Our cities owe much of their surviving heritage to Jack Mundey

This article was originally published in The Conversation on 11 May 2020. Read the original article. Republished in Foreground, 12 May 2020. Our cities owe much of their surviving heritage to Jack Mundey James Lesh, University of Melbourne Jack Mundey, who has died at the age of 90, was a pioneer of the Australian heritage movement. As well as contributing to labor and environmental politics, Mundey reconceived of the ways that Australians related to their cities and heritage places. As the NSW Builders’ Labourers Federation (BLF) secretary, Mundey created the “green ban” (a term first used in 1973). No union member would work

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Road to nowhere? (on the Eastern Freeway heritage listing)

This article was originally published in The Sunday Age / Opinion on 29 December 2019. Melbourne’s Eastern Freeway is likely to be state heritage listed next year. Heritage Victoria has identified it as aesthetically and historically important. But should freeways be managed within the heritage system? Or is a freeway the kind of 20th century relic which we should be prepared to let go of?

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How can a place be heritage-listed after 17 years? What it means for Melbourne’s Fed Square

This article was originally published in The Conversation on 27 August 2019. Read the original article. It was republished in The Age / Opinion. How can a 17-year-old place gain heritage status? What this means for Melbourne’s Fed Square James Lesh, University of Sydney Federation Square in Melbourne has been listed on the Victorian state heritage register just 17 years after its completion. The push for heritage status was provoked by the now-abandoned Apple store proposal for the city centre site. Heritage considerations will now guide this important public space, widely known as Fed Square, as it evolves now and over future generations. The

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Forty years of the Burra Charter and Australia’s heritage vision

This article was originally published in Foreground on 25 March 2019. Read the original article. 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. The Burra Charter guides how Australian heritage practitioners conserve places. First drafted in 1979, the Burra Charter turns forty this year. It has been a remarkably influential and enduring heritage charter, both in Australia and internationally. Will the Burra Charter inspire or restrain conservation in the future? Even though you may

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“I’ve just discovered my building is covered in flammable cladding”

This article was originally published in The Age on 25 March 2019. Read the original article. 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. My five-year-old building has combustible cladding on it. If a faulty combustible panel is ignited, the building could become engulfed in flames in minutes. By not immediately resolving the combustible cladding crisis, government and industry are shirking their responsibility to make our cities and homes safe and habitable. Since the 2014 Lacrosse Tower fire in Melbourne, we have known that flammable cladding is

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Academic conference review: Remaking cities: the fourteenth Australasian urban history/planning history conference, Melbourne, 2018. By Lauren Pikó, Victoria Kolankiewicz and James Lesh.

Here is an academic conference review of Remaking cities: the fourteenth Australasian urban history/planning history conference, Melbourne, 2018, which originally appears in Planning Perspectives. This review was written by Lauren Pikó Victoria Kolankiewicz and myself.

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Apple store has no place in the people’s square

This article was originally published in The Herald Sun on 19 February 2018. The Andrews Government’s Apple store is a bad deal for Victorians and an even worse deal for Fed Square. Tania Davidge and James Lesh 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.

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