The birth of Canberra was an opportunity to create a great capital city.
To what extent has that opportunity been taken? Canberra is a growing capital for a young country. Australian history has been short and humble when contrasted with powers such as England or China. Created to be ‘the City Beautiful 1’, it has evolved into the bureaucratic centre of Australia. With a small population, Canberra lacks many of the amenities and attractions commonly associated with the capital of a thriving developed country. Though small and constantly growing, Canberra’s architecture and geography have followed a plan of 1012 years. A variety of buildings have filled the different areas of Canberra. This creates a fusion of eye-catching structures and humble homes. Finally, employment is plentiful and high-paying, stimulating Canberra’s economy. Whether these factors combine to make Canberra a great capital city is a topic of debate. When Burley Griffin won the Federal Capital Design Competition with his Y plan3, he planned for the future. His goal was to create a capital to impress the world. Instructed to create a bush capital, he set about creating the spacious, well planned city that exists today. However, much of this space is yet to be filled. Australia’s capital has a small population of barely 350,000 and its corresponding built environment4 utilises a very small amount of Canberra’s available land. The bush capital remains just that, open bush. This contrasts with the role of Canberra as the nationwide bureaucratic centre. When the city was created, both Canberra fuses bush beauty with utilitarian functionality well, using Griffin’s plan to great effect. Canberra’s size keeps it known as the bush capital, rather than a sophisticated thriving city of architecture. Large pieces of architecture, both government and private contrast with the common view of pedestrian Canberra. The national gallery, Questacon and even sky plaza are testaments to Canberra’s sophisticated, if sporadic sparks of architectural genius. With a clever and successful plan for the Canberra’s geography, the national capital is a combination of bush, humble home and sophisticated sights. Canberra’s architecture matches its workforce, primarily conservative with streaks of brilliance. With a workforce primarily employed in service to the government, the capital trades commercial competitiveness for bureaucratic effectiveness. Created for the purpose of holding and supporting the federal government, Canberra sacrifices other aspects as a city in order to achieve goals made over a century ago. As a bureaucratic centre, it is functional and effective and this was and is, its first priority. Much of the city centre is dedicated to government divisions. This makes Canberra an effective capital city in that regard. Though being a great city is more than being an effective legislative centre as a national capital, this is one of its most important roles. In earlier times, Canberra was a capital for sheep and shearers, however this has changed. Bustling, it has one of the lowest unemployment rates in Australia. The global financial situation has not changed Canberra’s situation. Because the government cuts far less workers than the private sectors, Canberra remains a well employed bureaucratic capital. Though Canberra loses out to Sydney and Melbourne for administration through sheer weight of population, it does house the federal government, pivotal to its continued livelihood. A successful place for the federal government, Canberra makes an effective capital. The combination of a small population, short history and dominance of the public sector combines to put Canberra’s workforce in a unique situation. With a highly paid public sector, the average earnings of Canberra’s citizens far exceed most areas of Australia. Also, the public sector pays higher 1, 2.http://naa.gov.au/collection/fact-sheets/fs95.aspx National Archives of Australia
Canberra has had time to grow into a great capital city. America’s economy was crippled by the economic crisis. the centre of a developed countries government and bureaucracy. Regardless. but a higher paying pool. cities such as Sydney have been affected more significantly. modern Canberra is a place of substantial comfort and wealth.http://naa.aspx National Archives of Australia
. as are salaries. Canberra is nonetheless a great capital city. Not quite The City Beautiful. Though small and sparsely populated. making it one of Australia’s employment havens. One of the greatest examples is America. it remains a well-planned city with plentiful and reliable employment and educational opportunities. capitals around the world have been affected dramatically. making Canberra deserve the title of Bush Capital.
1. The recent global financial situation has done little to debunk this. America’s capital was likewise crippled. Canberra’s standards of high salary and high standards of living were maintained. it supports the federal government adequately. Though it lacks the amenities and services of Australia’s larger cities.gov. Even though the public sector has seen significant cuts. Canberra has a high living standard. Architecture that catches the eye.au/collection/fact-sheets/fs95. A humble city. A concept of over a century. This results not only in a large employment pool. 2. Employment is plentiful. comparably high paying and reliable in Canberra. Correspondingly. which are also higher paying. Occupations and wages were not the priority in the making of Canberra.than the private sector. This means that there are more jobs available to Canberra’s citizens. Australia’s recent boom buffered citizens across the country. Suffering a dramatic surge in unemployment or unsatisfactorily employed to a bi-decade high. To a broader extent. and suburbs filled with nature abound. the standard of living is high.
au/biography/griffin-walter-burley-443 biography of Griffin 4 http://www.au/ausstats/abs@.0
1.au/topics/land/landuse/act/index.au/collection/fact-sheets/fs95.au/collection/fact-sheets/fs95.anu.nsf/mf/6302.gov.aspx history of canberra 3 http://adb.1 –First Lecture 2 http://naa.edu.aspx National Archives of Australia
.gov.gov.anra.gov.http://naa.html use of Canberra’s land 5 http://www.abs. 2.