As I have often mentioned the built environment is a pet subject of mine. I am sure my family, friends and probably fellow bloggers get tired of my complaints about old, interesting buildings being replaced by ugly new ones, high-rise buildings being located in historic areas and new buildings that I consider just plain ugly. It’s true that I cringe when I hear the word “redevelopment” and that I would like to boil most developers and real estate agents in their own snake oil. Of course I don’t think all redevelopment or modern architecture is bad and I try to give credit when I see something good even though I think that parks and community spaces are usually a trade-off for more high-rise development.
I’ve posted a lot of photos of Port Adelaide on this blog in the past. David’s family has lived in or close to it for many years and David had a special fondness for it because of that. We often went there to look at the ships when it was a busy working port and later to visit the Sunday market in one of the old sheds. During that time the area became trendy and we were outraged to see apartments built right on the waterfront. On our last visit together we took a lot of photos of buildings we feared we would not see again.
Hart’s Mill was one of these places. It was up for redevelopment at that time and David and I were fearful that it would become more apartments for rich people. This is how it looked in 2012.
On my most recent visit my sisters-in-law, Libby and Louise, took me down to the Port for breakfast and we visited a new cafe near Hart’s Mill. I am happy to say that although apartments are still a creeping menace in the Port Adelaide area Hart’s Mill is looking pretty good. It has been developed as a community space and landscaped. Renew Port Adelaide is active in the area and the cafe we went to was one of these. It is over the water with a great view of the river.
Here is Hart’s Mill today.
I still think that Port Adelaide and indeed most of the older Adelaide suburbs are in danger of being turned into carbon copies of each other full of large, concrete, steel and glass buildings. I would far prefer to see old buildings repurposed than demolished as without them cities lose their character. One high-rise on the waterfront today can turn into a dozen in less time than you would believe possible. Smaller cities such as Adelaide and Hobart don’t need to try to copy larger ones. Part of their charm is that they are different. I hadn’t intended for this to be a ranting post though. It’s nice to see something that I can feel happy about once in a while.