Halswell Domain

Halswell Domain
View from the Model Engineers' site in the Halswell Domain

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Placemaking in Halswell

What do you think of our place in Halswell?  How do you meet people here?  Where are the public spaces where you can bump into people?  How do we create public spaces where people can meet, hang out, and enjoy the ambience?  What would we need to create to draw people into these spaces? 
These are the sorts of questions that the art of  Placemaking  aims to answer. The “power of 10” is one principle that we could think about to make our places more attractive. 

What is the power of 10?  Well … the idea is that a place has about 10 things to draw people – these can be quite simple things eg seating, shops, play areas, trees/ garden areas, art works, music, history, food.   The thing is that there is a mixture of things - just having 10 shops does not make a place attractive in the sense of allowing people to hang out.  Likewise 10 artworks probaby won't do it on their own either.  A great place caters for the very young and the very old as well as those in between.  Events can also help to make a place more of a place by drawing people in at regular intervals. 

The Power of 10 also applies to suburbs – an attractive suburb has about 10 places with about 10 things,  and attractive city might have about 10 suburbs with 10 places with 10 things .. and so on.   

To me, the principle of the power of 10 is something that could help us start thinking about how to build great community spaces in Halswell.  How might we work with the supermarket etc to make the space around it more attractive?  Could we have some space there for trees, art, play facilities, seating – some space that is free of cars and designed for people to hang out?  What would it take and how would it make Halswell feel?  One thing is sure. I'd spend more time and probably more money there if it were fun to go there!  What about you?


Thursday, May 24, 2012

The First Halswell Swap-a

The very first Halswell swap-a happened last Saturday afternoon. 

A good number of people showed up with clothes, veges, fruit, books, seeds and toys and, with very few exceptions, they all left with some goodies in their bag.  It was great fun. 
 I enjoyed checking out clothes and then discovering the person who had brought them along!  Alex, who brought a great supply of seeds he had saved (along with a huge box of yummy grapes), was a mine of information about vege gardening, seed saving and sowing. 
The baking and hot drinks went down well (thanks to Kathryn who spent a lot of time making tea and coffee amongst all sorts of other things).  Phil’s boxes of books provided great pickings for Mike and quite a few others.
People chatted and seemed in no hurry to leave and we finally packed things up around 3.30 after our 1.00 pm start.   
A very big thank you to the folks at St Lukes who lent us their great venue for the afternoon, and to the organisers for running with this idea.
One thing that we didn't do very much of was talk about a timebank ... so perhaps that is something for next time.Another good thing to be talking about would be a local market.  The swap-a had quite a market feel to it and personally, I'd like to see more of this kind of thing around Halswell. 

We will be doing this again, probably sometime in the early spring - keep an eye on the newsletter for date and time!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Aoraki-spotting from Halswell

OK, you can’t quite see it from Halswell… depending how you define Halswell!  But if you walk or bike for a bit (or even drive, if you must) it isn’t too difficult.

The details were provided to me years ago at Castle Rock by the late Phil Stuart-Jones, who got pretty sophisticated with compass bearings and sightlines, but I will aim to convince you without any of that stuff.

Aoraki/Mt Cook is about 196 km from our house in Halswell, almost exactly due west.  He’s a big fella though, and should be easily visible with the naked eye.  The key to it is to find Mt Somers.  Mt Somers is indicated by the arrow in the photo below (taken from Cooper’s Knob, with Gibraltar Rock and Tai Tapu in the foreground).  It’s one of the most obvious foothills, an unequal triangle with an easy-angled side on the right.  That's Mt Hutt on the extreme right under the clouds.

Next let’s see Aoraki from close up without much in the way.

That's Aoraki on the left, Mt Tasman on the right, from Malte Brun Pass.  This is the eastern view of the mountain, which is what we are looking for.

Now let’s have a look at Aoraki (indicated by the arrow) from the top of Mt Somers.  I think you can see it's about the same shape.  Keep an eye on the ice cap on the right of the summit that is in the sun.

Since Mt Somers is pretty close to due west from Halswell also, the view of Aoraki that we see from Halswell should be pretty similar to the one from Mt Somers.

So now let’s zoom in a bit on the first image.  The arrow on the right points to Mt Somers, and the arrow on the left to Aoraki.  As you can see it looks much the same, although a bit more hidden by the intervening ridge.  The piece of ice cap on the right at the top looks identical.  Pretty good eh!

Aoraki can be easier to spot in summer, when the ranges in the foreground don’t have so much snow; then, it is the only white one (although viewing can be quite a lot hazier at that time of year).  Where it appears relative to Mt Somers depends on which part of the hills you are on.  If you head towards Gebbies Pass from the top of Kennedys Bush Track it will appear on the left of Mt Somers, as shown.  I suppose a pair of binoculars or a telescope would make it better, but they definitely aren't essential.

Happy spotting!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Timebanking - something to think about in Halswell?

Timebanks are growing in popularity.  There are timebanks now in Lyttelton, Belfast, New Brighton, and Addington, to name a few.

A timebank is  a way to swap skills with others in the same community based on time.  The beauty of them is that you don't have swap directly between two people.  So, for example, Joe enjoys gardening, Alice might enjoy sewing and Marie likes babysitting.  Each of them registers with the timebank.   Alice notices Joe's offer and gets him around to do a couple of hour's gardening.  Joe does not need any sewing done at this stage, but he really needs someone to look after his kids so he contacts Marie.  After babysitting for Joe, Marie is now in credit for 2 hours.  She has some clothes that need mending so she contacts Alice who can fix them for her.  That way Alice earns some hours which help "pay" for Joe's gardening.   The great thing is that each of these people gets to do more of what they enjoy and less of what they don't.
People can offer a wide range of services - as the market page on the Addington Timebank site suggests from helping someone with facebook or their computer to providing gardening advice, running errands, cutting hair or delivering pamphlets or newsletters.  With a timebank, the skills you offer cannot be the same ones that you use to make money, so if you are a gardener who earns taxable income doing gardening, you can't offer that in the Timebank.

Timebanks are a great way to help people get to know each other and to know what skills are available locally too. Community organisations can register as a timebank member and in many places people can donate the time that they earn to these groups or even to other people if they want to.  Check out this video made in Lyttelton about timebanking.

 Are you interested in this idea?  If you are, come along to the Swap-a event at 1.00 pm on Saturday 19th May at St Lukes Church in Halswell Road to talk about this more and exchange clothes, baking, preserves or even veges.