Pop up with a leg up?

I just read this article on WAToday about the uncertain future of a very popular food truck frequenting a Perth beach. Apparently a neighbour(s?) is complaining about a loss of amenity. The City of Freo are in support of food trucks and pop-up ventures generally and so I’m sure will be doing what they can to ease the concerns rather than tell the purveyor of delicious mexican treats to move along, plunging the quiet beach back into solitude.

Leighton Beach

I’ve been thinking recently about pop-ups and wonderful transient things like food trucks, they are such a fantastic placemaking tool but is it something that we, as planners and placemakers, can actively influence? How much interference is possible before it becomes contrived and forced. These things are so beautiful because they occur naturally.

In the situation at Lieghton Beach the major compliant is that the generator makes a buzzing noise (probably not the actual complaint but “get off my lawn!” isn’t a viable one). Perhaps the City of Fremantle could install some power access at the beach, with a key for access to be provided with the health/licensing permission as required? No more noise. Happy Mr Neighbour? How about some more rubbish bins? Just to make it as easy as possible to leave no trace.

For Local Government Placemakers a light touch is crucial. Too heavy-handed and you’ll get board entrepeneurs and residents complaining. Provide gentle encouragement, make it easy and open, be available. People want to perch on a ledge or sit on the grass, businesses want to be creative and push the boundaries, it’s what makes it fun.

Don’t plan for un-plannable things. That is what makes them so valuable to making great places.

Wild Inspiration Reading List: The Sacred Balance.

One of my very favourites for an inspiration-less day is David Suzuki’s The Sacred Balance. Where many environmental themed books are dull and saddening this is uplifting and joyful. Something I really need for time to time. I took away from this book of feeling of connection and conversely feeling like such a small speck in the universe, but in a really good way. When it all feels like too much, this is a good one to open at random and take in.

The Scared Balance

The Sacred Balance: Rediscovering Our Place in Nature

This special 10th anniversary edition re-examines our place in the natural world in light of the sweeping environmental changes and the recent advances in scientific knowledge.

Since its first publication, Sacred Balance has sold over 100,000 copies. In the meantime, global warming has become a major issue as glaciers and polar ice caps have begun to melt at an alarming rate, populations of polar bears have dwindled, the intensity of hurricanes and tsunamis has drastically increased, coral bleaching is occurring globally, and the earth has experienced its hottest years in over four centuries. At the same time, scientists have made significant discoveries about the current state of the Great Lakes and other ecosystems of the world; the science behind the mother/baby interaction and the relationship between deprivation of affection in childhood and serious illness in midlife; the workings of the brain, including its ability to create a narrative, anticipate the future, and order the past; and the biological underpinnings of religion, among other findings. In this new and extensively revised and amplified edition of his best-selling book, David Suzuki reflects on these changes and examines what they mean for our place in the world.

The basic message of this seminal, best-selling work remains the same: We are creatures of the earth, and as such, we are utterly dependent on its gifts of air, water, soil, and the energy of the sun. These elements are not just external factors; we take them into our bodies, where they are incorporated into our very essence. What replenishes the air, water, and soil and captures sunlight to vitalize the biosphere is the diverse web of all beings. The recently completed human genome project has revealed that all species are our biological kin, related to us through our evolutionary history. And it appears that our need for their company is programmed into our genome.

As social animals, we have an absolute need for love; without it, we suffer dire psychological and physical consequences. The strength of that love is reflected in healthy, vibrant families and communities supported by full employment, security, and justice and free of threats of genocide, terror, or war. Finally, we have spiritual needs, which are ultimately rooted in nature, the source of our inspiration and belonging. These are the real requirements of all humanity and should form the basis of any society aspiring to a truly sustainable future.

These truths remain. But the cataclysmic events of the last decade require that we rethink our behaviour and find a new way to live in balance with our surroundings. This book offers just such a new direction for us all.

David Suzuki donates his royalties from sales of The Sacred Balance to the David Suzuki Foundation.

FACET: Delivering the Customer Experience & Creating Ambassadors

WA’s Forum Advocating Cultural and Eco-Tourism, known by those in the know as FACET, is a great organisation of people brought together with a common interest in cultural, nature based and eco-tourism. They are a fantastic rescource for anyone working in ecotourism.

FACET logo

They often run events, workshops, forums, conferences and the like in Perth. I spotted one that is coming up that you might be interested in!

If you are customer service, a buisness owner or manager, involved in marketing or interested in creating incredible customer experiences then you may be interested in this.

Delivering the Customer Experience & Creating Ambassadors

Venue: WA Conservation Science Centre Building, Department of Parks and Wildlife (DPaW)

Date:Thursday, 1 August 2013, 1.00 to 5.00pm

 Repeat visitation, customer referrals, free advertising, business ambassadors.  These are all guaranteed when you and your staff focus on the customer’s experience.  It is important to make wise investment decisions about your marketing and to ensure that the experience you offer your customers gets tongues wagging in a good way.
FACET is delighted to offer this half day interactive workshop aimed at guiding participants through the development of an experience that will keep customers coming back and more importantly get them raving about you to their friends and family.

Claire Savage of Savagely Creative will open your eyes to how your customers may view your business and provide you with the tools to ensure that you engage them and keep them loyal to your business.
Claire has over 21 years experience in product development and marketing in the public and private sector.  She has a particular focus on the service industry and has plenty of experience delivering interactive training across Western Australia.
Don’t miss this opportunity to make every customer count!

One Billion Umbrellas

Ginko UmbrellaMeet Ginko, the umbrella that will change the world.

“Ginkgo is an innovative compact umbrella, re-designed from scratch and made entirely in just one recyclable material. It is stiff and flexible, able to absorb random impacts and windforce without breaking or bending, but also lightweight, colorful and warm to the touch. And 100% recyclable.”

Around the world more than 1 billion umbrellas are thrown out or lost every year, and you know why, some of them are so damn useless you wonder if it was created in a temperature controlled, completely sealed room and never tested in the real world. The guys at Ginko have done the math and the materials from all those umbrellas would be enough (by weight) to build 25 Eiffel Towers each year.

They have launched a crowd source campaign to get these gorgeous, sustainable, strong beauties in the hands of people like you and I all over the world, on indigogo.com (similar to kickstarter). Jump on a have a look! Leave a comment below if you are in Australia and interested in ordering as a group.

One of their stretch goals (if they get to $200,000) is to close the loop on their production, a cradle-to-cradle chain which would mean that all materials used in production can either be used in continuous cycle as the same product without losing their integrity or quality (and can be used over and over again instead of being “downcycled” into lesser products, ultimately becoming waste) or can be disposed of in any natural environment and decompose into the soil, providing food for small life forms without affecting the natural environment.



Lunchtime Twist – 45min Yoga in the Perth CBD

Very exciting news for Perth yogi’s. A new spot in the CBD offering regular lunchtime (and evening) yoga.

The Yoga Vine (Donna Buchanan) has just opened up at 140william – above the Perth Underground train station and opposite the entrance to the Aviary.

They are offering yoga at 12.15pm and 1.15pm for 45 minutes every day of the week and a wednesday evening class at 6pm (1 hour).

Classes are only $10 – bring cash and your own yoga mat.


Kung Hei Fat Choi! Happy Chinese New Year!

Wishing you a wonderful, prosperous 2013 for you and your loved ones.

What have you go planned for this year? Is it the year of love, money, new projects, health?

Kung Hei Fat Choi (or Kung Hei Fat Choy) is roughly translated as “Congratulations and be prosperous, now give me a red envelope (filled with money)!”

Have a read about the year that’s predicted for you. Overall its not predicted to be a good year for us Fire Tigers, we are a bit incompatable with water you see, but never fear, I’ll show those black water snakes!

Remember when you are working out which sign you are that the new year starts in February, so if you are a January baby then your sign is the prevous years.

Lunar New Year

Lunar New Year – The Big Picture (Click through to see the album)

On not dying whilst on holiday.

A huge part of travelling for me involves eating weird and wonderful things in strange and exotic locations. At home my tummy is not the most well behaved creature, often giving me troubles, which is an ongoing project to work out have to tame it. So far I think I’ve knuckled down a few obscure things that anger the beast including MSG (such a cliché!).

On holiday the last thing you want to spend time on is feeling sick. Ironically the tummy beast of mine is often far more behaved on holiday, lucky me!


I take a few precautions when travelling so I don’t have to worry so much, especially when you are trying something new or eating from far more fun and exciting food stalls etc.

Sickness prevention kit.

Number one is a really good probiotic to cultivate all the good bacteria. Lactoflora from Neways is the best one that I have found, it’s good for travelling, very effective and easy to transport. We take one each morning before breakfast to set ourselves up for the day. If you are in need of a good probiotic its obviously a great choice for daily use at home too.

Second, Travelan. Many may say that I’m over cautious but I think its worth it for the piece of mind and the freedom it grants you. Travelan is designed to reduce the risk of infection by Enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC), the most common cause of Travellers’ Diarrhoea. Take it just before you eat each meal, and it guards you against getting Bali/Delhi Belly etc. You can get it at any chemist.

In addition you should always “boil it, cook it, peel it” and wash your hands before eating (I carry wet wipes and that no water hand sanitiser stuff), don’t drink the tap water and avoid things like salad (washed in tap water) or ice from paces where they don’t tell you if it’s made with mineral water.

Travel “first aid kit” – paracetamol, ibuprofen, bandaids, donnatab/immodium (or equivalent), kwells/travacalm (or equivalent), travelan, lactoflora, hand sanitiser, wet wipes.

So it really doesn’t take much effort and you end up coming out with a better tummy than when you left!

Staring at the Stairs

Many clever people have spent considerable time and effort thinking of ways to get people out of their cars, lifts and off their bums for the sake of health and wellbeing for the community as a whole (and a very noble cause it is). Have you seen the Piano Staircase? Very very cool.

I recently read this article about the book Making Transit Fun! How to Entice Motorists from Their Cars by Darrin Nordahl,  and whilst I agree that it’s always a good thing to make day-to-day activities as fun as possible and I’m a strong advocate of being very silly, I think that people would use public transit more if it was simply more convenient than driving the car. I take the bus to work because the traffic and parking in the city make it quicker on public transport. It’s not pleasant for the most part but I would prefer the operator spent funds on more buses, training their drivers to use their brakes more gently and customer service rather than making my stop look like a strawberry. Your never going to make sitting on the bus with smelly strangers more appealing than the airconditioned, quiet (or jazzy) comfort of your own car.

However, there are some places where a bit of fun and good design would really make a difference. Fun end of trip facilities and bike storage at major transit stops/transfers which made it really nice to ride even part of your journey would be great. One of my colleagues stopped riding her bike to the train station because the bike lockers provided are just a pain in the ass to use, her bike was stuck in there for a while when the card scanner was playing up, they are ugly, frustrating, dark etc.

I work at 140william in the Perth CBD , it’s a truly lovely building which has won many design awards, is pretty great in terms of its environment impact, with a pretty speccy lift system running through the centre of the building to move us all about. I get pretty horrible motion sickness and so tend to use the stairs when I can to avoid head spins.  I often only need to go up or down 1 or 2 floors so it’s even more efficient. The stairs are just the emergency exit route of the building, they are not intended to be used for access and as such are cold, ugly, dark and pretty yuck to use. This is a brand new building, built to make life in it really comfortable and healthy, but stair access was not considered other than as Plan B for avoiding horrible elevator v. fire situations. This isn’t unusual right? What a shame! What if the stairs where well lit and comfortable to use, would you consider taking the stairs at your work place?

Here’s what the stair case at 140william looks like. In fact just after I took these photos the lights went off on me and I had to go down the last floor in the dark… terrifying.


Maybe we should get a few hundred litres of paint (a selection of only a few colours so we don’t look insane – each floor already has a bit of a colour theme going which we could use) and get all the inhabitants to come and paint the walls. We’ll need some really really long paint roller poles and some professionals to make sure we get to the tricky to reach bits and that it doesn’t end up looking like a broken kalidoscope. Or we could hire an artist to paint a gigantic geometric mural spanning 14 floors.

Some sound dulling material/carpet on the landings to soften it up a little bit, and it would make the experience of using the stairs so much more appealing!

mural 1 mural2

Red Jelly Bean Lipstick

”Musk Sticks could be twisted on your tongue into a sharp point and used to stab your mate. As little girls, we used a saliva-soaked red jelly bean as a lipstick. We carefully tore lolly wrappers to see who ended up with the longest continuous strip. Cobbers were my favourite sweet, only a cent when I was little, and I’d nibble the chocolate off the sides and then suck the hard caramel in the middle very gently so it lasted half an hour.” Nostalgia Alert: Our Favourite Lollies, on DailyLife

LollypopsiPhone photos 301iPhone photos 302

Freckles are definitely still my favourite.