Since 1998

The most French city in Australia: Brisbane

Vélibs, JCDecaux, street furniture, new pedestrians malls, constant search for new architecture, nothing’s missing to the capital City of Queensland, also known as the most economically growing city in Australia in the 21st century.
I’m sitting in the new « Central City Library » as I’m typing these lines, two years since I left Brisbane.  Not to be confused with its elder sister the « Queensland State Library » located at South Bank, on the other side of the River Brisbane.  Its younger « City » sister is one of the centres included in this modern design building that also contains other features.

French would call it La Médiathèque as many media meet in one place.  La Médiathèque inherited modern lines from its creator, lines that fit well in its conception time, 2009.  A little darker spot however, in the use of light.  Under this latitude natural light wells would have been welcome, whereas spotlight rails replace this missing green feature.  I couldn’t tell you what the energy balance sheet of the place, but I’m sure it could be, or could have been, optimised.

I landed at level 1, with a real floorboard, and functional zones: business centre, little meeting rooms, Internet corners (you must be a registered user, see reception, to use Wi-Fi Internet).

Some spots are brighter than others, and the brightest of us will choose them accordingly to what they came here for.  Benches and tables with network plugs and main are also available.

To come to this place, I first travelled on a coach from the Gold Coast.  Merely an hour of drive on the motorway 1.  Once at Roma St Station, I was welcome by a familiar sight, and even more familiar to the Parisians since July 2007: the Vélibs, let’s call them City Bikes here.

City Bikes stations are everywhere, but still too much limited to the inner City Centre.  Let’s give the residents and the visitors time to get used to it.  This concept is new in Australia, and Brisbane can be proud of inaugurating it.  Here again, a little dark spot on the picture; since the use of a helmet is compulsory on a bike, one has to either carry it around the city, nor really convenient nor sexy, or pick one of those bikes supplying one.  For the latter option, I guess the system is based on trust, like most public features in Australia, since nothing really forces anyone to keep it after using it.

The Town Hall square also boasts many street pieces of furniture, such as these spheres.  One should acknowledge that this concept of furbishing cities, so frequent in France, is spectacular when it occurs in Australia as it’s still rare.  We want more, in this“reverse globalisation”: the New World borrows ideas from the Old Continent.

We appreciated
The point Brisbane is making into developing its urban places, whether it be architecture wise or street-furniture wise.
We regretted
That never ending roadworks that have been on for a couple of years on Gympie Rd.  I was expecting their completion, commissioning this most awaited bus lane.  Instead the traffic is worse than ever, reduced on a single lane per side.
created 23 August 2011
revised 11 February 2017 by
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