Book Review of City Life: The New Urban Australia by Seamus O’Hanlon. It investigates the restructuring of Australian urban economy, society and culture since the 1970s amid the intensification of globalisation and neoliberalism.Read more
Forty years of the Burra Charter and Australia’s heritage vision
As the Burra Charter turns 40, James Lesh looks back at the global influence of its innovative approach to heritage value and asks how it may need to evolve to meet the challenges of future conservation and changing sensibilities.Read more
“I’ve just discovered my building is covered in flammable cladding”
Last week I found out that I am one of potentially hundreds of thousands of Australians who live in a fire-prone and unsafe apartment.Read more
Once a building is destroyed, can the loss of a place like the Corkman be undone?
Since the illegal demolition of the historic Corkman Irish Pub in Melbourne in 2016, debate has raged about the best way forward for this historic place. The state planning minister is pursuing an order, via the Victorian Administrative Appeals Tribunal, for the two-storey pub to be rebuilt. This final legal case is set down to be heard in June 2019.Read more
Academic conference review: Remaking cities: the fourteenth Australasian urban history/planning history conference, Melbourne, 2018. By Lauren Pikó, Victoria Kolankiewicz and James Lesh.
Almost one hundred urban and planning historians and practitioners met in Melbourne at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) University for the fourteenth biannual Australasian Urban History/Planning History (AUHPH) conference between 31 January and 2 February 2018, hosted by RMIT’s Centre for Urban Research.Read more
Federation Square heritage council submission
The Heritage Council of Victoria is accepting public submissions for a potential heritage listing of Federation Square. Here’s my response.Read more
BOOK REVIEW: City Dreamers: The Urban Imagination in Australia (NewSouth, 2016).
Here is my book review of City Dreamers: The Urban Imagination in Australia by Graeme Davison. This review was published in Urban History journal in 2017, and reflects both on Davison’s important book and his broader contribution to the practice of urban history.Read more
Heritage value is in the eye of the beholder: why Fed Square deserves protection
The proposed redesign of Federation Square includes demolishing the iconic Yarra building for an Apple store.Read more
Seminar: Heritage preservation, urban transformation and everyday life in the twentieth-century Australian city.
My thesis offers a fresh global urban history of the Australian city, its heritage places, and the preservationists who shaped those places. Twentieth-century Australian urban preservationists – such as architects and planners, heritage consultants and regulators, boosters and policymakers, and activists and everyday people – valued and sought to safeguard many kinds of urban landscapes, comprising buildings, streets, precincts and suburbs and invoking communities, histories, memories and stories.Read more
Apple store has no place in the people’s square
FEDERATION Square CEO Jonathan Tribe told us in these pages that the square faces significant challenges. Apparently, its buildings are deteriorating, its visitor numbers are in free fall and its visitor experience is old-fashioned.Read more