[Architecture] Response that Melbourne’s Federation Square Voted as One of the World’s Best Public Squares

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Where I read the article:

Melbourne’s Federation Square voted one of the world’s best public squares

Commentary:

I’m surprised that it’s already August, but what’s more unbelievable is this…

This news came to me totally by surprise. I still remember how Melbournians were blasting how the Federation Square was a total disaster years ago.The random designs, the boring atmosphere and the visual eyesore.

“Often voted one of the ugliest places due to the deconstructivist style of the buildings, the square has come to be very successful. Why so? Well, with a constant stream of entertainment, dining and free Wi-Fi, it’s always busy with people.”

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Ah.

‘Free Wi-Fi’ – I don’t see how free Wi-Fi would help to make Federation Square one of the world’s top public squares, given that so many other places offer free internet. I think I have used the free Wi-Fi in Federation Square a couple of times before. Nothing special. It wasn’t lightning speed fast and yet it wasn’t like my home Dial-Up internet 10 years ago (Yes I am old).

Constant stream of entertainment – I have mixed feelings about this one. I do agree that Fed Square has a lot of community events happening often, whether it was the Multicultural Victoria Festival back from March, the place where Queen Elizabeth II visited back in 2011 and where everyone gathers for New Years Eve. However, I still think that Federation Square is quite empty. It feels like a large space just to walk by. Inside the Federation Square apart from ACMI (great place to go by the way), there’s basically a book store, same cafes and gift stores. To become one of the world best public spaces I would have certainly wanted more.

It’s always busy with people – Sometimes when it’s a sunny day yes I agree there are quite a lot of people sitting on those long benches.

Don’t worry. I don’t hate Federation Square, I just think it could have offered much more given that it’s in the centre of Australia’s cultural capital city. It’s not as bad as what everyone thinks and 6th place I guess is fair. I have completely nothing wrong with the architecture design (it has the Australian style feel) and I like how it’s a very relaxing and casual place. Easily accessible public transport (tram lines across the road, Flinders St Train Station on the other side, tourist shuttle bus right outside) and nice music everywhere are also bonuses. Some entertaining street performances. You name it.

A look at how other public squares were ranked against the Fed Square:

“BEST IN THE WORLD

1. Naghsh-e Jahaan Square, Isfahan, Iran

2. Piazza del Campo, Siena, Italy

3. Red Square, Moscow, Russia

4. Trafalgar Square, London

5. St Peter’s Square, Vatican City

6. Federation Square, Melbourne

7. Rynek Główny, Kraków, Poland

8. Plaza de Armas, Cuzco, Peru

9. Times Square, New York

10. Tahrir Square, Cairo”

I’m surprised that Fed Square overpassed New York’s Time Square by a noticeable three spots, given that it’s so much more famous. Visually, Time Square beats Fed Square by a million bucks, but maybe it’s the loud and crowded atmosphere in Times Square that’s unbearable. Period.

[International] Response to the MH17 Plane Disaster Today

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Where I read the article: Malaysia Airlines MH17 shot down over Ukraine: 28 Australians among 298 dead

Commentary:

This is tragic news not only for Victorians but for people around the world. This time it’s not only Malaysian Airlines that’s in hot water, but President Putin from Russia. 

Let me start off by outlining the details of the incident:

WHAT REALLY HAPPENED:

The Malaysia Airlines plane with 298 people on board, including at least 28 Australians, was downed about 12.15am today Sydney time.

The flight MH17, a Boeing 777-200, was travelling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur but was shot down in separatist-controlled eastern Ukraine.

Plumes of black smoke could be seen near the rebel-held village of Grabovo in eastern Ukraine, at the crash site 40 kilometres from the Russian border.

WHO were Involved: 

  • 298 passengers from the MH17 commercial air plane who were killed. Among them, 28 were from Australia, 154 Dutch passengers, 43 Malaysians, 12 Indonesians, 9 British passengers, 4 Belgium passengers, 4 German, 3 Philippines, a Canadian and 40 other unverified passengers.   
  • Pro-Russian Rebels from Ukraine are reported to be behind this disaster

WHERE did it happen:

  • The flight was scheduled to depart from Amsterdam, Netherlands to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  • The flight was interrupted in Eastern Ukraine, where it was reported that a missile/s had shot down the air-plane

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WHEN did it happen:

  • It happened at 2:15pm local time (GMT) in Eastern Ukraine

WHY DID IT HAPPEN: 

This is the question that is puzzling over peoples’ head and as reported I suspect that it might be a case of mistaken identity where the Pro-Russian rebels mistaken it was an Ukrainian Cargo Plane instead and decided to shoot it down. It was all too late before they realised that it was a big mistake. I praise the Ukrainian Government for intercepting telephone conversations after the event and successfully recorded a conversation where one of the rebels said:

‘We shot down a plane’

by Russian rebel military chief Igor ‘The Terrible’ Strelkov.  This is a good piece of evidence to verify who is responsible for this disaster and he needs to pay for his stupid actions. 

My Opinion:

I send my deep condolences towards the victims of the Malaysian airplane. It is no doubt an ‘unspeakable crime’ committed by the rebels behind this and whilst some experts say that it is too early to determine the perpetrators, I think it is already quite obvious that President Putin deserves to be blamed.It’s quite ironic for his initial response that Ukraine is to be blamed for this when it’s his officials who have shot down the plane. 

What a tragedy, for passengers in which some were planning to attend the International AIDS Conference in Melbourne to be killed just like that. Parents, students, teachers, grandparents, ordinary citizens to end their life in such an avoidable incident.

Moments ago I watched an uncensored video of the crash site and I can say it was utterly revolting to watch. Bodies were scattered everywhere and it was all debris full of suitcases, passports and plane equipment. I find it very disheartening to know that some local civilians came to the crash site to steal money and precious items left there. Shame on you.

As for Malaysian airlines, I truly sympathise with them this time. It was completely beyond their control for this to happen and they made a prompt action to waive any fees for flight changes, amid passengers cancelling their flights from Malaysian airlines. The MH370 plane is still nowhere to be seen, and already they have to suffer another plane from falling into the same fate. If I was Malaysian airlines, I would actually consider closing down the business and then rebuild a new airplane company named something else instead. There’s no way that this time they will have a chance to recover and it will only be months away perhaps that their sales would decline to a point they are making huge losses. 

I applaud our Prime Minister Tony Abbott for making a firm stance that President Putin is ‘very unsatisfactory’ and he should be condemned. I respect Tony’s decision for a national mourning day where flags would only be partially lifted. And also we should applaud Victorian Premier’s decision to cancel the fireworks display in Docklands tonight, and make a low-key opening ceremony for the International HIV Conference to pay respect for those who have sacrificed their lives. 

The big question though is if the war between Ukraine and Russia didn’t exist, this incident would never happen in the first place. I think it’s time that governments from all around the world force Russia and Ukraine to confront their conflicts and for a time to end all this. 

What a tragedy.