks around without a thought that they should do anything else. Will some crass developer come here and try to make a profit out of this beauty? How are human values to resist the destructive power of money? Twenty years ago I would have gone to WSSD offering Karaka Bay as an answer, but now I can only say that its strength was its vulnerability. Culture and tradition cannot be bought. When newcomers are not interested in finding out why things are the way they are they will destroy the history of a place. For now I delight in the joy of these Kyoto streets not having changed.
Sannenzaka. Ninnenzaka. The Ryozen Kanon is hung with a thousand lanterns, and I wonder how they withstand the gently falling rain. Kodaiji. Yasaka Shrine. I turn and head back southwest, allowing myself to be guided by the street-life and the neon. One delight leads to another. Gion Corner is throbbing with life. The scale, intensity and urbanity are astonishing. Across the river and north again through the tiny alleyways between the Kamo River and Nishikiyamachi-dori. This is a dream city. A thousand delights at every turn. The smell of food cooking. The tantalising glimpses. The rich texture. People everywhere.
A bookshop with an English section on both art and architecture. Titles I had not seen before. A city is a place of discovery. I am tempted, but resist the added weight to carry around. The arcades. By now the shops are beginning to close down. It seems to be a long walk down Kawaramachi-dori to my Ryokan, with the skytower providing a guiding light.
The furo is only for one, and it seems to be continuously occupied. After a dozen trips up and down the stairs I finally relax my limbs and soon I succumb to the tatami.
Sunday 5 March
Kyoto - Copenhagen
Lest it should cause needless delays I did not ask for breakfast, so a steaming hot shower leaves me ready to slip quietly away. There is snow on the streets, although it did not seem at all cold last night. From the train it becomes apparent that all the hills around Kyoto are now covered with snow. A moment of anxiety when I find the next Haruka is fully booked, but I have allowed plenty of leeway. The wait leaves time to go back to Higashi-Honganji Temple for a final feast of timber, bronze and stone.
We follow the plains through to Osaka, but the urban tangle becomes so intense that it is impossible to unravel. The 172M high Shin Umeda City tower by architect Hiroshi Hara certainly does stand up above everything, but it seems to be a futile sculptural gesture which only makes this place even more inhuman.
The Kansai station now seems all very simple, and I know exactly where I am going. A quick check in, and I retrieve my other bag to pack for the flight. It is a strange sensation to have two hours to fill in. Y2000 departure tax. They call it a "service charge". Long travellators, and the train to the departure gate. You really do need an hour just to cover the distances.
I find I am seated five away from the window when I had been promised a window seat, so ask for a change. Like everything at Kansai that is impossible, but just before take off it is clear that the window seat I want is vacant, so a qick shift gives me perfect views as we lift off, follow the coast and then turn north. Some cloud but then it is clear over snow-covered northern Japan.
The KLM 747 configuration leaves a half width with only a partition dividing me from business class. It is the perfect part of the plane to be in, with all the advantages of business class, except perhaps the menu. Majestic ice-flows indicate that we are approaching Russia, and soon we are flying over a frozen land of pure magic. The patterns of rivers, lakes and mountains are endlessly diverse and complex, with each seeming more stunning than the last. After many hours it becomes lost beneath the cloud. We press on at 543 miles/hour or 875 km/hr, at an altitude of 39,000 feet or 1190M.
After 10 hours flying there is a brief gap in the cloud (10.30pm Kyoto time) We pass a large Russian city on a lake. Very tightly packed with a clear line between the city and the forest, almost as though it was a walled town. (Refer sketch)
I corrected my watch over the Baltic Sea for the 8 hours time difference. (15.22 Amsterdam time = 23.22 Kyoto time.)
We pass over Copenhagen, but there is nothing to see. After Kansai Shipol seems humane and friendly. The transfer desk for checking onward flights just appears in front of me, which is what a tired passenger needs. No, they are sorry but no onwards seats are available. However I should go to the gate and try my luck. I find a comfortable seat to gather my wits. Duty free shopping is adjacent so I stock up on the slide film I could not find in Japan. Familiarised myself with the terminal to speed up my next lay-over and then on to the gate. It looks very crowded, and I have just about given up when suddenly they announce that three seats will be available. I am through the gate at the speed of a 747.
It is dark, but I know there is nothing to see through the cloud so I do not feel deprived. Open Danish sandwiches, and a bottle of wine to tuck into my bag. At Copenhagen a long gallery leads incoming passengers above the outgoing passengers. There is a welcoming office for WSSD delegates, but they seem to be so hopelessly disorganised that they cannot even give me a map or locate the Bethell for me. They mistakenly tell me to get a 250S bus into town, Perhaps I caught them at an off moment. Elsewhere I get the information I need. I want Bus 9 to Nyhaven, not the 250S. Changed 2xUS$50 Travellers cheques into DKK at airport in case I needed some extra cash.By this time I was feeling very very tired. Waited outside in the cold to keep me awake until the bus came.
The helpful driver assured me that I was at Nyhavem, but the address still did not make sense to me. A classic instance of the situation which is perfectly obvious afterwards but a total mystery beforehand. I call at a bar, and no one there has heard of Bethell, and no one can help with the address. My heart sinks. I call at another bar. She tells me I just need to walk over the bridge and I am there. It is indeed as simple as that. The friendly Bethell staff are expecting me to turn up, and to be sharing a room with Jim.
Up in the continental lift, and room 17 is alongside. I discover that the "home" I am to stay in is like a dream. Outside the window the Baltic boats lie gently at anchor. By coutesy of KLM I enjoy a bottle of i993 French white wine, Bordeaux Sauviignon Blanc, and a bottle of 1989 Spanish red, Rioja Crianza Vina Alcorta Campo Viejo Tempranillo. I figured I deserved the luxury. I have arrived.
Jim is not in, but he arrives shortly. He tells me of his flight over, with a bomb scare which left them stranded at a remote airport for a day until everything could be checked. Much later I will discover that Maria Figueroa was on the same plane. He briefs me on the afternoon Arc-Peace meeting, and I discover I have missed very little. The details elude me as I slide off to a deep and long sleep. For me it is around 6am in the morning.
Monday 6 March
It is grey and wet. About what I expected. I could not know yet that the sun would shine for all the rest of my visit. It is great to be a day behind Jim as he has sorted everything out. We go down for breakfast, which is included in the price of the room. A choice of cereals. A choice of excellent breads. Cheese, salami, ham and boiled eggs. Good coffee and fruit juice.
"Sasha" Alexander Kudriavtsev appears and comes over to give me a great Russian bear hug. We have a great deal to catch up on.
Helen phones, expecting me to have already been in Copenhagen for two days. Everything is fine back in New Zealand.
(7.15am for 1.35min @ $4.05, 7.17am for 1.01min @ $2.60 and 7.18am for 8.04 min @ $20.62. Total cost $27.27.)
Jim heads off for a tour while I organise myself. I should have sought clearer directions, but eventually I find the shuttle boat across to Holmen. It leaves from the end of Nyhaven, but from the opposide side to the Malmo boats. In a few minutes I am at the NGO Forum. Registered for the Forum as a press representative on behalf of AGM. I am presented with a blue and white umbrella. Off to explore.
The conference building. Exhibitions and presentations to savour. The APC Centre. I organise an account to activate an electronic link back to my students in New Zealand. Kronberg. The Steelworks. I enjoy a smorgasbord at the Steelworks restaurant. The meeting rooms. The press centre. The Global Village. It all takes a little time to sort out.
Off to Bella by shuttle bus to seek accreditation. Again it takes a little time to sort out where buses leave from and where they are going to. At this early stage the buses are going directly to the East Entrance of Bella. With external security not being too tight, I am able to walk all the way across to the accreditation tent. Forms to fill in, Long delays, Queues. The copy of the letter I have with me from AGM does not have the letterhead on it, and they decide that I must come back tomorrow with the other version. I could not know it was only the first move in what was to be a long game.
Back to the Forum and back on the shuttle boat to Nyhaven, to meet Jim at Bethell at 5pm, so that we can walk together to the continuation of the Arc-Peace EC meeting. Sven appears. He is staying at a flat just across the road with Alice, Germain and Anna. We all walk around the corner to the School of Architecture.
It seems to me to be a pity that we do not all share a meal after the meeting, but I am happy enough to get an early night.
Tuesday 7 March
Jim is awake at 5am and so am I. We start talking and Jim tells me all about the housing scheme he is involved in in New York, close to where he is living. The time when Jim heard a helicopter overhead and discovered it was the police. As he headed for the block he found the whole area was cordoned off. A further 150 police in riot gear were stationed in reserve. The excuse was that they were there to protect the judge who was inspecting the property. The friendly lawyer who is working for the squatters.
Breakfast with Jim and Sasha. Helen phones. Everything is fine back in New Zealand.
(8.54pm NZ for 1.19mins and 8.56pm NZ for 7.53 total $23.52)
Off on the shuttle boat to Holmen. I decide I had better take advantage of the sunshine to capture enough publication photographs of the Forum.
Back again to Bella to finalise my accreditation. Not a chance. AGM is not shown in their press list. Could I ring them. They cannot understand that it is 2am in the morning in New Zealand. They want to get hold of our Embassy. I explain we do not have one in Copenhagen. Finally they insist that I get another letter which will specifically appoint me to WSSD. They insist that it should be faxed directly to them. I suggest that on their performance to date they will almost certainly lose it. I prove to be right. However I realise that bureaucrats should be humoured rather than challenged so I give up. Back to the Forum to send a fax off to Jonathon. I also get an E-mail report away to New Zealand.
We meet again at Bethell to go on to the Costa Rica 94 exhibition in the School of Architecture. Last Autumn twenty students from the School moved to Costa Rica for three months, and the exhibition shows their projects. Their process was exactly the opposite from ours in Rarotonga. We ended up with a building, and lives were transformed through the building process. The Copenhagen students did a lot of drawing and took wonderful photographs, but came to the wrong conclusions and ended up with paper designs which were good for them, but of no use to Costa Rica.
At Habitat II this diference of approach will surface again. I assumed that students would go to Istanbul and do some building, just as they had at Papatuanuku. In contrast I found the Europeans assuming they would send their students off to some other place and they would take pieces of paper to Istabul, and talk about what they think other people ought to do.
There are two other architectural exhibitions. "Rooms for Culture1995-1996" is at the Town Hall from the 6th to the 17th from 10am to 6pm each day. It presents models of 10 major projects which will be built over the next few years. The Royal Museum of Fine arts, The Royal Library, Town Hall Square, Koge Bugt Museum, Holmen, Danish Design Centre, The Architects' House, The Film House, Amager and Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek. My overall impression is that this is an astonishing commitment of resources to "cultural" architecture.
The third architectural exhibition is "The Symbolic Globe", which is built by delegates from 3rd to 12th March at Ny Torv, in front of the Copenhagen Court House. The project was conceived and designed by Erik Reitzel, a civil engineer and professor at the School of Architecture.
We go on to continue the Arc-Peace EC meeting in a new room a little further down the road.
On then to hear Karen Zahle's lecture on "Social Housing in Copenhagen" at 7.30pm at Charlottenborg Festal in the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Kongens Nytorv 1. The School of Architecture is part of this Academy.
There are lectures each night of the week. Last night, Monday, Jens Kvorning spoke on the "History and Social Development of Copenhagen" at 7pm, and at 8.30pm Lisbet Sloth spoke on "Town Improvements on Chritianshavn, Frederiiksberg, and Vesterbro" This formed an introduction to a guided tour which began at 10am the following morning. Tomorrow night, Wednesday, Karen Zahle will lecture again, this time on "Housing for the Elderly". This lecture will be repeated at 10.30am on Thursday as an introduction to another guided tour. At 8.30 on Wednesday night Jens Thomas Arnfred and Flemming Skode lecture on "Architecture in the Greater Copenhagen Area - including Libraries, Housing and Utzon's Church in Bagsvaerd" and this will be repeated at 9.30am on Thursday to introduce another guided tour. On Friday night at 8.30pm Erik Reizel will lecture on "The Symbolic Globe".
There are only three problems with this intensive "architectural programme". The first is that it is impossible to be in five places at once. The second that it is very difficult to work out all the transportation links to be as "efficient" as anyone would be "at home". The third is that the graphic format of the schedule makes it very difficult to unravel. Locals may chose a subject they are interested in, but unfortunately a visitor must chose a time when they do not have something else on. On reflection I relied too much on the local architects to sort it out, and only when I got back to Karaka Bay did I finally find the time to do it all for myself.
After the lecture everyone goes on to the Museum which is free and open late for all delegates. Martin acts as our guide to take us there and I discover the fascinating variety of urban spaces in Copenhagen. The Viking section of the Museum is stunning. It is a wonderful occassion, with the building crowded with delegates.
By mistake we all manage to get split up as we are leaving. Sven and the others go on while I go back to discover I cannot find Sasha. I walk home on my own.
Wednesday 8 March
Brilliant sunrise at 7am. I am awake at dawn, but Jim is now sound asleep. I quickly try to begin the day, after leaning out the window to watch the orb of the sun spreading a golden glow over the water. At breakfast I am able to introduce myself to Hiroko Mizumura, who is studying in Sweden for two years and hopes to return to Japan to become a professor. Then Dick Urban Vestbro arrives from Sweden on the night train from Stockholm, and joins us for breakfast. Then Gen Tamura arrives. It is quite a reunion. I cannot imagine that it is two years since I have seen Gen. Our minds play tricks with us. Sasha and Jim join us. A fax is waiting from Jonathon.
Off on the shuttle ferry to get to the Forum at 9am for the first Arc-Peace public presentation, which is scheduled in C 2.07, from 9 to 12.30. A great crowd of what mainly seem to be students turn up, so that we all need to shift to the largest room available, which all takes time. It is however achieved easily given the logistics involved. Sven explains what Arc-Peace is all about.
Dick Urban Vestbro gives a lecture. It all seems very predictable to me, and inappropriate for the audience. He is justifying his "research", and cutting another notch in his CV. "By 2000 more than 50% of the world's population will be living in cities." He looks back to Vancouver. a) Satisfying the needs of the most disadvantaged. b) Keeping a human scale. Not defined but obviously in contrast to the inhuman. c) Balanced communities, eliminating social and racial segregation. d) Apply innovative, appropriate, indigenous, recycling technology. The Vancouver official document advocates arms contol but no one has done anything about it. Dodoma, the new capital of Tanzania. (Thesis of Abmad Kariyama KTH 1995.) Working through the figures shows that government needs to pay 99.5% of the housing costs of the poor, but also 99.7% of the costs of the wealthy. This is impossible.
The Lusaka grid-iron. India. Canvas awnings spread over the street for a party. Street can be a social space. I think of the "parachute parties" at Karaka Bay. Golf buggies for access, rather than wide roads. Emphasis on infrastructure. This all seems so out of date, but it reminds me of the way I used to think back in the sixties. Nabil Nambi "Housing without houses" is the reference.
Gustavo Crocker, who grew up in a Guatemalan sqatter settlement, but now lives in Kansas, suggests that the central issue is people getting on with people. Karaka Bay!!! Speculation is a big issue. Karaka Bay!!! We emphasise the physical too much. "Conflict resolution at a community level." is the key issue. I totally agree.
Gunnar Lange-Nielsen, an architect/urban designer wants to know what happened to all the "examples" which were to result from 1987. (The Year of Shelter we are left to assume, as he does not give any more clues?) I have to explain that the whole game has changed since then. Julie Spindler from Australia is not an architect but has been involved in aboriginal housing close to Alice Springs. She claims that at last it has been successful. I am left to wonder. Jim explains what has been happening at the UN, and explains a little about HIC.
At last I encourage some of the students to speak. Louise Wahlgreen seems to be a leader so when she goes out out I race after her to talk to her and her friends. She is only a first year design student, but she is very enthusiastic about joining other students to actually do some building in Istanbul. She gives me the Design School address, and Erica Wiberg as a contact.
Sven winds it up, and only as we are all packing up does Wally N'Dow arrive with two of his staff, Eric the advisor on Habitat in Costa Rica, and Christina. Wally gives the expected "political" introduction. 1) A partnership is needed to respond to a variety of needs. 2) Prepare the world for better living. 3)Come in by the main door. 4) We need respected voices. 5) Kenzo Tange is an enthusiastic supporter. 6) Rendevous for reflection. New directions. 7) Centrepiece for a social agenda. 8) Contribution should not be limited to technologies etc. 9) The spiritual dimension Design must take values into account. 10) Open committees. 11) The final big conference.
Wally then asks for questions. There is a momentary pause so I launch into my many questions. The openess of the discussion is astonishing. He says I should demand a close relationship between NGOs and Government delegates, not just request. There will be many opportunities to criticise the "plan of action". There will be a meeting in Lisbon in a few days to help firm it up, and this process will continue. How the committees will participate will be different. The subject matter lends itself to differences.
He sees the urban design of the Conference as important and will welcome any help we can give. They are hoping to establish a "Conference Valley", with all the activities in one area. A two mile radius from the Hilton Hotel. No traffic will be permitted within this area. They may use military facilities, and he almost comes to the edge of saying that changing what the military does will change the nature of their thinking.. The key role of the military could be seen as contribution to sustainability, and the opportunity is there to use Istanbul as an example. A planning mission is going to Istanbul in April. He is particularly keen to get "respected" architects involved. Kenzo Tange is already an enthusiast. We all feel both enthused and overwhelmed. More than we could have dreamed of.
The Habitat number in Bella is 32 47 28 28, and Christina will confirm arrangements for a further meeting on Friday.
To recover Jim and Martin join me for lunch in the main restaurant. We go over my urban design information for Copenhagen. Wendy Brower joins us briefly and she gives me a copy of her "Green Apple" map of environmental issues in New York.
Off on the shuttle bus to Bella, and then I find there is a grey shuttle bus to the accreditation tent. The mood seems to have changed. They cannot find Jonathon's fax, as I predicted, and they are almost going to accredit me without it, so I do the decent thing and give them the copy he so generously sent to me at Bethell. My photograph is taken and I walk away with a Press Identification card. Back to the East Entrance to explore Bella and get myself oriented. Endless desks for journalists, and endless cubicles for TV crews. Endless piles of paper which hopeful NGOs assume delegates will pick up.
His Excellency Mr. Rafael Pandam, Representative of Ecuador, is great value when he addresses the Plenary at 6.30pm. He gives a powerful and passionate plea for indigenous people. In appearance he could have just emerged out of the jungle, but his eloquence and conviction give him great presence. He speaks from the heart, not using notes.
The New Zealand seats in the Main Committee Room, where the final negotiations on the documents are taking place, are noticeably empty. I feel like creeping across to either sit down so that at least the world will know that some New Zealanders are vitally interested in the issues, or perhaps to turn the sign over so that our absence will not be so glaringly obvious. The debate at this moment concerns whether the word "diseases" should stand alone or whether there should be a specific reference to Aids. This might seem to be a minor point of concern but it is important for those who do not want to see resources directed away from malaria, for example, to combat aids. The real issues concern the fear people have of death in some cultures and the projection of those fears, sacrificing if necessary a holistic view of health. I really enjoy debate at this level.
No shuttle bus seems to come, so after watching several Town Hall Square buses depart I decide I may as well go there. Met Linda Gray on the bus. She knows Howard Liddell in Scotland, so I ask her to pass on my kind regards. I have not seen Howard since we were together during the velvet revolution in Prague. Aaron Freeman, a Ralph Nader man, is with her.
In the Square there is a torchlight procession for International Women's Day. The crowd will walk to the Forum for an evening of singing and celebration. I go back along the pedestrian way to catch up on paperwork at Bethell, and am asleep by 10.30pm. Jim returns home much later after taking part in the torchlight procession.
Thursday 9 March
Awake at 6.30, so a chance to catch up on my diary while Jim sleeps in. Down for breakfast and I find I am on my own. Back up for a shower. No call from Helen. Back down. By now everyone is having breakfast. Sasha, Jim, Hiroko. Gen tells me he sent a fax to Akio to say that I was too busy to go and see him!! Chaos unfolds from what I thought would be a helpful hand. Now I need to sort that out.
My priority for the morning must be to sort out my onward ticketing, as at this stage I am booked to leave Copenhagen on Saturday. Off along the pedestrian way to the Town Hall. It seems friendly in daylight. I find a money changer and cash in Clive's fifty pound sterling for DKK. The Town Hall Sqaure has many of the rag dolls which are now to be found all over town. I can find no KLM office, and end up having to enquire at the largest travel agent I can find. To my astonishment the only KLM office is at the airport. I have no choice so off on a 250S bus. Very soon we are travelling through "suburbs", with a very Germanic feel to them. The low density astonishes me.
At the airport Jans is great. From my waitlisting I now have a booking on the 6.50am Monday flight, but this now clearly all too tight. I book for a comfortable 11.40am flight to Amsterdam on Tuesday. The Wednesday flight to Narita is full, so I waitlist on that and book for the following day. I book the Narita-Auckland flight to get in on Sunday. I will miss Dick's farewell and Konrad's BBQ, but no lectures. He tells me I am one of the few people who are positive about WSSD. Everyone else is coming in to book for an earlier flight so they can have a good time in Frankfurt. Life is wasted on some people. A junket without direction or purpose leaves them floundering around chasing the happiness which they could have found in the place they left behind.
Back to the Town Hall Square. I have run out of time to get to Bella so I go directly to the Forum to be in time for Jim Morgan's Arc-Peace presentation.
I make a full selection of exotic food for lunch in the Steelworks, and when I go looking for somewhere to sit I hear a cheerful call from Allan Rodger. All the UIA people are gathered at a reserved table so I am able to join them and catch up on all the news. The formal UIA meetings began this morning and will run for three days.
At1pm Jim makes a public presentation for Arc-Peace. His love of people is infectious. When someone closes the door Jim opens it again and along the way invites several tentative people to come on in. He involves all the audience, always feeling that what other people have to say is more important than his own thoughts. It is in fact a social demonstration.
A questioner mentions "The Barefooted Architect" but does not know the author. A lecturer in emvironmental design from Lund shares his thoughts. In1983 they started the first eco-village. Peter Nielson lives in an eco-village. I do not have time to carry on talking afterwards as I need to catch the shuttle bus to Bella.
At 3.30 Peter Ustinov and Richard Jolly have a press conference. Richard notes that the number of polio victims in the world has dropped from 500,000 in 1980 to 100,000 in 1995. It is wrong to be impatient. So many things are like a disease. You cannot be sure if you have the disease or not.
Peter is bursting with energy and insight. You cannot have progress without creativity. It is among the NGO s that you find creativity. NGOs have both a mission and enthusiasm. They are important and indivisible from the Bella Summit.
He relates the story of Bob Hawke who said before the Earth Summit "I've only been given four minutes to speak." "I'm not the sort of person who would go all that way for four minutes." Peter takes off the Australian accent superbly. He explained to Bob that he had been given more than four minutes to listen. But, Peter ruefully observed, he didn't listen, and that is an important reason why he is now out of office, and not even given the chance to speak in Copenhagen.
Peter ruefully observes that the New Zealand politician, like Bob Hawke, also did not go, and he is also out of office. "The New Zealand economy at the time was not as strong as Australia's, so he did have and excuse, but on the other hand New Zealand did have a very good wine production that year." Peter notes that he cannot remember the New Zealand politician's name, "which shows what a forgettable man he was". I wonder if Jim Bolger is listening.
That's the sort of response you get from politicians, but they are not alone. Too often there is no fantasy even in children's minds. Why do people talk about the cost of everything? Only the rich should talk about things being expensive, because they are the only ones who know. Boredom is probably the greatest planning problem in the world. People are geting more and more bored.
In Bath Peter has had a childrens theatre named after him, "in a vertical rather than a horizontal sense". The theatre was not wide enough to fit his name across the frontage, so it goes upwards. The children both write and act the plays, and there are no critics so that people actually have to form their own opinions. Thousands of children are now involved which is making it easier to get financial support.
Now there is an urban twist to childrens concerns, but is has not yet been properly digested. The jungle has moved into the town. Cities are the new wilderness.
At 4.30pm Wally N'Dow gives a press conference. There is very little media interest. He stresses that this will be a city conference. Martti Lujanen from Finland is there to lend support. "There is a need for a cycle of virtue". Self-esteem must be developed.
There are few questions so I question the possibility of a "Convention on diversity of the human habitat". Wally greets me as "my good friend the New Zealand architect", but did not really understand the question, or its importance. I realise that the philosophical work must be done by the architects who have spent a lifetime working on the issues. The third PrepCom will be in New York in February.
When I come back out into the lobby Lelei Lelalau is waiting to greet me. I had not realised that the Press Conference was being televised, and he had only realised that I was in Copenhagen when he had seen me on television. A chance to catch up on all the work he has been doing, and he offers me the use of any facilities available through his office.
Shuttled back to the Forum to send another e-mail off to the students. One from them is waiting for me. The system is becoming better and better. By now I am running very late for Sven's Arc-Peace Meeting on "Ethnic Diversity and Territorial Integration", which began at 5pm.
Sven introduced the topic. Dharam Ghari from UNRISD followed. Per Iwansson, an architect, spoke on relief operations in Bosnia. Albio Gonzales, the architect who had planned Jwaneng town in Botswana left me quite incensed. He showed the wonderful Botswana villages which they had destroyed, and then professed that their astonishing intricacy and social cohesion had been an inspiration for the intolerably boring new town they had built. It was very late before it was my turn to speak.
I threw away everything I had intended to say and spoke directly from my heart with total passion about Maori values, kaitiakitanga, the importance of tangata whenua, the concept of turangawaewae, and the significance of whakapapa. The audience was totally stunned. No wonder I guess. When I sat down there was a long long silence. No one knew what to say. Sven eventually thanked me weakly, and then there was a warm reaction from the audience. We had moved far beyond academia.
Friday 10 March
The Copenhagen Alternative Declaration is presented to the Plenary by the NGOs at the conclusion of the morning meeting.
I shuttled on to the NGO Forum.
At12.30 everyone from Arc-Peace gathered at the Global village for the meeting we had arranged with Wally N'Dow, only to find it had been postponed.until 1pm. There was enough time to go upstairs for the smorgasbord lunch. As much as you could eat for 60BKK. A great feast.
I discovered the transparent house, after being too busy to attend the opening ceremony. It sat right in the centre of the restaurant and over the time of the Conference a family lived theuir life there. They cooked. They entertained. They worked. They went to bed for the night. Everything was transparent except the bathroom. It became a fascination to go and find out what they were doing and how they were doing it.
Wally was finally not able to come to the meeting, but he sent instead all the critical Habitat II people. Martti Lujanen, Chairman. Gurel Tuzun Co-ordinator of Habitat in Istanbul Christina Engfeldt Chief of Information and Public Affairs in Nairobi. Vanessa McMahon An Aussie in Nairobi working on communications. We all went upstairs again for another lunch, and the meeting was extreemely fruitful. It would lead to Heidi, Megan and Mark going to Nairobi, and a high level of involvement in the Habitat II process. Our discusssions were very frank and revealing.
Habitat II was seen as a forum for professionals. They felt there was a good structure, but it needed to be clarified by Nairobi. Andris from Geneva has been doing research. They were not asking for money but rather saving it. 250 professionals are already linked onto the network.
Seminars and workshops are already being arranged between Nairobi and New York. A "Best practices" meeting will be held in Dubai. One page "issues sheets" were requested by Vanessa for distribution.
The UIA meeting had been running all day but it was 3pm before I could join them. Anna etc.
The Arc-Peace Executiver Committee meeting continued until late, but finally concluded. Gen presented a report from Japan, acting on briefing from Akio. He described Kobe as a "city left naked", and tells of the immense impact it has had on the Japanese psyche. The next EC Meeting will be in Istanbul on 15 June. It was agreed that a meeting would be held at the University banquet hall at 12.30pm tomorrow to finalise the press release. Gunnar Lange-Nielsen will go to Nairobi with Martin Valatin.
A motion is put that we should support the alternative declaration. Everyone agrees except me. Eventually I convince all the others that we should stay within our field of expertise, and keep a good track record, instead of spreading ourselves thinly over issues which others might handle better. The built environment is the big issue and that is our concern.
Another e-mail off to the students to update them on the lunch. It seems strange to be organising felt-tip pens for Robert Vale's lecture, and making arrangements for the students to go to the Eco-Art Symposium. At long last we are beginning to master the art of really long-distance learning. Again it makes me late for other things I want to do.
It is wonderful Copenhagen night, with a shuttle transport system operating and more than forty museums staying open late with free admission. I set off with Martin Valatin to see how much we can achieve, but in the event my ambitions are somewhat greater than his. We walk to the Architectural Museum, which is very impressive. A delightful ambience with wonderful models and excellent photographs of a wide variety of work. A superb restaurant and a very good bookshop. We walk on intothe city and then bus to the Geology Museum. It is of slight intereset to me, but just over the road the National Art Gallery offers not only a wide variety of work but also live jazz in the basement cafe, where we enjoy a late supper. At midnight there is a fireworks display over the Tivoli Gardens.
Saturday 11 March
It is almost 8am before I wake. Jim is up. Breakfast with Sasha and Jim. A phone call from Helen. Joan is not too well. Simon Reeves was shitty to her when she called so she replied in kind, suggesting his ego was getting in the way.
(8.28pm NZ for 11.38 mins total $17.42)
Sven appears in the street outside the window, and we need to entice him in. He has a press statement to release for Arc-Peace which is an immense improvement on the idea of just supporting the alternative declaration. It needs some rewording but does deal with our field of expertise. My efforts yesterday were not in vain.
Jim heads off I enjoy a little time to get my head together, taking a relaxed shower. By 10.30am I am off on the Bella Shuttle bus. The driver fills me in on all the details. He lives 45km north in a very beautiful place The buses to Bella have not been used as much as they expected. I am alone on this journey which is the last for the day.
Missed the addresses by Boutros Boutros-Ghali and President Soeharto, which was a pity. Human rights and social issues are inextricably linked.
Collected all my information. A press conference in the Auditorium with Gro Harland Brundtland, Prime Minister of Norway, at 11am is mostly in Norwegian with no translation, which is extremely frustrating. We run out of time and she cannot come to grips with the direction sustainability might move in in relation to Habitat II. She suggested "the need for an international public sector". "The United Nations can set directions, but only individual countries can achieve action through their own budgetary process." I meet a New Zealander who is working for United Nations in New York, but she is rather up herself.
Fidel Castro is in the Plenary, but now even the press need to get tickets.
President Francois Mitterrand of France addresses the Plenary and shortly afterwards, at 12.15, has a press conference in the Briefing Room.
This means that I miss the adress by His Excellency Mr. Suleyman Demirel, President of the Republic of Turkey, to the Plenary. It seemed to be that kind of day. I missed the addresses by both Helmut Kohl, Federal Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, and His Excellency Lech Walesa, Presiodent of the Republic of Poland. His excellency Alberto Fujimori Fujimori, President of the Republic of Peru and His Excellency Victor S Chernomyrdin, Prime Minister of the Russian Federation both spoke to the Plenasry during the afternoon session.
On to Francois Mitterand's press conference, after listening to his speech in the plenary. What a performance!! The room is packed with dozens of television crews.and hundreds of photographers. He has a sense of humour and cracks jokes. My French is not up to the conversation.
A quick check of all the venues to ensure that I am not missing anything, and off on the shuttle to the Forum. The UIA meeting has been running since 9am, but now people are gathering for the final UIA session. A long talk to Adyn Erin. They are going to have an international competition for Gallipoli, and would like a New Zealand Judge. I offer to help. At last I meet Randy Croxton and Rodderick Simpson, who did the early work on the "green" Olympic Games concept for Sydney. They had both made presentations in the morning, which I unfortunately missed.
At 2.50pm in C.3.30 a panel sums up the whole proceedings, which is very useful for me. Vassilas Sqoutas, Allan Rodger, Anna Marie Petersen and Aydim Erim. This area and its background. Vassilis notes that practical action is needed. Reduce the size of houses "Build small big." Ecological architecture does not have a style. A new town at the edge of Copenhagen is being developed. Wendy notes that small design interventions can have a big influence. Francisco Alarcon on sustainable cities in Europe. Many manifestos. Local ecological centres, 10 are getting underway in Copenhagen. Minister for Housing in Denmark - caring and a good listener. Sustainability is a frame of mind. The shell is not the egg, or the coconut or the lemon. Inovation in architecture could be in many domains (Anderson) Architects are moving into urban design. Randy Croxton on Retro-fitted projects. Chemistry building in Colombia. National green projects. Low tech/high tech. Simpson on the Olympic village. When I get back to NZ I meet by chance a friend of Roderick's partner James, and the discussion focuses around the inability of architectural institutes to take a moral stand. Sydney obtains the Games on the work of a small team. When the bid is successful the big boys step in and take the jobs and the profit. The Institutes just stand and watch.
Some of the papers I regret having missed for the opportunity of getting to know the people better, but I can discern no critical new message or direction.
Comments are then invited. Vassilas notes that environment has not been included in the WSSD documents. We must work harder to get it in. Interdisciplinary. We are leaders. We must take control. "Architecture needs to pull things together and to orchestrate an overall understanding." says Randy Croxton. "Urbanised dialogue with nature." "It must not take too long to implement an idea, or else the commitment will disappear." Linton Ross. "We have to make the clients, and create the market" says Rodderick. "We must transform ourselves" says Allan Rodger. "Awards set standards" notes Randy Croxton. Rodderick stresses the importance of international standards. Chinese work is being done by Western architects. Sqoutas notes that the UIA has a code of ethics.
Moller, planner USA. Jourgenson, Norway. Neither an architect or planner from South Africa. UIA has 102 national sections. Randy Croxton on Road from Rio. "Not a new school of thought, but a universality." Juan Bouillet sets out a manifesto. Enno Penno UIA Sweden at the meeting.
Wally N'Dow can't make it to meet the UIA, so he sends a deputy instead. Matias Gonzales (I am not sure of the name) arrives around 4.15pm. He speaks in a general and unimpressive way, and the response is zero. Not even a single question. Derek Vital "Cities are falling apart because of the inability of citizens, as much as governments, to relate to the city.". The importance of the built environment for solving social problems. "Best practice" is one form of input. This seems to be the catch phrase of the moment.Conferences are the culmination of a process.
Two Tuborg beers, but everyone disperses very quickly. Jim, Martin and Germain turn up just as everything is folding up. Others disperse quickly. Final quick conversations and then off on a shuttle bus to Bella.
Perfect timing. 17.30. The press conference with Nelson Mandela, in association with Prime Minister Paul Nyrup Rasmussen of Denmark, is about to start in the briefing room, and I join the crowd. Nelson Mandela arrives by the back door, with 12 bodyguards surrounding him.
"The Nordic counrtires were with us when we were all alone." "Now we have victory we have many friends. We will not forget our old friends. We will have regular meetings. Thge world has many competent and different leaders. Our experience, important as it is to us, may not be an example to other nations. Conflict resolution is often done underground. We hope that other countries will find something useful in our spirit.
He answers questions. "United Nations is a very important organisation which brings together the best brains the world has produced. The United Nations is involved with conflict resolution. The United Nations is doing everything it can to overcome ethnic cleansing.
The world today has become very small. No one can hide any more thanks to the media. What happens in Copenhagen has implications in Africa today. Deciding on structure is a process. You cannot move too quickly. Poverty, disease etc. demand a combined effort. "Anything is possible" I say this with all humility. You need human resource development. The difficulties of a continent just emerging from colonialism are hard to imagine.
The mere sitting together of the leasders of the world for this conference is success enough. A lack of communication is the big problem in the world. It is not what you can quantify. Poverty means something different in different countries. We are not dealing with the same problem. Every problem has a thousand dimensions. This conference is important and we have done well.
I leave the Arc-Peace press release for anyone who might care to pick it up, and head back on the shuttle bus to Holmen. I have trouble getting back into E-mail. Every time I think I have it all perfectly under control I seem to strike some new problem. However I do sort it out and dash off a report to Alex, and I actually succeed in getting a copy away to Graeme Robertson. I just pour out my thoughts as there is not to time to do more. On then to send a fax to Akio. I did not have the time but felt it was important to unravel some of the confusion. Off it goes for 30 DKK. When I go to leave the hotel in the morning there is already a reply from Akio. Communication on this trip has really worked.
It is now 8.10pm and the last shuttle boat to take me directly to the UIA dinner is scheduled for 8pm. I have pushed my luck too far. By 8.25 I realsie that I may as well walk the distance as there are great crowds waiting for all the buses. It is so delightful wandering along the cobbled walkway beside all the wonderful boats. Over the bridge.
At Cap Horn Restaurant, on Nyhaven, the UIA folk are gathered around a long table. A place has been reserved for me, and I can only apologise for being so late. Randy Croxton has high praise for New Zealand. Adyn Erin tells me more about Habitat. Tony Rigg is great company and tells me all about the PLEA Confernce I missed in Israel. Both Tony and Adyn will be going to the Nairobi PrepCom. During the evening the UIA seems to come back on course. Everyone is finally happy that Barcelona should remain at the same dates, after Habitat. Some had felt that the order should have been changed, but the Spanish did not want the move. The more important move was from seeing them as competitive to seeing them as complementary.
Anna Peterson remembered meeting me outside the lift in Chicago. I had forgotten. When I came to pay my bill, caught up in the euphoria of two bottles of beer, good red wine and the Danish snaps which of course has to be washed down with another beer, she tells me the UIA are paying for me. Jim arrives just as our party is breaking up to go upstairs to join the O2 Group. Around 25 people are gathered from 10 countries. O2 focuses on industrial dsign rather than architecture. It is close to midnigh when I join them briefly, on Wendy's invitation, after farewelling the last of the UIA folk. After midnight I go for a walk up to the Town Hall Square and the Tivoli Gardens. The fireeworks are over and the gardens have closed after the two special nights put on just for us, but many happy people are still milling about in the streets. I explore a new route as I walk home. There are large police numbers outside some of the hotels. Jim is already asleep, and in a few minutes so am I
Sunday 12 March
It is 7.30 before I wake and the sun is already up. The boat outside my window is preparing to depart, but I miss seeing the bridge go up, so I still do not understand how it works. Jim showers. I go for breakfast. I give the book "New Zealand Byways" to Sasha.Then Germain, Mary Lou, Sven and Alice join us, so it becomes a farewell party. No sign of Gen. Back up for a shave and shower, and I farewell Jim who is on his way back to New York while I am in the shower. Packed for the day which all seems easier now that it is a routine. From time to time a motorcade goes past with flashing lights and motorcycle cops etc.
Off to Bella on the shuttle bus, which follows a new route and takes us right around the Centre. Motorcades arrive. A helicopter, which is much larger than any I have seen, lands by the accreditation tent. In to collect the day's schedule. I expected that I would have missed New Zealand, but there is a new schedule and Peter Gresham is now the last speaker. There are no interesting press conferences.
I get to Bella just in time to hear Al Gore address the Plenary. After all the time I have waited to come face to face with him I am very disappointed. He lacks charisma and seems like every other American seems when on the hustings. As bland as a crew cut. The chairman thanks him "for his very important statement" just as he thanks everyone else. It is part of the ritual. I collect a copy of his speech.
I find that I can now just pick up a ticket for the Plenary, as the demand has reduced. I can thus come and go as I like, and it turns out to be an interesting day.
I stay in the Plenary for the rest of the morning. His Excellency Heyday Alirza ogly Aliyev, President of the Azerbaijani Republic. His Excellency Ramiro de Leon Carpio, President of the Republic of Guatemala. His excellency Marechal Mobuto Sese Seko, President of the Republic of Zaire notes that they now have more than 3,000,000 refugees. "More than the population of many cities" he notes, and I quietly think "more than the population of some countries".
Fidel Castro Ruz pulls out another card by turning up in an imaculate suit. Just when everyone thinks they have him sorted out he changes the game. He opens by quoting Calderon de la Barca, a famous Spanish playwright. "All of life is but a dream and all dreams are not but dreams." He goes on to note "the blind and cruel laws of the market" and observes that there cannot be human rights where there is no compassion and solidarity, or where selfishness prevails." Cuba, which lost 70% of its imports as a result of the demise of the Soviet Union and the socialist camp, has not had one school, one hospital, one home for elderly people, one day care centre closed, in spite of being a poor nation." New Zealand's Minister of Health is not there to hear his remarks. He goes on to observe that Cuba "is nowdays counted among those countries with the highest numbers of teachers, physicians, as well as art and sports instructors per capita. We no longer have have illiterates and life expectancy is 75 years." Sympathy for the bolckade by Cuba's "powerful neighbour to the north", which can boast about none of these things, is at this moment at a very low ebb in the room. Against the odds Cuba has achieved what others here are only talking about. "We have lived through an experience, so we can talk about it."
Notes in my diary indicate how he captures the crowd. "Regardless of intentions the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer." "Interest rates increase without logic or control from one day to the next. We are the victims of blind and savage market laws." "Where there is no human feeling there can be no human society." "Neo-liberalism, a fashionable doctrine."
Fidel is a master. He knows how to turn every situation to his advantage. He goes away from the Summit to Paris with Francois Mitterand, and creates enough controversy to keep himself on the front page for days.
His Excellency The Righ Honourable Doctor Ntsu Mokhele, Prime Minister from the Kingdom of Lesotho, His Excellency Sir Ketumile Masire, President of the Republic of Botswana, and His Excellency Mr. Puntsagiin Jasrai, Prime Minister of Mongolia provide the perfect foil for Paul Keating. In this context his dinkum Aussie accent makes it seem as though he is trying to imitate Peter Ustinov. There are some very funny moments, but it is disconcertingly impossible to explain to other cultures why you are doubled up with laughter. He talks of "interdependence" and the need to "empower people so they can solve their own problems". Cool heads and warm hearts. Efficiency. "Aboriginals have now had their prior rights to land recognised." 22 countries in the South Pacific. Fragile eco-systems but proud cultures. He is chair of the South Pacific Forum. APEC. GATT. A great plug for "economic growth".
His Excellency Hon Daniel Toroitich arap Moi, President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Kenya misses his opportunity to make Nairobi a focus. Kenya notes that US$65 billion are spent each year on TV advertising.
His Excellency Mr. Tamirat Layene Prime Minister of Ethiopia.
His Excellency Dr Haris Silajdzic, Prime Minister of the Republic of Bosnia and Hertzegovinia is a superb orator who recognises that for seven minutes he is able to command the world's attention. He makes a passionate and convincing plea for his beliefs, recognising the importance of eye contact, and he does not use notes.. "To promote the force of law." "Bosnia is the exact opposite of what we want to achieve." "If we want to live in a global village we must set the rules. Sarajevo has been under seige for three years. Do we have any children left? 17,000 killed, and those still alive are old and grey."
Her Excellency Madame Ruth Dreifuss, Federal Counsellor, Head of the Federal Department of the Interior of the Swiss Confederation. His Excellency Hon Dr. Edward French, Prime Minister of the Republic of Malta, deals with the law of the sea. "Our common heritage".
His Excellency Lic. Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada, President of the Republic of Bolivia, notes that "we will only be united if we accept our diversity". People must learn to write, think and calculate in their own language, and only then in the official language of Spanish, as a second language. "Participating privatisation, not selling our asets. Letting people share in their own destiny. "Poverty is a luxury we cannot afford. We will pay with our environment."
His Excellency Jacques Santer, President of the European Community, is unexpectedly lacking in charisma. By 12.50 we are listening to Her Excellency Mrs. Violeta Barrios de Chamorro, President of Nicaragua speaks of their struggle.
Nelson Rorihlahla Mandela. "How does humanity co-operate to build a better life?", is the single question. Security for a few is insecurity for all. National responmsibility.
His Excellency Mr. Alberto Dahik, Vice President of the Republic of Ecuador, follows and Her Excellency The Hon Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga concludes the morning session around 2pm. She does her best to avoid even refering to any of the Civil War issues which are tearing her country apart.
I collect copies of the speeches I want from the press centre, and decide to sample the "Press Canteen". An exotic smorgasbord. All you can eat for 68 DKK with a coffee at 8 DKK. Some photographs of the luxury. At 3pm the video shows only an empty plenary hall. I do not wait. Checked out my ticket to Narita to find I am still only wait-listed. Off on a shuttle bus to the NGO Forum. Somewhere along the way I have missed a UIA excursion at 11am.
Sent a long final E-mail to my students, giving them my fax number for any urgent replies. I tell them about Fidel. Off it goes with a copy to Graeme.I thank everyone and check that when they close down my file will be deleted. It is possible to open a new address through the New Zealand APC representative, whom I discover is PLANET, so the world turns full circle. A last lingering look and a few photographs. Off through the Steelworks to go to the Press Centre. Three people are busy typing away. I never did work out if the phones were free or what I really could do with the technology. I settle for a cup of coffee. Jan Birkit-Smith is not available as he has gone to Bella. He "closed" the Forum with a ceremony at mid-day, but I did not realise it was then rather than in the afternoon. I leave a message of thanks with his assistant, who clearly appreciates that someone should bother.
The sun is sinking. A last look at the Kronberg and the transparent house. Some of the exhibitions are already coming down and most of the seating from the auditorium is already being loaded onto trucks for removal. The show however goes on, with drummers beating out a rhythm, and a "rubber" bodied African dancer entertains the crowd. I hesitate but then buy a Forum poster. How is it possible to carry such things home? By 6pm, with everything officially closed the sun sinks below the horizon, and the moon is hanging in the sky. A buss to Bella is fortunately waiting. I wonder how it would have been possible to get through security in any other way.
There is not the crowd I had expected. Everything feels as though it is closing down. Committee Room 2 is fully lit but deserted. The Main Committee Room is in darkess as two or three people sit watching the videos beaming in the speeches from the Plenary.
In the main lobby area I meet Lelei Lelalau by chance, but then we are interupted by Martti Lujanen, the Habitat Chairman and Director General of the Ministry of the Environment, Finland. He is very enthusiastic about my coming to Nairobi to participate in the PrepCom. We talk about the "environmental quality" and achievements of Finland. I have to convince him about the essential humanity of Alvar Aalto. Martti loves the old timber villages of Finland. We agree that Medieval villages were driven by a vision, and that vision is what is needed for Habitat. He is astonished to learn that I have been using Agenda 21 and other UN documents within our court system. For him it is revolutionary. For me it is so common that I had never thought of it as being unusual. He wants me to prepare material with the possibility of appearing on Finish television and also to prepare a report and send it on to him before Nairobi.Another job to do.
Lelei Lelalau had arranged to meet me in the foyer nut somehow we missed each other. He needs to leave tomorrow to be part of the discussions leading up to Beijing. The pace is relentless.
The fourteenth meeting of the Plenary Assembly began sometime after 3pm, so I have missed Morocco, Costa Rica, Mali, Uganda, the Ivory Coast, the Holy See, Belarus, Ireland, Latvia, Uzbekistan, Guinea, Lichenstein, Albania, Gambia, Hungary, Lithuania, Iceland, Honduras and Nepal.
It is now no problem to get tickets. Indeed the back seats are not a quarter full, Passes are given when leaving, making it all much easier to wander in and out to attend other events. I sort out where we are up to. The 48 Heads of State still listed to speak after I get back to the Plenary at 6.50pm is much more formidable than those who have already spoken, and I calculate five hours as the most hopeful possibility. It is very clear that the timing of the Summit is falling apart. With the best will in the world, if you will forgive the pun, it will be 2am before we get to New Zealand and the closing debate. In fact it will be closer to 5am.
By the time I take a break at 8pm I have listened to speeches from Djibouti, Bulgaria, Luxembourg, Cambodia, Guinea-Bissau, Cyprus, the Central African Republic, Mauritania, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Cape Verde, the Sudan and El Salvador.
There has been a tight schedule of Press Conferences all day, with Heads of State from Rwanda, Chile, the Philippines, Pakistan, Bolivia, El Salvador, Burundi, Suriname, Sri Lanka, and well as the Minister of Education of Brazil, the Federal Counsellor of Switzerland, and Chen Jian who is spokesperson for Prime Minister Li Peng of China. I go along to the Auditorium at 20.30 to see how Lt. General Omar Hassan Ahmed El Bashir, President of Sudan, will shape up after the hard time Sudan has been having over the last day, but he has obviously thought about it too, and he fails to show up. With a name like that he should have been good. While waiting I talk to a Swiss journalist and a Reuters correspondent who was formerly in West Africa, but is now based in Stockholm.
By now people everywhere are beginning to pack up. The speeches are running at less than six an hour. By 9.25pm back in Plenary Session the Togolese Repubic is addressing the assembly. Saint Kitts and Nevis, the Dominican Republic, the Islamic Republic of the Comoros, Burundi, Yemen, the Democratic Republic of San Tome and Principe, Madagascar.
It is 10.45pm and 20 more speakers are still to come. Out in the lobbies lethergy has set in. The television channels begin to change. CNN news. Sport. I need to make a decision It will be dawn before the last of the speeches, by New Zealand. By that time I suspect there will be no more shuttle buses, the hotel may be closed, and there will be security problems. I have to concede that I am also feeling exhausted and that to stay for Peter Gresham would be little more than a symbolic gesture. I decide to call it a day.
It is perhaps worth noting that the "New Zealand Herald" for Monday morning 13 March reported Peter Gresham's speech before it was given, as though it had taken place as scheduled for the day before. It was an NZPA item, which casts into doubt the accuracy of any other NZPA reports.
A shuttle bus back to the Town Hall Square. Fog again. By 12.30 I have walked back to Bethell, passing the symbolic globe along the way. (Refer to the Culture book, page 8)
Monday 13 March
I am awake around 7.30am. Down for breakfast and I am joined by Luz Maria Sanchez Hurtado. It is the first chance we have had to sit and talk. I find that she has now been permanently back in Lima for eight months, after spending two years in Stockholm with Sven as her supervisor. Her real agenda on this trip is to raise money for building houses back in Peru, mostly from Caritas in Aachen. Today she flies down to Barcelona to speak there. I catch up on PrepCom I, which she attended on behalf of Arc-Peace.
Gen joins us, so I give him my book on New Zealand in Japanese. He has sent an eight page fax report on WSSD on to Akio. The phone rings for me, and it is Helen. No particular news. I leave her to check my arrival time in New Zeland. She may now fly off on Monday morning. By the time I get back to the others they have finished breakfast and are on their way. Quick farewells as they walk down to the airport bus. I quickly finish my breakfast to follow them down to the stop, but by the time I get there the bus has gone and so have they,
(Helen's phone call - 8.28pm NZ for 9.02 mins total $23.10)
Over the road a TV crew have been filming a report, so I wander over to check the technology. I end up pushing a Skoda which will not start. Then I pack my bags for the day.
Walked along the waterfront towards the north. Astonished to discover that everything is within a stone's throw of Nyhaven. The boat to Oslo is vast, with car doors in the bow as well as the stern. Admiral Hotel Amaliehaven. The "toy soldiers" onn guard duty. The yellow warehouse. David's statue in front of The ship museum. The basin. The mermaid statue, with not a tourist in sight. Along the long accessway beside a derelict warehouse, which I presume is about to be restored. Across the water is a new housing/office development. Sophisticated but predictably dull architecture.
The Citadel. Bred gade. Tvaer gade. The formal square at Dronningens. The garden of Kongens Have. Rosenborg slot. The life guard barracks. The botanical gardens. Gammeltofts gade down to the water. Along Oster Segade, and back down Gothers gade to the station.
Off by train, using my free pass, to Humlebaek, and from the station it is only a ten minute walk to the Louisiana Museum. Nostalgia and discovery. The old museum has lost none of the charm which enthralled us all in the sixities, and the new extensions, which are almost all underground make the site seem more extensive. A meal and a coffee looking out to the wintery sea through the bare trees.
A walk to the tiny thatched village, with a single line of houses looking across the road to the sea. Lights glow through small windows. I dream. A wander around the marina. The light fades.
The train journey takes me once again through classic Danish housing estates. Very tight. Very simple. Car free. You walk to the train and in a few minutes you are in Copenhagen. Or perhaps you walk a few minutes the other way to an isolated beach. We never seem to learn from the things which have been done well.
It is well dark by now, so straight through to the main station. I clutch at the last few moments in Copenhagen. Everything has been so wonderful I do not wnat to leave. Changed US$20 at railway for 73DKK to allow me to buy a meal, and then a long wander through the city. Secret gardens. Immense barn-like roofs. Charles IV Bryghus. The castle. Christiansborg. Canals. Boats. My wonderful room at Bethell.
Tuesday 14 March
Copenhagen - Amsterdam
Awake at 6.30am. It is already light. Down to see if I am too early for breakfast only to discover that most people are just finishing. Ordinary working folk, which leaves me wondering if they earn a good deal more than I do? Helen phones on the earlier 7.30 schedule, but I am earlier too, so that the call still comes through in the middle of breakfast. (7.06pm NZ for 4.51 mins total $12.40) A shave, a shower and off for a walk around.
Retraced my steps from yesterday. It takes no time to get to the Citadel. The "yellow" houses on the corner. Back to the "English Hotel". On to the old palace. Past the little cottages which define the edge of the formal garden. On the far side of the garden is the immense building with the even more immense roof. Followed along the water's edge, looking across to Gamel Dok. It is snowing lightly all the time. Back to Bethell by 9.15, right on schedule. Collected my bags and I am on my way, assuming that I will be back, preferably sooner rather than later. I note that if I could not get room17 again I should ask for either room 23 which is directly above or room 11 which is directly below.
I find that the bus stop has a full timetable on disply and even the fare is shown at 33 DKK. I need to wait about 15 minutes, but spend it standing in the snow enjoying my last glimpses of Nyhaven.
A white bus directly to the airport leaves every hour at a quarter to the hour. I set a strict regime of departing from the hotel at 9,30 to catch the 9.45 bus, to check in before 11.00 for the 11.40 flight.
The bus only costs 30 DKK. I wonder as we drive through the blocks of housing with shops on the ground floor whether these people ever get to enjoy the pleasures I have had in the last week. Cities are a privilege for a few and a chore for most. From these thoughts I develop the "Heart" idea which my Masters students eventually take on to the Habitat II Conference.
Direct to International Departures, and direct to the KLM counter to check my waitlisting, only to find that it has been wiped off the computer, but no one seems to know why. KLM is astonishingly helpful She checks it out with Jans and then rings straight through to Amsterdam. They are not helpful, but she is quietly insistent. "He really does need to get to Tokyo." A long wait. She refuses to give in. They finally come through. I am on tomorrow's flight. She does not even want to give me her name. People are interesting in their differences.
Off to check in. It is all hassle free, with the joke being everyone's blue and white umbrellas. They are dropping off luggage. They lie deserted in corners, left behind in the rush. They get carried onto planes like a treasure. I sit and catch up on my diary before going through customs.
On the 11.40am flight to Amsterdam I find myself sitting next to two delegates from Uraguay. He spoke at the Plenary Assembly. The woman next to him has been full time in New York for the past year working on the lead up to WSSD and now she is at last able to return to Uraguay. Their commitment is such a contrast to that of the New Zealand Government. Behind me is a delegate from Canada. They all remember me well from working with me in APC. By 5pm they will be in their own beds in Toronto. I envy them. Patchy cloud with some views of the coastal edge. It astonishes me that the water here is so shallow. In over more water landscape and down to Schipol.
I change US$40 to give me funds, and then promptly lose 6 guilders trying to lock the lockers. I am not alone, with everyone else having trouble too. I wait as long as possible so that I will only need the locker for 24 hours and thus avoid needing yet abother 12 guilders to open it, for a 72 hour period. A racket. However I begin to relax again once I find the train. Bought a ticket to to go to Amsterdam, and also one to return tomorrow. It proved to be a good move as it avoided a lot of hassle. Off through very mediocre cityscape. The "wet" world leaves me wondering what happens when it floods, as it had done only a month before.
Central station. Straight over the road to the Hotel Reservation Bureau. They can only affer a hotel at NZ$60, but I decide to take it to minimise my hassle. Faint hope!! They ring through and book a room. It will be up three flights of stairs. Ok if it is quiet. It has no bath. Ok if it has a bed. I pay 10 guilders, 5 for a booking fee and 5 as a deposit to be deducted off the room rate. Then they tell me the time to go there is after 5.10pm, which seems really strange, but by now I am deciding that Amsterdam is really strange. Not an uncommon feeling when travelling. I wish however that I left all my gear back at Schipol.
The bonus was being able to find out where the NMB Bank was so back across to the station and off by train to Bijlmer, which turns out to be a "new town". Mediocre development crowds in on the bank, and just up the road is an architectual statement, which turns out to also be an NMB Bank building. Do they try everything once? It is close to 5pm and my attempts to gain admission fail. I am given a book and an invitation to come back tomorrow.
An immense sports stadium is under construction over the road, and there are massive office blocks all over the place. Back to central station and after a long walk and some careful navigation I eventually find Parklane Hotel. The door is locked. No one will answer the door bell. A sit on the steps to contemplate. By chance one of my friends from WSSD walks by, off to a meeting in I ask locals if they know what is going on. One friendly family takes me in so that I can use ther phone to ring the hotel, but that is useless too. Eventually I give up and walk around the corner to find the Rembrant Hotel. I explain my situation. They have a single room room at 75. The receptionist wants to know if New Zealand is really as it was conveyed in "Once were warriors". We talk about life in Amsterdam. I leave my bag.
A walk to the railway station. It all seems tacky and tawdry after walking through Kyoto at night. There is little happening and I may as well have been in Mount Eden looking for a meal. Kentucky Fried Chicken leaves me wondering about globalisation. I decide I may as well get some sleep, but on my way back to my uncertain accomodation I follow some neon and music and stumble into the red light district, Dozens and dozens of women are posturing as provocatively as they can in their underwear or less, as they stand in windows, trying to entice men to come in. Thighs are in, and styles are high, for what that is worth. It all seemed very tired and sad. Peculiarly out of the sixties rather than from the era of aids. The male touts stand outside endless "live shows" offering sex "with no holds barred". The peeling faded photographs suggest that well endowed black hulks will be mercilessly penetrating frail white virgins using 54 different positions, I left it to the rather bored crowd milling around to check out the gap between the promise and the reality.
Back at the Parklane someone has turned up, but he is very narky and I take an instant dislike to him. He claims he has let my room, but now has one with a shower for 75. I can see the saga dragging on through the morning, and I want to be on the plane. I call it quits, shake hands and head off for the Rembrant. The faded wallpaper and cream trim do not seem too bad in the 40W darkness, and the lack of any secondary means of fire escape seems secondary to getting some sleep. As an antidote to the noise of trams and traffic rattling past my window I down a bottle of excellent KLM Spanish red.
Wednesday 15 March
Amsterdam - 747-400
It is dawn when I wake, with the sun catching on the typical Amsterdam buildings over the road. The downstairs bathroom has been recommended. It has many exotic and erotic features but the tiled grandeur is useless for anyone just wanting to have a wash. The seductive back-lighting to the mirror is singularly effective in making it impossible to see what is being shaved. However a wash is a wash. Breakfast is included in the room rate, but does not begin until 8am. Ham, cheeses, bacon and egg. Enough to give me some energy to burn off.
Left my bag and took a number 9 tram to the railway station to claim back my 10 guilders. They paid up after a phone call to check out my story. I was having too much fun to bother about being angry. A long walk around the perimeter of the central city to get a feeling for the urban design. Everywhere feels run-down and tacky.
Right on form the Van Gogh Museum has the whole ground floor closed for alterations. The upper floor is excellently laid out, making it possible to follw the "periods" and emotions of Van Gogh's life. Dark potatoes. A passionate springtime in Arles. The final culmination. The middle floor of the museum has 75 "not so important" Van Gogh's jumbled together "for study", and several other exhibitions which I have no regrets about not having time to indulge in.
Back to the Rijks Museum. Not much time, but it astonishing to see how quickly it is possible to move when necessary. The Dutch History section was extremely interesting, with wonderful drawings and paintings of naval battles and other events. The Rijks has room after room of boring displays, punctuated with a few gems. I seemed to be constantly lost, and was too panicky about my watch to relax over the Nightwatch, but I prefer Rembrant's portraits anyway.
By some kind of miracle a number 7 tram was going past, and I am thankful that among the useless observations I made while sitting on the steps of the Parklane was the terminus of the number 7. Collected my bag and a number 9 tram takes me to the station. At 12.30 I am right on schedule, and I risk spending a few minutes taking photographs.
The information board shows that there is a 12.55 Schipol train from platform 11a. Without difficulty I find the platform, the train and a "guide" to confirm that this is the right train. Learning curves when travelling are very steep. A total mystery one day becomes such second nature by the following day that it is difficult to remember how confusing it seemed to be at first.
My check in is hassle free as I have no baggage. My locker works for me, and I am well ahead of time. Repacked for the flight and a cup of coffee. By now I know where to find a trolley, and at last I feel organised. Bought some more film, still trying to work out how it can be four times more expensive in New Zealand. Enquired about GPS to find they had two models for sale. A small hand-held giving only co-ordinates for around 1330 guilders, and a Sony with LCD map display which takes plug in chips etc. for 2330 guilders. The later is obviously much better value, and a considerable technological leap over anything I have seen, but it is impossible to determine if any chips are avaiable for New Zealand. I am tempted, but have left my run a little too late. I decide to look in Japan, Spent the last of my money on yoghurt and onto the plane.
The perfect seat with a great view and plenty of leg room. It is a completely full plane, and only later will I learn that there were no seats for the last four "booked" passengers who turned up. Views of Holland. Cloud. Ice flows. It is clear as we go over St.Petersburg. The heat sink effect of cities never ceases to amaze me. A Japanese meal, a red wine, and a Grand Marnier. I want to get some sleep. The film is "Clear and present danger", yet again. The lights of a few towns north of Moscow shine in the snow. Some airline sleep. Noodles. Another US B-grade movie. More sleep. Wonderful sunrise over cloud, with snowy mountains below. Some wonderful views
Thursday 16 March
747-400 - Tokyo
Snow over Nigata and the Alps, but Tokyo is a real heat sink, and I am sure it must be at least 10 degrees warmer than the rest of the country. (When we fly out Narita is 3 degrees and although it is wet it does not feel cold.) Valleys with little villages clustered along them. Out over the coast. Down to the astonishing number of golf courses which seem to surround Narita. We need to wait 30 minutes out on the tarmac as no gate is available. I am thankful Akio is not waiting for me. Long travellators to get to a train which takes us to the terminal. Similar to Kansai, but I don't remember Narita being like this. Much later the reality dawns. It will be another hour before I finally realise that this is very unfamiliar indeed, as I am in a totally new terminal which is some distance from the old one.
Quickly through formalities. I feel very exhausted, but try to hold my mind together as the entry system is smooth and efficient. I find a luggage check which is outside passport control and next to the departure lounge. I pack most of my conference papers into my blue bag and leave them behind, along with my umbrella. I can find no AirNZ desk to confirm my onward flight, so I get JAL to help me. They find a number and let me use their phone. How everybody else handles these routines mystifies me. Changed US$100 to give me money for train fares etc.
Having organised my departure I head back down to the arrival level and follow the train signs. JR seems to be the easist way to Tokyo, and there are no helpful signs to sort it all out. Bought a ticket at Y1420 and headed for the platform to discover that there is not a train until 13.30, another 45 minutes. Then I find the Kansai ticket office, On checking I find they not only have more frequent trains, but it is also only Y940 to get to Nippori. Cashed in my JR ticket, which seemed so hassle free that I presume every stranger goes through the same routine. Only time for a shave before the "express" Kansai train departs at 12.47. I remember that in Japan the express is the slow train. They fast Skyliner costs Y3000.
We travel through a tangle of old and new, ugly and nostalgic. I miss the Nippori Station and end up at Ueno, so I need to get a train back as Nippori is the only place where it is possible to change to JR, and I have bought a ticket all the way through to Shinjuku. To the Yamanote line, thinking I am going clockwise, but by good luck I am going anti-clockwise. Ikebukuro, and suddenly I realise I am at Takanobaba. Off I leap. Bought a Seibu line ticket, struggling to keep my head operating logically. Iogi. Straight to Akio's office at 401. Rang the bell and a smiling Akio appeared at the door.
We catch up on news. He gives me a copy of the JIA "Sustainable Design Guide" which he edited. A second volume is already in preparation. We look over a perspective of his new University. The overall design was done by one of his friends, who went through university with him. (Ozuko, I think), but the buildings have all been done by different architects, and we agree that they are mediocre. A pity they did not get Akio to do the job. Akio's assistant is not sure about his future when the office closes in another two weeks. He thinks he will go out on his own. The rent for Akio's office would be too high for him to keep the same location.
Off to Akio's house. Green tea. It becomes clear that there is going to be sake and talk late into the night, and I am feeling very jaded. I decide to take a chance and try a new "jet-lag" strategy. I ask Akio if I can catch two hours sleep. It proves to be a great move. By the time he wakes me I feel like a million dollars. A great welcome from Kazuko.
I tuck my feet into the heated pit beneath the table, and we feast on course after course. Fresh spinach which Kazuko has brought from her garden in Maebashi. She is now very interested in Permaculture. They have recently found hot springs in Maebashi and are building a spa. She gives me a "cat" for Helen. We watch the video of Natski dancing at Maebashi, and when the credits come up they proudly announce "Producer Akio Hayashi". A furo and by 11pm I am back in bed.
Friday 17 March
Akio goes to Nagoya at 8am to present a seminar on sustainability and does not get back until after 11pm. He assures me, in his usual way, that the seminar itself was only from 2 to 5 and was not too demanding.
It is after 8 before my day begins. Grey and showery so I try to sort out my best strategy. It is really very obvious. I need to see Reiko as she goes to the Opera at 6 tonight, and if I go on to stay with Nozawas it will give some space to Miki who flies to San Francisco tonight to spend five days with Natski. Kasuko will be able to devote herslf to her family instead of having to worry about me. Nozawas assure me that they are well on the way to Yokohama and this makes it feasible to go on and see Kazumasa Otaki. I do not have his home address and the University will be closed tomorrow.
Reiko calls to pick me up in her car, when she realises that her new house is close to Akio's while for me to go by train will involve me going all the way into Tokyo and back out again. Along the way we stop at a supermarket. The quality of the food and the packaging are simply astonishing. Reiko assures me that the prices are even more astonishing.
Her "new" house is in the area where she was born, so she feels she has returned to her roots. The garden is generous. The rooms are spacious. She sets to and cooks me a magnificent lunch. The kindness and love of my friends never ceases to amaze me. We talk. We look at her books. We explore photographs of the exhibition. The time races by. She walks with me to the station, showing me both old and new houses along the way, and then she must hurry on to the Opera.
I am able to take a long walk to orient myself to the river and the canal which define this part of Tokyo. I go up to the spring, and the adjacent lake, which is the source, Back following the railway line. By chance I pass a Florist and from there on I ended up carrying a tiny potplant for the Nozawas.
Their directions are perfect. I need to change trains twice. From the station I ring and Fujico comes to meet me. I would have been quite impossible to locate the house on my own, and I wonder if I will ever find it again. The house itself is so familiar from studying the drawings, but as always the context is a complete surprise.
Momoco and Masamitsu. Feasting. Fun. Stories to catch up on. Sake adn good wine. A furo. My own wonderful tatami room. As I drift off to sleep I remember that back in Auckland I have missed Dick Aynsley's farewell.
Saturday 18 March
Tokyo - 747
A wonderful morning of hospitality. Time to enjoy and photograph the house. Around 10am I farewell Fujico and drive with Nozawa to his office. The idea was that it would be quicker than going by train, but it ends up taking much longer. The traffic jams are simply horrendous, and this is a Saturday. I really enjoy it. Driving around Tokyo is not something you normally do.
By11.40 we are at his new office, which seems to be just as crowded as his old one. I meet the staff and look at the model of the Hiroshima Hospital extensions. Then we walk across to the station, and I am on my way back to Shinjuku. A quick walk around the district for nostalgia's sake, remembering all the wonderful times I have had there. A rather rushed check on GPS. The rage seems to be navigation systems for cars. It seems clear that CD-ROM is going to change the map input, and I finally decide to wait until the new technology arrives in Auckland.
Off on the 1.30 Train to Akio. They are waiting, probably mystified as to why I have taken so long to reach them. Helen has phoned while I was away. (3.41pmNZ for 2.52min @ $4.83)
Off again with Akio and Kazuko on the 3pm train back into the centre of Tokyo. Then, around 3.40pm, we take a taxi as Akio explores Tsukishima, finding his bearings. It is not an area he knows, and not a place I would ever have thought to go to. Akio has heard about it at the Lake Biwa University, and as always his sixth sense is unerringly accurate. It is an island just across the river from Hama Rikyu Garden, so it is very old, but on the unfashionable low-lying land. We carry on exploring on foot, discovering wonderful streets and an old temple. It is a place full of personality.
Then Akio announces that Kazuko is hungry, and he "discovers" the most wonderful restaurant. Before long a familiar scenario begins to unfold. Akio orders one special dish afer another. All the waiters get involved in the discussion. The meal is cooked in front of us, and Kazuko shows how it really ought to be done. The other chefs come to learn from her. The other guests join in. With his usual skill Akio has made both an occassion and a party.
Sadly time is running out. We taxi to the city air terminal. The tears well in my eyes as I wave farewell from the 6.10pm Narita bus. They are still waving as I disappear into the night. It seems so appropropriate that it should be raining. My visit has been so short, but so full of emotion.
I have prepared myself so well that the Narita process is quick and efficient. I have time to browse around the shops and buy a book on the Kobe earthquake. The only GPS they have does not appeal to me. At 8.55pm Air NZ flight NZ90 lifts off and I am on my way home.
Sunday 19 March
747 - Auckland
It seems unusual that there are no spray on the plane as we arrived in. They claim they use a spray now which is effective for two years. If it is as lethal as that I wonder what it does to passengers who sit breathing it in for ten hours. Clive takes me to Papatoetoe where I pick up Lisa, and then I drive straight to the Waitakere Eco-Art Symposium. It is a magnificent welcome home. Sculptures to thrill me. Friends. Jazz and the Philharmonia Orchestra. Thousands of people. I ask Heidi if she will go to the Habitat II PrepCom in Nairobi, and she is in such a state of euphoria that she agrees. I am invited by Naiomi to join the official party, and Bob Harvey agrees to help fund the PrepCom proposal. I am racing and new projects are already under way.
I am unable to check my office as I cannot find my key. As I return back to Karaka Bay along the waterfront the Ironman is drawing to a close. Exhausted runners are completing the marathon while others are still cycling. A welcome home.
Monday 20 March
Awake at 5.45, without needing an alarm. I feel like a million dollars after 8 hour of deep unbroken sleep. No sign of jet lag at all. The first light is silhouetting Motukorea. Helen's light is on as she packs her last things. Four candles are burning in the bath-house to give magic to my shower.
Away before 6.15 to take Helen to the airport, and she is in good time for her 8am Air New Zealand flight to Sydney. I check out film prices and am astonished at the expense. Five times what I paid in Amsterdam. Croissant and coffee, and suddenly Helen discovers her flight has moved from final call to boarding. She scampers off.
Back to Karaka Bay, remembering along the way where I have left my office key and some New Zealand money. Sparky is in the carpark to greet me. Julienne gives me a friendly welcome. She is just driving off to her lecture at the School of Architecture. Rae comes up to her car as we are talking and grunts a good morning. Roxy is thrilled to see me, and follows me down to lie in my office. Rang Margaret and left a message with Lisa to say that the trip was astonishing and her advice was impecable. I ring Jo but there is no reply.
A rough unpack to find the critical things I need. My ansaphone messages are almost all birthday greetings from my good friends. There are several messages from Jenny Mickelson in Sydney for Helen, so I ring Jenny to give her Helen's schedule. Hill rings from the Tribunal, and I later discover he has sent me a letter. The possible dates for mediation are 18,19,20 April. I say I will ring back within 24 hours. A quick sort through my mail to see if thereare any critical issues. A letter from Mary to say that Rita is not well and Mary is staying with her. The Marae opens on 29 April. Trine did not make it to Copenhagen, so I did not miss her. A long yarn to Jonathan to thank him and suggest some of the many options for articles. A long swim out to the boats. I am back into summer. Updated myself on the Eco-Art Symposium which has had great press coverage. Fed the fish and filled my bird bath. By 1pm I am organised enough to head off to the University. Bought some new pens along the way.
Little has changed. The light bulbs in the lifts still have not been fixed. The attic studio is a shambles, with the curtains blowing in the wind. Left eight slide films with Dawn for processing. Neither Graeme nor Robert are in, although I call down several times. Ana has changed rooms and is now on level 5, next to John Dickson. Alex sits with me at a computer and we "explore" the Internet information available from Copenhagen. I am astonished. Coloured photographs of the Plenary Session opening and Juan Somovaria. The logo on all the documents so that they have excellent graphics. The "alternative declaration", the Earth Times, the Bulletin and all the other documents are there on the screen in front of me. It is almost as good as being at Copenhagen. The advance from the Chicago experience is stunning.
Design 3 to 5 in the Attic Studio. My agenda of getting them enthusiastic about what might be. Peter Ustinov suggesting boredom was the greatest problem in the western world. We can move more quickly but the human life span remains the same. We should be enthralled by the possibility of gettiong to Copenhagen and back in two weeks, but instead people respond by being bored. The designers I had asked them to look at. Not a single student had been to Jean Nouvel. Design as process. The eco-Sculpture process. Only one student had been twice out to Henderson. Many had not gone at all. Mandela seeing communication as the central planning problem. Fidel Castro suggesting life is about dreaming. The arch as an example of primitive energy moving through to decline. Kobe earthquake, with my book providing the illustrations. After a coffee break on with the Autonomous Conference Centre. Only one student had done any drawing. An excellent little study of a "tower" block. Community space on the ground and in the sky, with three accommodation levels sandwiched in between. Tension, contrast, and changing the point from which we see the world. Sent him off to look at Ken Yeang, after showing the photographs in Akio's new book. Matthew did a drawing of a house with a stream running through it. I explored the ideas of views looking in, the assembling of the house, subdivision etc. Sent him off to look at Brian Brake's Titirangi house. I discovered that Matthew had attended the remnant of the Eco-fire Conference, which was totally dominated by Peter Newman. I insisted that the other students had to begin the process because I could not do it for them.
Cleared my mail and my ansaphone. Fish and chips on the way home. Called in to see Alison, and Tom tells me she went in today for a second operation to have more of her breast removed. Back at Karaka Bay I clean up a little and then Joan calls in. She wants to ring Pam Corkry and for me to go to air criticising both the Government and the NGO community for not fronting up at Copenhagen, and to record my dismay at seeing the New Zealand seats unoccupied at the negotiating table. I decide I want to have no part of projecting negative energy when there are so many positive moves waiting to be made. Why should I knock everyone when there is little indication that Alliance would be any different? Joan suggests she is only marginally better than when she left hospital, which does not sound encouraging. I ring Helen, but there is no reply, so off to bed around 11pm.
Life is back into full swing again, and the energy of Copenhagen will keep me motivated for weeks to come.
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